Top-Rated Free Essay

Social Welfare

Better Essays
Has there been a shift of patterns of social welfare policy over time? Is the American welfare state truly fair when it comes to receiving financial help? Does it favor certain social groups over others? The Declaration of Independence documents the strong American belief in equality of opportunity; but large portions of our population lack meaningful opportunities. According to an article written by Isabel V. Sawhill, welfare policy was first formulated at the state level. AFDC itself owes its origins to state-run “mothers pensions” programs first set up in 1911 in Illinois and Missouri, long before the federal government incorporated family assistance into the Social security Act of 1935. Before 1935, people in vulnerable populations needing support could not find help from private groups. Aid for the poor was considered a public obligation, but was provided on a voluntary basis. Private charity was distinguished between the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor. Widows and orphans and others rendered dependent by tragedy were considered deserving. Able-bodied people unwilling to work or newly arrived transients were considered undeserving. Therefore, charity seekers had to submit to economic and moral qualifications on a very subjective basis that incorporated a lot of prejudice. The provision of aid ignored larger conditions that caused unemployment, and instead considered social case work at the promotion of mental hygiene. Sawhill explains in her article how gradually, state governments developed programs to aid citizens in difficult conditions. The Great Depression resulted in many middle-class people loosing their job and business, which proved to Americans that poverty, could result from different failures in the economic system as well as from personal responsibilities. This forced the drastic revisions of standards regarding who was worthy and who was not. This provided the public demand for federal programs. It was at this time when President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced a public welfare system that made the federal government the main source of aid to the poor. Roosevelt greatly expanded the scope of the federal government through a series of public works programs and he signed the Social Security Act that provided the elderly with retirement income. In the 1960’s President Lyndon B. Johnson expanded the welfare system to include health, care, food, and housing assistance. This aid to the poor, elderly and disabled led to higher taxes and some abuses of the system, and by the 1990’s there were calls for reform. From my understanding, social policies have three major objectives: (1) they are supposed to protect most people from the risks and insecurities throughout the life cycle, (2) promote equality of opportunity, and finally, (3) alleviate poverty. Backing up to the first objective; “They are supposed to protect most people from the risks and insecurities throughout the life cycle.” Sounds acceptable, just keep in mind the keyword of the phrase; most. Reviewing the second objective; “Promote Equality of opportunity.” This is where the debate of social welfare takes effect. Today, social welfare policies seem to be unjust. Is the government really helping those that are in greater need in our democracy? If this would be true, why is it that every year more of our tax paying money goes to the more fortunate than the less fortunate? Is the government truly alleviating poverty as they say they are? The role of the government to assist the less fortunate in society is a central debate that defines the government and its relationship with the economy. This system called welfare is a little unfair. In some cases it is very helpful to people who are in need of it, but in most cases, it neglects the very people who need it the most. According to an article written by Jacob S. Hacker, the current poverty plans spend $6,100 per poor person yearly or $24,000 on a family of just four. But not all poverty money is spent on the poor. Only 43% of all poor families receive food stamps, and 23% of food-stamp families have income above the poverty level. Only 19% of all poor families live in public housing or receive housing subsides, and 40% of families receiving housing subsides are not poor. Only 41% of all poor families are covered by Medicaid, and 35% of all Medicaid beneficiaries are not poor. Amazingly, 46% of all poor families receive no means-tended benefit of any kind from government. Furthermore, an article written on social policy says there is considerable evidence that private charities do a better job of helping the poor. The private sector does a better job of getting aid to the needy promptly, encouraging self-sufficiency and self-reliance and preserving the family unit. Private charities help those that the government doesn’t: 94% of all night shelters in the U.S. are privately operated, and 80% of low-income people’s inequality turns to private agencies in times of crisis. More than two-thirds of federal welfare spending ends up in pockets of those who are not poor. Since public welfare faces no marketplace competition, it can spend money in wasteful and inefficient ways. So is the government truly alleviating poverty? I’m sure that those who are in this particular situation would disagree with this notion. In my opinion, the social welfare system does not give to those who are in need of it. While researching for this paper my main objective was to find how the government favors certain needy social groups over others, but in reality while in the process of searching for the answer to this issue, I kept coming across how really the social group who receives the largest portion of this government money are those who are not in need. They are indeed the social group that seems to be favored by the government. Statistics prove it. Articles defend it. The question is not really who is favored among those who really need it, instead it should ask if it is even being given to the right people overall? In conclusion, the welfare system is not fair in many ways. Its true intentions of helping the less fortunate have shifted tremendously. Our democracy should be more cautious with the social groups that are allowed to receive social welfare, and more giving to those who really need it the most.

