American welfare system is a system provided by federal government to help the needy people of the country. The needy people categorized. But the government allocates funds and that funds are then given or transferred to the respective departments to provide welfare. Basically, the poor, unemployed, single parent with no or fewer income, or family with many children and less sources to earn income are the categories of people who receive welfare in the form of funds, health facilities from the government.
The history of American welfare system is linked to the times when there was the Great Depression in the world in 1930’s. At that time, it was very hard for many people to survive and to support the families. More than half of the labors were unemployed at that time. So for their help the government came to serve the unemployed, labor class of the country and so the welfare system introduced in America. Till today, it has been working. Many amendments have been done from time to time, from one President to another. Sometimes it was under direct federal level that were controlling the funds and supervising and sometimes the rights were transferred to the states level. But whatever the method was, the system has worked successfully till today. After Bill Clinton elections, the welfare system was finally transferred to the states level. But many Americans hate the welfare system as according to them it is a biased system. The author of the book “The End of Welfare” states that the American welfare system from the time when it started and till Bill Clinton’s reforms, all measures taken are considered to be a failure measure. (Tanner).
Is the welfare system good or bad?
Many people have benefited from this system. But now the time has come to see into the core of this system. Now the time has arrived to know whether this welfare system is a help or acting as a hindrance.
Our today’s question is based on the above points that whether the welfare system now should be stopped or should be kept on running unchecked like before. Or is it a help or hindrance? (Jennifer Gariepy)
How this system actually helped the poor?
The question asked every time that this system has worked or helped the poor or not? This question is very much difficult to answer as those who are in favor of this system they answer at once “Yes” this system has helped the poor, but those who are against this system say “No”.
We will first how much it has helped. Welfare means providing funds to the needy people within the existing circle of income. According to one of the surveys conducted by various groups, in 2007, the poverty in America has increased to 15% and the number of people living in poverty are about 40 million, among them are children ranging from 13 to 15 million. This increase in the poverty has become a great problem for the government and government functionaries. Welfare system is aimed at providing financial assistance to these people. Health facilities are also part of the welfare system. But the health of these people is not getting better and the facilities in a health sector are not sufficient for them. One more survey was conducted and in that surveys the single mothers who are working and taking care of their children, but the salaries are so low that they cannot meet the necessary expenditures. Due to this reason, these single, low salaried mothers brought under the welfare system. And they were asked if they are getting any help or benefit, but the answer was “no”. According to these mothers, they are in a state where they can neither totally ignore the welfare system nor also cannot accept the total success of this system. This system is providing them but still these families are living on the edge of poverty. Many mothers complain that the funds provided are not even enough to buy some healthy food for themselves and for the family. So the health problem is there. This limited food or unhealthy food can have a negative impact on kids and their growing minds which will subsequently affect the studies and their future. The author of the book “Help or Hindrance” stated that the arrival of the large number of immigrants to the country has also made a huge problem. As these immigrants are replacing many low salaried people or non-skilled workers, so leaving those on the door of welfare system. Many Americans including black have lost their jobs as immigrants are competent and thus these Americans look for the welfare funds (Daniel S. Hammermesh).
It was one aspect of the help provided by the welfare system to low salaried mothers. There are many other aspects also. Those people who do not work for them the welfare is good. They depend on welfare 100%. Child welfare is also good.
But apart from these few goods, mainly the welfare system has proven to be a burden on an economy and creating nothing good out of it. There are many cases reported showing young people are addicted to getting funds through welfare system and strive nothing to achieve for themselves.
Is the system bad?
The surveys showed that the start of 1980’s was the bad signs reflecting from the welfare system. In 80’s many black people were attached to this system, so the common impression that many people had at that time was that black people are the beneficiaries of welfare system. But in reality it was not the truth. Secondly many people as I mentioned above also, started relying on the funds given to them and preferred not to go out for work and improve their working conditions. Although welfare system is present to help those who have nothing, but it does not mean that one should rely on it their whole life and tell their children even to get the assistance. The statistics show that how the poverty level is increasing in the country day by day.
Requirements for the welfare system:
Few argue that getting financial assistance is also a difficult procedure. It involves many hurdles in filling the forms. Along with these requirements, the reforms made during Bill Clinton era, it was stated in those reforms that those applying for the welfare must show that they have applied for some job or they will show that they are looking for a job but cannot find one. And that he or she is eligible for the funds. For students, it is also required to show the name of a college where one is studying. After showing the college record, it means that he or she is a student not working anywhere and do not have means to earn, so he or she needs assistance. The government has tightened the laws because of the few factors. One was the biased provision to the poor families. As the welfare system doesn’t not ensure help only to those who are beyond poverty line, but help for those also who have minimal sources to feed their families, secondly many want to stay unemployed although they get opportunities to get a job, but they do not like to work. So for these reasons the government has lifted some barriers and is not allowing everyone to get the assistance easily.
So applying for the welfare system is itself a big task.
Welfare system itself is not a bad thing, but the way people utilize it has become questionable. Although the government has directed the funds to the states, but states are working on their own perspectives. Every state has different rules and regulations for the welfare provision. The welfare system is a good way for helping, but there are some issues concerned and those issues need to be reformed with the passage of time. The government is spending a huge amount of money on the system. Every year a million or billions are spent on this system, but the benefits are obtained by few or by those who do not deserve. Secondly it is a matter of concern for the government also to look and provide clean and clear evidences of those who need assistance. So probing into the transparency of the matter is also a huge burden on the shoulders of the government.
Daniel S. Hammermesh, Frank D. Bean. Help or Hindrance?: The Economic Implications of Immigration for African Americans. Russell Sage Foundation, 15-May-1998 .
Jennifer Gariepy, Paula Kepos. Social Welfare: Help Or Hindrance? Thomson Gale,, 01-Oct-2004.
Tanner, Michael. The End of Welfare: Fighting Poverty in the Civil Society. Cato Institute, 1996.