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30 December 2008

Speech on U.S. welfare reform and its failure

On 21 of December, the speech by a professor from UC Riverside, Dr. Ellen Reese was held in Hosei University, Tokyo. The speaker was critical of US welfare reform done since 1996. The purpose of the speech was to acknowledge Japanese people the welfare reform such as 5 year time-out period was worst thing for Japan to follow.

The main points were as follows,

  1. The U.S. is the most affluent nation in the world but 1 in 10 people are living below poverty line. 1 in 5 children were living in the household of below poverty line.
  2. Poverty is concentrated among ethnic minorities and single mother households. 
  3. Federal poverty guideline was set in 1960s. It is already outdated.
  4. Welfare reform started in 1996 did not actually reduce the poverty but glossed over serious facts to reduce welfare recipients.
  5. A common myth is that the welfare recipients live extravagant lives, wasting tax payers's expense. In reality, federal public assistance does not provide enough money to lift a family out of poverty or even pay for all of a family's basic necessities.
  6. Private welfare contractors are cheating on welfare recipients by encouraging them to to ask friends, families and churches for help to keep most of the money they have to use for the recipients.
  7. The states with more Black people implement more strict policies on welfare.  
  8. Those who time-out of welfare are in harder situation than those who left welfare for other reasons.
  9. Time-out people, especially women have to rely on their former abusers, often their fathers and damage their mental and physical conditions.
  10. The states with more strict welfare policy have higher rate of child abuse, fostering and out-of-home care cases.

It is very sad to know such facts.

The U.S. has been a role model of Japan since the end of World War 2. Japan was occupied by the U.S. force and democratized by them.

Thanks to the U.S. distribution of the wealth in our country has become much more even than prewar time. The constitution given by the U.S. insures citizens' rights to have healthy and cultural lives, which the government has to support.

Now the situation has changed. The U.S. has become "Do not follow" model.

Since Iraq war, the U.S. has spent too much money on military. Why not they want to spend that amount of money for the poor people in their own territory. The economy is going bankrupt by financial crisis. It is time to change.


I hope that in next year Mr. Obama can change the things better, pulling their troops from outside their territory and concentrating poverty issue in his country. The U.S. is not superpower any more.

The below is You Tube clips that post part of the speech (2 parts, 13 minutes).



Part 2


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