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Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Does WELFARE help the poor? This surprisingly simple question often generates more heat than light. Defenders of the welfare state often take a "yes" answer for granted, while critics suggest that the losses outweigh the gains. The most notable of such criticisms is Charles Murray's Losing Ground, which suggests that the welfare state has failed to achieve its stated ends.
When Congress enacted sweeping changes in the way the federal government provides public assistance to the poor more than a decade ago, the goal -- in the words of former President Clinton was to "end welfare as we know it."
In many respects, that goal has been achieved. The days when someone could receive welfare checks indefinitely are over and welfare rolls have been cut dramatically. But significant numbers of Americans some 36.5 million in 2006 still live below the poverty line, according to the Census Bureau. The Department of Agriculture estimates nearly 11 percent of American Households suffer from “food insecurity,” meaning they don't have access to enough to eat for at least part of the year. Much of the debate over poverty centers around the ranks of the "working poor," who are employed but cannot earn enough money to lift themselves out of poverty. Those critics argue that there are insufficient support services, such as health insurance and child care to help the working poor make ends meet.
The current approach, enacted as part of a comprehensive reform in 1996, requires many recipients to work for their benefits and also places a five-year time limit on cash assistance. Even the name of welfare changed, from Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The welfare plan was designed to attack one of the most troubling aspects of poverty: "welfare dependency," where living on government assistance becomes the norm instead of a temporary refuge for a family.
In our country, worst of all, welfare seems to have poverty. What follows is a brief summary of the thinking and evidence that lead to this surprising conclusion. We would do well to consider it seriously, for if it is true, our national antipoverty policy is doing great disservice precisely to those it is intended to help. One has to wonder how it is possible to spend these hundreds of billions to alleviate poverty and still have the same number of poor people that we had, say, in 1968.
In other words, with this colossal sum of money, we could have made all the poor people in America rich. It prompts the more suspicious among us to ask: What happened to the money? A tremendous chunk of these domestic outlays goes to pay the salaries of people who work for and with the federal government—including well-paid civil servants and an array of contractors and “consultants,” many of whom have gotten rich from housing programs, “poverty” studies, energy research grants, and the like.
What is STD's?
Sexually transmitted diseases also known as STDs — or STIs for "sexually transmitted infections" are infectious diseases that spread from person to person through intimate contact. STDs can affect guys and girls of all ages and backgrounds who are having sex — it doesn't matter if they're rich or poor.
Unfortunately, STDs have become common among teens. Because teens are more at risk for getting some STDs, it's important to learn what you can do to protect yourself.
STDs are more than just an embarrassment. They're a serious health problem. If untreated, some STDs can cause permanent damage, such as infertility (the inability to have a baby) and even death (in the case of HIV/AIDS).
Get Tested, Get help
How can I know for sure that I don't have an STD?
We recommend that you see a health care provider to be tested. The CDC has a special web site, findstdtest.org, where teens can go to find a nearby STD testing center. You can also text your ZIP code to 498669 (GYTNOW), and it will give you a list of clinics in your area where you can access STD testing.
Will the clinic have to tell my parents if I get tested?
Confidentiality is one of teens' biggest concerns about accessing care. But teens need to know that most states have laws that allow teenagers to get reproductive health services, and that includes contraception and STD testing, without parental consent. So I do encourage teens to call their local STD program, wherever they live, and find out what their state laws are for minors' consent for reproductive health care, diagnosis, and treatment.