Federal and state social welfare programs offer big rewards for going back to work at least part time (Norma B. Coe, 1998). The states have flexibility in encouraging recipients to go back to work. This includes; low benefit levels and increasing benefit levels upon verification of employment (Norma B. Coe, 1998). Earnings at the minimum wage in a part time capacity in conjunction with government supplements can bring a family above the federal poverty level in some cases (Norma B. Coe, 1998). There is also a flip side to this argument in that many times TANF recipients believe that Medicaid coverage will cease when they are ineligible to receive welfare or child care subsidies (Norma B. Coe, 1998). Lack of benefit knowledge is a major factor in many recipients not wanting to gain employment even on a part time basis.
Norma B. Coe, G. A. (1998, December). Does Work Pay? A Summary of the Work Incentives under TANF. Retrieved February 14, 2017, from The Urban Insititute: http://www3.uakron.edu/schulze/401/readings/TANFworkincentives.htm
Subsidized employment programs are set up for those who cannot find employment in the regular work force and use public funding to supplement or fully pay all their wages. These programs are usually set up to provide jobs during tough economic times as well as improve outcomes for long-term employment with groups that may be tough to employ. According to the MDRC website, there have been several evaluations completed to determine how successful that these programs are: the programs are effective at providing jobs in the short term; however, they are fall less successful at helping those transition to unsubsidized employment. Unemployment still is high for many of the groups that utilize subsidized public programs and remains at 8% nationally. When counting those involuntary part-time workers and those not looking for jobs, the rate is closer to 15%. Jobless rates are higher for teenagers, those who have criminal records and those without postsecondary education.
In my opinion, I feel that we “fine” those who work and reward those who are on government dependence. I believe in having compassion for those who are going through tough times and having a safety net for those who need assistance; however, according to recent census, there are almost 49% of all Americans who live in a home that receives some sort of government assistance. I feel that many Americans have become solely dependent upon the government to provide them housing, education, cell phones and other necessities rather than try to find work. Programs like LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program), free cell phones and minutes, food stamps, and the Low Income Gasoline Assistance Program Act have been introduced or passed to provide assistance to those who do not want to work. For example, a hard working family in is faced with an environment where food prices are constantly rising but paychecks are not keeping up. Let’s assume that the hard working family in our example clips coupons and cuts corners any way that it can and only spends about $50 for each member of the family on food and supplies each week. That comes to a total of $800 a month for the entire family. On the other hand, those who are solely dependent upon the government have food stamps or EBT cards. There are more than 46 million Americans on food stamps. Food stamps have become so popular, there are even rap songs about using EBT cards and food stamps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o64Fz-KW1Dk
The U.S. economy is simply not producing enough jobs for everyone anymore, and this is creating major problems. Just about everyone needs a helping hand at some point, and we should always be compassionate to those that are in need. However, there is also a growing number of Americans that are content to simply give up and live off of the government, and that is fundamentally wrong.
It is not the job of the U.S. government to take care of you from the cradle to the grave. What the U.S. government is supposed to do is to make sure that we have a well functioning economy that operates in an environment where hard working individuals and small businesses can thrive, and sadly the U.S. government has failed miserably in that regard.
Kruglaya, I. (2016, August 25). Subsidized employment: A strategy for bad economic times and for the hard-to-employ. Retrieved February 16, 2017, from http://www.mdrc.org/publication/subsidized-employment-strategy-bad-economic-times-and-hard-employ
Synder, M. (2012, April 12). The Hard Working American vs. The Government Parasite. Retrieved February 16, 2017, from The Economic Collapse, http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-hard-working-american-vs-the-government-parasite