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Example research essay topic: Welfare Mothers Welfare Recipients - 1,041 words

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... Soon, they were all drug addicted minority teenage mothers, who never intended to work. In addition to collecting welfare under four or five false names, they were being supported by rich drug dealer boyfriends. The only reason their children were starving was because they were spending their money on flashy cars and jewelry. Each new incident of fraud, fueled the growing resentment. Thus welfare mothers became the most hated group in society.

While most of the stereotypes were untrue, and most of the hatred was undeserved, America needed someone to blame for crime, poverty, and the breakdown of the American family, and welfare was a sitting duck. It was in this resentful climate that the widespread call for reform blossomed. It came from all sides, it seemed the welfare system was almost universally hated. However, reform meant different things to different people. To conservative Republicans, welfare was the root of all evil. Therefore, the thing to do was kick everyone off welfare, thus ending the system, and all the problems associated with it.

Those involved in the system, however, doubted that this approach would do anything but create more problems. Their idea of reform was job training, and less red tape. When President Clinton was elected and vowed to come through on his campaign promise to 'end welfare as we know it, ' liberals and welfare recipients breathed a collective sigh of relief. Clinton was on their side, his reform would help them. Congress was still a majority Democrat institution, they were likely to side with Clinton. After the bleak eras of Bush and Reagan, who purposely fueled the hatred of welfare, Clinton seemed to be a blessing.

However, in the four years between Clinton's election and his delivery of his promise, the country, the Congress, and Clinton himself, had changed drastically. Two years earlier, America, fed up with Clinton's inability to come through on his promises, had taken it out on Congressional Democrats. Now both houses were controlled by Republicans. Clinton's approval ratings were dwindling, after nearly four years in office, there was not much that he could take credit for. Not only was a reform like the one that welfare recipients envisioned unlikely to get through congress, it was unlikely to go over well with voter's who, largely thanks to Clinton, seemed disgusted with liberalism in general. Clinton had to come through on at least one of his major campaign promises.

He had to reach he new, middle of the road voters. He had to prove that he could work with the republican controlled congress, especially after two major disputes that resulted in costly government shutdowns. Welfare was a hot topic. It would provide him the opportunity to address all of the complaints about him. It would make him appear less of a liberal in a time when being a liberal was not a good thing. It was his ticket to a second term.

True, he was deserting welfare mothers, but welfare mothers were not the most vocal voter group in America, and besides he was also supposed to be helping the working poor, who had become one of the groups most resentful of welfare. So, Clinton said he favored welfare reform. Politicians, journalists, and the American people spent a summer debating welfare. Republicans gave long-winded speeches about family values, personal responsibility, and the like. Liberal Democrats spoke of the social evils that attacked the poor. They argued that a reform like what the Republicans wanted would only increase society's problems.

Sound bites came from everywhere from Capitol Hill to Main Street, USA. The only group conspicuously silent during all of this was welfare recipients. Somehow, their voices never rose above the shabby neighborhoods they lived in. So, their future was decided without them. Politicians from both sides spouted heartfelt rhetoric. They claimed to know everything that went through welfare mothers minds, while the fact remained that few of them had ever met a welfare mother, let alone been one.

The result of a summer's worth of talk was a bill that revoked sixty years of welfare. It sailed through congress, and was signed by a beaming Clinton, who according to close sources, had been agonizing over the decision to sign it only hours earlier. As Clinton promised, it ended welfare as America knew it. As advisors hoped, it got him elected again. However, what else The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) did was questionable. The Act was heralded by some as what the country finally needed: less federal government, and a way to get people off of welfare.

To others, it was like laying down a welcome mat for increased homelessness, crime, and poverty. It is somewhat ironic that the key legislature regarding personal responsibility is a bill that basically absolves the Federal Government of all responsibility. What the Act did was not clear to many people. It got people off welfare, that was all America heard, because that was all America cared to hear. In fact, it turned over control of welfare to the states, providing them with block grants of money, to be spent however they wished.

However, in order to receive the grants, states were required to meet new federal regulations. These regulations limited a welfare recipient to a total of five years on welfare in a lifetime, and no more than two years at a time. The bill also started programs to find deadbeat fathers, and created new restrictions for legal immigrants hoping to receive federal aid. Had welfare recipients really been able-bodied people who had available jobs that they were capable of doing, but refused to, then this bill would have been exactly what they needed. However, the average welfare recipient had more complex issues to deal with before finding employment.

Who is the average welfare recipient? Contrary to popular belief, she is not a minority teenager. The average welfare mother is a white woman in her mid thirties. She is usually not a high school graduate, and very rarely has a college education.

However, it is very hard to narrow down such a diverse group of women into a 'typical' profile. Welfare mothers face a wide variety of obstacles when trying to find work. Some are illiterate. Other


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