Purpose The purpose of this discussion is to compare and contrast the values and assumptions of both Charles Murray and Lawrence Mead vis-a-vis Michael Harrington and William J. Wilson, specifically addressing poverty programs and the reasons for their failure during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Similarly, I shall address their underlying assumptions and values and how they are shared and how they differ. For example, Michael Harrington has been an outspoken critic of the failure of the 60’s and 70’s so-called war on poverty. Quite honestly, I believe that his treatise on The New American Poverty is not only insightful, but offers compassion as well. This is somewhat rare amongst the social scholarly elite who, for the most part, are concerned with facts and figures ? at least this has been my observation. Not to derogate the political scientists and economists as well as critics of our times, I find Harrington refreshingly knowledgeable, which he applies to strong usage regarding the plight of the poor and the underlying causes for failure of the so-called war on poverty. In fact, at one point in his treatise, he states that as we toured the mathematical maze, it became apparent that, relatively speaking, the aging poor get better care than anyone else under the poverty line. That is only one point in a larger case, which may be stated as follows: “The entire welfare state in the United States is primarily for people over 65, most of whom are not poor; and this welfare state is the cheapest in the Western world.” Similarly, Harrington is not wanting for statistics, as he cites a 7.5% unemployment rate when Ronald Reagan took office in January of 1991, which rose to 10.8% by December of 1982. This is of atmospheric proportions and Harrington has some bitter remarks regarding what he calls the hardness of the middle class and its relationship towards human suffering. The purpose of this research paper will be to identify and access the pros and cons of Welfare. Emphasis of this research paper will be upon the Welfare Reform Act as understood within the recent light of the 104th Congress, and the legislation which the President signed into law. President Clinton also vowed that there would be more to come during his second administration. Overall the argument exist that Welfare Reform needs serious and immediate overhaul largely because of both the Federal Budget deficit as well as the fact that Welfare Reform has only served to enslave welfare recipients. It is not doing what it was intended to do. To this extent, I should like to address the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, as well as the many political components which it entails, least of which would not be the GOP’s “Contract With America,” in my opinion. U.S. Welfare programs grew significantly in the decades following World War II, but increases in Welfare costs during the 1960’s and 70’s brought into question the extent and quality of Public Assistance. In the early 1980’s the Reagan Administration reduced Welfare expenditures and suggested turning responsibility for Welfare funding over to the States. The cuts in Federal funding that took effect during the Reagan Administration did in fact effectively place the responsibility for maintaining funding levels for some Welfare Programs on the States themselves — and, in some cases, on the larger cities. The results has been a widening of the already existing disparities in Social Services’ spending between States, and between cities and regions within a State. The major U.S. programs which we are talking about when we say ‘Welfare’ are represented by the main Public Assistance Program Income Benefit which is Aid To Families With Dependent Children (AFDC). The issue of Welfare reform and related policies are both complex and simplistic at the same time, as long as, in my view, the policy is defined with the ultimate objective of obviating any intrusion of the law of unintended consequences. How does one design such a policy which will have the opposite effect of what was intended. I believe that the answer to this question lies in the lessons we have learned from history, previous social policy implementation, contributions by both the conservative and liberal camps, i.e. Murray, Mead, Harrington, and others. As indicated, in designing a long-lasting and efficacious program there exists a complexity of factors, perspectives and objectives associated with the challenge. I would like to proffer my view as how to best go about structuring this complex task for pragmatic purposes. At this time, Welfare reform is a hot potatoe issue, and there exist little paucity of opinion as well as criticisms of the current Welfare system The overall purpose of this research paper is to both examine and discuss the interrelationship between teenage pregnant adolescents and high school drop outs. Although I have specified high school drop outs, it has been learned that the problem also effects teenagers who are enrolled in curricula which may well both precede, or ante cede the high school level. However, for the most part, the focus of this paper will be upon high school students, and specifically as mentioned, those who become pregnant and are forced to drop out of high school. Similarly, the central focus of this research paper also shall address the cyclical impact which this dilemma has upon America’s teenage pregnancy problem. This research paper shall incorporate a minimum of 10 research studies which have been carried out by the authors of the articles i.e. primary sources.
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