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Argumentative Essay Welfare

Should welfare recipients be drug tested?

Welfare recipients should not be drug tested due to various reasons. Firstly, testing people to provide to them aid is unconstitutional. According to the constitution, the welfare is set aside to provide a reprieve to the poor citizens. Therefore, imposing the law of them being tested first is tantamount to discriminating them in a bid to deny them their right. Moreover, testing them infringes on their Fourth Amendment Right that protects them from unreasonable search and seizure. Being poor does not establish a reasonable suspicion or reason that one is a regular user or reliant on drugs. Additionally, for such a test to be imposed or one is searched, they must willing give consent. However, relying on welfare for survival is not deliberate but because of lack of choice. Hence, to conduct these drug tests is tantamount to infringing on one’s constitutional rights.

Secondly, testing for drugs of these individuals does not work and only results in high costs. Testing of these people operates on the assumption that they use the welfare they receive on drugs. In states that have already begun utilizing this law, it has seen them spend considerable amounts of taxpayers’ money, only to find a negligible number of recipients. For instance, Utah used about 65,000 dollars and only caught twenty-nine people. The process, therefore, points to a high wastage of money on an exercise that proves not worth all the funds poured into it.

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Thirdly, recipients of welfare do not use more drugs compared to other individuals receiving government relief or reprieve. Pushing for such a law is an assumption that the poor are potential drug users. However, researchers have sufficiently proven that the poor do not use more drugs as compared to other people but spend their money on basic needs such as food and clothes. Therefore, the suspicion is unfounded. Additionally, it brings about unfairness because not only poor people benefit from government benefits. For example, citizens that take up home mortgages benefit from government deductions amounting to 70 billion dollars yearly. However, they are not subjected to any drug tests. Henceforth, if the aim of this law was to ensure the government’s funds do not fuel bad behavior, individuals benefiting from government’s welfare, deductions or tax credits among others should receive the same treatment.

Fourthly, conducting drug tests among these people may elicit a reduction in drug use but does not help those reliant on the drugs. Individuals who rely on welfare are likely to avoid the use of narcotics. Nevertheless, to those caught with drugs in their systems, refusing to provide welfare to them that they greatly need does not deal with this problem, as drug addicts require the services of a rehabilitation center to wean them off the drugs. Thus, kicking them off the program only sees the problem continue.

Instituting mandatory testing affects children of the poor. A high percentage of persons that benefit from the welfare are children. Enacting the drug test is likely to affect the children of a drug abuser significantly. If their beneficiaries are caught with drugs in their systems; they are denied welfare that in turn increases the suffering of these children more than necessary as they are made to pay for their parents’ mistakes.

American economist, Thomas Sowell, often speaks out against welfare and social assistance programs. He argues that these programs discourage hard work and are ineffective in capitalistic societies because "the cold fact is that most income is not distributed, it is earned" (Sowell 1999). While Sowell is not entirely mistaken in his claims, he along with all those who nod in agreement with him, often fail to realize that there are situations where these programs are necessary, and can be beneficial to a society. [Similarly, the government of Ontario needs to realize that increasing funding for social assistance and welfare programs is imperative to social and economical development in the province.] Increasing social and welfare assistance rates and improving the programs could have multiple benefits to the province: one, decent welfare rates could create opportunities for those who do wish to rely on these programs their entire life; two, proper funding could lead to safer and more civil communities; and three, the increase in funding would allow them to restructure the programs so that they are more effective.

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It's just the intro, but before I move forward I want to know if the introduction is proper. I've bracketed off the thesis in case it can't be identified, because I feel it is a little weak. Anyway, any and all help will be appreciated. I'll post the finished essay when it is written and hopefully I can get your opinions on that as well.

Thank you for your time

Hello, I find it amazing that you find the time to respond to so many individuals, and respond so well. I don't know what amazes me more, your editting abilities or your commitment to these forums. Thank you for your help one again.

I have provided the completed essay below. I am unsure whether you will see it and find the time to read it before it is submitted, but it doesn't hurt to try. Any and all help with awkward sentences, length, grammar, punctuation, tense agreement and any other errors you may find is appreciated.

