Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Welfare: Is reform needed?

Today is October 6, 2009. It is the day that some bloggers have decided to name "One Day, No Hate" in response to all the hate that has infused American politics over the past years. When discussing all this angry politics, my husband and I tend to lay blame not on one side of the fence or the other but on the growth of 24 hour news. I mean, let's face it, yammering on about anything for 24 hours a day, day after day gets boring and even with a world full of news, broadcasters run out of things to say. And when you run out of things to say but still have air to fill, you just start talking out your butt. There are pundits, politicians, and talk news personalities on both sides of the fence who have succumbed to this filler.

The saddest part though is that average folks like me who have only 10 minute stints scattered throughout the day in which to listen to the news really need to hear facts. With facts, we can use our own intelligence to form opinions rather than latching onto someone else's. What is commonly referred to as news today though is generally opinion and it's hard to tell the difference.

Added to all this is people's fears about discussing these divisive issues. When opening up a political discussion, one must be prepared for attacks not on beliefs or ideas but on their person. There have been many times I have seen someone present a political idea on Facebook and before I can agree or counter, another commenter has already been called a name. It's very elementary and not furthering the discussion.

So here's what I'd like to see today. I'm going to present an OPINION of mine on a current political issue. Please feel free to disagree, agree, counter, or extend my statement. The only thing I ask is that you do it politely, thoughtfully, and for bonus points, add some citation and/or factual evidence. Lastly, remember that although anecdotes have some relevance personally, they are not factual and should not be held up as so.


The topic: Welfare
My opinion: Although welfare is flawed and is certainly abused by some, it is a system that is doing more good than harm and should continue to be funded.
Evidence: Here is a piece I recently read over at the American Psychological Association (the APA), that I believe does an effective job of countering many arguments against welfare. Upon reading it, you may feel differently.

What are your thoughts on welfare in the United States? Should it continue to be funded? Should funding be increased or decreased? Should it be reformed, if so how?

Discussion will continue in the comments. Remember, respect and politeness count and if you can't play nice, I'm not likely to let you play at all.


Corina said...

Thanks for participating!

I must say that I believe that welfare does more good than harm as well. There are many that abuse the system to be sure. I firmly believe that it needs to be funded perhaps even increase funding. It saves families, gets them off the street, gives them a second chance and saves lives.

But the abuses are rampant. The "culture" that comes out of welfare is self-fulfilling. So reform is necessary, but how we go about it is tricky. I have faced many students on welfare and in troubled neighborhoods that refuse to try because to do so would be "disrespecting the block". To reform would not to be reforming the actual program but somehow reforming the thoughts that are deeply entrenched into inner city culture. This requires role models, teachers, and social workers. They must be supported in doing their jobs so that they can affect change in the system.

Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

I agree that welfare is necessary.

My issue with it is in the abuses, and I don't think the system is equipped to police itself.

In the end though, I think it is more important to help the people in our society who are less fortunate than us. It is up to them how they choose to use that help. There will be success stories and failures, but everyone deserves a chance.

Jane said...

I have so much to say about this it would take a whole article, or three.

The system perpetuates its own abuse and there are so many irrational rules, policies, and guidelines that leave no room for common sense or individual circumstances. Very often, the people that most need help don't receive any, while those who are familiar with what the system requires get more than they should.

One example: States have caps on how much an individual can pay for rent. This is guided by federal rules, not actual markets. An individual will not qualify for rental assistance if they pay more than what the guidelines specify. In Minnesota, a worker with two kids, making $8 hour, cannot pay more than $320 a month for rent. There is no such thing as $320 rent. So the struggling worker won't qualify.

Those who know the system & who live rent-free with mom, have mom fill out a landlord statement saying that they pay -- what? -- yeah, exactly $320 in rent. Bingo, that person qualifies.

These types of nonsensical rules inhibit the temporary assistance some people need to get back on their feet, while allowing those who perpetually abuse the system to continue abusing it.

Most unfortunate is that a person actually has to lose everything they own before they qualify for any help at all. What may have been "cured" for $400 at one point morphs into a much bigger problem.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I agree with state-funded welfare. We have state-funded welfare for the very rich (i.e. "bring your company HERE and we'll give you tax breaks and incentives!"). In our society it's tough to overcome socioeconomic disadvantages--we NEED to support people by providing basic necessities--food, shelter, health care, k-12 education.