Hey, Heritage Foundation, Nice Try With Welfare, But You're Missing Some Things

Hey, Heritage Foundation, Nice Try With Welfare, But You're Missing Some Things

People aren't the problem, the system is.

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Since I have been writing about poverty recently I thought I would take a look at what someone from a different perspective then me has to say about poverty, and the way we currently approach poverty in the US. So I turned to The Heritage Foundation. For anyone who doesn't know, The Heritage Foundation states is mission is "to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense." So they aren't usually my go-to for information, but I think that is exactly why it would be interesting to dive into one of their articles, and see what I thought, if I learned anything, and in general, just what they had to say.

I decided to pick their report "Understanding the Hidden $1.1 Trillion Welfare System and How to Reform It". Right off of the bat they focus on the price tag of welfare. Now although the social worker in me responds with thinking that no price is too high when we're talking about helping people, the pragmatist in me can really appreciate this. Although I wouldn't go as far as they do in saying that "the aggregate cost of this assistance is largely unknown because the spending is fragmented into myriad programs" I would agree that the current fragmentation is a real problem. For one thing it can lead to the government, religious groups, and other non-profits (these three entities being the makeup of our social security, along with family members) having overlapping services, leaving some areas to be overcrowded with certain services, and lacking in other ways.

While talking about the cost of programs, and how much they aid families the report made the argument that the amount of people in poverty is too high, since if you include the aid they receive, they are no longer in poverty. They use the example of a single mother of two, whose earnings from working full time at minimum-wage, and receiving aid would come to $47,385, with an effective hourly rate of $22.78 per hour. Another look at how much aid single mothers received from the Cato Institute stated that "The state with the highest total value of welfare benefits was Hawaii, at $49,175. The lowest was Mississippi, at $16,984. Welfare packages in only 10 states, plus Washington, D.C., exceeded Grothman's threshold of $35,000. Hawaii may be distorted by the high cost of living, researchers said." And The Economic Policy Institute estimated that a single parent of two would have a cost of living in St. Loius to be $39,589 annually. In the end, how much aid someone receives varies wildly state to state, and programs like the housing voucher (which makes up $11,820 of The Heritage Foundation's $47,385) only serve "about 25 percent of eligible households". I know where I live there is a 2 year waiting list to get a housing voucher, and I understand it to be frozen, so people cannot currently get on the list.

Since the welfare system varies so much state to state, and although aid is theoretically available, it is often out of reach for many the numbers The Heritage Foundation puts forward of a single-mother of two living off of $47,385 is inaccurate.

After talking about costs the article then goes into what I would consider to be more of the crux of its argument, "most existing welfare programs either fail to encourage or actively discourage efforts toward self-support through work and marriage. As a result, they are inefficient, unnecessarily costly, and ultimately harmful to recipients." They continue with saying that "Today, unwed childbearing, with its consequent growth of single-parent homes, is the single most important cause of child poverty" and "The second major cause of child poverty is lack of parental work." They propose that "The War on Poverty created a destructive feedback loop: Welfare promoted the decline of marriage, thereby generating a need for more welfare."

The problem I see at first is the fact that welfare causing a decline in marriage sounds very hard to prove, and seeing as the burden of proof is on them, I won't comment on this idea any more until they present more information. Now the notion that single-parent homes are correlated with child poverty is a topic I can engage with.

So what is going on here? Well, "single parents, overall, earn less than married parents. It comes down to jobs, really. More than 80 percent of moms with spouses are employed, but only 60 percent of single mothers are in full-time jobs -- perhaps due to the difficulty of managing children alone. … there is much more research to do, but this much we know: Single parents work less and earn less because they are the sole caretakers for their children." Important to note is that "mothers who live near their mothers or mothers-in-law participate in the labor force significantly more than mothers who do not live close." Given that we are talking about families which need financial assistance, we can either pay the moms to watch their kids, or we can pay to have their kids watched so they can go to work, expecting them to pay for childcare before they have the chance to begin working, or rising up to the point where their income can cover childcare doesn't make sense.

The Heritage Foundation's report is longer than I usually write, and so I will be reviewing the next part of their article in a future essay. So far, although there are definitely disagreements I have, I think for anyone on my side it's interesting to see the perspective of a group which has the price tag of everything written in every line, and I hope if you are someone who enjoys The Heritage Foundation, you had something you were able to take away from my article about their views on Welfare and Poverty.

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Dear America, We Can Step Forward As A Country If We Stop Believing That Only One Belief Is Valid

It's time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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Dear America,

2018 was a year of political strife and conflict. The left and the right fought constantly. Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for the tiniest mistakes, and there were only a small number of successful bipartisan deals. Politicians and citizens alike seemed more concerned with sticking to party platforms, even ones they truly didn't believe in, rather than compromising with the other side to improve our society.Yet all this name-calling and hatred — what does it do in the end? What does it accomplish?

We've only seen an increased polarization of American politics and an expanded hostility towards "the other side." We don't consider the well-being of each and every person in America and the bettering of our society, or the building of a stronger world for our children and grandchildren.

We spend so much time insulting each other's political beliefs that we forget probably the most important fact that links us all together: We are all human. We all share the same basic needs, the same struggles, the same moments of happiness and sadness.

And yet we are willing to put our similarities aside and only focus on our differences. We are willing to thrust ourselves into the deep anger and loathing that comes in attacking those different from us. We are willing to parry insults behind the safety of a phone screen and forget all about what makes us alike. And we are willing to gloss over the fact that we have more similarities than differences.

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Yes, political beliefs make a person. Political beliefs define the values, ideas and thoughts of a person. But sometimes, we have to reach over those beliefs, as hard as that may be, and focus on the bigger picture at hand. What will insulting someone because of those beliefs do? It definitely won't change their views or make them see things from your point of view.

It's sad and frustrating that this endless fighting doesn't even occur between two countries or two governments or two nation-states. Instead, we see arguments and strife between two family members, two neighbors or even two strangers, all living in the same community and under the same government, all sharing more similarities than differences.

We need to stop focusing so much on singular ideas. We need to stop believing in the close-minded idea that only one thought is the best thought. And instead of wasting energy trying to change other's opinions, we need to use that energy and time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities.

These past few years have truly divided America. Let's make 2019 a year of unity, because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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