The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) was created to provide welfare for indigent families until they become employed and can earn their living. It “is a block grant that provides discretionary funding” at the level of the states, which at the time provide financial support to low-income families (Theodoulou & Kofinis, 2012, Chapter 10.2, para. 20). The program’s strengths lie in supporting the family institution and in stimulating employment since recipients can receive government welfare for a maximum of two years with lifelong benefits within five years (Theodoulou & Kofinis, 2012, Chapter 10.2, para. 20).
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The main disadvantage of this program is that it depends on the economic capacity of the state to provide such assistance to families. Apparently, during the financial crisis, when there is a shortage of workplaces, families remain in poverty after reaching the TANF lifetime limits. Nevertheless, the program functions appropriately, as it effectively fulfills its primary function of providing for underprivileged families.
Within this context, the government, along with financial assistance, initiates programs aimed at meeting the primary needs of citizens. For instance, Medicaid provides treatment or nursing care for underprivileged people. Lam (2016) states that the point of the program is that “all Americans pay in, but those found to have enough means, and thus do not require government assistance, do not qualify for the program” (para. 20).
The major advantage of Medicaid is that it provides social support to vulnerable groups of the population, while its main disadvantage is that it is done at the expense of its wealthy part. From my point of view, the Medicaid program seems to be reasonable, since the state performs the function of social support, and it inevitably aims to equalize disparities.
Federal welfare programs are always the result of a complex balance between the principles of capitalism and social equality and support. I thought achieving such a balance was not a major challenge for the legislator. While reading this week’s reading assignment, I have learned more about the mechanisms by which the government attempts to keep this balance. Now I understand that this challenge is rather complicated and requires the creation and application of well-designed social welfare programs. They should both support the disadvantaged part of the population and meet their primary needs and encourage them to provide for themselves.
Lam, B. (2016). How can the U.S. salvage social security? The Atlantic. Web.
Theodoulou, S. Z., & Kofinis, C. (2012). The policy game: Understanding U.S. public policy making. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Web.