And he (2000) Democratic Presidential candidate) if it proves to be a failure. ” (Lehrer, 1996 www. pbs. org) However, the report of the demise of those who reply upon the welfare system, proved to be premature. In August of 1996, after eighteen months of debate, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act were passed. This welfare reform ended sixty one years of unfettered welfare; welfare which guaranteed payments to every poor family with children, regardless of their reluctance to work, despite their ability to do so.
There were some in Congress and within the American public, who equated such actions as no less than starving children and families. Some of the guidelines for the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act included the following: Adults who receive welfare payments, must go to work within two years. States needed to have 25% of their caseloads working in less than a year and 50% working by 2002. (Wolf, 2006 www. usatoday. com) Also, each adult is limited to no more than five years of cash assistance during his or her lifetime.
The federal government, as spurned on by the American people, was telling fellow Americans that one must work for the things that they have. Let us now fast forward ten years in order to see how, if at all, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act improved the lives of those who had previously taken advantage of this nation’s unfettered welfare system. There will be families who have fallen through the cracks and who, after ten years, still live below the poverty line and sadly, will never be able to escape the crippling effects that welfare has on the spirit and independence of the American public.
However, there are a great number of people who have benefited from the force that the American government, spurned on by a disgusted American public, concerning the desire to put as many people to work as possible. Mary Bradford is one such example. In 1996, Mary, the mother of three children, upon being forced to get off of welfare, secured a job at the Victorian trading Company. In 1996, she earned only $7 an hour but she worked hard, came to work every day and in 2006, she more than doubled her income to $15 an hour. ‘Most likely, I’ll retire from here.
” (Wolf, 2006 www. usatoday. com) Bradford states. Simply put, had Mrs. Bradford not been forced to find a job on her own, there is little to suggest that she would have been compelled to get off of welfare. This was the reality for millions of people who, from years of receiving free payments from the government, had lost the incentive to work. How many of us, if we could ignore the disappointment that came from being on welfare, would quit our job if we could receive free checks from the government if they were allowed to do so?
Untold millions would as more and more Americans see the rat race that is their job, simply not worth the headache and mental expense. What keeps them working is the desire for a greater income, the inability of the government to increase their welfare program to people who really do not need it and the shame that many people hold regarding the welfare system and which keep them away from the welfare lines. “The law signed by President Clinton on August 22, 1996 has transformed the way the nation helps its neediest citizens.
Gone is the promise of a government check for parents raising children in poverty. In its place are 50 state programs to help those parents get jobs. ” (Wolf, 2006 www. usatoday. com) Such statements are music to the eyes and ears of millions of Americans who are willing to help people help themselves but who are violently against returning to the days in which people were allowed to collect government checks, simply out of the lack of desire to better their own lives.
America is a compassionate country that was built on a meritocracy and self responsibility. The two can coexist with each other. “In 1994, when 5. 1 million families were on welfare, more than a million have had their payments discontinued because they did not adhere to the guidelines that were put in place and which only those who followed such rules, could expect to continue to receive their welfare payments from the government.