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Welfare

“No one likes the current welfare system.”As described in a report edited by Isabel V. Sawhill, an author of TheUrban Institute,not many individuals were pleased with the welfare system preceding its reform in 1996.Governors complained that federal law was overly prescriptive, and were willing to take less federal money in return for more flexibility.The public believed welfare to be an “anti-work” and “anti-family” program.Welfare recipients found dealing with the system degradingand demoralizing; most would prefer to work.At this time, many believed that welfare benefits (including food stamps) were insufficient to move a family above the poverty line.It did not provide sufficient state flexibility, did not encourage work, did little to reduce poverty, especially among children, and was responsible for the breakdown of the family, especially for a “rising tide of out of wedlock births.”The following year, the Welfare Reform bills were passed.These bills would substantially thwart the current social conflicts on this subject.They would replace Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with block grants to the states with a fixed federal payment.They would also prohibit states from using federal money to provide assistance to families for more than five, and eliminate federal welfare payments to legal immigrants, reduce SSI benefits for children, and make a variety of changes in the Food Stamp Program.This reform program was designed to decrease dependency on government assistance and to shift more responsibility for social programs to states.Supporters of the program argue that the changes will improve administrative efficiency and increase work and earnings by welfare recipients.In general, the program would assist in saving public funds with a minimal change in material hardship and poverty.Critics argue that the changes in welfare spending are so large, that low-income families would be hurt …

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