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American economist, Thomas Sowell, often speaks out against welfare and social assistance programs. He argues that these programs discourage hard work and are ineffective in capitalistic societies because "the cold fact is that most income is not distributed, it is earned" (Sowell 1999). While Sowell is not entirely mistaken in his claims, he along with all those who nod in agreement with him, often fail to realize that these programs are necessary, and can be beneficial to a society. Similarly, the Government of Ontario needs to realize that increasing funding for social assistance and welfare programs is imperative to social and economical development in the province. Increasing social and welfare assistance rates and improving the programs could have multiple benefits to the province: one, the increase in funding would allow them to restructure the programs so that they are more effective; two, decent welfare rates could create opportunities for those who do not wish to rely on these programs their entire life; and three, proper funding could lead to safer and more civil communities. The government can use the increase in funding to improve current programs, or to completely redesign the existing programs.

The increase in funding would give the government the option of restructuring the province's social assistance and welfare programs to be more effective. Many critics of these programs may argue that they provide citizens with a reason to do nothing to contribute to society, and that they waste taxpayer's money because they do not solve the unemployment or poverty issues in the province. If the government were to increase funding and use that money to restructure these programs, they could fix many of the issues that critics of the programs raise. If the programs are restructured to provide more financial support, but that support is conditional and-in most cases-less appealing than minimum wage in the province, then the programs can be very effective. If the government increases the amount of financial support it provides to the poor and unemployed, then it can bring these individuals at, or above the province's poverty line. Unfortunately, it is obviously very difficult for the province to continually provide enough money to prevent nearly every individual in the province from falling below the poverty line. As such, the government should put a limit on the amount of time that an individual who still has earning potential can receive money from welfare programs. They should also ask that the individual provide proof that they are searching for a job, or that they are doing something-whether it is a training program or volunteering-that will aid them in obtaining a job later. Similar strategies were employed in Sweden in order to "build one of the world's most generous and successful social welfare system" (Stevenson 07 October 2007). One can make a case that there are some poor and disenfranchised individuals who will never find a job regardless of how hard they try. In this case, if the individual proves that they are unable to find a job, then they can continue to receive relatively lower amounts of financial assistance, and the government can place them in a training or skills development program. The province will save a considerable amount of money since they do not have to provide financial assistance to some citizens after a predetermined period of time. This money can go towards programs which provide incentives for unemployed individuals to find jobs. Similar to how Sweden's programs operate, if an individual can find and maintain a job in the province of Ontario, they can be given temporary or lifelong benefits (Stevenson 07 October 2007). They could also be given money to purchase work related items when they first get their job. Restructuring the programs with the increase in funding can clearly be more effective than simply increasing the assistance rates of the current programs. However, if the province feels that the current programs are fine, individuals who rely on welfare programs can still benefit from the increase in funding.

Many individuals currently rely on, or may one day rely on welfare programs. One can find citizens in every society who choose to exploit these programs because they see them as an opportunity to obtain money without having to do anything productive; however, there are also groups of people who see these programs as opportunities to better themselves and their lives. If these individuals know that they can depend on decent welfare if needed, they may be more willing to take a risk and quit their job in order to further their education, to follow their dreams, or to start a business of their own. Welfare and social assistance programs can benefit those who feel they need more schooling. They may never have completed high school or post-secondary education, they may want a master's or a doctorate, or they may wish to educate themselves in a discipline which interests them more than their previous one. Regardless of their reasons for furthering their education, welfare and social assistance programs can provide them with loans or grants which make it possible for them to pay the costs of their tuition; furthermore, these programs can provide them with a source of income until they complete their studies, and manage to find a new job. There are also many fully educated individuals who have jobs with large salaries, prestige and job security, but are still unhappy. A national survey found that less than half of all Canadians are satisfied with their career (N/A 08 October 2007). Although it may be difficult to imagine why someone would be discontent with a high paying and prestigious career, there are various reasons why one may be unhappy with such a career: they may have been forced into or lost interest in that career, or they may want to be in a career which allows them to fulfill their dreams. Many aspiring writers, artists, musicians, actors and inventors will never consider leaving the financial security that their job provides if they do not have welfare programs to rely on until they are successful. Knowing that they can obtain money from welfare programs, or get business loans from social assistance programs may also encourage individuals to leave their jobs, or to take risks and invest their money in a business. They may be more willing to do so knowing that if their business fails, they will be able to get some money from welfare offices until they can find a job or afford to run a different business. Although one would be mistaken in assuming that all those who take these risks will be successful, encouraging risk-taking may allow a citizen in Ontario to start the next Amazon.com, Inc. in their basement, or write the next New York Times bestseller. If the programs are not funded properly, or if the rates are too low then people are less likely to find the financial assistance they receive from these programs to be adequate enough to quit their job. Welfare and social assistance programs can promote education, ingenuity and entrepreneurship in the province of Ontario; therefore, allowing the province to create new jobs and to grow economically. The government should always look to improve the quality of life in the province because social and economical development is essential in bettering any society.

