Welfare To Workfare Welfare is a public assistance program that provides at least a minimum amount of economic security to people whose incomes are insufficient to maintain an adequate standard of living. These programs generally include such benefits as financial aid to individuals, subsidized medical care, and stamps that are used to purchase food. The modern U.S. welfare system dates back to the Great Depression of the 1930s. During the worst parts of the Depression, about one-fourth of the labor force was without work. More than two-thirds of all households would have been considered poor by today’s standards. With a majority of the capable adult population experiencing severe financial misfortune, many Americans turned to the government for answers.
In response, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt led a social and economic reform movement attacking the Depression. Part of his newly enacted “New Deal” program was the Social Security Act, enacted by Congress in 1935. This act and established a number of social welfare programs, each designed to provide support for different segments of the population.
Recently Roosevelts 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 Wyomings cases dropped an amazing 73% (Source: Dept. of Health and Human Services). According to the experts these successful states have a on main element in common, “a serious effort to move welfare recipients into jobs.” In addition, welfare reform is saving both the state and federal governments hundreds of millions of dollars, while giving thousands of Americans who formerly received government handouts a sense of self-worth. Opponents of the bill have a much different view, they believe that the new program will have a negative effect on society and the economy. Labor unions, and others who are against the legislation, are concerned that welfare recipients, often available at lower rates, will displace current workers. Businesses pressured by the federal government to handle their share if the burden in ending welfare as we know it, must struggle with the uncertainty of employing workers who for years were unemployed.
Critics of the bills also believe that the legislation goes too far by cutting too much from welfare spending and harming poor children. They contend that the unemployed poor need training in order to get a job, and that a welfare-to-work program including training will cost more money not less. After assessing both side of the issue it is my sincere belief that a nationwide welfare-to-work program would have a positive effect on American society. This sort of program would rid the nation of the wide array of indolent people who live their life off governmental funds, and produce a remainder of workers in need of jobs. It is obvious from the many statistics that welfare-to-work has been a success in decreasing the caseloads of welfare, and in adding to the surplus of funds for state and federal governments, that could be used for beneficial changes such as improvements in roadways. Therefore I think that this program should be adopted by all fifty states. Bibliography Berkowitz, Edward D.
Americas Welfare State: From Roosevelt to Regan. The American Moment Series. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. Cloward, Richard A., ed. Regulating the Poor The Functions of the Public Welfare.
London: Vintage Books, 1993. NCAP on the web. National Center for Political Analysis 17 Nov. 1999 http://www.ncpa.org/pi/welfare Pear, Robert. “10,000 Welfare Recipients Hired by Federal Agencies.” New York Times. March 1, 1999 Policy.com.
19 May 1997. The Policy News & Information Service. 15 Nov. 1999 http://www.policy.com/issuewk Pont, Pete du. “Uneven Welfare Revolution Results.” Washington Times. Jan 16, 1998.