As the United States economy continues to crumble, people's homes are being foreclosed, and more and more people are booted to the street, forced to search for food. Many people criticize Congress for spending billions of dollars to finance two wars, when we have people within our own country starving to death, not being able to pay rent, and living on the side of the road. So how can we possibly fix both problems, the poor economy and homeless/unemployed rate?
According to statistics a year ago (when unemployment rates were lower) the average number of weeks that a person was unemployed and between jobs was 17.5. Also, more than 18.3 percent of the people unemployed had been so for more than 26 weeks, so they lose benefits in most cases. The problem with this is that most states have restrictions on how long people can receive benefits. Nebraska has one of the best programs, allowing benefits for 60 months, BUT only offering $364 per month. This is hardly enough money to allow for absolute necessities, let alone rent, and in most cases, being able to support children. Nebraska also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, with just 3.8% in 2005, as compared to larger states like Louisiana with rates near 8%. (Diane, American)
Not only would a welfare system help the less fortunate, but it would also help stimulate the economy. It is reported that for every dollar spent by someone on welfare, the gross domestic product is boosted by $2.15. This also helps the economy, more than say stimulus checks to all tax-payers, because people on welfare are more likely to actually spend the money instead of investing or saving it, which would help support businesses and boost the economy.
By looking at the linked timeline, we see that cutting welfare benefits in 2001 resulted in 20% of the 37% that lost benefits becoming homeless as a direct result. Looking at the same timeline, in 2005 we see that the United States ranks second to Mexico as the country with most children living in poverty. As if living in poverty wasn't enough, it is common to see homeless people mugged, beaten, and sometimes even killed by criminals. (Proquest)
In a land where "all men are created equal" shouldn't we be doing the most we can to provide for these less fortunate people? We could kill two birds with one stone by providing welfare to everyone, and boost the economy with the same money that we give to them. All we need is a good debate in Congress to support America's less fortunate and try to help them live a better life.
American Radioworks, Your state of Welfare, American Public Media, 2009
Diane Stafford, Stimulus is missing extended benefits for homeless, McClatchy Newspapers, Feb. 16th 2008.
ProQuest, Leading Issues Timeline, Poverty Timeline, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Welfare in America
at 8:21 PM