Friday, May 12, 2017

This student takes a nuanced position on minimum wage increases

I am here on behalf of the many that oppose the minimum wage being raised to $15.00 an hour for all workers.  Some jobs are worth the minimum wage being increased—and I am thinking of nursing home staff, hospital nurse techs, and direct care workers who are taking care of people, taking care of some of our most fragile people.  That type of work needs to have a minimum wage set higher.  Most days those health care workers are working long hours, and they are understaffed.  To raise the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour for entry jobs like many in the food service industry is not warranted.  These types of jobs are typically for teenagers who are just working a few hours to buy new clothes or a pair of shoes, and they are not paying their bills with that kind of money.  These entry level jobs function to get people in the workforce to show that they have held a job before and to hopefully inspire people to go on a get a better paying job. 

Raising the minimum wage to $15.00 for workers in a company like McDonald’s would have teenagers making this kind of serious money, which is okay in itself, but with making this kind of money it can come some indirect consequences that we must avoid, such as having young workers decide that they do not want to further their education.  They will settle for the entry level job.  These kinds of jobs are not jobs where you should want to start and raise a family.  They are not the jobs that you would want to plan on staying at forever and making it a career choice.  Raising the minimum wage could hurt the very people that it is intended to help. 

With the higher general minimum wage, employers would need to be more cautious in their hiring and look at potential employees and wonder what they could bring to their company.  They could wonder how useful a potential employee will be if they in fact did hire them.  This selectivity in hiring would be a barrier to people just starting out without an employment history.

 People that are unhappy with the wage they are making should make strides to find other jobs.  They should get some schooling or some training to obtain a better job and get better pay.  They should not expect to stay in an entry level job and receive better pay for a job that is not worth that.  There are people that are spending insane amounts of money in school so that they can live comfortably, so that they can get that job that pays them more than minimum wage because they know what kind of life they will live if they do not make minimum wage.  Yes I am here opposing the minimum wage increase and I do hope that this bill is not passed into law. 

This essay makes some points against the general increase of the minimum wage up to $15 per hour.  Usually opposition to the minimum wage is based on three propositions: 1) higher wages will reduce the demand for labor, so unemployment will rise; 2) higher wages will spark inflation, which will erode the benefits of wage gains; and 3) it is morally wrong for the government to intervene to tell citizens what they must pay their workers, as pay is better set by having workers and employers negotiate a wage rate that is agreeable or acceptable to both sides without government coercive regulation. What is fascinating about this paper is that none of these tired old chestnuts are used.  The student has an innovative argument.
The first argument is that some jobs are underpaid, and the government might step in to increase minimum wages in those types of underpaid jobs, but the prevailing wages in other sorts of work are okay when they are low.  The student is suggesting minimum wages set by type of work or job sector, a more complicated situation than a global wage floor applying to all work.  This gets at one problem of the minimum wage: a global minimum wage often seems wrong.  The de facto solution has been for the United States to have a federal minimum wage standard that is quite low, and allow states and cities or counties to set higher minimum wages.  It makes sense that minimum wages in San Francisco or New York ought to be much higher than minimum wages in rural Arkansas or along the Rio Grande in south Texas. Having worked (like most Americans, briefly) in the food service industry, I agree that a single minimum wage for all of us didn't seem fair.  The person who worked at the grill was doing something more dangerous than the rest of us, and that cook had to work with more skill and with greater urgency than many of the rest of us.  Likewise, the danger and unpleasant nature or the higher responsibility required in some low-wage jobs in child care, elderly care, and health care seem to require higher wages than those given to persons in easier, safer, less critical work, and yet the minimum wage is the same for everyone no matter the value of their work or the danger and difficulties associated with it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Opposition to welfare

This student has written a paper about the opposition to welfare.

In today’s society, we have many programs that citizens use for receiving assistance. One major assistance program is public assistance, such as: Medicaid, supplemental nutrition program (SNAP and NSLP and WIC), and cash assistance (TANF, EITC, General Relief). There is a current proposal out that attempts to get rid of public assistance for citizens. This proposal to eliminate public assistance could affect families and people in need. According to the policy proposal, the federal government uses a lot of money to fund these programs, and it should not. For example, public housing received $15.8 billion dollars from the U.S federal government in order to fund rental assistance and public housing. Such expenditure seems like a waste of taxpayer money to those who want to get rid of public assitance.  Rather than taking money from everyone through taxes and using billions of dollars to help poor persons, these opponants of the welfare system would prefer to abolish all the welfare policies, and let people stand on their own; if they are too poor to afford housing or food, well then, they had better find a job and work hard to keep that job and earn the money they need. If they are too sick or disabled or impaired to find and hold a job, they must rely on family and private charities, but not on tax dollars taken from “hard working taxpayers” to support their lives.   However, most people support some form of welfare, and defend the public assistance programs, pointing out how these programs give families hope for food, health, and even living. Without such policies, we would be a society with greater illness, greater hunger, more homelessness, and people would even die from exposure or malnutrition or desperation.

