As of 2012, roughly thirty five percent of the population in the United States was living with some sort of government assistance. The Welfare Reform Act was passed into law in 1996. Many of the country’s leaders promised to end welfare with this act. (“Welfare Reform”) This act ended the legal entitlement to welfare benefits. The bill also created time limits and work requirements for participation in the program. Welfare in the United States should be reformed because reform decreases poverty, increases independence in the country’s citizens, and increases the quality of life for former welfare recipients.
The United States Government has pumped more than $3.5 trillion U.S. taxpayer dollars into welfare but, ironically, the poverty rate is higher than when they started (Tanner, Welfare Reform). This outrageous amount of money proves that welfare will lead United States into debt. The original intent of current welfare benefits has failed; therefore the national welfare system must be reformed. To fully understand how to reform the welfare system Americans must know what the history of welfare is, illegitimate births’ obvious connection to crime and welfare, how welfare has failed to keep the poverty rate down, the great problem of dependency, and finally what reforms must be made. Welfare reforms will greatly help this Nation become stronger and have a more secure future.
The issues surrounding welfare and welfare reform are controversial, political, and difficult to resolve. The debate continues today as to who deserves benefits and who does not. In 1933, President Roosevelt created Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) as part of the New Deal. This early form of welfare was available to those who could demonstrate a need and the ability to maintain minimal assets of their own. It specifically targeted aid to single women with children. It was a controversial and highly debated subject. Even now, many years later, Congress continues to debate and reform welfare programs. It still brings with it the same intensity, controversy, and conflicting opinion it did years ago.
Recently Roosevelt’s Social Welfare Program has become a topic of heated debate. Welfare has come a long way since Roosevelt, it was once a system that help those in need until they could get back on their feet, now welfare has turned into a system that feeds money to a group of people that have become to lazy to find work. Talk of replacing the old system with a welfare program that will emphasize putting welfare recipients to work has become very frequent. More and more stated are now beginning to adopt a “welfare-to-work” program, leaving other states to simply ponder about the idea of “taking people off the system.” Those in favor of welfare reform argue that a welfare-to-work program will cut the amount of people on welfare causing a surplus of funds. These people base their idea on the overwhelming success of those states who have already adopted such a program. Nationwide, welfare caseloads have declined significantly since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. In the few months since the bill went into effect the amount of welfare caseloads are down by approximately 2 million. Figures also show that Alabama reduced its welfare enrollment by 48%, and Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee reduced theirs by 49%. In Wisconsin welfare was reduced by 58% and Wyoming’s cases dropped an amazing 73% (Source: Dept.
Ronald Reagan once said, “We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.” Welfare began as a relief program in the 1930’s to assist those suffering from The Great Depression. In modern times, this system’s abuse rises every year. Social welfare spending causes people to abuse their free money; our government needs to revise the length of time for the benefits and who can receive this money.
From 1990 to the present, government welfare such as income assistance and food stamps have aided the unemployed, the ill, and the broken families of America, but government assistance greatly affects the myth that hard work is the only pathway to success, and welfare provides many negative, as well as positive impacts to society. In the United States, many different welfare systems offer a wide range of benefits including money and food stamps to a variety of people. Plagued with economic issues and a shrinking middle class, the poorest Americans keep getting poorer, and the door seems to be shutting more and more on the opportunity to rise above their impoverished roots. Welfare aims to provide aid to those poor Americans who need an extra boost to keep up and help them in achieving the sought after “American Dream.” According to the US Committee of the Budget: House of Representatives, “There are at least 92 federal programs designed to help lower-income Americans. For instance, there are dozens of education and job-training programs, 17 different food-aid programs, and over 20 housing programs. The federal government spent $799 billion on these programs in fiscal year 2012”. Welfare also greatly affects a large number of the United States’ population, and as Robert Rector states in the article “Spiraling State of Welfare Spending,” “Roughly 100 million people- one-third of the United States population- received at least one means-tested welfare program each month (Feulner). Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provides cash assistance for families with children in need. TANF was created after the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which was instituted in 1996 under President Bill Clinton. PRWORA aimed ...
The new reforms, put into action by President Bill Clinton, have succeeded in dropping the recipients off the rolls. Dan Froomkin, of The Washington Post, says that under the old system, welfare was handed out to anyone for any number of years. The new system, however, requires most recipients to work within two years of receiving assistance, and limits most assistance to five years total (internet). Welfare was also misused by allowing mothers to keep having children, enabling them to receive additional benefits. Froomkin reports that the new reform allows states to establish a policy where welfare families are allowed no added i...
By making improvements to the Welfare System in America has become a way of life that has entrapped so many single and married households across the country. Statistics show that there were 108,592,000 people who are recipients of one or more means of the government benefit programs. The Census Bureau recorded by surveys over 101, 716,000 people who worked full time year around in 2011 which only allowed one member of the family to work year round. The system is meant to help low income families, however; they don’t want to be not allowed to grow by becoming more independent and have opportunities to rise above poverty. The quest to change the welfare system is to ensure the welfare and the rights of children, their parents and taxpayers are not ignored. Programs have been developed to ensure welfare recipients are employable and retained. These programs are in the forms of training, workshops, and education, as well as other services that will provide support as well as pride and self-sufficiency.
