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I also believe that today poverty begets poverty. There has grown up a "welfare mentality" in the United States where it seems that irresponsibility and sloth are rewarded. The welfare system until the reform in the mid 1990s did not require that the beneficiaries take any personal responsibility for their situation. There was no requirement that the parents (mostly single women) actually do something so they can be self supporting, even something as simple as getting a GED. Fathers were not treated as a member of the family and nothing was done to encourage men to be responsible fathers so that they could support their children.
As a result many men became drifters and transients, living with a woman long enough to impregnate her then leaving or being sent to prison. For many young men in the inner city, it is a shuffle between the streets to the prison, then back to the streets and back to prison. Of course when those men are incarcerated, what they learn are the skills to be a more hardened criminal not any skills that could be used in the workplace. By the time a man learns that such a life is a dead end (usually in their 30s), they have already made a mess of themselves. So many times a life of drugs, alcohol and ppoor health habits catches up with those men so that by their 40s, they are on disability and receiving SSI payments (SSI is the old state welfare payments to those aged, blind and disabled that were federalized and placed under the social security administration in 1973. SSI payments do not require any work quarters like regular social security benefits.)
Of course for most of those men, by the time they are in their 40s, they are practically unemployable. They have very little actual work experience, have addled their brains with booze and or drugs and are poorly educated with most not finishing the 9th grade. I see these people all the time in the course of my work at the local food pantries. For the women, by the time they are in their 40s, they are also worn out from raising their children. Many of them have also addled their brains from alcohol and drugs and poor health habits have also rendered them as disabled.
Unfortunately this cycle of poverty through the generations seems to be continuing. States are considering making drug testing mandatory for welfare eligibility. But I don't think such punitive laws will survive a court challenge. Besides what about the children? If the welfare payments are cut off because the parents are using drugs, what is done with the children in the home? The children's service staff is already overworked and under staffed as it is right now. The workers already have case loads so high that they cannot do their jobs as best they can and foster homes can often be as bad or worse than the homes those children are taken from.