Towson UniversityExploratory PaperU.S Welfare PolicyAaliyaha AlfordPOSC 103Professor JohnsonIn the United States alone, millions of Americans rely on welfare, or means-tested cash benefits as their primary source of survival. The amount of support American taxpayers generate to fund the sustainability of many citizens lives has been questioned and ridiculed by individuals who believe our welfare system is flawed. Individuals on the other spectrum promote government social policy and view it as something that is owed to the people. Before we analyze this controversial topic more in depth, it is essential we have a clear understanding of the true definition of welfare policy in America.
Social policy or welfare policy in the United States includes any enforced government action that assists the poor or lower income by providing social services to those who need it (Herrick, 2017). These government-provided services may include things such as food stamps, free or reduced-price healthcare such as Medicaid and other medical benefits and cash assistance. Many Americans, particularly conservative Americans, have frowned upon the fact that our government provides for so many individuals, eliminating independence and individualism among the people.
I, personally, am in agreeance with this stance. I feel as though the United States government has a duty to help citizens prosper economically as well as financially, and that providing social security is necessary to achieve this goal. However, in the same respect, I believe welfare in our country is severely abused. There are too many cases where individuals who truly need financial assistance from the government are turned down while other individuals are leeching off of benefits us taxpayers pay for. The abuse of the American welfare system hurts our economy tremendously. The government is responsible for regulating the economy and making sure it is one their citizens are able to prosper in. This explains the direct relationship the welfare system has to the federal government. I’ll detail the ways this destroys our economic system in ways beyond restoration in this draft.Federal and state governmental systems allocate trillions of dollars into welfare spending each year (Busler, 2017). The amount of funds designated for social policy funding has increased by nearly 40% after an adjustment for inflation was executed in the early 2000s (Busler, 2017). While states have the power to moderate the rapidness of welfare spending, the overall initiative to regulate spending has been low. What has also been extremely low is the supervision of how these government-provided monies are spent. A report conducted by the United States Government Accountability Office revealed that one state, Massachusetts, only had thirty-seven fraud investigators assigned to oversee and ensure that over one million citizens receiving government assistance from the state were misusing the program (Blank, 2016). This revelation understandably outraged many members of the general public once the report was publicized. The facts of this particular scenario blatantly revealed how easy it is for well-bodied beings to take advantage of the system.The American welfare system nurtures citizens with a sense of dependability, with the idea that they aren’t required to work to sustain their essential life needs. There are roughly 80 means-tested welfare programs offered in our country and surprisingly, only two of these programs require recipients to participate in employment related activities (Herrick, 2017). As stated earlier, it deters the promotion of individualism and rather promotes the concept of dependency. Millions of Americans will rely on government programs such as food stamps and subsidized housing for the rest of their lives, sans the desire to find a living on their own (Henrick, 2017). This reality is particularly unfortunate.In addition to spending abuse, studies have revealed that many women in receipt of welfare conceive children at a younger age than women in non-receipt of welfare (Peterson & Mark, 1989). The same study found that families in receipt of welfare had substantially lower rates of unemployment and marital rates than others (Peterson & Mark, 1989). Elimination of welfare abuse and unnecessary spending can save our economy billions of dollars each year. These funds can go to other issues our country is against. A 2016 report conducted by the Office of Management and Budget as well as the General Accounting Office found that welfare fraud in the United States totaled to be over 70 billion dollars in 2015 (Busler, 2017). The Office of Management and Budget also concluded that ten percent of Medicaid spending was utilized improperly (Busler, 2017). The office was unable to determine what percentage of this fraction was due to fraud, however, it still signals that our government is not effectively monitoring how taxpayer dollars are spent.Those on the other side of the spectrum who believe more public assistance should be given to Americans have pointed out a fact that I find to be debatable and one that is deserving of further exploration. One study I found concluded that the work requirement implemented by two of the central welfare programs have contributed to the increase in poverty (Yurtoglu, 2018). It proclaimed that the welfare to work epidemic is not an appropriate way of determining whether one should receive government assistance (Yurtoglu, 2018). Members of this ideology believe a more appropriate determinant of one’s eligibility should be measured by other means. The study also suggested that work requirements fail to improve the recipient’s quality of life (Yurtoglu, 2018). My response to the information provided in this statement is that it is not the work requirements that are in place that are negatively affecting the subject’s livelihood. Often times, welfare recipients face a tremendous amount of other issues, including mental health issues, that go unaddressed. I think an effective way to tackle this issue is by offering assistance with those issues along with the government financial assistance.A final, more obvious counterargument of the welfare policy issue is that it helps Americans in need get back on their feet. While this is true in many instances, the government’s willingness to provide so much assistance has caused many citizens to view what is supposed to be temporary assistance as a sole, permanent provider. This occurs all too often and is what leads to welfare fraud, which in turn causes our country to waste billions of dollars annually on social policy funding. There is undoubtedly an overwhelming number of discrepancies in the American welfare system that desperately needs to be regulated in order to ensure a more durable economy.ReferencesPeterson, Paul E., and Mark Rom. American Federalism, Welfare Policy, and Residential Choices. The American Political Science Review, vol. 83, no. 3, 1989, p. 711., doi:10.2307/1962057Moffitt, and Robert A. The Negative Income Tax and the Evolution of U.S. Welfare Policy. Journal of Economic Perspectives, www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/089533003769204380.Yurtoџlu, Nadir. Http://Www.historystudies.net/Dergi//Birinci-Dunya-Savasinda-Bir-Asayis-Sorunu-Sebinkarahisar-Ermeni-isyani20181092a4a8f.Pdf. History Studies International Journal of History, vol. 10, no. 7, 2018, pp. 241″264., doi:10.9737/hist.2018.658.Blank, Rebecca M., and Rebecca M. Blank. Welfare and the Economy. Brookings.edu, The Brookings Institution, 28 July 2016, www.brookings.edu/research/welfare-and-the-economy/. Busler, Michael. Eliminating Welfare Abuse Can Save U.S. Taxpayers Billions. Communities Digital News, Communities Digital News, 12 Aug. 2017, www.commdiginews.com/business-2/eliminating-welfare-abuse-can-save-u-s-taxpayers-billions-annually-92523/. Herrick, John M. Social Policy: Overview. Oxford Research Encyclopedias, 8 June 2017, oxfordre.com/socialwork/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.001.0001/acrefore-9780199975839-e-607.