Social welfare, it is on merely about everyones ’ head, whether it is Medicare or the A.F.D.C. Some believe there is excessively much and others think there is excessively small. As the old ages go by, the demand for public assistance reform additions. President Clinton had pledged in his 1992 run to “ end public assistance as we know it ” . Lone clip will state by what extremes public assistance will alter. As engineering continues to increase and occupations continue to travel overseas, the United States must make up one’s mind what way the public assistance system should take. As they exist today, public assistance systems are an development of the ideas laid out in the 19th and twentieth centuries. Before the Industrial Revolution, the duty of assisting the hapless was chiefly given to the churches or local communities. As machines took the topographic point of workers, authoritiess were looked upon to assist the unemployed. In 1883, Otto Von Bismarck, the German Chancellor, setup the first signifier of Modern Welfare when he enacted a illness and pregnancy jurisprudence. He followed up this jurisprudence with a work hurt jurisprudence and an old-age aid jurisprudence in 1884 and 1889 severally. Today European states such as Germany, Norway, and Sweden have extremely sophisticated Welfare systems ( Bender, 13 ) . Welfare did non make the United States, nevertheless, until shortly after the Great Depression with Franklin D. Roosevelt ’ s “ New Deal. ” The New Deal brought on new economic and societal public assistance statute law. This is the first clip that the United States Government used federal and public financess to finance the public assistance needs of the people. Today, the most expensive public assistance plan is Aid to Families with Dependent Children ( A.F.D.C. ) . The A.F.D.C. was created after the passing of the Social Security Act of 1935. Throughout the last 60 old ages, the public assistance system has faced many alterations, including the 1988 Family Support Act, which requires most welfare receivers to come in a job-training plan ( Lacayo, 3 ) . The other federally funded public assistance plans include Medicaid, Food Stamps and Supplemental Security Income ( SSI ) . Each of these plans contribute to the high cost paid by the federal authorities to maintain the public assistance province running. Medicaid, for illustration, provides wellness attention to low income households with dependent kids, the handicapped and the hapless aged. In 1994 entirely, 34 million people received some 140 billion dollars in Medicaid benefits. Food casts that are used by low income households, bargains nutrient points and work merely like money. In 1994, 27 million people used nutrient casts bing the federal authorities 24 billion dollars. An illustration of how nutrient casts are distributed is given by the Congressional Digest, “ A four-person family with denumerable income below the federal poorness guidelines and specified assets of less than $ 20,000 qualifies for up to about $ 380 worth of nutrient casts monthly. ” Finally the Supplemental Security Income provides benefits to the aged ( over 65 old ages of age ) , blind, and the for good disabled. The service pays $ 446 per month to each person every bit long as their income are below pre-set degrees by the authorities. Since 1974 when the plan was started, the cost of running the plan has grown from $ 4 billion to $ 25 billion, merely 20 old ages subsequently ( Robinson, 166-168 ) . The definition of the Welfare State is really of import in to the full understanding the jobs and issues of the Welfare argument. Arthur J. Schlesinger, Jr. a member of the Kennedy disposal and historian had this to state about the Welfare State: Briefly, it is a system wherein authorities agrees to subvention certain degrees of employment, income, instruction, medical assistance, societal security, and lodging for all its citizens. The authorities does non seek to make all these things itself ; it seeks where possible to supplement the enterprises of private society. But it does accept the ultimate duty of vouching “ floors ” in certain important countries, below which it conceives tolerable life to be impossible. And it will step in when private society demonstrates its incapacity to keep these minimal criterions. ( Bender, 15 ) The Welfare State has received much argument in the United States. Opinions about it vary greatly. Those who are for public assistance, emphasize the importance of holding a minimal income for those who, for whatever ground, can non or will non acquire into the work force. There is an duty for the authorities to assist its citizens in times of demand, particularly in a state that has so much. Poverty besides has an inauspicious consequence on the society, as a whole, in footings of more offense. Welfare helps the people who would otherwise be urgently destitute and those who might be forced to steal. As engineering additions in our society, we must protect the big Numberss of citizens depending on economic conditions and big companies such as mill workers and concessioners. Welfare makes consumers out of the poorness stricken and therefore helps the economic system and procure more occupations for others. Welfare plays a great importance in this economic food-cycle, if you will ( Long, 46 ) . Advocates for public assistance besides indicate out that the United States is far behind most European states when it comes to welfare systems. For a state such as the United
