Welfare Essay Research Paper On October 29

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Welfare Essay, Research Paper On October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed. The crash sent a shock-wave throughout the economy. Banks failed. Businesses closed. Millions found themselves out of work. The Great Depression, which would last through the 1930s, had begun. [Bill of Rights in Action, "Welfare," 1998 pg. 1 paragraph 1] When the Great Depression began, about 18 million elderly, disabled, and single mothers with children already lived at a bare existent level in the United States. State and local governments together with private charities helped these people. By 1933, another 13 million Americans had been thrown out of work. Suddenly, state and local governments and charities could no longer provide even minimum assistance for all those in need. Food riots

broke out. [Bill of Rights in Action, "Welfare," 1998 pg. 1 paragraph 2] The effects of the Depression on poor children was severe. President Franklin D. Roosevelt focused mainly on creating jobs for the masses of unemployed workers, he also backed the idea of federal aid for poor children and other dependent persons. By 1935, a national welfare system had been established for the first time in American history. A Federal welfare system was a radical break from the past. Americans had always prided themselves on having a strong sense of individualism and self-reliance. Many believed that those who couldn’t take care of themselves were to be blamed for their own misfortunes. [Bill of Rights in Action, "Welfare," 1998 pg. 2 paragraph 5-6] In 1909, President

Theodore Roosevelt called a White House conference on how to deal with the problem of poor single mothers and their children. The conference declared that preserving the family in the home was preferable to placing the poor in institutions, which were widely criticized as costly failures. The emphasis during the first two years of President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” was to provide work relief for the millions of unemployed Americans. [Bill of Rights in Action, "Welfare," 1998 pg. 3 paragraph 1 & 5] By expanding federal responsibility for the security of all Americans, Roosevelt believed that the necessity for government make-work employment and other forms of Depression relief would disappear. In his address before Congress, Roosevelt argued that the

continuation of government relief would disappear. In his address before Congress, Roosevelt also argued that the continuation of government relief programs was a bad thing for the country. [Bill of Rights in Action, "Welfare," 1998 pg. 3 paragraph 7] In addition to old-age pensions and unemployment insurance, the Social Security Act established a national welfare system. Additional federal welfare aid was provided to destitute old people, the needy blind, and crippled children. Although financed partly by federal tax money, the states could still set their own eligibility requirements and benefit levels. The need for federal aid to dependent children and poor old people would gradually disappear as employment improved and those over 65 began to collect Social Security

pensions. [Bill of Rights in Action, "Welfare," 1998 pg. 4 paragraph 1,2,3] Since the Great Depression, the national welfare system expanded both in courage and federal regulations. From its beginning, the system drew critics. Some complained that the system did not do enough to get people to work. Others simply believed the federal government should not administer a welfare system. As the system grew, so did criticism of it, especially in the 1980s and ‘90s. Aid to Families with Dependent Children had drawn the greatest criticism. By the 1990s, AFDC supported 15% of all U.S. children. In most cases, these Children lived at home and were cared for by a single parent, usually the mother, who otherwise did not work. This situation brought on complaints that welfare let