Welfare, it’s what is Wrong with America Today.
American conservatives feel the welfare system, as we know, needs to be completely dismantled, or in the least, restructured with extreme limitations on who can receive benefits and how benefits are used. The good intentions of welfare advocates have over burdened American citizens with perhaps the heaviest burden placed upon the ones they intended to help the most. Liberals would suggest the wealthiest of Americans should bare a larger burden than those who have less. This has been a theme for the current extreme Liberal party but an overall shift in American social policy has moved towards dismantling welfare with the goals to bring its participants into the mainstream economy. Why should Americans be held hostage by a social experiment started several generations ago by leaders, who themselves, had reservations about the establishment of a womb-to-tomb welfare system? Franklin Roosevelt observed: The lesion of history, confirmed by evidence immediately before me. Show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is a violation of the traditions of America. Work must be found for able-bodied but destitute workers. Roosevelt, one of the original authors and advocates of the American welfare system, never intended for it to become what we have today. It certainly can be said that it is a destroyer of the human spirit. American citizens feel it is their right to receive government aid if they live an impoverished life style. It is the liberal solution to poverty. At this time in American history, we were trying to get out of the great depression and federal intervention was required. Poverty did not start because of the great depression, but this is when America institutionalized poverty. Up until the great depression, most people were only living in poverty because of joblessness, and most of the time it was only a temporary condition. Most would find work and escape poverty. Roosevelt was elected on a platform that was centered on welfare ideals. This one event set up America to become the welfare state that it is today. Conservatives feel this is a turning point in American history where life was worsened by the liberals’ response to welfare. The problem is that welfare was started as a program whose participants were never meant to stay on it permanently, but that is what it became. It should have been abolished after the great depression. Welfare, as we know it, now got is legislative start in the 1930’s which makes it relatively new in the history of the United States. Most people feel that between 1930 and 1960, welfare was really not much more than a small federal experiment that was subsidized by churches and other charitable organizations. When Franklin Roosevelt started the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930’s as one of the New Deal programs, it required that unemployed individuals were hired to build “public buildings, work on large government projects and roads. It fed children and redistributed food, clothing and housing. Almost every community in America has a park, bridge or school constructed by the WPA agency” (Snyder par 9). During its peak of production, it had the largest employee base in the United States. This technically can be described as welfare, but not like we have it today. If you look at attitudes alone, you see the underlying problem with our current system where liberal people feel that it is the responsibility of the wealthy to dole out larger percentages of their incomes to support the less fortunate. In the United States, the question of fair income distribution between the wealthy, middle class and poor is a complicated and volatile issue. How much...
Cited: Carson, Robert B., Wade L. Thomas, and Jason Hecht. Economic Issues Today Alternative Approaches. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2002.
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