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Essay on Wellfare Reform

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     In the past twenty years, welfare fraud and abuse has become an overwhelming problem. Large numbers of people are living off the government alone, with no attempt of finding work. Our welfare system is out of date and needs to be slimmed down. Congress needs to eliminate the mindset of Americans that welfare can be used as a free ride through life.

No matter how liberal or conservative, all politicians agree that welfare costs could be greatly reduced if abuse and fraud were eliminated. Welfare was first introduced in the 20’s as a program to help people get through the depression. The government created many public works jobs to employ the thousands that lost their jobs. At the time it was a great program but seventy-five years later, major reforms are necessary to eliminate the widespread abuse and fraud. Today, the U.S. spends well over three hundred billion dollars a year on welfare.(Federman 5) That is up over a hundred billion dollars from ten years ago. Almost five million households receive benefits under the primary federally funded program, AFDC. For some recipients, government aid is a temporary substitute through hard times. But half of all welfare recipients will stay on welfare for more than ten years, and many for life. “The fate of their children is also bleak: a child raised on welfare is three times more likely than other children to receive government aid as an adult.”(LeVert 34) Current benefits include cash benefits provided by the AFDC. The national average monthly cash allowance is $399. Food stamps are given in addition to cash. They are food redeemable vouchers that are given on average of $278 a month. Medicare is also provided to welfare dependents. It usually costs $4000 per person per year. The government also provides people with some sort of housing. It can be in a subsidized housing project, or the more recent option of providing rent for welfare recipients to live away from government subsidized building projects. This was created in hopes of creating a better life for welfare children. Welfare is definitely a helpful program; it just needs to be reformed.

     Jimmy Carter first attempted change the current system, but the reforms were under funded and nothing was enforced. The most recent reforms to be passed were in 1996 under Bill Clinton. The most significant changes he called for were time limits, work progr...


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.... The reality is that these enforcements cost a lot of money, and insufficient funds has meant that most people haven’t had to apply to the work requirements. Time limits were another large part of the 1996 reform by Clinton. “He proposed that people could participate in work promoting services for up to two years”(Klier). After that, those who could work had to get an unsubsidized job. Once again it all looks good and makes for a good speech, but some major problems face Clinton. Can enough real as opposed to make work jobs be created? Can they be created at a reasonable cost without disturbing the low wage labor market? Can and will the limits be enforced?(Clinton 23) These are all questions that only time will tell.

     The current reforms are being proposed at a time when the last ones are still far from being fully funded, or implemented. Congress has been in favor of requiring people to work and enforcing time limits for twenty years but they’ve never backed it with enough money. If it were up to me, all welfare abusers would be contained and forbidden to breed, therefore eliminating the abuse problem in two generations, but…. That’s one reason I’ll never be president.


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