Welfare Reform

.. by the public as a welfare program (Lunardini 83). A few general social welfare programs, are HUD and GA. HUD stands for Housing and Urban Development, which stands as means for people in need to have a house (Maybury 41). The government either buys or builds houses for families in need to live in.

GA stands for General Assistance. General Assistance is a catch-all term for any cash assistance that states provide to low income individuals who are not eligible for broader national programs (Blank 85). As the title of this program clearly states, General Assistance can be anything from cash and food stamps to houses. The problem with all of these programs is that they cost so much money. The amount of money spent on welfare is immense, and not all of the people that receive benefits from welfare actually need it. Some people form a dependency, where once they get on welfare, and they start receiving checks, they get lazy and they do not make any efforts to get a job or get off welfare.

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So what can the government do? Can they just stop giving certain individuals welfare benefits, or do they set out control groups to monitor peoples progress? Either way they go it costs more money (Bender 108). There are some ways to determine whether or not the programs are working for individuals. Once it is determined whether or not the programs are working, they can evaluate the situation, and determine if the individual should receive further benefits from the welfare program. But how can the government be fair to the people who need welfare, while at the same time filter out individuals that do not. The answer to this age-old problem is welfare reform.

(Berkowitz 118) Overtime, many Presidents have pushed for welfare reform. The major campaigning slogan of several Presidents has been welfare reform. But with so many people and so many different needs, it is very hard to devise one single plan that works for everyone. Welfare reform would mean that the current welfare program would have to become more cost efficient, and there would have to be more stringent guidelines as to the requirements of receiving benefits. Here is the deep challenge of welfare reform: how can it be both fair and compassionate? How can it help without generating dependency? How can it, at the same time, help those who need help, bolster the structures and habits that sustain healthy life, and also shore up the delicate webs of social responsibility without which no forms of assistance would exist in the first place (Berkowitz 200)? These are central questions of welfare and welfare reform.

However, the more common question of welfare politics is this: why should I, working my eight-hour day (or more) consider my self responsible to sustain someone abusing drugs, having babies without dependable fathers, or abandoning school (Berkowitz 200)? It is a difficult and controversial topic, but the truth is that something must be done about the status quo of our welfare programs. When the topic of welfare comes up, the dialogue often turns angry and judgmental; the prose becomes purple. All sides draw stark images and speak in tones of moral outrage. Debates turn ugly. And just below the surface, indeed sometimes well above the surface, are vicious stereotypes. There is much heat and very little light (Harris 46).

Peoples images of the people that are on welfare are often made ugly by their own personal opinion of who is on welfare. When people think of the welfare system there are many different opinions, and many different sides. Along with these many opinions and beliefs are several stereotypes. Some people believe that the welfare system is for minorities only and others believe that it consists of just pregnant teens and dropouts. All of the statements are false; the welfare system is equally balanced between a wide variety of individuals.

(Gans 90) Did the American people agree to a certain responsibility when America adopted that new social contract called the New Deal? The answer is no, for clearly the ideal of Social Security was to help those who have been hardworking, responsible citizens, and the ideal of the other forms of relief was precisely that it wasrelief, a temporary hand up for folks down on their luck (Sabato 189). The vast majority of Americans still today endorse enthusiastically this notion of social assistance. But, increasingly, they resist the repetition and retrenchment and deepening over time of that culture of compliance dependency (Sabato 189). Welfare is a very hot topic. It is hot all across the nation; every one has an opinion, or a suggestion.

Every one wants things to get better, and every one wants our government programs to become cheaper, and more cost efficient. The only thing that one can do as an American citizen is stay true to ones own word, and follow ones own advice. If everyone would pull together and give each other a chance, Americans could really pull off something incredible. Welfare most definitely needs reform. There are too many people out there milking the government for everything that it has to offer, but the welfare program in the United States has accomplished many great things, and made it possible for many Americans to survive. The system will get stronger, but only time can tell.

The system of help to the American people is very successful, but at the same time it is very weak, and very much a failure. For every mistake that Americans make they can come back with hopefully successful efforts, for they learn from their mistakes and that is what makes this country so strong. Maybe one day, once it has been revised and reformed, the American people will be able to call forth on the welfare program and they will not have the same problems that they face today, but yet different problems, and different things to strive for. They will find different goals for our selves, and they will be able to focus our attention elsewhere. In 1932, during the height of the Great Depression, a man was elected President. That man was Franklin D.

Roosevelt. He set out to improve the economy and the general welfare of the American people by introducing us to the New Deal. The New Deal was a large program, aimed toward pulling the economy out of the slump that it was in. The program was a success and it had people looking up, but it was too generous of a program. The government was just handing money out to people, and in doing so people would form a dependency. So the poor people that were receiving benefits from welfare were not motivated in any way to take initiative and try to get a job, they would sit back and live off of their welfare benefits. The level of welfare benefits was then and is today far too generous, it entices people with its generosity and they become dependant upon the system.

The American people can only hope for reform, and only time will tell. Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY Bane, Mary J. and Ellwood, David, T. Welfare Realities. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard University Press, 1994. Bender, David.

and Leone, Bruno. Social Justice Opposing Views. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press Inc, 1990. Berkowitz, Edward D. and McQuaid, Kim. Creating the Welfare State.

Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1992. Blank, Rebecca M. It Takes a Nation. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1997. Carlson-Thies, Stanley W. and Skillen, James W.

Welfare in America. Grand Rapids Michigan: Eerdmuns Publishing Company, 1996. Gans, Herbert J. The War Against the Poor. New York, New York: Harper Collins Publishers Inc. 1995. Harris, Kathleen M.

Teen Mothers and the Revolving Welfare Door. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997. Lunardini, Christine A. Social Issues in American History. Phoenix, Arizona: The Oryx Press, 1996. Maybury, Richard J. Whatever Happened to Justice.

Placerville, California: Bluestocking Press, 1993. Sabato, Larry J. and Simpson, Glenn R. Dirty Little Secrets. New York, New York: Random House, 1996. Wilson, William J.

The Truly disadvantaged. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1987. Social Issues.