Social Problem, Cause of the Problem (Conservative and Liberal Viewpoints)
A major social welfare problem confronting the US today is poverty. The official poverty rate for 2016 is 12% (Semega, Fontenot, & Kollar, 2018). In fact, it should be stated that the institution of poverty is as old as the world. However, the Liberals and the Conservatives have different viewpoints as to why the problem of poverty exists. According to the Conservatives, individuals are responsible for their own wealth, so poverty is caused by people who make bad choices. The Liberals consider that poverty occurs due to structural forces (race, ethnic, class barriers) that limit one’s ability to stay wealthy.
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How the Government Should Address the Problem (Conservative and Liberal Viewpoints)
It has to be said that fighting poverty has never been a major focus of Conservatives. They believe that non-cash services for poor should not exist since they demotivate people to earn for living. This means that the government exists solely for law enforcement, but it should not interfere with tackling social problems (Jimenez, Pasztor, Chambers, & Fujii, 2015). Nevertheless, the Conservatives support the private sector with its free-market charity and social entrepreneurship operating without government. On the other hand, the Liberals state that the government should provide more support to individuals who live in poverty as they are not capable of taking care of themselves. The liberal approach implies that the government is socially responsible for its residents and should create opportunities for them. The Liberals thus support social programs that aid pensioners, children, and unemployed.
Current Social Policy
Considering current social welfare programs, one could say that social policy is now more liberal in nature. This is because in the US, there are many federal and state social programs that are aimed at helping individuals with low-income level to fulfill their basic needs. In particular, SNAP is a food stamp program that provides benefits for poor individuals and families. Other social programs include SSI, TANF, Child Nutrition, and Pell Grants.
Jimenez, J., Pasztor, E. M., Chambers, R. M., & Fujii, C. P. (2015). Social policy and social change: Toward the creation of social and economic justice (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Semega, J. L., Fontenot, K. R., & Kollar, M. A. (2018). Income and poverty in the United States: 2016. Web.