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“This Week We Offered A Plan To End Welfare As We Know It—

a plan that will encourage personality and help strengthen our families through tougher child support, more education and training, and an absolute requirement to go to work after a period of time.” -Bill Clinton, radio address, 6/18/94The welfare system is in deep distress. From the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the current reigning of Bill Clinton, many a bills have been brought for to reform it. Originally, Roosevelt established the system as a type of government stripend to financially challenged individuals; however, it was not intended to act as a dependent income for them (Tucker 45). Even though many changes have been made over the past three years, it has not made much of an impact on the problems at hand (Pear). Officials discovered that many welfare recipients misuse the benefits. Studies have shown that the welfare system should begin by providing job placement, ending benefits for illegitimacy, and educating the young.

First, the aspect of job placement is directly related to the misuse of welfare. In order to succeed at rising employment rates, current wages have to increase dramatically. A welfare check ranges form $5.53 to $17.50 an hour; in a like manner, minimum wage is less than an hourly welfare check (Tilly 8). People desire the higher money of a welfare check to that of a low-paying job (Tweedie 117; Tanner 18). This dependency on receiving the check causes many problems not just with the current generation, but future generations will also be similarly affected. These children are acquiring the habits of their parent or parents, thus creating a permanent underclass (Tucker 45). Economic incentives for staying on welfare should be abolished. People should no longer be allowed to remain on the system for extended periods of time.

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In accordance with the lesser incentives, the government should place more emphasis on raising the current hourly wage (Haskins 126). Most importantly, the government needs to portray a working world in which job training is not only the standard, but also the required (Tanner 17). Providing jobs with training not only educates the person, but also supplies him or her with opportunities to acquire a better paying job with a future (Willis 4). This training would not just teach skills, but it would make job development workers move more people into the mainstream (Garr 193). In Wisconsin, Republican legislators have devised a method of reform called W-2 Wisconsin Works. W-2 is a work program that would require all recipients over eighteen to work for cash assistance (Tweedie 117). Many welfare recipients are often stereotyped as lazy; moreover, these recipients need to take charge of their lives (Leavitt 22). They need to realize that they are capable of doing competent work. They have to compete to prosper.

Second, illegitimacy needs to be curbed by stopping aid to promiscuous mothers who continue to have out-of-wedlock pregnancies. The establishment of anti-illegitimacy policies is imperative. These policies should propose to stop payment to unwed others (Haskins 126). The government should not reward for illegitimacy. According to Ron Haskins, Trying to help poor children by giving their underage mothers cash will often simply produce more poor children, reformers argued. Wise societies don’t reward births outside of marriage in this way (Haskins 126). If a young woman becomes pregnant again, she does not have to make a choice between living at home with her parents or finding a husband. She simply can continue to produce more illegitimate children. This reoccurrence of illegitimacy is exactly one of the reasons that a stopping of incentives is needed (Tucker 45).

In a like manner, the most effective way to reduce births is with a family cap. The family cap is a provision that denies greater cash to women who continue to have births while receiving welfare (Donovan 73). It is designed to discourage out-of-wedlock births (Sollom 41). The government needs to include a child exclusion provision like both China and Japan currently have (Donovan 73). Disincentives are required to act as the primary strategy for regulating poor women’s reproductive behaviors (Sollom 41). This unorthodox behavior causes much strain on the welfare system, since the state rewards extra money for additional children.

Third, the lack of education accounts for the irresponsibility of the current generation. Accordingly, the government should require children to complete their schooling through high school. Acceleration of a child’s development is necessary for both social competence and successfulness. Elementary schools should focus on the variation of skills such as higher self-esteem, lower truancy, and higher basic skills like reading, writing, and arithmetic (Schorr 183).

Similarly, high schools should emphasize learnfare over workfare (Tanner 18). Children’s schooling should take priority over parent’s teachings (Tanner 19). Today’s children must realize that the only way to lead a successful life is through education. The curriculum for students should include both life issues and learning programs. Life issues would teach individuals that unwed pregnancy is not the right thing to (Schorr 217).

