Critical Thinking

The author’s premise

In “Cutting ‘welfare’ to help the poor” Coates praises the policy of the welfare reform of 1996 considering it an extremely successful way to enhance well-being of the poor by destroying dependency and incentives to work.
Stephanie Mencimer in “Brave new welfare” does not ridicule the policy of reform, but gives examples of non-compliance of the obligations by the workers of social service agencies, or the terrible demands for the provision of social benefits in most states. Actually, the welfare laborers resort to various tricks in order to deprive the starving families of the right on material benefits. They lie, require sterilization, ask intimate questions, and threaten openly to protect the state treasury from the expenses.

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The reasoning

Coates talks about lower poverty level in the USA comparing to other countries in the West. He mediates upon the poorest people who even do not have any meals, and the poor families who have some food and “at least one adult is working” (Coates, 2007). The author tells that many US families have cars only because they need to. They have no other choice. Else, the poverty caused the welfare and not vice versa. David argues about the charity aids that only strengthen the feeling of dependence and demand great expenses of time. He proves that individuals who receive welfare and those who work gain the same minimum salaries “are on the same side” (Coates, 2007). Low income may push some persons to lead health-detrimental and deviational way of life. Interestingly, Coates elucidates that poverty is not a solution of the poor, it is a choice taken by the community by means of voting, legislation, and government.
Mencimer refers to the factual documented issues. He gives examples of the real situations that happened in the lives of the certain people from the states of Georgia, Texas, and Florida. They qualified for the gaining of social benefits and were denied. Otherwise, they were required to accomplish weird or nasty demands in order to receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

Assumptions made by the author

Coates makes assumptions that it is not eligible to state that “the American poor are better off… then the entirety of the Western European Poor” (Coates, 2009). He compares the poverty rates in America with those of the European countries proving that only about three Western states display lower material well-being of the children than the USA. Ambiguity reveals in the hypocrite conduct of social commentators who would rather blame poor people for making wrong solutions than help them. Factually, those critics advise black females to marry in order to make a living. However, the problem is not making bad decisions, but cultural and financial incompetence in choices.

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Mencimer gives some assumptions over the reasons of increasing amount of people from TANF list that become involved in working activities. It says that, perhaps, the active participation in work is the result of decreasing amount of people receiving the assistance. Moreover, the author thinks that most officials discouraged the applicants from receiving the welfare by exaggerating the meagerness of the payments. According to Stephanie, some women tend to depend on men during the hard times. Another proved assumption is that “dropping people from TANF is the easiest and cheapest way to meet federal work requirements” (Mencimer, 2009).

Ambiguous words and phrases

David Coates states that the United States is poorer country than it may seem because, for example, its rate of poverty is “equivalent to the entire populations of Sweden and Norway” (Coates, 2007). However, unlike Europeans, most American people obtain cars. This ambiguous situation is being explained by the fact that the USA does not have adequate system of transport, and therefore, buying cars is inevitable bargain and not a luxury there.

Mencimer neither supports the avoidance by welfare workers to fulfill the reform, nor defames it, however, there are some ambiguous phrases in her articles that make to think over her real attitude, and the current situation in the States. For example, “by 2006, the state claimed Walker’s agency had produced an astounding increase in the work participation rate of its TANF recipients” (Mencimer, 2009). The citation displays the growing rate of working people among the applicants for the assistance. However, later Mencimer explains, “the increased work participation rate is primarily a factor of fewer families receiving assistance” (Mencimer, 2009).

The evidence

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Coates uses the authoritative documented sources to prove his point of view that the welfare reform improves the people’s lives. With the help of statistical data and historical information he shows that the government helps the poorest people providing TANF and, therefore, stimulating them to work. He writes, “12.7 per cent of all Americans now live on incomes that fall at or below the official poverty lines” (Coates, 2007).

Most of all, Mencimer relies on the testimonials of people that once applied for TANF. Moreover, she refers to the documented sources of the authorities that rewards for “push to get virtually every adult off the state’s public assistance rolls” (Mencimer, 2009). The author manages her intuition and uses authoritative evidence in making assumptions about the political situation in the country. The testimonials of the suffering twenty-two years old Lettorea Clark, Du Bois’ book “The souls of black folk”, the welfare official B.J. Walker, the research of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence are used in the article.

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