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The Welfare System Must Remain Essay

1144 words - 5 pages

Public Welfare is an important support system of the United Statesgovernment. Welfare has its benefits, but the system has pitfalls. Instead ofabolishing welfare as critics of the system suggest, reforms can be made tocorrect the problems while government, either on the state or federal level, cancontinue to assist the impoverished.The term welfare is used to describe a variety of programs that provideincome support and create a safety net for poor individuals and families. Suchbenefits include Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, food stamps, housingallowances, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Aid To Families WithDependent Children (AFDC) enables states to provide cash payments tochildren that are deprived of the care or support of a parent. In terms of welfarereform, this is the program most often discussed.The media has created many myths regarding welfare and the reasonsthe system should be done away with. Stating that the majority of new welfarerecipients are poor, single mothers, claims have been made that poor womenhave more children because of the incentives of welfare benefits. It has beenproven that is no correlation between women's choice to have children andwelfare benefit levels. Furthermore, for each additional child, a mother canexpect an additional $90 of AFDC benefits, far too low to serve as any type ofincentive. In addition, those states that provide higher benefits do notnecessarily show higher birth rates among their welfare recipients. Familiesreceiving AFDC benefits have 1.9 children, just about the same as the nationalaverage. (ACLU 1)Another myth created by the media concerns the amount of money spentand the results. It has been said that after spending billions of dollars since themid-1960's on anti-poverty programs, there have been little or no results. Tobegin with, spending on AFDC between 1964 and 1994 was only $500 billion,less than 1.5% of federal spending for that period. Further, there have beenresults. Between 1964 and 1973, the poverty rate fell from 19% to 11%. It istrue that since 1973, poverty has increased. This is due to economic forcessuch as declining real wages, rather than a failure of the system itself.A third myth regarding welfare concerns employment. It is believed thatanyone who wants to get off welfare just has to go out and get a job. However,workforce discrimination and lack of affordable child care make it difficult forsingle mothers to be employed outside of the home. In addition, the low-wage,no-benefit jobs available to welfare recipients do not pay nearly enough to lift afamily above the poverty line. (Extra 1-3)Welfare recipients are very aware of the system that they are involvedwith. They know that without welfare, they would be much worse off. Recipientsof welfare payments know that these payments are inadequate. They must dealwith a daily strain of benefits that, in almost every state, do not even take themnear the poverty line. People on welfare are also frustrated...

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