Not only is spending all this money on funding these public assistance programs an issue for people who support the proposed policy, but some also feel that people who rely on these public assistance programs become lazy and they get comfortable with being provided for. Therefore, one believes that taking away these assistance programs will drive people to actually learn to provide for themselves. Conversely, people who are in favor of assistance programs claim that the difficulty of finding work and the difficulty of paying medical bills (since the bills can be extremely high at times) require a safety net of public programs to protect peopl from extreme economic hardship.  In particular, costs for low-income persons who have many people depending on their care (perhaps young children, elderly parents, or disabled persons living in their households) need help, since the economic system we have may not provide them with enough resources to survive, even if they do work for wages.  Some people with so many caregiving duties don’t even have time to work for money, since they must care for many children or other persons dependant upon their care.

A possible solution to benefit both sides might be to reduce the spending cost of the public assistance. This would allow the low income and others who are currently on public assistance to still receive help, but at a minimum level, and for some services a co-pay would be in effect. This is the compromise that opponants of the welfare system seek.  They want to lower the costs of Medicaid, TANF, SNAP, Rental Assistance, Public Housing, LIHEAP, SSI, and the EITC.  They know that they cannot abolish these programs, but at least they can cut budgets or change laws to reduce spending or increase fees and co-pays.  Those who defend the welfare state reject the idea that benefits for the poor turn people who are otherwise capable of independence into dependent welfare moochers. These defenders of welfare often want to increase the availability of services and programs, and claim that we need to spend more on programs that support people in poverty.  Such people may want to spend more on welfaer so that our country eliminates hunger and homelessness, and gives people an equal chance to participate in civic and cultural life. The debate between those who want to eliminate welfare and those who want to increase it will continue into the foreseeable future, because the people who support these two opposing sides are both motivated by visions of an ideal society and questions of morality and common sense.  Each side sees that they are right and the other side is wrong.

Student considers public funding for abortion in Illinois

Abortion Coverage
In recent news, Illinois lawmakers have passed the law that abortions can be paid with medical insurance. This topic has been a big thing recently since many people do not think that medical insurance should cover abortions because it promotes killing a child. However, others believe it allows all women to be in control of their body.
As stated earlier, many people feel that this law promotes the killing of a human being. Some critics of this newly passed law state how people will now try to use this as a new form of birth control and that this might be taken advantage of. Nonetheless, many people have been asking the question “where will funding for this come from?”. This is an issue because higher education cannot be funded but the state has money to cover the harming of children.
However, people who support the new law states that since this has now passed it will allow people who accidentally got pregnant and cannot afford to get an abortion to do so. Many say this will reduce harm towards unwanted children.
In my opinion, I think that abortions should not be covered under Medicaid because that extra money can be used to better the state. I do, however, think that abortions should be cheaper so people want have to stress about the payment of an abortion. 

SEPEDA-MILLER, KIANNAH. "Democratic Illinois House OKs Public Funding for Abortions."U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report, 25 Apr. 2017. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

It's interesting to note that poor women are more likely to have abortions.  Poor women are more likely to have their health insurance with Medicaid.  So, when poor women who use Medicaid want abortions, should their Medicaid cover the termination of their pregnancy. 

The critical question with abortion is the issue of when a zygote or embryo or fetus becomes a child.  At some point in the pregnancy, the baby is a human child, and should be protected, unless there are complications that endanger the mother’s life or possibly defects that mean the child will die within seconds or hours of birth.  But, when does this point stand?  Is it within minutes of fertilization of the egg, or the zygote's implantation into the wall of the uterus?  Is it in the eighth week of development, the 10th week, the 12th week, the 15th week, the 20th week, the 22nd week, or when?  So long as the thing in the woman is not a human child, abortions seem morally neutral, or possibly beneficial.  A person who doesn't want a child, is too young or too poor to rear the child, and wants to terminate a pregnancy before the embryo has become a child is possibly doing something meritorious.  But, when an abortion is performed after the threshold has been crossed, then an abortion is essentially the killing of a child, and it is morally objectionable. 

