The fight against poverty started in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson when he declared an unconditional war against poverty and unemployment in America. At that time, the poverty rate was at 19% but was falling rapidly. Things have been better since then, until the recent economical changes brought the American poverty level to 15.1%. But this time, it is climbing faster than falling rapidly.
The rumors about the Welfare Queen circulated in the 80’s during the term of President Ronald Reagan. After two decades, President Bill Clinton vowed to change welfare in America as the citizens know it. What used to be the Aid to Families with Dependent Children became Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. And right now, under President Barack Obama’s administration, as much as $12 trillion is being allocated from the national budget for welfare programs, on top of the $3 trillion funds chipped in by the local governments.
In the old AFDC program, there were very minimal requirements to comply with. TANF, on the other hand, imposes much stricter measures to recipients. For one, they are required to render up to 30 hours of work-related activities a week. This means recipients have to hunt for a job, do community service, and perform other similar tasks. If the recipient failed to do any of such, his benefits may be reduced or worse, he may lose them altogether.
While there has been a lot of noises and adverse reactions as far as allocation of the welfare funds in America is concerned, it can’t be denied that it is somehow getting some job done. Single mothers who used to live on welfare alone are now landing a job, albeit temporarily. But even so, they are now in need of assistance every once in a while. Same goes for individuals who end up in homeless shelters. With the training they get from there, they were able to get back on their feet and hold down community jobs.
The unemployment and welfare system in the United States has gone through many changes through the years. Many of the changes may have been made to better the system; others seem to have hurt the system. The fact remains that the United States has too many people collecting welfare of some kind. The United States welfare system and overall government programs need to be overhauled. If they are not looked at, the United States could be on a path bankruptcy and more poverty for many of its citizens.