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Generational Welfare Essay

Generational Welfare

For most of America’s history, farmers, entrepreneurs or shop owners could live their entire lives without getting any assistance from the federal government except maybe mail. But those days are long gone. In 2012 the total number of Americans on government assistance or welfare reached 4,3000,000. Many of which are 4th or 5th generation Welfare recipients. For whatever the reason, we have become a culture of dependency in which poverty is a trap. Long-term recipients loose job skills, work habits as well as work contacts. For this reason the government should require recipients to work as much as they can. It could be called “workfare” and could help recipients increase potential long-term earnings. Generation poverty is defined as children of parents in poverty grow up to live in poverty themselves in a continuous cycle for at least two generations. All too often this is a result of a traumatic event-taking place such as a illness or divorce that alters the family structure Hard working, self-reliant men and women built this country, but these work ethics began to change during the great depression in the 1930’s. A federal welfare program was introduced, it granted monthly cash and food coupons to assist with basic living needs, it was established to assist those who were living below the poverty line. This system went virtually unchanged since 1930, and was due for a much-needed reform. In 1996 President Bill Clinton made great strides to give welfare a long overdue facelift.

He gave the duties of welfare to the states by implementing the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. This act restricted aid to most legal residents. The bill had a 5year lifetime maximum for cash assistance and, required recipients to search for employment among other requirements. This welfare reform law was very successful. More than 60% percent of recipients were able to get off the welfare program. However, the core of this program was done away with in 2012 by the Obama administration. A directive was issued stating that TANF (Temporary assistance for needy Families) work requirements could be waived or over ridden by section 1115 waiver authority under the Social Security law. This has fueled an ongoing debate over whether welfare dependency in one generation causes welfare dependency in the next generation. Psychologist, Albert Bandura is considered the pioneer behind the Social Learning Theory. This theory states that people learn from their social contexts and much of social behavior is learned through observing and practiced through modeling. This observational learning can occur in three ways: live modeling, symbolic learning and instruction. This explains the cycle of generational welfare among our nations poor. Last year the Wall Street Journal reported that 49% of the population of the United States lives in a household where at least one person receives some type of government assistance.

The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Dependence on Government, tracks government spending, and the score is adjusted for federal programs that contribute to government assistance dependency. In 2010 the foundation reported that nearly 67.3 million Americans received Social Security, TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, educational support for higher learning, or some other assistance that was once considered to be the responsibility of families, individuals, churches, and neighborhoods. A culture has developed within families in which welfare is reinforced and sometimes even encouraged by parents who are also receiving benefits and their children. Children also become more accepting of the idea of assistance because their parents are currently receiving welfare benefits. The goal of public policy should be reducing poverty, not just the reduction of caseloads. The plan that was implemented by former President Clinton did just that. Jobs have to be created and available before we can reduce the number of persons receiving government assistance. More often than not, when jobs are created they are low-skill jobs and do not pay enough to meet employees basic needs which results in many quitting and going back on government aid.

We need more programs set up to provide training in work skills or a trade so that citizens will be able to receive wages that will easily sustain their families and encourage them to become self sufficient and non dependent on government assistance. It gives great satisfaction for a person to know that they are completely self-sufficient and can provide their family with at least its basic needs. It gives a sense of purpose and builds self-confidence that you do not have when you have to rely on the government or another person for financial help. It requires decision, determination, and discipline. Some may argue that generational poverty is determined by poor health across generations and not by observation or modeling of ones parents. However the statistics from the changes made during the Clinton administration, give proof that the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, that works and should be reinstated. Most citizens have a desire to be successful but just don’t have the skills or self-esteem they need to accomplish these goals. Sometimes it takes a little push to get them headed in the right direction and this program seems to do just that. It provided nearly any means of assistance for individuals to become job ready. It provided assistance with transportation problems; self-esteem issues like dental work or even haircuts. Individuals were coached in interview skills and good work ethics.

Many classes were provided to help assist in lifestyle and finance management changes. Individuals were encouraged to further their education and were given assistance with college enrollment applications as well. All of the qualities that are needed to preform a job to the fullest of ones ability were provided to wean recipients off of welfare. We have to reach the core understanding of why some people get stuck in a cycle of generational poverty and work on the core problem if we want long-term results. In which individuals receive jobs, perform their duties to the best of their ability and take pride in being self-sufficient. When individuals are proud of their accomplishments and are confident that they will be able to provide for themselves and their family, then we will begin to see a decline in numbers of generational welfare recipients and will be able to witness our economy grow and flourish.