Very few Americans think that the embryo is a human child in the first week or two of development, and most people are not opposed to abortions performed in the first month or first six weeks of a pregnancy.  Those who do oppose abortions even in the first hours or weeks of a pregnancy almost always base their opposition on religious beliefs, and our government is supposed to stay out of theological and religious disputes.  

Opposing public spending on abortions on the basis of cost seems odd to me.  The costs of allowing a poor and unwilling mother bear a child are potentially far higher to that mother and society in general than the relatively modest cost of an abortion.  The main objection to public-funded abortions that appeals to me is the idea that some people take such a strong and deeply-held objection to abortions that we ought to respect their strong feelings and refrain from using public expenditure on such a controversial procedure.  Let abortions be funded by private charities and non-profit corporations.  I say this argument has some appeal to me, but I do not say it is persuasive.  I actually hold no firm opinion on this matter; I'm inclined to desire that abortions are legal and affordable and accessible, but I'm also inclined to oppose abortions and desire a society in which no woman chooses to have an abortion. 

I recommend the ACLU fact sheet about public funding for abortions. 

A television station in Chicago covered this issue

Public broadcasting in Urbana-Champaign covered this bill as well

Monday, April 24, 2017

Student writes complaining of Medicare's caps on physical therapy services

To Whom It May Concern, 
I have resided in Illinois for my life.  I live in Greenfield, Illinois, which, if you are not sure, it’s a small town and everyone is here to help one another.  I used to work at Blue Cross Blue Shield as a Customer Representative and due an unforeseen stroke, I had to quit work.  As a community as well as a former BCBS representative, we are there to help other people.  We see other people who been through the best and worst of things try to get better and move on with their lives.  We also take care of the elderly and people with sickness, cancer etc., and we try to help out by taking care of each other.  We are a tight knit community.
I am also not a big fan of politics.  I want the people to get into their positions by what they stand for, be listening and “go with my gut feeling” so we can see some movement in our policies.

In that regard, I want to speak to you about Medicare and Physical Therapy for people with Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. People that have these diseases do benefit from repeated physical and speech therapy.  Their quality of life depends on these benefits to gain a sense of normality.  I have been working with a woman, ____, who has Parkinson’s disease for about a year now, and her condition has taken a down-ward spiral over the last couple of years.  She used to work at the ______ _______, and although she had this disease, she could still work.  About ten years ago, she was taken off working because her tremors were getting so bad.  She used to walk, but now she is confined to a wheelchair.  She now has a nerve receptor to handle the tremors and she has been signed up to receive physical and speech therapy to gain some access to walking and swallowing techniques.

According to Medicare, “There is currently a combined $1,920 yearly cap for physical therapy and speech-language therapy, and a separate $1,920 yearly cap for occupational therapy.”  I know there can be an extension for additional services, however, after the $1,920 year-cap, it’s not getting approved through Medicare, and the facilities do not want to extend their services in fear on not getting paid.  That would become the patient’s responsibility.  Patients cannot afford to go under for physical and speech therapy.  How would they recover?

I have seen ____ progress immensely with the therapy she has received but once that happens she has to start all over again to regain her strength back.  It’s very sad to see her start over and over again to only gain her where she was before she stopped going to therapy.  She could actually get up and walk!  Her body responded well to the therapy.  She actually could feel her gaining strength! That also affected using the bathroom and showers.  She didn’t get so close to falling but, after a month or two she lost all her strength and she ended right back where she was before.  It breaks my heart.

If we can use Medicare and have guidelines to approve extended visits, such a policy would be great.  If they could send in records to show what improvements they have made with the physical therapy and speech therapy, to acknowledge what they did, then Medicare could cover it. I understand that some people will not make any improvements, and I understand that when there is no clear sign of effectiveness it makes sense to have a cap and say that after spending a certain amount and showing no benefit, that can be the end for the year.  However, when people show improvement, the cap is too low; the people who should continue therapy will only gain strength with momentum and possibly have a pain free life if they get continuous therapy, so the cap on therapeutic services is very harmful and destructive.  I know this is newer to Medicare with Parkinson’s and MS, so if we could take a look at this, we could improve Medicare for people who are relying on services.  And let’s face it, $1,920 would not get very far with therapy, but that would really help those who need it and want to stay in their home without the use of nursing home and skilled care.  To me, that would increase the payments going out, but would be a lot less for a nursing home care.

