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In the United States, welfare reform has been considered as a huge success, which has reduced the number of people on the welfare rolls from around 4million in 1995 to around 2 million by 2002. However, does the number of people on welfare, in actual fact, the only suitable indicator of success, and if that is not the case, how do the hard work at reform match besides other criteria? In her book Flat Broke with Children, an advocate of welfare reforms as well as a professor of sociology and gender studies, Dr. Sharon Hays asserts that the act of demonizing the welfare of mothers unreservedly permits the American people to wash their hand off the larger population. Hays makes use of both anecdotal and empirical evidence to demonstrate a mainstream America that believes over 90 percent of welfare mothers had diverse practices, beliefs and values.
Dr. Hays reflects on unjust system and disputes that these mothers and particularly those with no responsibility have similar core values as any other American. The problem, she explains, is that the welfare reform was established on the supposition that welfare mothers are in person accountable for deflating the moral principles of the American nation. Similar to several other reform advocates, Hays emphasis revolves around a flawed objective. According to Hays, most of the instituted policies and procedures are aimed at ‘fixing’ women. In addition, past policies used to follow the logic of difference feminism, an assertion that assumed that mothers were supposed to stay at home, involved a characteristically female ethic of fostering care (Sharon 25).
However, following the signing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act in 1996 by Bill Clinton, the United States of America began subscribing to a more individualistic perception of government in assisting the poor. The legislation, which was introduced by a Republican congressman, represented the achievement of some feminist goals in building a more equal idea of family life. Hays claim that women should join men in the public area of paid work, in service according to an ethic of individual accountability. Nevertheless, she further argues that all mothers, whether single or married are now obligated to work – counting as well those with toddlers and infants. In her book, Hays reveals the narrative of welfare reform from the perception of those who live it: individuals who are employed in welfare offices making an attempt to help the clients they serve, typically single mothers struggling to raise children and to make ends meet.
The analysis of Hays has two different aspects; cultural and personal. On the individual side, there are the proceeds from interviews carried on several welfare recipients and worker, familiarizing ourselves more concerning their lives. Throughout the course, various prejudices and clichés concerning welfare recipients are deliberately cluttered. It is not the intention of Hays to try and make the poor appear noble and heroic, rather, she asks them hard questions and frequently gets admittance about how the previous behaviors had been self-destructive, causing the present problems. Consequently, at the same time Hays declines to stigmatize them as they characteristically have been gone through history (Sharon 26).
The other area of Hays’ study is educational. In the beginning of her book, she makes a powerful statement where she says that the laws of a country mirror the morals of that country. This statement automatically takes us to a mental state where we ask ourselves; what do our safety regulations portray concerning our morals? Sadly, they declare that our morals are profoundly bewildered. Partly, our wellbeing regulations mirror an obligation to household morals. For instance, there are temptations for matrimony and consequences for having children outside marriage. Alternatively, our happiness rules presuppose that the underprivileged do not have a high-quality employment value and so shove unwed mothers outside their family and into any unknown destination, or poor salary employment that they can stumble on. There are unsympathetic punishments for both not working hard enough when hunting for a job and also losing your employed or only source of income for inappropriate reasons. These invalid reasons consist of taking time away from work to handle cases of justice, say, when your child is assaulted or violated by the care taker. The bottom line of their new “confidence” on the circumstances is notable, although nobody commemorates mothers in working positions (Sharon 29).
Consequently, two diverse and opposing revelations of employment and the family unit are formed. Hays wonders how we are supposed to understand the meaning of welfare change. She further asks if matrimony and family dedication are the fundamental apprehensions; or whether the significance of personal independence is so immense that the nurturing of children can be kept aside by mothers in preference to salaried employment? She makes us think of the issue of emphasizing the picture of a stay-at- home wife (nurturing mother) and a working husband or simply get all the women to work to increase family income.
Hays refers to these two as opposing ideas: the Family Plan and the Work Plan. In the employment plan, the job necessities of the wellbeing decrees subsist to “recuperate” mothers, changing them from “simple” conservative moms into developed members of the labor force. In the Family Plan, the job necessities provide reprimand for mothers, educating them a tough lesson concerning what occurs to you when you do not succeed in sticking on to customary community responsibilities by annulment on marriage and/or getting children out of marriage. Consequently, of these and related disagreements, Hays closing remark points out that our country’s wellbeing regulations fall short of presenting a particular, logical explanation to our country’s difficulties and do little further than offer the outward show of resolving communal predicaments and poverty. Welfare restructuring regulation presented a small amount to citizens all through the ideological and opinionated scale; in this manner, nevertheless, they do not assist anybody in any way (Sharon 30).
From their initial relations with the health scheme, benefiting mothers ought to be in search of jobs, preparing for a job, or clinging to a place in which they obtain a financial reward. If welfare customers cannot get employment individually, or uncover a type of appropriate teaching, they are allocated to permanent employment for a state-selected organization. Some Americans, particularly those who regard themselves as publicly and financially traditional; those who approve an outstanding welfare opinion; harass the beneficiary of aid by charging the condition of shortage in the United States regarding “welfare defrauds” and those who “sit on the diligent duty-giver” (Saretzky 9)
Moreover, as Hays meaningfully declares, the TANF plan comprises of requirements that are in several techniques even ruthless than previous strategies. Hay further elucidates that when five years elapse, all welfare beneficiaries are supposed to be independent; and regardless of how impoverished they may be, they will continue being disqualified to obtain welfare support as long as they are alive. The communal safety-net, which is by now worn out along by bureaucracy and practical actions, should not vanish later than 60 months. Associate viewpointdonor Anya Saretzky claims that he perhaps does not have to believe it must encourage reliance; if individuals still require it later than five years, then evidently the scheme is defective (Saretzky 11).
Apparently, Sharon is correct; we definitely do require key modification. The scheme should enthusiastically and determinedly put an effort to sanction and facilitate customers to be self-reliant. If the intention is to “repair” someone in a necessity, rather than assisting somebody “repair” he or she, then the scheme will eventually stop working, hence completing the poverty cycle. The exceptional system of government inside the scheme; which Hays demonstrates as “bitter and unfriendly,” and which, function like human gathering positions, pertaining to consistent regulations, pursuing standardized measures, and overlook the fussy conditions of every case should be transformed straight away. Hay says that a bureaucratic government serves as an influential structure of community power (Saretzky 10).
How it is possible for a government deal with its citizens and clients based on personal situations while preserving a just and fair system for all those who are qualified? Saretzky believes that the whole system must be contained. To meet the needs of welfare recipients, the public must treat the recipients as individuals, rather than tagging them as poor. And although localization may seem lucid at first, more deliberation is required. Saretzky may perhaps dispute that local legislators have the capability to look into the various need of their constituents. As a matter of fact, the state lawmakers possess the authority to influence and power welfare policies inside their authority. Regrettably, some states pass hopeless, residual legislation and measures that perpetuate the cycle of poverty, especially the federal government (Saretzky 12).
Dr. Hays’ book is significant to any person concerned with class structure, poverty, cultural or political ideology. Her network of direct interviews and direct analysis make her book more lucid and personal than several texts that claim to deal with the alleviation of poverty. Hays initiated the real people, women, as well as the real face of welfare in America. The United States should once again appraise its system of welfare as well as the “safety-net” it provided to individuals in need. According to an argument by Hays, the current policies avert the net from becoming the launch pad it should be. The series of poverty will stay intact awaiting the creation of new policies that impoverish and empower as a replacement for of gluing the population to a limp net – a net that is currently set too low.