Women, children, and government assistance

By Betty LaMarr
It is time to address the abuse of government assistance programs, such as welfare. These programs have gone from helping a generation of underprivileged women, to enabling women to make poor choices and stay stagnant members of society. This epidemic of reliance on governmental assistance has to change!
I have no problem with government assistance with healthcare or aid to persons who have lost their job during difficult times. Government assistance can be a good thing when we use it in a responsible way. However, I do have a problem with the growing trend of women bearing multiple children in order to become eligible for welfare.
For reasons unknown to me, our society is afraid to have this conversation. How do we ever expect to fix a problem if we are afraid to admit it exists? If you ask me, much of the silence is due to the fact that this abuse is perceived as a minority issue, and because of this false perception, people refuse to talk about it for fear of being tagged a racist. But this is not a race issue- it is a class issue, and it needs to be addressed.
Rather than trying to get a job, many American women choose to receive food stamps, welfare, and Section 8 vouchers. When did applying for aid take the place of a meaningful career? Welfare was originally designed to move a person from a temporary state of need to a lasting place of independence. It was never intended to become a way of life.
If you ask me, I believe that women having multiple children and expecting the government to be responsible for their care is ridiculous. Abuse of government aid does nothing to help our country progress, let alone the lives of the women who are abusing it! Why should able-bodied individuals rely solely on the government when they could be financially independent? Do they not understand what they must sacrifice in order to receive this aid? There are many stipulations with assistance programs, such as monitoring where you live and who can live with you. You sacrifice privacy and freedom. The government does not owe you money because you made the choice to have a child. You owe it to yourself to make responsible decisions that lead to a life free of crime and full of financial independence so you can be a role model for future generations. You also owe it to the children you brought into this world to provide them with a positive environment where they can learn to be self-reliant, respectable members of society.
The welfare system as we currently know it condemns people to a life of poverty, but we can change it. There are many women currently expending a great deal of energy figuring out how to work the system in order to get the most money. Imagine what could happen if they just spent half that energy making positive, productive changes, such as searching for a job or taking a class to further their education. It would make such a difference in the lives of these women and their children!
If you ask me, the government needs to hold women accountable for their own choice to have children. Perhaps some money could be diverted from welfare programs to educational programs designed to teach women to have greater self-worth. We could divert some of that money to job assistance programs or affordable, over-the-counter birth control. Once we take control of our lives,
there really is no limit to what we are capable of.
Betty LaMarr is an advocate for women’s issues and concerns. If you would like to contact her you may do so at askbettylamarr@aol.com.

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