I appreciate your time and attention to this matter.
Warm regards,

[Student Name]

A Pro-Life student urges politicians to protect funding for Planned Parenthood

To The Honorable Senators of Illinois, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth,

Greetings, today I am writing to you to express my concern for the funding of Planned Parenthood. Over the years there has been many a debate about the morality of Planned Parenthood and whether their services are right or wrong. Even though I myself am an avid pro-lifer and have participated in several pro-life events such as the March for Life in Washington D.C., this is not what I want my letter to be about. I simply aim to address the issue of the allocation of funds for the Planned Parenthood program.

Despite the bad reputation among many of us who are pro-Life, which Planned Parenthood has earned itself over the years with many scandals, the program does have many good things to offer to our community. These good things include STD testing, birth control, cancer screenings, and their sex ed program. In 2014 Planned Parenthood helped 4,218,149 with STI/STD treatment and testing alone (PPFA pg. 2). In that same year they provided contraception to 2,945,059 people (PPFA pg. 2). These statistics alone prove that Planned Parenthood does more than just terminate pregnancies. 

Few would argue that Planned Parenthood is all bad and that their work in treating STDs and cancer screenings is not a valued asset to our society. However, there are people like myself who are deeply troubled by the idea of our tax money funding procedures that we so vehemently oppose. In 2014 Planned Parenthood received $528 million dollars from the government alone (Kurtzleben np).  That money counts as 40% of their total revenue (Kurzleben np).  Realistically it makes sense that not all of the tax money goes to abortions; however, people who stand on the side of pro-life do not wish for a single penny of their hard earned money to go to abortion. However, many would agree that the money the government allocates to Planned Parenthood is still useful and necessary.

Therefore, I propose that there be a policy that dictates where and how the money the government gives to Planned Parenthood is used. This policy would also require Planned Parenthood to provide the public with financial statements for every penny of their $528 million dollar revenue. The government could make it simple for Planned Parenthood by giving out their funds in the form of grants that can only be used for a certain aspect of Planned Parenthoods programing. For instance say the government only allow 100 of the 528 million to be used for the distribution of condoms overseas in impoverished nations. 

Despite how people feel towards Planned Parenthood, they are the “leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and the nation's largest provider of sex education” (Parenthood np).  I think that having a policy like the one I proposed would be an excellent compromise to the pro-life, pro-choice battle that all too often places Planned Parenthood in the crossfires. 

Thank you for your time and attention.
[Student's Name]


Kurtzleben, Danielle. “Fact Check: How Does Planned Parenthood Spend That Government Money?”. NPR it’s all politics. August 5, 2015.

PPFA — Planned Parenthood Federation of America. (2015a). 2014 Annual Affiliate Service Census Executive Summary. New York: Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. (An internal report). _____. (2015b). 2014-2015 Annual Report. New York: Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. 

Parenthood, Planned. "Planned Parenthood at a Glance." Planned Parenthood. N.p., 17 Feb. 2017. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. 

This is an interesting example of allowing a political leader to know that although you are representing a particular camp in some controversial issue, you do not necessarily support all the opinions associated with your camp.  You are pro-life, and against abortions, and you especially do not want money spent on abortions.  Many who agree with you on that issue want to defund Planned Parenthood.  You are suggesting that despite your pro-life stance, you still want to protect Planned Parenthood and ensure that it receives government payment for the services other than abortion that is delivers.

As another aside, Planned Parenthood is already prevented from using federal dollars on abortions.  See the Fact Check story from several years ago about this. Planned Parenthood describes how it gets federal dollars mainly through Medicaid and Title X for preventive health services (never abortion, which cannot be paid for with federal dollars).  So, to some extent, the policy you are advocating for here is already one that exists. 

TANF may help families out of poverty, but it is too limited

Here is another student paper about TANF
For this assignment, we were asked to examine a policy that was related to welfare. I chose to focus on TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). I want to point out the positives, the negatives, and give reasons for why I believe it should become a policy change. TANF is a federally-funded program that is run by the states; it provides limited cash assistance to low-income parents and their children (Family Equality Council, 2016). The program was designed to help families reach sustainability and eventually be able to provide for themselves. In order to receive this assistance there are requirements that must be met.

