Welfare Reform In America

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Like the bike you bought after saving lawn-mowing money for a year, welfare reform was the prized trophy of the conservative governing philosophy. We believed that we’d found the vehicle of social mobility for poor Americans, once and for all. No one should live on taxpayer money without doing some work on their own, right? Everyone agrees, right? Wrong. President Obama ran over our bicycle, issuing illegal waivers to welfare’s work requirements and taking the wheels off the program. The fact is, we never won the welfare battle after all. Out of the 80 different federal welfare programs, the ’96 welfare reform really only fixed one. A third of the U.S. population received benefits from one or more of these 80 programs in 2011. According to …show more content…

Welfare dependence creates behavioral poverty. Perhaps President Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best: “Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fibre. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.” To become comfortable relying on the work of others instead of your own work will change your character, and the character of the nation. Americans want to give everyone a helping hand, but hand-holding year after year, generation after generation, patronizes, corrodes, entraps. In the words of welfare policy experts Robert Rector and Jennifer Marshall writing in National Affairs: Material poverty has been replaced by a far deeper “behavioral poverty” — a vicious cycle of unwed childbearing, social dysfunction, and welfare dependency in poor communities. Even as the welfare state has improved the material comfort of low-income Americans by transferring enormous financial resources to them, it has exacerbated these behavioral problems. The result has been the disintegration of the work ethic, family structure, and social fabric of large segments of the American population, which has in turn created a new dependency class. Is this the America we want? It is not compassionate to leave a whole class of people in perpetual dependence. Behavioral poverty cuts off millions of citizens from a chance at American opportunity, destroying the virtues necessary to sustain oneself. My generation has seen the effects of behavioral poverty – in D.C., Detroit, or my hometown, Cleveland. Whole neighborhoods rot. To many, this cycle of dependence indicts the principles of American society as inherently

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