Our Welfare State

June 24th, 2011

Beneva Davies

America: Country of Opportunity, Land of Success, and Home of the Great.  Conversely, this is the place where, one in every eight people is now suffering from poverty (Greenberg, Mark, Indivar Dutta-Gupta, and Elisa Minoff. “From Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half.” Center for American Progress (2007). Print). That is to say, one in eight is now fighting hunger, fighting homelessness, fighting the desperate call of crime, fighting to survive; make no mistake, this is the life of poverty.  Though America is home to some of the wealthiest people on the planet it also has the greatest income inequality amongst developing nations, with the top 1% possessing nearly a third of the country’s net wealth (Johnston, David Cay. “Income Gap Is Widening, Data Shows – New York Times.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 29 Mar. 2007. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/29/business/29tax.html?ex=1332820800 ). Most Americans, approximately 58.5%, will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75(Johnston, David Cay). For the world’s super power and largest national economy this is a staggering statistic.  Something must be done. However, in a country built on the basis of individuality and meritocracy how much of this burden lies on the government? Our nation’s president once said, “If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists—to protect them and to promote their common welfare—all else is lost” (Barack Obama). But the question still remains, where do we draw the line between lending a hand and giving a hand out?

The truth is that I’ve seen both sides of the argument.  What are your views on America’s welfare system? Here are a couple of websites I checked out that all gave me interesting insight. For the conservative view, check out: http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=37077 . For the less conservative view, check out the link above for Johnston, David Cay. With the 2012 elections creeping around the corner, it’s time to start evaluating, once again, where we stand.


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