Since TANF is run by the states, some requirements may be different for who can qualify for this assistance. TANF is temporary, so the requirement of receiving cash assistance from federal funds cannot exceed sixty months. “However, states can exceed the 60 month limit for up to 20 percent of their caseload based on hardship” (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2015). Work requirements are also set for the individual to receive cash assistance. The states are to impose sanctions (reduce or terminate benefits), if the individual is not meeting requirements of work activities. Most states have chosen to create the “full-family” sanctions. This simply means that failure to meet the requirements will result in removing benefits for the entire family.

This welfare program has many positives and many negatives. For instance, it allows for the opportunity of eliminating poverty for families who receive the benefit. Many of the causes of poverty are lack of jobs, inadequate housing, and poor nutrition. This program allows for the family who may be receiving low income, to receive a little extra to feed their children, pay rent and utilities, and get a car fixed up so it can carry a parent to work. This is always a benefit of cash benefit programs compared to in-kind benefit programs.  The TANF program in some states also allows you to meet with caseworkers in order to set goals. These goals include future plans to stop receiving TANF and be able to be stable with finances. The program is just not a free ride for people who do not want to work or be lazy. You must go through meeting requirements, and meet multiple times with your caseworker.

Although it seems that trying to help assist a family financially is great, there are also drawbacks of this program. The idea that you have to prove yourself eligible starts with the assumption that applicants are unworthy or undeserving until they have proved otherwise. Why not start with the idea that the amount of income you receive is not good enough to support a family of three, and this is a program that may help you? The other issue that ought to be disparaged is the time limit. While the time limit may cause the individual to want to get goals arranged for the future, what if this is the only option? For some people, they have tried multiple things and it seems no matter what, they cannot reach their full potential. After their sixty months have run out they will still have no source of income, and they will be unable to provide for themselves or their family.  Consider all the possible cases: persons who don’t quite meet the diagnostic criteria for a cognitive disability, but really have intellectual limitations that make them difficult to employ; persons who don’t meet the criteria for a full disability, so they can’t qualify for SSI or other forms of assistance, but in fact, they are very close to being disabled, perhaps due to mental or physical health problems; persons who have reoccurring health problems that make them not very dependable as workers (they miss too many days), so they lose jobs and can’t find and keep work for more than a year at a time, but over the course of fifteen or twenty years they have used up their five years of TANF; persons who are in fact a little lazy, a little sneaky, or a little unpleasant to have as employees, but they aren’t actually criminal or menacing or belligerent or entirely non-productive, they are just minimally productive.  Society has people like these, but capitalism doesn’t offer much scope for these people to succeed and become self-sufficient. TANF could be a policy that kept these people out of harm’s way, preventing them from ending up in homeless shelters, jails, hospital emergency rooms, and courtrooms.  

With both the pros and cons of the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Family), I do believe that there should be some policy change. The time limit should be extended to families who need it. As a caseworker, you should be continuously taking into account how a family is benefitting from the program. However, if you notice that a family may almost be to their full potential and needs and extra month, extend their cash assistance. I also believe that there should be a set amount of money to be given to family sizes throughout all of the states. The federal government should be able to provide each state with the same amount of funding so that one family does not receive more than the other. Who says that this parent is not meeting the same requirements, but not receiving the same amount? With these reasons I believe the TANF program does work to help assist families, however could definitely be improved.

Policy Basics: An Introduction to TANF. (2015, June 15). Retrieved March 1, 2017, from

Temporary Assistance for Needy Familes. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2017, from

A student considers the TANF program

A social welfare system provides assistance to needy individuals and families.  The types and amount of welfare available to individuals and families vary depending on the country, state or region.  Examples of social welfare in the United States include Medicare, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food benefits, and Section 8 housing assistance.  

The 1996 welfare reform enacted by the Clinton Administration ended Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) as an entitlement program and replaced the program with a block grant, called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).  TANF is a federally-funded program run by states that provides limited cash assistance to low-income parents and their children.  To be eligible for TANF, individuals must participate in work activity within two years of receiving assistance, and families are limited to a total of five years’ assistance in a lifetime.  If an individual refuses work requirements, states have the option to reduce or shut off assistance to that family.  Another important feature to TANF concerns minors.  Minors who are parents cannot receive TANF assistance unless they are living at home with their parents or in another adult supervised setting.  Minors must attend high school or an alternative educational program as soon as their child is twelve weeks old. 

