Government benefits provided to people with little or no income are referred as welfare benefits. The term “welfare” can refer to a number of different programs in the United States, but often refer to cash assistance. In some cases, this money may be used however the recipient wishes. In others, the money can only be used for specific uses, such as food stamps that can only be used to buy groceries. The welfare state expands on this concept to include services such as universal healthcare and unemployment insurance. To what extent are welfare measures necessary in democratic countries ? What can be the abuses and how could we solutionate those
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1/ the importance of welfare
A primary advantages of welfare benefits is promoting the health of the people receiving the benefits Since there is a general correlation between income and health. People who have no income and no health care will, statistically, live shorter and less healthy lives than people who have enough income to buy proper food and to pay for medical care.
Support for Children
While many adults are able to make choices about how much income they choose to earn, children can’t . Children must generally rely on the money that their parents are able to make. Welfare payments, particularly those that are directed for the care of children, allow children to grow up with better nutrition, medical care and possessions that make for a more comfortable standard of living.
The provision of welfare has been shown to lower crime. Although some may argue that welfare constitutes a bribe, providing people with some income takes away an incentive to commit property crimes designed to provide the person with money or property. Welfare alleviates some of an individual’s economic need, thereby lowering crime and increasing the general stability of society as a whole.
Another advantage of welfare benefits is that it more evenly distributes a society’s wealth. Some many consider this a benefit in itself. However, others may consider providing money to people who did not earn it to be unfair. There is, according to Arnold, a demonstrated correlation between income distribution in a society and that society’s stability. Societies with greater inequities in wealth generally suffer more social and political turmoil.
Social welfare programs today provide assistance to the elderly, the unemployed, the disabled and the destitute. While these may at first glance appear to be noble undertakings, there are some who suggest there are disadvantages of the programs, both to the individual and to society as a whole.
Among some of the majors disadvantages suggested is the high cost of these programs. Opponents of social welfare programs often argue that governments simply cannot sustain the cost of providing financial support to so many elements of society. Between 1984 and 2002, social welfare programs, including Social Security and Medicare, accounted for between 49 and 60 percent of federal government spending.
Pointing to Harvard University Professor of Economics Gregory Manikw’s “10 Principles of Economics,” opponents suggest social welfare programs, particularly for the underemployed or unemployed, create disincentives for people to find gainful employment. Manikw asserts that people respond to incentives. For example, they work because there is an incentive to earn an income and support themselves. Social welfare programs risk removing this incentive by providing income for someone who is not working or who is unwilling to work, meaning they no longer have a need to produce.
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According to Mankiw, a society’s standard of living is dependent on its ability to produce goods efficiently. More workers producing more goods increases the economic output of a society, thereby increasing the amount of income. When people lose the incentive to produce, the nation’s productivity goes down and income decreases. This can in turn increase the burden on governments to support the welfare system and result in ever higher costs. When governments print too much money, the rate of inflation increases, raising the price of goods for everyone.
Many opponents of social welfare programs suggest these programs create circumstances in which governments gain too much control over individual citizens. Citizens who rely on government programs for income and sustenance are in a position to allow government to have more say in their individual choices. Opponents argue that social programs allow governments to impose rules on day-to-day choices of welfare recipients because the government is paying for the services. Proponents further argue that even if government does not currently impose such rules, they may assert their ability to do so in the future.