Many developed economies around the world have found it necessary to provide social welfare programs and protection to their citizens in order to help them get through difficult times like illness and unemployment. Evidently, this type of arrangement is used to help their citizens get through difficult times and to support their families.Furthermore, social welfare programs are critical in achieving equality and fairness in state economies, which frequently exhibit high levels of inequality. Importantly, as this paper will show, welfare programs are offered not only for citizens’ well-being but also for the county’s economic growth and development. However, people often assert that too much dependency on the welfare programs can lead to over reliance on the services and that this high dependency can impose very high costs on a country’s economy, hence restraining its economic growth and development. Many of these concerns are overblown and in this light, I chose to focus on the benefits of the social welfare programs. Hence, this paper gives an analysis of the benefits that an economy or a society accrues from embracing and supporting the social welfare programs for its citizens.
Reduces and alleviates poverty
Do the welfare programs help the poor? This is amazingly one of the many questions that often generates a heated debated when it comes to discussing the importance of the welfare services and programs. Supporters of the initiative will apparently support this while on the other hand those who do not support the arrangement assert that the downsides of the programs exceed its benefits. Welfare programs are undoubtedly of significant importance to people who are unemployed and have not secured jobs yet. As a result, a person is able to sustain himself and his family without huge struggles until he is able to find a job. Consequently, this goes a long way in curbing and preventing the poverty levels in a country from escalating. Pettinger (2013) asserts that the whole gruesome experience of poverty does not only involve the aspect of having a low income but the experience unfortunately affects the everyday experiences of families and the society at large.
Improves lives and creates better opportunities for children
When the welfare programs are enhanced, children are certain to gain and they also get a chance of being exposed to better opportunities in life. This is because if children are brought up in pitiable, poor and deprived conditions, then so many factors that contribute to their growth and development are negatively impacted. For example, their health and education is largely affected and increasing welfare benefits may help them protect their health and assist them gain a better education. In the long run, these benefits are not only felt by these children and their families but they also spill over to the society. If everyone has access to quality education, then the overall quality of life of the citizens is improved and inequalities in the society are reduced as well.
Reduced inequality leads to a decline in social problems.
Acording to Marshall (2013), huge levels of inequalities in the society breeds hatred, resentment and desperation and this in return increases the pervasiveness for crime, vandalism and general dissatisfaction as people will do whatever it takes to sustain their lives. If people cannot have a supplementary income accessible to them, then turning to crimes becomes an alternative. Hence, in this case, well-designed welfare programs will strive to see to it that the most fundamental needs and wants of their citizens are met. This makes it possible to reduce and curb the crimes that are committed as a result of desperation, significantly contributing to the enhancement of the society’s peace and cohesion.
Offers emergency help to emergency situations
Pettinger (2013) explains that with welfare programs such as WIC, SNAP and Medicare, people are certain of receiving help in situations where they encounter misfortunes such as the death of a family member, unexpected loss of a job or even an expensive medical treatment that needs prompt assistance. Emergencies are unforeseen and the costs of responding to such crises may deprive the family’s savings without the emergency relenting and these programs often assist in a huge way.
Enhances business activities
Many business enterprises would massively suffer and experience a decline in their sales if the government stopped paying and offering the social safety nets. Ideally, a healthy economy is one in which there is free, fast and continuous free flow of money (Rector). Putting an end to any form of these welfare services would ultimately result in a huge number of the people having no money. Rector (2015) also goes further to explain that when one section of people in an economy is not financially stable, then the businesses in the country are bound to suffer from low sales and low profits, which consequently affects the economy negatively.
It is an effective way for the government to attend to the needs of the poor.
No matter how well off and financially stable a country’s economy is, there will be at least a few people who are disadvantaged and will often require assistance from the government. Of course, there exist many benevolent organizations in a county that seek to provide assistance to the less privileged in the society but the government should also come in and play its role of providing its citizens with the basic needs and services. This way, the underprivileged group of citizens are made to benefit from the government’s services and consequently made to improve the quality of their lives.
Diminishing marginal utility of money
This is a law that states that as money increases, individuals tend to gain a corresponding smaller increase in satisfaction and happiness (Pettinger). Hence, progressive taxation which is meant to obtain money from the high income earners in an economy and thereafter redistributed to the low income earners can enhance the economic growth and development of an economy due to the diminishing marginal utility of the extra money. This can be explained further illustrating with an example where, an extra $2000 tax to a renowned billionaire will be insignificant and the impact too his lifestyle will be inconsequential. However, on the other hand, there will be a significant impact if a low income earner gains an extra $200 which will greatly influence his life by improving his standards of living.
Creates high demand for goods due to increased consumption
As a result of the income redistribution that is achieved by obtaining taxes and income from the high income earners and then redistributed to the low income earners, then an overall increase in the demand for goods and services may be experienced. This can also be attributed to the fact that high income earners often have a high marginal propensity to save while on the other hand, the low income earners have a much higher marginal propensity to consume which leads to a higher consumption of goods and services in the economy (Pettinger).
The discussion of if welfare programs should be supported by the government or not is still a contentious debate today. There are numerous individuals who believe that offering support to the welfare programs and services is a waste of the state’s resources and that the America’s current economic system should not be made to sustain those who struggle with the cost of living and cannot easily afford living a comfortable and decent life. Also, these people do not support an arrangement that, by default, snares people into the system and only makes them financially dependent. Critics argue that the government should device a system that offers long term assistance to its citizens rather than giving them short term solutions to their problems. However, it is the same individuals who feel that it is fair and just for the government to provide a social safety net for those individuals who find themselves in economic struggles.
In conclusion, to some extent, the arguments for and against the social welfare programs have their validity and can be justified. The social welfare programs and services can play a huge role in creating disincentives to work, imposing huge costs on the government’s expenditure and creating cases of high reliance. But I however hold the stand that the welfare programs and services should be encouraged and sustained at all costs so as to gain the numerous benefits discussed in this paper. With the numerous benefits analyzed in this paper; from reducing and alleviating poverty, to reducing inequality and leading to increased demand and consumption for goods and services , the provision and sustainability of the welfare programs and services should be upheld, not only in the United states of America but across the globe.
Marshall, Jennifer. “The Unfinished Work of Welfare Reform.” 22 January 2013. The Heritage Foundation. Accessed 18 November 2017.
Pettinger, Tejvan. “Should welfare benefits be increased to reduce inequality?” 19 March 2013. Economics Help. Accessed 18 November 2017.
Rector, Robert. “Poverty and the Social Welfare State in the United States and Other Nations.” 16 September 2015. The Heritage Foundation. Accessed 18 November 2017.