Students debate welfare reform laws

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The controversial topic of welfare has become more prevalent throughout the nation in light of the 2012 presidential election.

Over 15 million Americans rely on welfare money from the government annually. Welfare allows government programs to provide benefits and economic assistance to no or low income Americans. It can also be defined as financial assistance to impoverished Americans which is supplied through the taxes paid by the working class.

For almost all welfare programs, an application must be completed; then, from the information provided, it will be determined if the applicant is eligible for the income and resources given.

Work requirements formed the foundation of the welfare reform law of 1996. However, in July the Obama Administration issued a directive declaring that states no longer need to comply with the law’s work standards.

The Administration is turning welfare reform on its head by jettisoning the legislative goal of reducing welfare caseloads. Under the Administration’s new welfare performance standard, the pre-reform welfare system is judged a rousing success and the 1996 welfare reform is a failure.

“I wish I could vote for this welfare reform. Constantly getting my paycheck cut by taxes and knowing some of that money goes to people who choose not to work is just plain wrong,” said OHS senior Jeff Sauer.

According to The Moral Liberal, “During the four decades that preceded the 1996 welfare reform, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children caseload never experienced a substantial decrease. However, within just a few years of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families’ implementation, the caseload was cut in half, and employment rates and earnings among single mothers soared.

Child poverty rates declined significantly. Roughly 3 million fewer children lived in poverty in 2003 than in 1995, including 1.2 million fewer black children, marking the lowest level of black child poverty in the nation’s history.”

In July, President Obama and the Obama Administration was accused of “altering” the work requirements that form the heart of the 1996 reform law. However, this action was a violation of the letter of the law stating that anything that wanted to be altered, had to go Senate.

On top of the upcoming Presidential election, this hot topic is soaring to the top of the most talked about political drama. According to Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential representative, “President Obama wants to let lazy welfare recipients sit around collecting checks, with no strings attached.”

“Welfare should be available for people who physically cannot work because of a disorder or health problem that enables them to be in a working environment,” stated OHS senior Madeline Wagner.

Speculations have been thrown on both Obama’s and Romney’s side. The fact that both candidates are spending billions of dollars on advertising that’s main purpose is to “bash” one another’s thoughts and beliefs about welfare is shooting through the roof.

The real debate comes down to if someone who wants to apply for Welfare should be given series of tests such as: drug tests, intelligence test, and work ability, or if they meet the old requirements, they should be able to receive the Welfare that they qualify for.

Allie Hirschberg is the Business & Advertising Manager for The Spartan Speaks.

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