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The Welfare System Essay

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Updated: Nov 20th, 2019

Introduction

A welfare system is an established program aimed at assisting the needy people as well as their families meet their basic needs. A welfare system is a term used to indicate government programs created in order to offer support to the needy citizens. Various types of welfare programs that have been created for this purpose include social security, financial aid, corporate welfare, and welfare provisions (Powell & Hendricks 24).

The government provides assistance to the people through various programs such as housing assistance, unemployment compensation, health care, child care assistance, and food stamps. In the United States, the federal government offers grants to every state through a program referred to as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (O’Connor 14).

The welfare system is usually aimed at providing a base level of income to people who are disabled, elderly, retired, or unemployed. It should be noted that the welfare system deals with an absolutely large number of people and, therefore, total commitment of the government is required. The government, according to O’Connor, has a social responsibility and a moral obligation to ensure that all activities carried out by various welfare organizations come to a successful completion (24).

Even though the work of the welfare system is beneficial, these programs together with the involvement of the government have in the recent past faced criticism from opponents who argue that the main intentions of these programs are totally different from what the public is made to believe. This article is going to look at some of the pros and cons of the welfare system and argue them out in order to develop a middle ground.

The pros and cons of the welfare system

It is important to note that welfare systems are beneficial for a modern society. Despite the fact that members of modern communities are very productive, they are usually faced by a wide range of problems that may negatively impact on their normal lives. Welfare systems have been shown to come in handy and support individual members deal with these problems.

Even though welfare programs do not offer a life that is 100% free from challenges, it acts as a means through which vulnerable members of society can be cushioned from the possible adverse effects of poor health, unemployment, lack of housing, and poor education (Powell & Hendricks 29).

Opponents of this initiative argue that these programs are usually developed with the intent of promoting certain businesses for certain people. Welfare programs are also described as indirect support of the government to various business entities. Opponents argue that the government should not interfere with the free market as this may lead to the collapse of certain businesses.

They also point out that these programs do not offer lasting solutions to most of the problems that people may be facing. It has been argued that rather than the government providing unemployment compensation to millions of people, it should come up with a strategy to ensure that all people are incorporated either in the formal or in the informal employment sectors (Hill 44).

It is important to note that welfare programs are meant to assist people who may be going through difficult situations to get back on their feet. However, some people may use these programs as a way of escaping their responsibilities. Some people may neglect their duties and solely rely on welfare programs for help. These are the people who develop the mentality that there is no need for them to work for minimum wage when they can get a similar amount of money for actually doing nothing (O’Connor 34).

It has been revealed that some people have been living in social houses for decades without signs of vacating. Despite the fact that these people may have attained financial stability, most of them are not willing to vacate those buildings to help other needy citizens. This cycle continues as children grow up thinking that this is the only kind of life there is.

Welfare programs are beneficial to single parents who may have a child yet they do not have the means to rear that child. Single mothers, for instance, benefit greatly from these programs since they are provided with food, finances and shelter.

It is unfortunate that a large number of people abuse these programs by simply having many children; an aspect that guarantees them continued financial assistance from welfare programs (Sather 39). It has been argued out that the financial assistance single mothers obtain from welfare programs is not enough to cater for their families.

Opponents assert that beneficiaries cannot manage to purchase all household requirements from the checks they receive from welfare. As a result, they conclude that welfare cannot offer the much needed support at the time of need. It is, however, important to note that even though welfare programs do not offer a 100% financial support to beneficiaries, it is one of the best ways through which the needy citizens can be assisted to meet their basic needs.

Welfare programs, as stated by Sather, play a significant role in ensuring that social disparities and health problems do not advance to critical stages (57). They help people maintain a living standard that is almost similar to that of financially stable people. For instance, despite low income and unemployment, people are able to maintain their homes; thereby eliminating cases of homelessness.

