He or she might then launch into a diatribe against the so-called welfare state, insisting that it creates an environment of dependency from which few will ever even wish to escape. But does having a welfare safety net truly create dependency or is it a necessary means by which these individuals can lift themselves out of the dire poverty in which they exist to lead more satisfying, productive lives? A closer look at what poverty really is may reveal what helps to create it in the first place and give more insightful answers regarding the benefit or detriment of the welfare state. One of the prime concerns of poverty has to do with the living conditions one is forced to endure as a result of having few options and no extra cash. Mackey (2007) describes this condition as being one in which fear of neighbors dominates. As an example, housewives, attempting to get money orders to pay their rent because they cannot support checking accounts, find it necessary to develop elaborate schemes in order to keep their cash safely hidden from thieves purposely lurking on the street between the predatory check cashing outlet and the rental office. Another situation Mackey describes is one in which the lack of concern on the part of property managers prevents a woman from getting the safety light in the hallway outside her apartment fixed despite the fact that there has been a murder just outside her front door and her children are afraid to come home through the blood still staining the carpet. Parker (1971) describes similar conditions such as a woman being trapped in a house that is falling apart around her and there is nothing she can do to prevent it or to help her children escape from it in any positive way. In both situations, the lack of cash is only a small part of the problem. Larger issues exist in the way that society treats these individuals, either shunting them to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list for repairs and maintenance or forgetting about them altogether and leaving them to rot away with the house and the rest of the garbage. Not only is there not enough funding for these individuals to live safely, but there is no incentive for them to want to remain in this condition. Their dependency on the system is due more to a continued lack of appropriate resources than the provision of some. These women dealing with problems within their welfare-supported homes are among the lucky ones in that they at least have a place to call home. An estimated half a million children that, “at any one time,” are homeless in the U.S. along with their parents represent the “fastest growing segment of the homeless population” (Gray, 2009). It is an urban fallacy that the majority of homeless persons actually choose that horrendous way of life once they have become accustomed to it. Studies indicate that ninety-four percent of persons without a home definitely would not decide to live in this way one more day if they could find another option (National Coalition for the Homeless). Another common misconception regarding the chronically homeless is that they made bad life choices therefore are responsible for their own bad fortune. In addition to the sizeable proportion of kids that are homeless, many other people are merely victims of their circumstances which an adequate welfare system might help them to forestall. For example, a number of
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Poverty and Welfare Do Not Necessarily Create Dependency Instructor name Date Driving through any given city on any given day in America will typically expose the occupants of the vehicle to a sad sight upon approaching an intersection – a bedraggled man or a tattered woman approaching the window of the car…
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