From the years 2008 to 2013, the United States Federal Government spent over 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs (The New Normal: Welfare is Now America’s Most Popular Occupation, Husley). These government assistance programs have come to be abused by many Americans, and this is a problem that needs to be stopped. If the American welfare system can be reformed, it will reduce the strain it is putting on the United States’ already fragile financial system. In order to help the country out of debt and many Americans out of poverty, the American welfare programs must develop more vigorous requirements for citizens to qualify for benefits in addition to reducing the time period of assistance considerably. These changes would exclude citizens who receive disability benefits. This was attempted in 1996 when President Bill Clinton introduced TANF, (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), as a government program which provided aid to destitute families for a period of five years. During this time, at least one dependent had to find another source of income to maintain their benefits. This reform worked for a time, but the Obama Administration waived the requirement that stated one dependent had to get a job, and allowed individual states to set the mandate (Counterpoint: Welfare Programs Create a Sense of Entitlement, 2013). A better solution would be to limit time of assistance to 18 months and require dependents to have either one full time job or two part time jobs to maintain benefits, unchangeable by the states. All states should lower the benefit pay per month to just below minimum wage so people wouldn’t see welfare as a better way to get support themselves than obtaining a job. This along with other changes to t...
It is well known that the Social Security Act of 1935 created a federally financed and federally administered retirement insurance program for people who had worked in certain sectors of the economy and had paid payroll taxes on their wages. What is less known is that the Act also created a federally financed but state-administered program called Aid to Dependent Children (“ADC,” later to become Aid to Families with Dependent Children, or “AFDC”)? As Sheldon H. Danziger and Jeffrey S. Lehman stated in “Welfare”, “When Americans speak of “welfare” or “relief” they are usually alluding to ADC and its successor programs. From the outset, the design and implementation of ADC highlighted the central conflicts of welfare policy. Issues of race, gender, work, and parenting style were, then as now, matters of great social tension”(Danziger). From 1935 to 1960 the only changes to the welfare structure was the inclusion of widows and disabled people into the social security system.
When President Clinton signed the Personal Responsible & Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in August of 1996, it ended welfare as we know it. Under this reform, wages and earnings replaced welfare, but many critics felt only problems arose from this program. Welfare to work forces poor and single parents into jobs that do not supply sufficient living wages (Albelda 1). These single parents can never work enough hours to support their families because the jobs are often inflexible which is not a match for a single parent. Chances are employers who hire low wage workers do not want workers to come in late because there was no child care or miss days because the child was sick. Welfare to work fails to realize parents probably should not put their low wage jobs before the needs of their children. The jobs provided somehow seem to have the least benefits. Things like vacations, sick days, and health care that go hand in hand with a regular job are not as available in these low wage jobs (Albelda 1).Transportation and location are other huge problems that welfare to work does not accommodate all to well. In suburban and rural areas where buses are not that accessible, the workers have to get on "work vans?to travel long distances. Either parents then have to pay more money to sitters or the kids are spending even more time without their parents. ; thus creating more problems than solutions. In the film Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore shows us where the welfare to work program goes wrong. In a rural area of Flint, Michigan a
These state efforts paved the way for radical changes in federal welfare law. On August 22, 1996, President bill clinton, a Democrat, signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (popularly known as the Welfare Reform Act), a bill passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. The act eliminated some federal welfare programs, placed permanent ceilings on the amount of federal funding for welfare, and gave each state a block grant of money to help run its own welfare programs. The law also directs each state legislature to come up with a new welfare plan that meets new federal criteria. Under the 1996 law, federal funds can be used to provide a total of only five years of aid in a lifetime to a family. In the early 2000s, Congress continued to debate the reauthorization of the 1996 law. Proponents of the law pronounced the reform effort a great success. States had met the requirement of halving their welfare rolls by 2002. In addition, many former welfare recipients had entered the workforce and child poverty had been reduced for the first time since the early
Welfare has been a safety net for many Americans, when the alternative for them is going without food and shelter. Over the years, the government has provided income for the unemployed, food assistance for the hungry, and health care for the poor. The federal government in the nineteenth century started to provide minimal benefits for the poor. During the twentieth century the United States federal government established a more substantial welfare system to help Americans when they most needed it. In 1996, welfare reform occurred under President Bill Clinton and it significantly changed the structure of welfare. Social Security has gone through significant change from FDR’s signing of the program into law to President George W. Bush’s proposal of privatized accounts.
The six major welfare programs in the United States, Medicaid, SNAP, Housing assistance, SSI, TANF, & general assistance (Elliott par.3). 52.2 million Americans are on at least one government welfare program (Elliot par. 6). This number is way too high. Welfare is for people who truly do not have a sufficient enough income to provide for their family. 52.2 million Americans are not below the poverty line and most make enough money to live a decent life, yet they still receive welfare benefits. 28% of those recipients are on Medicaid or SNAP (Elliot par 6.). The participation rate jumped from 18.6% in 2009 to 21.3% in 2012, and moreover, 43% of recipients received welfare for more than 37 months (Elliott par. 8, 11-12). Welfare is supposed to be a temporary way for people to focus on picking themselves up through a little bit of government assistance. If the government allows people to stay on welfare for longer than a year they have no incentive to find themselves a steady paying job because they can live off minimum wage and welfare. We can fix this by only allowing people to stay on welfare for a year at most. A year is more than enough time to find a job and earn a steady income. Also, allowing people to stay on government assistance this long in this large of a quantity increases how much is spent on