WORK CITED
Hacker, Jacob S. American Families Suffer from Growing Economic Instability. The Resource Center: Opposing Viewpoints. 20 April. 2007.

Sawhill, Isabel V. Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the Issue. Urban Institute. 20 April. 2007.

Social Policy. American Government. 20 April. 2007.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Powerful Essays

    social welfare

    • 1566 Words
    • 6 Pages

    INTRODUCTION Social welfare is based upon the premise that in an ideal place, all people are treated with respect and dignity, and that; for a community to be responsive, it needs to be a place where members are valued for who they are and what they can offer the community. The goal of social welfare is to fulfill the social, financial, health and recreational needs of all individuals in a society. Social welfare seeks to enhance the social functioning of all age groups, both rich and poor. When…

    • 1566 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Social Welfare

    • 428 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The concept of “social welfare” existed in some form since the early days of humankind. In reading about the evolution of early societies, one may suggest that social welfare is as intrinsically a value as the preservation of life itself, although, it may have always placed secondary to the appeal of dominion. Observe the gradual shift in the political structure from communal living to eventual stratified economies. While nomadic tribes settled into fixed states driven by agriculture and domestication…

    • 428 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Social Welfare

    • 487 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Presentation on Social Welfare Social institutions Social institutions are networks of relationships that carry out the essential social functions. Social institutions develop around these needs. Kinship & family, religion, workplace, market place, mutual li i k l k t l t l assistance and government, etc. are organizational forms. They are formalized forms way of providing resources for helping to meet human needs. Social welfare characteristics: Residual approach Help provided only when…

    • 487 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Social Welfare

    • 2785 Words
    • 9 Pages

    PROGRAM NAME : BACHELOR OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COURSE NAME : SOCIAL WELFARE POLICY (CD 213) STUDENT NAME : LOUIS TOBY SOLOMON YEAR : 2, SEMESTER 1 STUDENT NUMBER : 151210094 ATTENTION : MISS THANDIWE MATAYATAYA ASSIGNMENT # : 1 DUE DATE…

    • 2785 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Social Welfare

    • 1138 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Social Welfare in the News Girl, 3, Starved to Death; Parents Charged Philadelphia Inquirer, published September 09, 2013 Three year old, Nathalyz Riveras, is a severely disabled girl who was born blind and diagnosed with down syndrome. Living in a home with two unmarried parents, Carmen…

    • 1138 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Best Essays

    Social Welfare

    • 3173 Words
    • 13 Pages

    SOCIAL WELFARE AND SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE Social work, as a profession, originated in the 19th century in England. The initial challenge was to identify the decisive role of social work: Advocacy or reaching out with social needs of individuals. This essay attempts to focus on the contemporary role and functions of the social work in its aspects of diversity, complexity and variety of setting especially in the 21st century. It critically evaluates the way social welfare system is being delivered…

    • 3173 Words
    • 13 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Good Essays

    Social Welfare

    • 723 Words
    • 3 Pages

    the same. Some of these routines, would include education, social life, and most important of all career perspectives. Rules and procedures vary from the different business you apply to however do the different rules and procedures vary from the countries that business thrive from? The purpose of this essay is to describe the differences and similarities from the National Association of Social Workers and the International Federation of Social Workers. The difference between the NASW and IFSW is that…

    • 723 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    1 Social policy, social welfare, and the welfare state John Baldock Contents ■ ■ ■ Introduction Learning outcomes Social policy Defining social policy in terms of types of expenditure Analysing social policy Social policy as intentions and objectives Redistribution The management of risk Social inclusion Social policy as administrative and financial arrangements Social policy as social administration Social policy as public finance Social policy as outcomes Social welfare The welfare state Defining…

    • 11362 Words
    • 46 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Religion & Social Welfare Policy. Role of Religion in SWP history and currently. 10/9/2013 Religion and Social Welfare Role of Religion The dictionary defines charity as a voluntary activity, donating money, property or service’s to the needy for general social betterment. (www.thefreedictionary.com) Charity through Christianity in the New Testament is considered the largest form of love. It is manifested through an unselfish love of ones fellow man (Corinthian 1:13.) In…

    • 814 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    I chose Social welfare as my major because as a young leader in the Army I gained great satisfaction in helping soldiers and their families better adapt to military life by introducing them to all the social programs the army had to offer. Programs such as the army community service which helps young soldiers take care of their family’s immediate needs by helping the soldier’s family with life essentials such as food and clothing. Also I have taken great pride in assisting soldiers in acquiring emergency…

    • 259 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays