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The Welfare System is Unjust
The best way of looking at the concept of social justice is by using the lens of political economy. This is the absolute manifestation of the interaction between the economic ideological and political forces. This paper will look at the American welfare state through the same lens with the aim of exposing the injustices that they system has been capable of propagating since its time of inception (Barr 1-56). In a more articulate way, the paper will look at the definitions given to the concept of social welfare policy and the relationship between the policy and problems as well as the ideologies that act as the main drivers of the social welfare in the united states of America. The underlying economic justifications and consequences play a vital role in the determination of the social welfare that a country follows. This paper will look at the history of the social welfare system in the United States in the context of the prevailing economic conditions.
Social welfare is a term used to describe all the activities that the government and other stakeholder engage in with the aim of reducing the harshness of life of the citizens. The social welfare policy is the plan meant to cover the social problems that face the people. The aim of the social welfare system in the United States of America is to provide people with all the assistance that they can get in order for them to lead a fairly normal lifestyle. The spheres of the social welfare services include the provision of healthcare to the members, provision of the most basic needs, and provision of quality education services. The services provided in the welfare systems are meant to ensure that all the people in the society have a just life. The just life is a life led with minimal discomfort and a life that provides all the people with a fair chance of making it in life. However, the social welfare system often fails in the delivery of promise for a fair chance at life, as the paper will point out (Derezotes et al 45-60).
Considering all the factors that are in play, in the social welfare sector, it is true to claim that the welfare is in a transition. The social welfare in the United States has never attained a plateau where all the people are satisfied with the status quo. The inability of the various contraptions made to help the social welfare has been the main contributing factors the rampant injustice in this sector. The history of the social welfare as it goes today started in 1935 with the enactment of the social security act. The liberals held the point of view that postulated that the creation of a federal social welfare system was the most appropriate way of making all people have some semblance of equality in their lives (Levine 51). The many years of experimenting with the welfare state have led to the formation of a discernible shift in the approach to social welfare. The conservative nature of the United States culture has had its take on the burden shouldered by the private sector players. The people that claim that the members of the private sector should share the burden in social welfare are withdrawing from the hard on push that they displayed for the free welfare provision for all. The main issues that people are not saying are that they have the fear that they may lose their benefits in the event that the welfare state phases out. The conservatism that the governments in the previous regimes displayed when handling the issue of social welfare could be removed with the change of guard in the white house.
The election of barrack Obama was on the promise of changes that would affect all spheres of government. The people were hoping that the status quo will change and that all the people will have better medical care and other social benefits than what they had before. The politics played by the president and the democrats party in pushing him into the white house were mainly coming from the awful state that they were dwelling on in the previous time (Morgan 13). In this case, the people had come to the realization that the society had to change from the stipulations of the social welfare act of 1935. The government promised this change at their first tenure. However, the bar that the government set was so high that the ability to attain it is challenging. Despite the fact that the bar set is high, the mindsets of people are fixated in the attainment of the goals set out in the manifesto.
An in-depth inquest into the driving force behind the social welfare mantra is a requirement for there to be an effective understanding of the basis on which the president made the promise to the people. This inquest will bring out the reasoning of behind the proposed policy changes. This line of argument will also explain how the proposal was so effective in convincing people that Obama was the ideal candidate for effecting the long awaited change (O’connor 64).
A keen look at the history of the welfare state indicates tow issues that have come back to plague the society in a major way. The contemporary approach applied by the welfare state entailed the use of the existing sectors in the economy for the creation of means of providing the welfare benefits. This approach was effective in that the institutions had and still have larger reach to the people. The use of the approach made it possible for institutions to evolve into some institutions protecting their interests. In the wake of political candidatures that need the most donations and sponsoring that they can. The trend of the companies flaunting their money to the most promising candidates has been there. These bids are meant to protect the companies from losing the incentives that they get for taking care of the government interests in administrations of social welfare (Pierson & Castles 32). Companies have cunningly groomed their own candidates that will protect their interests. This is probably the main reason that most of the people were keen to look at the leaders that had a different agenda compared to the previous regimes that came with radical proposals only to renege on their promises of social welfare change. The regimes that were there in the previous years were just but puppets of the corporate sector. This factor made it almost impossible for the attainment of the best welfare services for the people impossible even to the most optimistic person or supporter of a party. This matter needed a new approach that the Obama administration promised.
The advent of the democrats in the government was marked with a social welfare policy that had the sole goal of reconstituting what they termed as the submerged state. The aim of the social policy system was to restructure the political economy. The change was going to be tough for the government since it was touching on taxation adoption of a high education policy and the changes effected in the health care for all the people. This move was particularly peculiar in politics, but it was also an indicator that the United States had found the maverick that would shy away from the norm. The policy terrain that the president ventured into was one filled with obstacles to the reform. The old ghost was never willing to be exorcised easily. The industries that benefitted from the welfare state were most likely going to fight for their access to the almost certain source of income that came in the form of the welfare services that they provided. The other sad aspect of the state of affairs is that the benefits that the welfare state accords to the companies and by extension the rich members of the society are lost to the citizens. The majority of the general citizens are not aware of the upward effects of the existing policies that ended up increasing the inequality between the social classes (Pierson 62). On this conviction, the Obama campaign started with the denouncing of the tax cuts that had a more impact on the rich people than the poor. This was just but one of the trends that was extensive in the nation that made the creation of the most adequate welfare for the society prove to be elusive since the creation of the welfare state.
