The Welfare problem
The poor are everywhere it seems. They are on the street corner, in the local 7 Eleven, and in the plaza. Sometimes I get sick of them and even angry with them when they pester me for money. I ask myself, "Is the best way to deal with poor, to give them money from my pocket?" It's obvious that other people have given them money from their pockets at different times. If no one had ever given them money, then these people wouldn't be standing here asking for money. The fact is, many poor people ask for money because they know they can get money that way. For most of the last 70 years our government has indirectly given the poor money from our pockets, through taxes and welfare. Not surprisingly, people have continued to ask for money. For most of those 70 years welfare fed the mentality that the best way to get money was to ask. I believe welfare as it was first started, failed miserably and created millions of dependents in poverty instead of independents above poverty. The welfare reform of 1996, I believe has helped the poor escape from the trap of poverty and is a more beneficial way of dealing with the poor.
The idea of the United States government assisting the poor financially, originated nearly 70 years ago (Modern Welfare Programs). The depression was in full flux and the American people were demanding help from the government. Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the first federal poverty assistance act called Aid to Dependent Children Act in 1935 (Background: Time for a new Approach). This laid the foundation of the current government entitlement program now called welfare. World War II brought thousands of jobs to America and slowed the growth of the entitlement program. A vast majority of people were employed either directly by the government or through other war related jobs. After the war the economy held strong for the next ten years (Modern Welfare Programs).
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy raised the current welfare payments and renamed the program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Kennedy allowed states to require work in order to receive welfare, but didn't require it. Kennedy also laid out the new goal for welfare in America, it was to "end poverty, not just alleviate poverty" (Background: Time for a new Approach). Kennedy said welfare should be "a hand up, not a hand out." Welfare continued to change with President Lyndon B. Johnson. He declared a "war on poverty " in 1965 and welfare spending increased dramatically over the next 30 years (Background: Time for a new Approach). In 1965, about 14 percent of Americans were living below the poverty line. After 30 years and nearly 6 trillion dollars in spending the poverty rate was actually up to 15.2 percent in 1996.
According to cnn.com, in 1994, Republicans were given control of both Houses of Congress. One of the first priorities on their agenda was to address the growth of the welfare entitlement program. Early in their term President Clinton proposed idea for reforming welfare. He proposed setting a two-year time limit for welfare recipients. He also wanted to spend another 9.3 billion in Federal money to create more Federal jobs welfare recipients could apply for. The Republicans resisted the idea of expanding the Federal Government's role in welfare and in 1996 made a counter proposal, which was eventually passed through Congress and vetoed twice by President Clinton. In the summer of 1996 Congress again passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, and in July President Clinton agreed to sign it into Law. This law is what we now call Welfare Reform (Background: Time for a new Approach).
According to Health and Human Services own Website, The cornerstone of Welfare Reform was the giving of TANF Block Grants to individual states to help their poor. The current law allows states to use this money in any manner "reasonably calculated to accomplish the purposes of TANF" (Major Provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996). The goals of TANF are to,
"To provide assistance to needy families so that children can be cared for in