Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cuts in social welfare spending are harmful

There are opposing views on social welfare.  Not one person is right about the definition or ideology of social welfare. Social welfare programs have grown, shrunk, stabilized, and declined over the years.  Many want to eliminate programs because they think that millions are taking advantage of them.  The sad part is that thousands need these social welfare programs to survive.  

As a social worker there will be obstacles and clients that will make things difficult, but a great social worker will gather those resources to help clients reach their goals.  The majority of government officials and the general public feel that the majority of people on public aid are taking advantage of the programs. What is interesting is that the general public, who once were part of the middle class find themselves in the same situation as the poor and they may now understand that there are some who need those welfare programs   

  If they do get rid of welfare programs, where will these people receive assistance?  This is dehumanizing the life of another human.  This bothers me and I want to get others to understand that not all recipients of welfare programs put themselves there.  Our own country did this by eliminating jobs and outsourcing to foreign countries to save money. Groups of people need to be educated and learn that some people do not want to be on these programs but circumstances play a role.  

I strongly believe that government intervention is necessary in order to control and regulate social welfare while keeping ethics in mind, but at the same time, it is not necessary for everyone. People have the ability to change their lives for the better with hard work and dedication, but I also know that in some cases that people cannot help themselves or get ahead regardless of how hard they work.  They need the assistance to get by.

So far, there have been several topics talked about in class that affect me personally. Poverty and discrimination affect me directly and I can empathize with others in similar situations.  Being a social worker will be a difficult job, struggling to find the necessary resources out there to better help clients that I will come into contact with.  Cuts in funding have affected all the areas of the economy, especially education and social welfare programs that affect the poor, disabled, and others who have lost jobs, homes, and families.  

  Simply getting into college is a challenge for everyone. The difficulties do not end once you have received that much hoped for college acceptance letter. The truth is that many students with skills, qualifications and a desire for a college education are stopped short in their quest for knowledge and better employment opportunities by the high costs of tuition and student living expenses. Unless a tuition-needy student wins the lottery, his or her most realistic options for getting a college education are interest-consuming college loans or scholarships. Most scholarships are difficult to find or they do not apply to certain groups of people.  One of my biggest problems with education is that our government wants to give free education to immigrants, but most are here illegally and I struggle with the fact that they are offered a free education when one of my children has loans and no job to pay them back.  

In response to this financial need, many corporations, government agencies and civil groups have instituted scholarship programs that give students more of a fighting chance in the high competitive race for financial aid. This aid is going to be affected by the education funding cuts. These cuts would decrease the number of professionals that are going to graduate in the future, which at the same time would affect the technological and scientific growth of the country, fields in which the United States holds first place in the world. Also, this reduction in education funds would reduce the options for young people making them even more confused about what life has to offer them and what they can do in the future. In some cases this situation can confuse the student so much, putting them in a situation which can destroy their view of the American Dream.  But, even in today’s society having a college degree does not guarantee a job in these economic times.  I think the schools should look at the careers that are promising and offer degrees that can potentially lead to a job.  There are many degrees that are offered through many colleges that do not pertain to any job that is out there, leaving millions of students with loans that they cannot pay back.  Colleges need to stop giving out degrees that will not land a student a job after they have worked so hard.  This type of scenario leads young adults down a path of destruction, possibly depression or other destructive things in their lives which could potentially put them in a social welfare program that also is being affected by cuts within our local, state, and federal governments.

Cuts in social welfare programs are affecting other people like children, seniors, the disabled, mental patients who cannot do anything to support themselves. This will create bigger problems, because we would have more homeless people and more crime, pushing the economy to fall even more. All this together would decrease the standard of living of the country and would leave a very difficult situation for future generations. There are ways to fix the state of Illinois’s budget issues if everyone would work together to make a better situation for everyone involved.

You make a very important point when you observe that people prefer not to receive assistance.  Surely 96% to 99% of all adults would rather be self-sufficient and independent with their finances while enjoying a decent life compared to the alternative of needing to rely on the charity of others or government programs to provide them with the resources to survive.  The question is what prevents people from being independent and self-sufficient.  Some people have disabilities or health problems or mental health issues or developmental disabilities that would make it difficult for them to be financially independent, but policies can enhance their autonomy.  Also, on one hand, we probably expect too little of many people with these problems, and we fail to create workplaces or economic roles where such persons could thrive and contribute.  Yet, on the other hand, we are also probably guilty of sometimes expecting too much, and demanding things of persons when there is no reasonable way for those persons to meet the expectations we place upon them. 

   Among those who are dependent, some will have developmental disabilities or physical disabilities that would make it difficult for them to find employment, but we are making progress in finding ways to remove barriers and prejudices and human-imposed limitations on many persons with disabilities or developmental issues.  Others in the population of persons who are dependent probably cope with serious health problems or severe mental health problems that make economic productivity difficult or impossible for them.  It is generally a good idea to help these people feel they are contributing, and help them to get routine in their lives, and give them things they can accomplish, or ensure they have opportunities to have meaning in their lives.  Yet, it may be the case that the free market doesn’t provide such things, and we may need to be creative and find ways to include persons with such problems in our economic life without giving them a sense that they are parasitical or worthless simply because they don’t make significant economic contributions. 

Others who are dependent may have personality disorders, or addictions, or other behavioral issues that make it difficult for them to find and hold a job. For these people we ought to have treatments to help them change and become healthier and enhance their functioning, and until we provide such services, many of these people will not be able to thrive in the labor market, and they will be dependent.  Most people who are dependent on welfare are just going through a phase in their lives where they are temporarily down and poor.  They will naturally work their way back into more prosperous circumstances, and their temporary dependence should really be of no concern to us.  Naturally there will also always be a group of unemployed persons who would be employed if we created an economy with full employment, but our free enterprise system depends on their being a threat of poverty and destitution as a spur to make workers accept bad jobs with low pay, so there will always be healthy and capable people who can’t find work, and temporarily need help while they continue looking for some way to get back into the economic life where they can earn their livelihood.  Finally, there must be a group of persons who are sturdy and healthy and quite capable of functioning well, and they could work, but they refuse to do so, and prefer to use the welfare system. But how many of the dependent Americans really fall into this category?  I think if we guessed 2% or even 1% we would be exaggerating their numbers by at least tenfold. 

Once people see things as you and I do, they will hesitate to cut welfare and human services.  As things stand now, there is a narrative of moral deviance and the poor.  People who use welfare programs are dehumanized and described as reprehensible and lazy.  

But one thing I’m not so certain of is your claim that universities must cease offering degrees that lack vocational direction.  Certainly vocational training has its place in higher education, but colleges are not tools of the capitalist system with a function of producing good workers.  Rather, universities produce citizens, scientific research, gains in knowledge, and graduates who have a set of skills and moral frameworks that ought to make them better people.  They ought to have improved their communication and thinking skills in ways that will make them better friends, better family members, better citizens, better neighbors, and also better workers.  Most college students will probably not find employment in a field closely related to their major or academic concentration, and that is fine.  

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