The other issue of focus for the campaign promise was the revamping of the ailing educations sector. The education sector had been on a constant decline since the enactment of the welfare act in 1939. The goals that the welfare were to provide were increasingly becoming elusive. The damage on the education system was so bad that the people associated the public funded schools with failure. The promise of the Obama administration was a restoration of the education system to a point that it would befit the status and the respect. In as much as the administration is trying to change the education sector, the progress made in the field is not as appealing as the people imagined are (Pierson 13). The dream of the people was a welfare state that would allow them to develop with education being among the most essential ingredients to the development. Maybe people are asking for too much in the tenure that the president has been in power. However, the progress is being made in the restoration of the critical education sector.
While still looking at the education sector, the main interested parties in the arrangement were the Banks and other lenders. The arrangement made by the banks was that the banks were to offer the student loan to any applicant as long as the government subsidized the loans. The government did it part of the bargain by paying one-half of the interest rate demanded required. The student was to pay the other half of the rate plus the principal (Ward 20). This arrangement seemed like it was the right way of handling all education related aspects since education would be affordable. The affordability bit is the anticlimax in the whole affair. The government was to fund the subsidies by taxing the people. When people are a taxed at a high rate as it is the case now means that the government is fooling the people. The estimates for the budgetary allocations demanded for the education loans were over $87 billion. The education needs for the people would lead to a higher taxations rate. However, there is the option of the government providing the loans directly from its coffers. Taking this route is the most appropriate way of handling the affordability issues. However, the chances of the enactment of this approach to the loans are few or nil. In the best-case scenario, the government ought to work with the policies that will make the attainment of the goals of the organization a reality (Rosanvallon 73).
It may look to the eye that is not keen that the welfare state is contributing towards the attainment of the goals of social welfare. This is the impression that hits a person when they look at the welfare state feature as per the benefits that it accords at one instance. Among the most notable individual feature of the welfare state is the earned income tax credit. The policy seems to mitigate the inequalities in the society at the first instance. However, a keen look at the policy indicates that the individual features that seem to appeal at the first instance are not as rosy as they seem when aggregated. The policies exacerbate the inequality in the society if one looks at them in a keen manner. The benefits that such individual features bestow to the people are upwardly distributive. This is also the case in the charitable contribution and mortgages deductions. The same is applicable in the tax-free nature of the employer paid health insurance although it is applicable in a lesser extent. The other effect of the individual features that seem appealing is that they compound the effects of the inequality. They are central in the promotion of a consumption culture that leans to the upside. People consume highly priced goods that ordinary people would not otherwise consume (Sharpiro, 41). For example, the people may buy fuel guzzlers and big houses that they would not buy in the event that the incentives were absent.
The inflated prices are among the results of the ability of the people in the upward side of the chain to purchase more. This will in turn affect the people that do not have the privilege of enjoying the tax incentives. The poor end up being the people that are most disadvantages. The turn of events makes the bid incentivize some goods a counterproductive approach. The other burden that people face from the continued application of the plans is the opportunity costs that come with running the welfare state. This leaves the government with insufficient amounts of money to help in the creation of efficient policies that would be good enough. It also provides some difficulties in the maintenance of the policies that have better results than the existing welfare state. This is the reason behind the constant growth of government spending. This causation relationship affects all the sectors that the government funds using this approach. The other cost effective measures of financing the welfare of people have not been in a position of competing with the well-protected welfare state (Ward 90).
The availability of the policies that can change the welfare state is not the means to the end. In fact, this is just but a minute area in the fight for the welfare of all the citizens. The emergence of the welfare state was clouded by associations that pushed for the application of the policies to the betterment of the livelihoods of all the people while reducing the disparities between the citizens (Rosanvallon 23). However, contrary to the opinion of many people, the lobby groups for the sustenance of the welfare of people have been on the decline path. The lobby groups that are left in the field are minimal, and they cannot voice the concerns of the people as they did in the inception of the welfare state. Most of the lobby groups are also compromised, and they may be working to represent the interests of the parties and the industries that benefit from the current situation.
In conclusion, the welfare system in the United States has been subject to a lot of attention as well as controversy. The industries that stand to gain from the current operation of the welfare system have been the main fighters of change. The government applies systems that are inefficient and costly (Sharpiro, 50). The attempts to change the welfare state have proven that the ghosts of the past as far as the political economy is concerned are the deterrents to change of the sector. The promise that the Obama administration made to the people is under constant attacks. The most recent one is the Affordable Care Act that was almost shot down by the proponents of the status quo.
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Derezotes, Dennette, Mark Testa and John Poertner. Race matters in child welfare. Washington, DC: CWLA Press, 2005. Print.
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