“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” —Benjamin Franklin, from “On the Price of Corn, and Management of the Poor,” in the The London Chronicle, November 29, 1766
From 7% to 70% Out-of-Wedlock Births
For the last half-century, as a result of welfare-state policies and practices, the number of children born out of wedlock in the African-American community has increased starkly. The 1965 percentage of 7% has risen to 73% in 2015. As a result of the institution of the welfare state—LBJ’s attempt to secure the black vote for Democrats far into the future—the African-American community stopped improving economically and fell into poverty to a much greater extent than previously was the case.
You May Not Save, Earn, or Marry!
The primary reason (beginning in 1965) for the economic decline in the black community, which decimated the African-American nuclear family, is because the mother of the family would be rewarded with more government relief if she were to remain unwed. There was also a financial incentive in place to encourage poor mothers to have more babies, since more money would be awarded. As if this were not bad enough, the government would punish recipients of dole money, by cutting off their welfare checks altogether, if these recipients started to show much in the way of savings by being frugal; furthermore, if a welfare recipient worked part-time, the government would cancel the entire welfare check, rather than deduct the amount of money earned from the welfare check, thereby discouraging the taking of part-time jobs that could later turn into full-time positions.
While the statistics quoted are devastating for blacks, the impact of the welfare state has been felt in all communities. And the trend lines are all indicative of more impoverishment and fewer nuclear families. In many cases, the mothers seem to actively push away the fathers of their children, perhaps out of fear of losing their welfare support if a man becomes too involved and begins helping financially. It is not uncommon that families headed by a single mom share the common feature of the existence of multiple fathers for the children—with all the instability and social chaos that often arises therefrom.
Dads Play a Crucial Role
According to the US Census Bureau, 24 million American children—one out of three—live in homes without a biological father. Thus, there is a “father factor” impacting most of the social issues facing Americans. Children who come from homes with involved fathers come out substantially better than their peers with absent fathers. Here is a list of some things which are affected: family finances, maternal health, child health, child obesity, teen criminality, teen incarceration, teen pregnancy, child abuse, drug abuse, and educational outcomes.
In a study on father involvement during the first 10 years of a child’s life, researchers found father-child contact to be a crucial factor for healthy socio-emotional development and academic achievement. Children with involved fathers had fewer behavior problems and scored higher on reading tests. Even if the father did not live at home with the child, his participation provided important support that improved the lives of his children in measurable ways ( http://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistics). The children who find themselves in an absent-father situation are at greater risk of developing mortal health outcomes and fall victim to crimes with greater frequency. This brings about higher rates of child mortality in families that are on welfare.
Bringing Back the Welfare Reform Act of 1996
In 1996, a bipartisan bill called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 passed the House and Senate by wide margins and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The law was supposed to limit how long one could receive welfare money as well as to place a work requirement on receiving it. These reforms replaced welfare entitlement with a fiscally-responsible program of block grants to the states. “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families” (TANF) gave states more control over welfare programs in exchange for meeting federal work standards written into the law. The philosophy behind the law was a commitment to helping people help themselves.
By 1999, only three years later, poverty had declined substantially. And, by 2001, a mere five years after passage, welfare caseloads were down 58%! Hunger among children had been reduced by half, and almost 2½ million children were no longer living in poverty. Also, the rate of increase in out-of-wedlock births had come down significantly. (For more information, click here: http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/pa435.pdf.)
With such remarkable progress being made in the “war on poverty,” it was, therefore, a shock to many when, in July 2012, in an irresponsible bid to bribe welfare voters in exchange for votes, President Obama stopped enforcing the 1996 law, choosing instead to grow the amount of dependency. What Obama actually did was to communicate to the states that they were allowed to waive the work requirement that was written into the law, thus dictating new law. Obama’s illegal changes to TANF permitted states to reduce or waive the work requirements for welfare recipients and to eliminate the penalties for not working altogether.
By canceling work requirements, the president has threatened the future success of many who have benefited from the law as written. He has also made it certain that families will suffer worse outcomes than they otherwise would with the people’s law still in place, as written by their representatives in Congress. Obama’s singularly destructive will has replaced the collective wisdom of the American people.
The Welfare State Destroys Freedom and Self-Esteem
In the end, government does not help Americans to stay together as families or to become more prosperous. Government gets in the way of the very welfare it claims to generate with its so-called “welfare programs.” And the government only makes matters worse by stepping up its efforts at making people more government-dependent. This is not freedom. It is a form of tyranny that, through its ever-increasing enlargement of dependency, will eventually be the downfall of all Americans.
The ever-rising tax burden, put in place to feed Obama-style dependency programs, will eventually impoverish the working people of this country. Faced with higher tax burdens to pay, the American people and the small-business sector will have less capital to spend on consumer goods or business expansion. The economy will contract as a result, and so, too, will the tax collections needed to support the growing ranks of dependent people.
In the end, the US economy will become even more debt-ridden than it is already. And the mental, emotional, physical, and educational well-being of children will be affected. The situation will also fail to help parents to become the independent and responsible caretakers of their children that they yearn to be—for their own self-esteem as well as for the overall well-being of themselves and their children.
Welfare crushes and kills the human spirit, and it also affects those receiving it mentally, emotionally, and physically as well. Without exaggerating, it can be truthfully told that the only uniform result to be had across communities, from Obama’s reversion to the old ways, is more ignorance, illness, depression, and death. The welfare state crushes and kills the human spirit, and it does the same to its recipients in terms of mental, emotional, and physical outcomes. At best, welfare creates unfree and dependent people. At worst, welfare kills.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com