19 November 2013
Welfare is nothing new to the citizens of this country. It is a concept that arose over a century ago. Welfare was made famous by Bill Clinton, in 1996, and it has brought up much controversy. Arguments suggest the welfare system is highly abused by its members while others believe it is the answer to the nation’s poverty. Although the welfare system is state regulated, many people believe it is taken advantage of by underserving people. Often, people with nasty habits, sale their food stamp cards for extra cash, cigarettes, and drugs. Most of the time, these people have children that have to go without because their parent puts their government assistance towards unhealthy addictions.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his 1935 State of the Union message, warned that the social welfare program could become problematic. “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.” Roosevelt predicted that welfare would have many flaws. In 1996 President Clinton promised to “end welfare as we know it.” Clinton’s 1996 Welfare Reform Act replaced the federal program of Aid to Dependent Children, later known as the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). After 1970, liberals, moderates, and even welfare recipients began to join conservatives in denouncing welfare in general, and AFDC in particular. The discussions tended to accuse AFDC of breaking up the family, fostering a rise in illegitimacy, and stimulating dependency, although the evidence of this was sometimes ambiguous (Grabner). By the 1990s programs like AFDC has proved to be vulnerable, and during the 1994 elections President Clinton was forced to give up the program to get re-elected. The program only shows another flaw in the system, and Clinton tried to mend it. As a result, Congress passed the Welfare Reform Act in 1996. The law ended AFDC which in turn limited single mothers their independence that the program had given them before, and it required work for temporary relief. During the course of the Clinton presidency the national poverty rate dropped tremendously by a quarter, and welfare caseloads plummeted by 60 percent. Welfare was now controlled by the states rather the federal government. Welfare was at its all time high, and Americans seemed happy with the improvements. In 2001 President George W. Bush took office. Welfare was not a number one priority during his presidency because of the War on Terror, but the biggest change Bush made was the shift from a system that delivered assistance through welfare checks to a system that provides assistance through social service programs. In 2011 congress passed another Welfare Reform Act. The act reduced funding of state family assistance grant, revised work requirements for food stamp programs, and required work eligible adult members to participate in a supervised job search. Although the act tried to make strides to improve the reform, there are still many unsolved problems.
The definition of the welfare reform is a movement to change the federal government's social welfare policy by shifting some of the responsibility to the states and cutting benefits. The definition makes welfare sound easy, but there are many loop holes in the system that many people take advantage of. With over 40 million Americans receiving food stamps and 50 percent of households relying on government assistance, the system is doomed to fail if there is not a change. Hard working Americans will not be able to much longer provide what many receiving assistance have grown accustomed to. Throughout the course of American history welfare has been “reformed” many times to only cause problems later in the future. The idea of welfare was formed with great intentions, but it has spiraled out of control. Many people take advantage of the tax dollars that people work hard for. Some Americans spend their government check on drugs. They simply sale their food stamp card for extra cash to buy unnecessary things. The author of “Welfare Programs Should Include Mandatory Drug Testing” shares a personal experience and states, ‘Growing up, my mother was a recipient who abused the welfare system. I remember having no heat or electricity and being so hungry it was painful. My siblings and I would fist fight over food. She would trade her food stamp card for various things like cash, cigarettes and an occasional joint. She just wouldn't help herself, and we were the kids that no one (DHS) cared about anyway and taxpaying working class people were forced to support her nasty habits. You can't help someone that won't help themselves.’ The author gives a prime example of how some people abuse the system. Some young girls go to the extent of getting to pregnant to receive an easy income. Of course, there are instances where young girls do need help after accidently getting pregnant, but loyal tax payers should not have to pay for someone else’s laziness and accidents. Then, there is the issue with food stamps. The people receiving food stamps that are not working and are claiming to be “disabled” can get more groceries than the middle class man working everyday to feed his family. Welfare tends to leave good people out and give all the assistance to the people who do not really need it.
Not all people receiving welfare take advantage of it. Some people actually need some assistance to get to the point of getting a job. Disabled people need the government’s assistance just to put food in their children’s mouths. Assistance for single mothers is a necessity if they are trying to make a living and provide a stable life for that child. Many Americans would agree to their tax money going to assist people like that. Good can come from welfare; it is just the people who make a career out of welfare who ruin it for the people who actually need assistance.
The history of welfare dates back to the Great Depression. Even through every reform welfare has gone through, it has never eliminated the great conflicts it causes. Although welfare is state regulated, it is taken advantage of by many undeserving people. Welfare has yet to answer America’s poverty, and is not fair to America’s tax payers. The welfare reform will probably never be a success until it is started over completely.
Grabner, William. 2002. "The End of Liberalism: Narrating Welfare's Decline, from the Moynihan Report (1965) to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (1996)." Journal of Policy History 14: 170–190. "Welfare Programs Should Include Mandatory Drug Testing." Welfare. Ed. Margaret Haerens. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. "Welfare Reform". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press, n.d. Web. 26