Economic Circumstances That Initiated the Creation Term Paper

Pages: 12 (3494 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Sociology


The objective of this work is the research the economic circumstances that initiated the creation of the welfare system and how the welfare system has influenced today's economy.


The expected outcomes of the research in this study is to understand the reason that the welfare system was created and the impact that the welfare system has had upon the economy in the United States today.

The significance of this research is the knowledge that will be added to previous study in this subject area.

The methodology of this study is one of a qualitative nature and will be conducted through a review of relevant peer-reviewed literature in this subject area.

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The work of Berlet (2006) entitled: God, Calvin, and Social Welfare - Part Three: Roots of the Social Welfare Debate" states that: "The debates over social welfare and other domestic social policies in America today are shaped by three religious currents within Protestantism. These theological views are seldom discussed openly, yet they play a powerful role in determining federal and state public policies toward the impoverished, the ill and disabled, and those unable to find work at a living wage." (Berlet, 2006) Berlet states that the policies for social reform as set out by Liberals and Progressives are "legacies of ideas pioneered by the Quakers, the Unitarians, and other dissident religious reformers who rejected the notions of the early Calvinists and evangelicals." (Berlet, 2006) the history of welfare in the United States can be traced to the New Deal, which had its basis in "terms of the 'deserving' poor, since most people without jobs knew that it was not by their choice and were willing to contemplate the government taking over economic responsibilities if no one else could. Even the crown of the New Deal, the Social Security system (1938) was sold as a retirement plan that depended on one's own earning." (the Paternal State, the Liberal State, and the Welfare State, nd) it was however, revealed in 1960 that the contributions to social security were simply taxes for benefits that could not be "expanded or revoked at the political will of Congress." (Paternal State, the Liberal State, and the Welfare State, nd) in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson began what was known as a 'war on poverty' based upon liberal mottos including "not a handout, just a hand." (Paternal State, the Liberal State, and the Welfare State, nd) This school of thought believed that "with a little help, with the best modern sociological knowledge, the poor would quickly be up and off their own." (Paternal State, the Liberal State, and the Welfare State, nd) the creation of Medicaid and Medicare during Johnson's presidency was geared toward provision of medical care for the poor and elderly. This 'progressive' ideal resulted in a belief that "everyone was simply owed an income" with no differentiation between deserving and undeserving poor and no differentiation between virtue and vice. These ideas were "presented by the media as enlightened and compassionate ideas, anyone believing otherwise was consistently put on the defensive and portrayed as the most cruel, selfish and mean spirited persons imaginable." (Paternal State, the Liberal State, and the Welfare State, nd) There are several forms of government to be understood in relation to the welfare state, which are those as follows:

Paternalistic/Conservative/Traditionalistic Government: this form of government holds that law has the power to enforce virtues and punishment to address vice. Within this framework putting drug users in prison is for the purpose of protection society from these individuals;

Liberal/Libertarian Government: this theory of government holds that virtue receives natural rewards and vice receives natural punishments. Law is for the purpose of justice and for communicating additional punishment for things that are questionable as to whether they are indeed vices.

Social/Welfare/Liberal/Maternalistic Government: this form of government does not make morality judgments related to vice and virtue unless it is to blame society-at-large for creation of individual's vices and in that framework society is responsible to protect themselves from the consequences resulting form their actions. This school of thought holds that placing drug users in prison is for the betterment of the drug users. (Paternal State, the Liberal State, and the Welfare State, nd)

Say's Law is related which states that "life gets better as production, of things people actually want increases..." Or supply creates demand, which means, "that overproduction in a free economy is actually impossible." (Paternal State, the Liberal State, and the Welfare State, nd) the work entitled: "The Impact of the Welfare State on the American Economy" published by the Joint Economic Committee Study relates that while there is an existing agreement of a broad nature that economic well-being is enhanced through government functions, "the burdens of excessive government spending can reduce economic growth relative to what it would otherwise be." (Paternal State, the Liberal State, and the Welfare State, nd) This 1995 study is much like the ongoing debate in the United States today in that the debate is centered around budget policy and questions related to the spending practices and levels of the government become counterproductive. Gallaway and Vedder (1995) state findings from a research study that: "...the optimal level of government spending is approximately 17.6 of GDP and past this "the resources consume by government impose more costs on economy than benefits." (Paternal State, the Liberal State, and the Welfare State, nd) it is related additionally that when government "grows beyond the level that is optimal for the economy, it introduces inefficiencies that increase the cost of producing goods and services. The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management document entitled: "Overview of the Nixon-Ford Administration at the Department of Labor, 1969-1977 states that the primary goal of the Nixon and Ford administrations was the development of a "new working partnership termed 'New Federalism.' (U.S. Department of Labor, 1977) the theoretical base of New Federalism is "the unifying theme of revenue sharing which is a principle that reflects the belief that "decisions are better made when they are made by those directly concerned, that the Federal Government should supplement rather than supplant the capabilities and resources of local governments; and that local officials and citizens were willing and able to carry out their own responsibilities." (U.S. Department of Labor, 2007) New Federalism worked toward reinvesting the responsibility and decision making capacities to state and local governments through enabling the local governments with necessary resources to assume these responsibilities as well as being characterized by "substantial freedom and flexibility to tailor pogroms to local conditions and priorities." (U.S. Department of Labor, 1977) the primary purpose of New Federalism was to "remove the Federal presence as much as possible and to substitute in its place local decision making, flexibility, and accountability..." (U.S. Department of Labor, 1977) through block grants and revenue sharing instead of the "categorical programs." (U.S. Department of Labor, 1977) Within this framework, agencies of the government would be easier to access and "more responsive and effective in delivering their services. This goal was to be accomplished by decentralizing operations, strengthening the role of State and local governments and by improving agency program performance." (U.S. Department of Labor, 1977)

According to Professor Kamerman in the work entitled: The Fallout of Welfare Reform - Social Work Experts Predict Disaster with a Ray of Hope": "The welfare reform legislation signed into law in August constitutes the elimination of one particular program -- a.F.D.C. (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). From the perspective of poor children and their mothers, this can have very severe and punitive consequences. At the present time, there are about 14 million people receiving a.F.D.C., of whom more than 9 million are children. There are estimates that there will be one million additional poor children as a result of the eligibility changes and cuts in funding for welfare. The general public thinks that welfare is this enormously expensive program. The reality is that that cost of welfare is about 1 to 2% of federal social expenditures -- it's a very tiny portion of the budget. But it has this mystique, this symbolism, this stigma attached, that people think a fortune is being spent." The time was ripe for a major change in welfare. The problem is that it got distorted by conservatives in the 104th Congress who used it as an occasion to press forward their views of how people should behave. There is a fantasy that these changes are going to significantly reduce out-of-wedlock childbirth and teenage pregnancy. But very little attention is being paid to the consequences for children." (Columbia University Record, 1996) in the same publication, Professor Jackson states that: "Very little is known about how employment affects single mothers with low incomes, particularly black women, who are disproportionately represented among those receiving public assistance. Generally, when we look at minority mothers,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Economic Circumstances That Initiated the Creation.  (2007, October 21).  Retrieved September 26, 2021, from

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"Economic Circumstances That Initiated the Creation."  October 21, 2007.  Accessed September 26, 2021.