TANF is funded not only by the federal government, but also by the states.  The federal government gives states a fixed block grant each year.  States that meet specified criteria may also qualify for federal contingency funds.  In 2013, states reported spending about $15 billion of nonfederal money on services intended to meet TANF’s goals. The Federal government spends about the same amount, with about $15.8 billion expected for TANF grants to the states from the Department of Health and Human Services for 2017.

TANF comes with multiple positives and negatives to the program.  Positives to the program include:
  1. TANF has helped provide people with food, medical assistance, and other services.  
  2. The program helps individuals stay motivated and teaches them to meet their needs.  
Negatives to the program include: 
  1. Some people abuse it and do not tell the truth about their status.  
  2. Since it is a cash assistance program, individuals who receive the cash can spend it on anything.  Although the money is supposed to go to necessary items such as food, clothing, and rent, some individuals are spending their cash on alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.  
  3. There are also people who do not want to be part of the program because they are embarrassed or for other personal reasons. 
Today, there are many different flaws in the TANF program.  TANF only exists on a short-term basis leaving those who depended on it hopeless.  The continuing growth of the human population is making TANF become ineffective because of the insufficient budget.  Another flaw within the program is that while states can set their own time limit policies, they cannot provide cash assistance from federal TANF funds for longer than 60 months to a family that includes an adult recipient.  This leaves individuals without a source of income. 

In conclusion, there are many positives and negatives to TANF today.  TANF over the years has helped low income families stay on their feet, pay for food, and put a roof over families’ heads.  While TANF aims to assist in the prevention of poverty, it only serves to keep its individuals on the brink of poverty.  

Here is another list of benefits and harms of the TANF program:

1) It is a cash benefit.
This is beneficial because it allows recipients to have some autonomy and dignity, as they may manage their own money.  It also maximizes their freedom, because it allows them to use the money for whatever is their most pressing need.
This can be harmful, because some TANF recipients have very poor financial literacy, and they may waste or squander their cash benefit.  Some who suffer from addictions will use their benefits on pursuing their addictions.

2) It offers only very little money.
This is beneficial because the small benefit levels do not attract people to become poor so that they qualify for benefits.  It also is so low that even when people receive TANF, they need more money, and so they will look for work to earn more money, and that will help them become independent and get off of welfare.
This is harmful because even poor persons should live with dignity and have their basic needs met.  During the periods when people need TANF, they need to focus on their parenting, or focus on building their skills, or focus on finding a good job.  If the benefit level is so low that they must hustle around and try to make ends meet, they will not have the energy or time to devote themselves to the tasks that are more important.  Also, the low benefit levels may make it impossible for people to have phones or cars, and so they may miss opportunities to take jobs or study.

3) There are time limits.  If you have not found a job in a certain amount of time, you benefits can be cut.  After five years in of receiving benefits in your life, you may never receive any more benefits.
This is beneficial because it makes it impossible for people to become dependent over a long period of time.  Since people can lose their benefits if they don’t find employment, they will be more willing to enter the labor force and work for an employer. This should make poor people more subservient and diligent in their work, since they will fear being fired, especially if they have no benefits left to gain when they are out of work.
This is harmful because some people may have chronic health problems or mental health issues or other life circumstances that put them in a situation where they need assistance for more than five years, or may take them a long time to find a reasonable employment opportunity.  The time limits will cut off support for the children as well as the parents, so that children with parents who have lost their benefits may suffer. 

4) It can be humiliating and complicated to apply for the TANF benefit, and the regular monitoring of your situation by a caseworker can be an invasion of your responsibility.
This can be beneficial because fewer people will apply for benefits.  Also, people who receive benefits can be closely monitored and coached or encouraged by their caseworkers, so that they will be less able to cheat, and more able to work toward their plans for self-sufficiency.
This can be harmful because the stigma associated with receiving TANF may push families who could use the cash benefit away from gaining it, and they will have even more financial trouble while going through a spell of economic hardship because they have not gained access to the resources that are supposed to help them. The caseworkers may treat TANF recipients with contempt or might try to enforce their own values on the recipients, possibly giving bad advice or generally making clients miserable.

5) the program is generally too small, offers benefits that are inadequate, and is too harsh in its sanctions and benefit limits.
This can be beneficial because it reduces government spending and punishes the poor for whatever behaviors brought them to the point where they have become poor.

This is harmful because it feeds the American hatred of poor people, and punishes people for life circumstances that are usually not their fault, which is unfair.