Pros And Cons Of Government Welfare

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Providing welfare benefits has been controversial throughout U.S. history. Since the colonial period, government welfare policy has reflected the belief that the indigent are responsible for their poverty, leading to the principle that governmental benefits are a privilege and not a right. Until the Great Depression of the 1930s, state and local governments bore some responsibility for providing assistance to the poor. Generally, such assistance was minimal at best, with church and volunteer agencies providing the bulk of any aid. The new deal policies of President franklin d. roosevelt included new federal initiatives to help those in poverty. With millions of people unemployed during the 1930s economic depression, welfare assistance was beyond…show more content…
By the 1960s, however, criticism began to grow that these programs had created a "culture of dependency," which discouraged people from leaving the welfare rolls and finding employment. Defenders of public welfare benefits acknowledged that the system was imperfect, noting the financial disincentives associated with taking a low-paying job and losing the array of benefits, especially medical care. They also pointed out that millions of children are the prime beneficiaries of welfare assistance, and that removing adults from welfare affects these children. During the 1980s and 1990s, criticism of public welfare escalated dramatically. Some states began to experiment with programs that required welfare recipients to find work within a specified period of time, after which welfare benefits would cease. Since job training and child care are important components of such programs, proponents acknowledged that "workfare" programs save little money in the short term. They contended, however, that workfare would reduce welfare costs and move people away from government dependency over the long…show more content…
Proponents of the law pronounced the reform effort a great success. States had met the requirement of halving their welfare rolls by 2002. In addition, many former welfare recipients had entered the workforce and child poverty had been reduced for the first time since the early 1970s. However, some commentators attributed much of the success to the strong economy of the late 1990s that produced jobs for those coming off welfare. They also noted that welfare recipients were employed in mostly low-wage jobs. Moreover, as the economy took a nosedive in 2001 and 2002, unemployment rose. By the end of 2002, welfare caseloads had increased in 26
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