Social assistance and welfare programs not only have the potential to allow the province of Ontario to grow economically, but can also allow social change and development in the province. If the provincial government is willing to provide a decent amount of assistance to those who need these programs, they are less likely blame the government for their position; as a result the province can maintain or improve its political stability. Furthermore, if citizens have enough money to obtain the basic necessities, they are also less likely to resort to crime as a source of income. In order to achieve this, the province first needs to prevent the unemployed and those under the poverty line from feeling as though the province and its economic system put them there. If the provincial government is willing to provide decent amounts of money to the poor and disenfranchised through their social welfare programs, they are less likely to feel forgotten or discriminated against. The 1992 Los Angeles Riots prove that when a group of individuals feel that the government is treating them unfairly, even a small catalyst can encourage them to resort to criminal activity (Smith 08 October 2007). The province of Ontario can avoid a situation similar to the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, and avoid rebellions against its political parties if the government makes a conscientious effort to aid the poor and unemployed. Although there will always be individuals who prefer blaming the government and earning money through organized crime, fifty people can do less damage to a society than five thousand individuals can. In addition to preventing large criminal activity, appeasing those who need social assistance and welfare programs can also reduce financially motivated crimes. A study by Statistics Canada of unemployment rates, and financially motivated crime rates between 1962 and 2003 shows that, on average, there appears to be a relation between the two sets of statistics. Their study suggests that for every change of one percent in the unemployment rate of Ontario, there is a change of over one percent in the same direction for financially motivated crimes (N/A 06 October 2007). If welfare programs can provide the unemployed with enough money for necessities such as food, then fewer individuals will feel the need to attempt a robbery, or resort to selling illegal drugs as their source of income. These programs may not eliminate disparity between the wealth of the poor and the rich, but it allows the poor to feel as though society cares about them and may discourage them from attacking or robbing those wealthier than they are. The increase in support for the province's government, and the reduction of criminal activity in the province serve as good incentive for the province to increase assistance and welfare rates. Whether the government achieves all of this by adding money to current programs, or by modifying the programs, properly funded welfare programs can undoubtedly improve the quality of life in the province.

The Government of Ontario clearly needs to consider increasing funding for their social assistance and welfare programs. Proper funding could allow the government to reform and improve the programs. Furthermore, the increase in assistance rates can assist economic development in the province due to the increase in job opportunities, while also discouraging criminal activity and government opposition by citizens of the province. The Government of the Province of Ontario, Thomas Sowell, and all those who fail to recognize all the benefits of properly funded welfare programs need to reconsider their views on the matter. Although individuals are meant to earn their income, many of them often require assistance or encouragement in order to do so. Welfare and social assistance programs are not created to promote laziness, but instead aim to provide this assistance and encouragement.

Greetings!

First, thank you for your kind words, they are very much appreciated! I think you've done an outstanding job with your essay. There is very little to criticize; I have just a few small editing suggestions:

While Sowell is not entirely mistaken in his claims, he, [add comma] along with all those who nod in agreement with him, often fails to realize that these programs are necessary, and can be beneficial to a society.

If the government increases the amount of financial support it provides to the poor and unemployed, then it can bring these individuals at, or above, [add comma] the province's poverty line.

The province of Ontario can avoid a situation similar to the 1992 Los Angeles riots

The only other thing I would point out is that, technically, when you speak of an individual, you should not refer to him or her as "they," because "they" is plural. However, this is so much a part of the common vernacular that some feel it is well on its way to becoming accepted English grammar. I will leave it up to you to decide whether to change the several instances of it in your essay.

Really excellent work!

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com

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