View this video on who is dependent on welfare and then answer the following questions:
- Who do you think the poor are in the United States?
- How do you define welfare?
- Remember to respond to two of your classmates’ initial posts with your own opinions and ideas.
1. Who do you think the poor are in the United States?
The poor people in the United States are those who are “unable to obtain or provide a standard level of food, water, and/or shelter” (Fay, 2018). Even though the United States is considered to be one of the richest countries in the world, millions of people live on or below the poverty line. Because people use and abuse the welfare system, I feel that it is not able to reach those who need it most. That abuse has caused many people to have negative views of welfare, when it really is a system that is supposed to support those who cannot attain basic things that the rest of the country takes for granted. Welfare is meant to support those who genuinely need it, so it is disheartening that so many people abuse the system and make it harder for others to get support.
2. How do you define welfare?
I define welfare as a system put in place to support those with low incomes so that basic human necessities such as food, water, and shelter can be attained. As Roy stated in her video, welfare has a stigma placed on it. Although middle and upper class families received certain benefits at a larger percentage, there was no stigma attached to them. They felt they deserved that support. It really has become a fight of stigma vs entitlement. Her video really changed my view on welfare because it broke down where the money actually goes. I didn’t realize that a higher percentage of funds went to the middle and upper class families, where as a much smaller percentage went to low income families that use welfare. I wish the system was more precise so that people couldn’t abuse it as much, and the support could go to the families that really need it.
Fay, B. (2018, November 01). Poverty in the United States. Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.debt.org/faqs/americans-in-debt/povert…
I think the poor are those that are unable to afford basic necessities like food and shelter even when they are working full time, but are being paid way below the poverty line. There is a prejudice towards the poor in the U.S., where people think that the impoverished have caused the problem for themselves by being lazy and aren’t motivated to get out of poverty. Whereas in European countries, they acknowledge that people that are born into poverty are stuck within their social status and those that are currently trapped in poverty don’t have the means to escape it (Koppelman, 2020). It seems as though Europeans are more understanding than Americans. In the video (GlobalPOV, 2013), Ananya Roy speaks about poverty being the lack of income, wealth, AND power. The poverty of power is defined as being dependent on charities, handouts, and welfare. But the people who are more dependent on government subsidies are the wealthy, and yet that is not stigmatized as much as those that receive government welfare like food stamps.
I would define welfare as government assistance, which can come in many different forms. There are many myths about welfare that contribute to the discrimination that poor people receive. A common one is that people on welfare are abusing the system when in reality, less than 2% of welfare recipients are documented as engaging in fraud (Koppelman, 2020). I think assistance towards the needy is necessary, even if it is at a minimum, which allows families to afford housing, food, and basic necessities. The video was eye-opening for me because I didn’t know that more money is spent towards middle and upper-class families ($72 billion) than on low-income families ($24 billion) on government assistance. While low-income people receive “welfare” that comes with a stigma, middle and upper-class people receive “entitlements”, which come with the expectation that they’ll get their tax break.
GlobalPOV. (2013, December 3). The #GlobalPOV Project: “Who is dependent on welfare” with Ananya Roy [Video]. YouTube.
Koppelman, K. L. (2020). Understanding human differences: multicultural education for a diverse America (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education.