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Welfare Reform Essay

2919 words - 12 pages

“Welfare epitomizes America’s basic bargain, providing opportunity and in return, demanding responsibility” (Clinton). When President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted Welfare in 1966, it was a system envisioned to be an aide for the common man; a support structure that would prevent financial disasters for the individual. Since that time, Welfare has been reformed, deformed, and become abused by the very people it was created to empower. Welfare has been manipulated into a way of life for over 40 million Americans through outrageous benefits and unearned paychecks being supplied at an endless rate. This issue harms not only the economy as a whole, but also the individuals who receive such benefits. ...view middle of the document...

However, it is argued that many “do not exploit the system and are merely victims of circumstance” (Walter). This claim does have some truth to it, but the point is still clear, Welfare benefits must be reduced in order to reestablish the plan of Welfare being used as a support system in the short term in order to help an individual regain employment and remain a productive member of society. Otherwise, those who have financial need will remain content to collect an absurdly large Welfare check with no effort required than to seek employment at a much lower income rate, thus acting as “a leech upon the hardworking taxpayers who make Welfare possible” (“Welfare Flaws”). To prevent this, Welfare benefits must be reduced to the same rate as minimum wage, giving recipients the needed motivation to seek employment and a steady financial plan because Welfare checks will no longer present a more viable way of life. The reductions would take place immediately to slowly work people off Welfare and back into society as productive employed citizens.
Income cuts for Welfare recipients may not be enough to encourage citizens to leave Welfare, so instituting a work requirement for people to receive Welfare benefits would certainly be a feasible option. “To the unemployed, work experience and job skills are the number one most lacking in area…just ahead of the lack of motivation” (“Renewing America”). Newt Gingrich has been a strong proponent against free welfare handouts, proclaiming them to be a form of “government subsidized laziness” where those who have been responsible enough to ensure and achieve a state of wellbeing are forced to not only care for themselves but also pay a portion of their hard-earned money to pay for the wellbeing of another. This system leads to Welfare recipients becoming complacent and satisfied with their “subsidized idleness”, making them a burden upon the working taxpayers whose money goes toward paying for the absurd Welfare checks. Gingrich proposes a solution in his book though, that recipients must be held responsible for their own wellbeing, specifically in the form of a work requirement to receive their monthly check. His proposal of working a full-time job may be slightly unrealistic but the need for some sort of work-based requirement for the subsidy is entirely logical. If one is going to receive a check to maintain a minimum lifestyle, it must be made that the subsidized lifestyle is less attractive than a normal working-class lifestyle. That being said, the only way to create that situation would be to lower the value of the checks below that of minimum wage while simultaneously requiring menial labor that people would not normally conduct if they had a choice. This instance could create a shift in thought about the Welfare lifestyle and its attractiveness as opposed to that of working a minimum wage job and being a productive member of society. People may then start to think about their actions and see that if they...

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