That suitable place, in the American context, would provide opportunities for work and human meaning and a reasonable amount of security from want and assault, promote fairness and evaluation based on individual merit, and be economically productive and stable. Underneath, of course, is an assumption that human society can be organized and governed to produce and provide these things, and that because it is feasible to do so, there is a moral obligation to bring it to fruition. The distinctiveness of the American model is often described in negative comparative terms: It is historically far less generous to the poor in terms of social benefits, far less protective of low-wage workers, does not have a comprehensive public structure for health services, has less progressive taxation overall, and has higher levels of inequality and poverty than do most of its high GNP counterparts.
Welfare for Everyone How Welfare Began in the United States During the Great Depression of the s, local and state governments as well as private charities were overwhelmed by needy families seeking food, clothing, and shelter.
Inwelfare for poor children and other dependent persons became a federal government responsibility, which it remained for 60 years. MINNEAPOLIS—Several hundred men and women in an unemployed demonstration today stormed a grocery store and meat market in the Gateway district, smashed plate glass windows and helped themselves to bacon and ham, fruit and canned goods.
Construction boomed, business flourished, and the stock market soared. Then on October 29,the stock market crashed. The crash sent shockwaves throughout the economy. Millions found themselves out of work. The Great Depression, which would last through the s, had begun. When the Great Depression began, about 18 million elderly, disabled, and single mothers with children already lived at a bare subsistence level in the United States.
State and local governments together with private charities helped these people. Byanother 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. Desertions by husbands and fathers increased.
Homeless families in cities lived in public parks and shanty towns.
Desperate times began to put into question the old American notion that if a man worked hard enough, he could always take care of himself and his family.
The effect of the Depression on poor children was particularly severe. School budgets were cut and in some cases schools were shut down for lack of money to pay teachers. An estimatedboys left home to wander the streets and beg because of the poor economic condition of their families.
Most elderly Americans did not have personal savings or retirement pensions to support them in normal times, let alone during a national economic crisis. Those few able to set aside money for retirement often found that their savings and investments had been wiped out by the financial crash in Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois made this observation in The impact of all these forces increasingly convinced the majority of the American people that individuals could not by themselves provide adequately for their old age, and that some form of greater security should be provided by society.
Even skilled workers, business owners, successful farmers, and professionals of all kinds found themselves in severe economic difficulty as one out of four in the labor force lost their jobs. Words like "bewildered," "shocked," and "humiliated," were often used at the time to describe increasing numbers of Americans as the Depression deepened.
Although 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.
Bya national welfare system had been established for the first time in American history. Welfare Before the Depression 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. During the 19th century, local and state governments as well as charities established institutions such as poorhouses and orphanages for destitute individuals and families.
Conditions in these institutions were often deliberately harsh so that only the truly desperate would apply.
Local governments usually counties also provided relief in the form of food, fuel, and sometimes cash to poor residents.
Those capable were required to work for the town or county, often at hard labor such as chopping wood and maintaining roads.
But most on general relief were poor dependent persons not capable of working:Origins of the State and Federal Public Welfare Programs. By John E. Hansan, Ph.D. Introduction. The history of public welfare in the United States has been one of continuing change and growth. A little over 60 years ago, the Social Security Act was signed into law.
This historically significant legislation changed how we as a Nation take care of our people.
For the first time, there was direct Federal involvement in the welfare of individuals, particularly for alleviating poverty among. for increased government spending on social welfare programs. Yet this year the federal gov- adds $ billion to that figure.
In total, the United States spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fight poverty. That amounts to $20, for every poor person in America, or $61, per poor family of three.
Welfare spending increased. U.S. Welfare Programs fit into 13 large categories which are listed and described below.
All U.S. Welfare Programs provide benefits to low-income individuals and families. U.S. Welfare Programs also include the Medicaid Program which provides health care to low-income citizens and certain non-citizens. (United States Department of. States Take Aim at Social Welfare Programs.
Bans on steak and tattoos attract national attention, but other provisions raise concerns among advocates for the poor. For the first time, there was direct Federal involvement in the welfare of individuals, particularly for alleviating poverty among the aged.
Although the original law has been amended many times, it remains the cornerstone of our vast network of social programs.