States, which is so much more advanced in the manner of technology and trade than Europeans nations, it is atrocious that we are so far behind in terms of helping our own people through welfare. Sweden, for example, not only has government paid education and medical care, but the Swedish government also gives an amount of money quarterly, called “general children’s allowances,” to dependent children of low-income families. By the time Swedish citizens are of retiring age, the state gives them a pension that is worth close to 65% of their actual salary while working. Proponents of welfare point to this system as a goal the United States should aim for.(Bender, 98-100) Is this the kind of system that the United States needs? Do we need a government that gives charity to its citizens? I think it is dangerous to spend so much on social welfare. There is great opposition to having an extensive welfare system. One of the first arguments against welfare is also the most obvious, taxes. Everyone would like to have a good welfare system, but when it comes to paying the taxes, the support for it drops. The Sweden tax rate, which averages 48% of every working citizens’ income, would be a hard sell in the United States. In short, to have an extensive welfare system, it would raise taxes to levels that many would not feel comfortable with. Another problem with welfare is that it brings with it more bureaucracy with it, the money that should be used to help people gets used on running the actual program. The money gets lost in the bureaucracy and as the welfare system gets larger it is increasingly tougher to reform or remove. With all this bureaucracy, it is probable that the needy would be better helped by churches and charities that are closer to the problems of the needy. Finally, I don’t think welfare should be widely used in the United States. The United States was made powerful and rich from its hard work. The reason for the United States’ success relies on the use of the capitalistic theories in government works. By running the welfare system, the government will not be rewarding the hard work and initiative that made this country what it is today. I think that having a minimum income level is dangerous because it allows people to have a “safety net”. Jobs tend to be less important with the knowledge that you will be able to get along without it, especially when the benefits on welfare are better than having a minimum wage job. I agree, however, that the needy should get help in the way of job training and government should try to create more jobs in the country. The Family Support Act of 1988 was a right step in that direction. It made job training programs more popular by making those who collected welfare get on the programs. California, for instance, spent $289 million in 1994 on a job training program called Greater Avenues for Independence (G.A.I.N.). A recent study by the Manpower Demonstration and Research Corporation found that single parents who joined the program are now earning an average 20% more than people who did not take part in the program. I think more programs like this should take the place of the original welfare programs (Lacayo, 3). For those who point out that crime will be more rampant with the reduction of welfare, I ask, “how can it be?” With more job training, the needy will have the more resources to help themselves. There will be more choices open for them. The economy will benefit from the job training as well. The needy will be consumers by there own merit. As for the comparisons to other European countries, we are not like them in many areas, which make us all the more successful. England has had a very troubled past with their “cradle to grave” type welfare system. By getting a more sophisticated welfare system, we would just be adding more to our deficit. There is already too much the American people are paying for. I think that the United States has to make welfare programs such as the A.F.D.C. work on a more temporary basis. The programs cannot be looked upon as a long term service. Anything longer than 12-18 months is excessive and should be discontinued. As of now, only 70% of A.F.D.C. recipients get off after two years of the service. Worse than that is the fact that 7% of the recipients stay on the program for at least 8 years (Robinson, 166). Another big problem with the AFDC is that roughly 85% of those collecting checks in 1986 were single mothers with young children (Long, 78). The fathers of these children must help in their children’s lives instead of having them be dependent on the state. This is happening today. Deadbeat fathers are being brought to justice much more and this must continue. Problems with mothers getting pregnant while on welfare is also starting to be addressed by the government in the states such as New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Georgia. These states have setup penalties for mothers who continue to get pregnant while on welfare. The states do not raise welfare checks for extra children conceived while on welfare. This policy has received some success (Lacoya, page 3). Recently there has been many sweeping changes in the Welfare system. A new welfare law that was signed on August 22nd has just recently come into effect (Fagan). The changes include a 56 billion cut into the current welfare system .