To what extent do you believe the government should be involved in welfare today?
Under the old welfare system, founded during the Great Depression, the federal government provided fairly uniform benefits to the nation’s poor – mostly mothers and children – with out regard to the details of their personal circumstances, and with no time limit. But as the times changed, changes that should have been made years ago, didn’t become effective until the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in August of 1996. Now, welfare is left to the discretion of individual states. This is the way that welfare should have been all along. Even so, I feel that assistance should only be available to those with jobs or on some kind of temporary work leave (ex: injury, maternity).
The welfare programs of the Great Depression changed American values forever. I interviewed my grandfather on the topic, and he only agreed. Even though his family was poor, he was raised never to accept anything he didn’t work for.
“Men had pride back then,” he recalled in a lecturing tone, “and supporting your family made you honorable, no matter what your job was. Then welfare came along and disrupted all of it. America was never supposed to be about giving hand-outs to the lazy, it was meant to provide opportunity for the willing.”
That’s why I feel the new changes in the system are exactly what this country needed. According to the ACF Press Room Statistics, from August of 1996 to June of 1999, the number of families receiving welfare nation wide fell 43% (from about 4.4 million to 2.5 million) and the number of recipients in the US receiving welfare fell 44% (from 12.2 million to 6.9 million). In Pennsylvania, the statistics were equally impressive, also falling 43% (from 531,059 recipients to 304,451). Pennsylvania, like 31 other states, requires that recipients must find work within 6 months of receiving their first assistance payment and only allows transitional Medicaid and child care for a maximum of 12 months. A family can receive assistance for a lifetime total of 60 months, but families can receive assistance for 12 months after a birth that would be exempt from the lifetime total.
By limiting the amount of time a family can spend on welfare, the government has put a stop to generations of dependent and unmotivated citizens. They are now forcing those who once made excuses to make progress. The only unfortunate result of the time limitations is for those who still don’t take responsibility and find jobs. Since the vast majority...