In addition, young adolescents are not receiving the support and guidance that they need during their growth stages. To help teachers respond to children’s needs, classroom sizes should be limited to approximately twenty students. This limitation will help to foster a more intimate teaching environment. Schools should also rely more heavily on teaching civic responsibility and such key values as respect and honesty. It is these traits which will help them make the right choices concerning their development and vocation. Parents and communities should become more interested and involved in school life; moreover, the media should provide guidance to the nation’s young adolescent (Garr 57). According to Horace Mann, {INDENT}Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is a greater equalizer of the conditions of men– the balance wheel of the social machinery…. It does better than to disarm their hostility toward the rich; it prevents being poor (Schorr 215). A poor person does not have to remain poor; furthermore, he or she has the capabilities to become rich so there is no need for jealously. Education is the stronghold for much of people’s happiness or unhappiness. Education is what makes people rich; in addition, it also raises the desire for a job.

Thus, history proves that the current welfare system contains many flaws. While it is true that the current welfare check is meant to assist those in need, it can promote illegitimacy, laziness, and illiteracy. Steps should be taken to reform the welfare system. The government should devise new way to help job placement, to end illegitimacy, and to raise education instead of spending money on programs that perpetuate the ongoing problems with the system.

Bibliography :
Donovan, Patricia. “The Family Cap: A Popular but Unproven Method of Welfare Reform.” Family Planning Perspectives July-Aug. 1995: 166-171. Money. Ed. Eleanor Goldstein. 1996. Art. 73. SIRS CD-ROM. CD-ROM. Boca Raton: SIRS, 1996.

Garr, Robin. Reinvesting in America. New York: Addison-Wesley, 1995. Haskins, Ron. “Does Welfare Encourage Illegitimacy?” American Enterprise July-Aug. 1996: 48-49. Money. Ed. Eleanor Goldstein. 1996. Art. 126. SIRS CD-ROM. CD-ROM. Boca Raton: SIRS, 1996.

Leavitt, Michael O. “How to Put Welfare Recipients to Work.” USA Today Mar. 1996: 22-23.

Pear, Robert. “White House Releases Glowing Data on Welfare.” The New York Times 1 August 1999. The New York Times on the Web. Online. Compuserve. 19 August 1999.

Schorr, Lisbeth B. Within Our Reach. New York: Anchor, 1988.

Sollom, Terry. “State Actions on Reproductive Health Issues in 1994.” Family Planning Perspectives Mar.-Apr. 1995: 83-87. Sexuality. Ed. Eleanor Goldstein. 1995. Art. 41. SIRS CD-ROM. CD-ROM. Boca Raton: SIRS, 1995.

Tanner, Michael and Michael Leavitt. “Ending Welfare as We Know It.” USA Today Mar. 1995: 16-24. Tilly, Chris and Randy Alberda. “It’s Not Working.” Dollars and Sense Nov.-Dec.: 8-10.

Tucker,William. “Illegitimacy and Welfare Dependence: All in the Family.” National Review 6 Mar. 1995: 36+. Family. Ed. Eleanor Goldstein. 1995. Art.45. SIRS CD-ROM. CD-ROM. Boca Raton: SIRS, 1995.

Tweedie, Jack and Dana Ranchert. “What’s Next with Welfare?” State Legislatures Apr. 1996: 12-13. Money. Ed. Eleanor Goldstein. 1996. Art. 117. SIRS CD-ROM. CD-ROM. Boca Raton: SIRS, 1996.

Willis, Ellen. “Down with Compassion.” The New Yorker 30 Sept. 1996: 4. Works Consulted “Study Says Welfare Changes Made the Poor Worse Off.” The New York Times 23 August 1999. The New York Times on the Web. Online. 22 Septerber 1999.


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