It is also important to note that welfare programs have played a significant role in the health sector. The establishment of Medicare and Medicaid are referred to by many as God sent initiatives that have helped millions of financially unstable US citizens. These programs offer low-cost health care to people from poor backgrounds, and as a result the general wellbeing of society is maintained (Kildar and Kuhnle 70).

Opponents argue that welfare programs do not offer a lasting solution to major problems in the lives of the people and may create unnecessary dependence. It has been argued that instead of providing financial assistance to the unemployed, they should be provided with basic skills necessary for them to earn a living (Sather 61).

It has also been pointed out that continued assistance from welfare may lead to deterioration of a person’s basic skills and comprehension of proper workplace behavior. Economists also assert that welfare programs are a huge financial burden to the local government.

Regardless of the funding from the federal government, states still bear the financial burden of supporting the welfare programs. Opponents argue that rather than assisting people who are to a certain extent unproductive, the millions of dollars allocated to welfare programs should be channeled to other productive sectors. These programs are largely viewed as potential channels for fraudulent activities.

Kildar and Kuhnle make it clear that people may supply false information with intent of receiving financial benefits from welfare (71). Cases have been recorded whereby welfare beneficiaries find additional sources of income, but fail to notify welfare authorities for fear of losing financial support. Reports have also been made of people who earn thousands of dollars yearly yet they provide false information in order to benefit from Medicaid (Hill 71).

Nonetheless, the welfare system cannot be condemned basically on the activities of a few people who are driven by misguided principles. Welfare has assisted a large number of children who have done absolutely nothing to impact on their family’s financial status. It should be noted that in addition to all children having the right to access basic needs, they should not be punished for their parent’s actions. Welfare has, to a certain extent, contributed to crime reduction.

Even though this claim is hard to prove, the fact that welfare provides financial support for basic upkeep helps ensure that people who are financially unstable do not engage in criminal activities. Welfare system is established on the perception that those in need will rise and get back on track.

Welfare has been termed as an insignificant temporary assistance that cannot solve the people’s problems, but nevertheless it provides those in need with a means to exist, in addition to encouraging them to look for employment in order to have a stable life.

Conclusion

It can, therefore, be concluded that even though the welfare system has in the recent times faced criticism from opponents, the work carried out by these programs is undoubtedly beneficial.

Welfare has been termed as an insignificant temporary assistance that cannot solve the people’s problems, but nevertheless it provides those in need with a means to exist in addition to encouraging them to look for employment in order to have a stable life. Welfare programs play a significant role in ensuring that social disparities and health problems do not advance to critical stages.

Works Cited

Hill, Michael. Social Policy in the Modern World: A Comparative Text. Mahwah, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006. Print.

Hill, in his work, provides a coherent and concise test that offers a thematic account of social policies, particularly the welfare system.

Kildar, Nanna and Kuhnle, Stein. Normative Foundations of the Welfare State: The Nordic Experience. Philadelphia, PA: Routledge, 2005. Print.

Through qualitative analysis of various sources, Kildar and Kuhnle try to evaluate the economic benefits, as well as disadvantages of welfare system.

O’Connor, Brendon. A Political History of the American Welfare System: When Ideas Have Consequences. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. Print.

O’Connor, through historical analysis and policy critique techniques, looks deeply into the principles of welfare programs in order to determine the benefits and disadvantages these programs have presented to the US citizens.

Powell, Jason and Hendricks Jon. The Welfare State in Post-Industrial Society: A Global Perspective. New York, NY: Springer, 2009. Print.

Powell and Hendricks, through policy critique and data analysis, critically evaluate the effects of welfare programs on the modern society. They base their argument on the fact that the lives of many people have been transformed through welfare programs.

Sather, Trevor. Pros and Cons: A Debater’s Handbook. Philadelphia, PA: Routledge, 1999. Print.

In this book, Sather looks extensively into the issues surrounding welfare programs in order to come up with a logical argument. The author critically looks at both sides in order to eliminate possible bias.

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