A child’s assurance of not entering poverty relies upon the income stability of his or her parent. According to an article by Banes and Waldfogel, “work-family policies that address conflicts between employment and caregiving and allow parents to work more hours and gain higher earnings will be increasingly important in the prevention of child poverty.” Family stability does not rely on just the father’s income but on the parent having above-poverty income-earning skills. “It is also apparent that the major stumbling block to family economic security for many low-income families is not the absence of the father but rather the father’s low skills, employment, and earnings.” This implies that policies that encourage marriage do not suffice. Policies that address income-earning skills are more salient when addressing poverty rates, especially among children. “This suggests that policies such as tougher CSE and marriage promotion can play only a limited role in reducing child poverty unless they are paired with programs to address the low levels of employment and earnings among low-skilled men.” When one works, how does that person take care of his or her children? When a parent does not have to worry about taking care of the child during the day, then he or she has the opportunity to work.
It is very difficult for a family to raise children using one income. Policies should be introduced to give families the opportunity of having two incomes to support them. “Truth is that it is very difficult now to raise children on a single paycheck, whether that check is a man’s or a woman’s. Thus, we need to put priority on policies that help families have all their adults working in the labor market and earning a decent wage alongside policies that provide support to families that are not able to do so” There are policies that do address this issue but because of the current economy it is difficult to sustain such programs. “Work-family policies that address conflicts between employment and caregiving and allow parents to work more hours and gain higher earnings will be increasingly important in the prevention of child poverty.” These programs are doled out under certain conditions and for a certain period of time.
Welfare was given an absolute expiration date during the Clinton Administration under the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. Welfare would be distributed for a total of five years to families who have requested welfare but the recipients would have a five-year hard time limit, and the block-granting of funds would “increase poverty among children to an unacceptable degree.” In the recent recession, poverty among children has increased; the Welfare Reform Act did not take into account recessions when the bill was made law.
When the bill was passed, America was enjoying one of its most prosperous economic conditions. The language of welfare must change in order for the American people’s mentality on welfare and social programs to change. “A near majority of Americans in the early 2000s agree that ‘poor people today do not have an incentive to work because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.’” Not only should language change, but also the way issues are framed.
The decisive nature of Congress and the politicization of issues have led to ideas being skewed to serve for political purposes, more votes to make issues more divisive etc. If lobbyists did not influence policy as much as they do, and if there were regulations on the amount of influence lobbyists have, i.e. campaign donations, then the overall environment in Congress will be more conducive to less alienating language allowing the American people to have a truthful perspective on issues and thus the salience of assisting the poor will come to light and Americans will be more sympathetic and more supportive of social programs that assist the poor.