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Welfare Benefits: The Road to Failure is Paved With Good Intentions


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Nobody wants to be left hungry and in the cold, and here in America a great effort t is made to keep people in a house that contains food. Nobody can fault American’s intentions in this battle; however, the outcome is a little more debatable, and needs to change.

The nation’s assistance to the needy comes in many forms, such as food stamps and housing assistance, but the most notable is simple monetary checks usually referred to as ‘welfare.’ It’s not a small expenditure of taxpayer money to keep the welfare flowing, either. It’s a drain on the economy and a shackle to its recipients. Welfare should be reformed heavily or phased out.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a bill to try to rein in spending and, while cutting costs, help people out – and not just the middle and upper classes paying for welfare, but the recipients as well. The goal was to get welfare recipients back to work, and it worked very well, particularly initially. 4 million recipients of welfare got off the rolls in two years after the legislation was put into effect.

However, this new legislation was far from a panacea. The ‘work’ requirements could be met by highly questionable actions, like time spent in alcoholism or drug treatment or time spent driving to work training programs. This has been curtailed, and time spent in psychological therapy no longer counts as work, but the definition is still much looser than it ought to be.

Furthermore, people with barriers to work can get out of some of the requirements. This is all well and good; there is no sense to be made from asking those who cannot work to do so. ‘Cannot,’ however, is the key word.
Non-factors like being out of the workforce for more than three years count as barriers.

It cannot be said that there are no jobs for most of these people, either, and Steven Malanga of the City Journal says the opposite.. There may not be a huge supply of low-skill, no-experience-needed jobs available, but employers would be perfectly happy to hire on welfare recipients for entry level positions if they just asked.

The largest problem, however, remains that it is nearly impossible to set up criteria to determine who truly needs assistance and who is acting as a leech, except through individual assessment. There’s no way the government can go through and assess everyone – but local charities and generous individuals can.

The challenge, therefore, is this. Stop trying to just set up a checklist of need, where work and barriers to such can barely be defined, and phase out welfare altogether. It’s been shown that when the government steps back, the people gladly step up, and there is no doubt that neighbors, churches and schools will rise to help those who really need it – and those who don’t will be just have to fend for themselves, which they really ought to be able to do. No matter how good the intentions may be, sometimes things don’t work out.



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Theblueleaf This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm:
Great Article. 
 
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