Works Cited
Axelrod, Norman. “Chicago Tribune: Chicago Breaking News, Sports, Business, Entertainment, Weather and Traffic – Chicagotribune.com.” Chicago Tribune: Chicago Breaking News, Sports, Business, Entertainment, Weather and Traffic – Chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune, 14 Aug. 2011. Web. 01 Aug. 2013. . Bowen, Barry D. “1996 Welfare Reform Facts.” 1996 Welfare Reform Facts. N.p., 1996. Web. 01 Aug. 2013. . Gaiser, Elliot T. “Obama Guts Welfare Reform.” Heritage.org. N.p., 8 May 2013. Web. McLeod, Saul. “Bandura – Social Learning Theory.” Albert Bandura. Simply Psychology,

2011. Web. 01 Aug. 2013. .

Generational Welfare

For most of America’s history, farmers, entrepreneurs or shop owners could live their entire lives without getting any assistance from the federal government except maybe mail. But those days are long gone. In 2012 the total number of Americans on government assistance or welfare reached 4,3000,000. Many of which are 4th or 5th generation Welfare recipients. For whatever the reason, we have become a culture of dependency in which poverty is a trap. Long-term recipients loose job skills, work habits as well as work contacts. For this reason the government should require recipients to work as much as they can. It could be called “workfare” and could help recipients increase potential long-term earnings. Generation poverty is defined as children of parents in poverty grow up to live in poverty themselves in a continuous cycle for at least two generations. All too often this is a result of a traumatic event-taking place such as a illness or divorce that alters the family structure Hard working, self-reliant men and women built this country, but these work ethics began to change during the great depression in the 1930’s. A federal welfare program was introduced, it granted monthly cash and food coupons to assist with basic living needs, it was established to assist those who were living below the poverty line. This system went virtually unchanged since 1930, and was due for a much-needed reform. In 1996 President Bill Clinton made great strides to give welfare a long overdue facelift.

He gave the duties of welfare to the states by implementing the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. This act restricted aid to most legal residents. The bill had a 5year lifetime maximum for cash assistance and, required recipients to search for employment among other requirements. This welfare reform law was very successful. More than 60% percent of recipients were able to get off the welfare program. However, the core of this program was done away with in 2012 by the Obama administration. A directive was issued stating that TANF (Temporary assistance for needy Families) work requirements could be waived or over ridden by section 1115 waiver authority under the Social Security law. This has fueled an ongoing debate over whether welfare dependency in one generation causes welfare dependency in the next generation. Psychologist, Albert Bandura is considered the pioneer behind the Social Learning Theory.

This theory states that people learn from their social contexts and much of social behavior is learned through observing and practiced through modeling. This observational learning can occur in three ways: live modeling, symbolic learning and instruction. This explains the cycle of generational welfare among our nations poor. Last year the Wall Street Journal reported that 49% of the population of the United States lives in a household where at least one person receives some type of government assistance. The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Dependence on Government, tracks government spending, and the score is adjusted for federal programs that contribute to government assistance dependency. In 2010 the foundation reported that nearly 67.3 million Americans received Social Security, TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, educational support for higher learning, or some other assistance that was once considered to be the responsibility of families, individuals, churches, and neighborhoods. A culture has developed within families in which welfare is reinforced and sometimes even encouraged by parents who are also receiving benefits and their children. Children also become more accepting of the idea of assistance because their parents are currently receiving welfare benefits. The goal of public policy should be reducing poverty, not just the reduction of caseloads.

The plan that was implemented by former President Clinton did just that. Jobs have to be created and available before we can reduce the number of persons receiving government assistance. More often than not, when jobs are created they are low-skill jobs and do not pay enough to meet employees basic needs which results in many quitting and going back on government aid. We need more programs set up to provide training in work skills or a trade so that citizens will be able to receive wages that will easily sustain their families and encourage them to become self sufficient and non dependent on government assistance. It gives great satisfaction for a person to know that they are completely self-sufficient and can provide their family with at least its basic needs. It gives a sense of purpose and builds self-confidence that you do not have when you have to rely on the government or another person for financial help. It requires decision, determination, and discipline. Some may argue that generational poverty is determined by poor health across generations and not by observation or modeling of ones parents.

However the statistics from the changes made during the Clinton administration, give proof that the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, that works and should be reinstated. Most citizens have a desire to be successful but just don’t have the skills or self-esteem they need to accomplish these goals. Sometimes it takes a little push to get them headed in the right direction and this program seems to do just that. It provided nearly any means of assistance for individuals to become job ready. It provided assistance with transportation problems; self-esteem issues like dental work or even haircuts. Individuals were coached in interview skills and good work ethics. Many classes were provided to help assist in lifestyle and finance management changes. Individuals were encouraged to further their education and were given assistance with college enrollment applications as well. All of the qualities that are needed to preform a job to the fullest of ones ability were provided to wean recipients off of welfare. We have to reach the core understanding of why some people get stuck in a cycle of generational poverty and work on the core problem if we want long-term results. In which individuals receive jobs, perform their duties to the best of their ability and take pride in being self-sufficient. When individuals are proud of their accomplishments and are confident that they will be able to provide for themselves and their family, then we will begin to see a decline in numbers of generational welfare recipients and will be able to witness our economy grow and flourish.


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