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Poverty and Welfare


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Poverty and Welfare


POL201: American National Government

Instructor: Denise Greaves

October 29, 2012

Poverty and Welfare

The United States has struggled with poverty verses affluence. Poverty has plagued mankind throughout history, influenced by various reasons for its existence along the way. One of these arguments is that poverty is simply a structural flaw created by the market system of capitalism. In a blessed nation, why do so many people struggle economically? Are the poor themselves to blame? Or are they victims of unequal educational opportunities, racism and sexism, or an economic system that favors the rich over the poor?
As a response to poverty in the capitalist society, welfare programs were created and executed for the first time. And though many of these programs exhibit disappointing outcomes and have proven to be vulnerable to abuse, welfare programs as a whole have helped to improve the individual liberties of lower class individuals. The legislation sought to end AFDC and other government assistance by promoting self-sufficiency and personal responsibility through "work first" programs. The program set strict time limits on cash assistance, imposed work requirements, and encouraged marriage and two-parent families as a context for having and raising children.
More attention is being paid now than at any time since the War on Poverty of the 1960s. One major reason for the increased attention is America's latest overhaul of the welfare system. The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) ended. One major target of reform was the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, which provided cash payments to very low-income families with children.
It is the duty of a democratic government to create equality of opportunity for its citizens, and to avoid the equality of outcome

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