The Social Welfare System — Who Benefits? Who Loses?

 The Social Welfare System — Who Benefits? Who Loses? (3-4 pages)

1. Abramovitz, Mettler, and Plumer claim that “everyone is on welfare.” Discuss this argument. Did it surprise you? Why do you think the public believes that only those living in poverty benefit from government spending?

2. From the “Who Benefits?” section, discuss the benefits of either wealthy individuals or large corporations, including how they benefit.

3. From the “Who Loses?” section, discuss two of the groups (voters, workers, immigrants) listed, and how they lose.

4. Indicate some ways that you or people you know (relatives or friends) have benefited and/or lost from the social welfare system. What government programs have you/they used and what difference, if any, did it make in your/their lives?

5. Identify the population served by your agency and indicate how clients benefit or lose from both your program and from government social welfare policy more generally.


Unit VIII. WHO BENEFITS? WHO LOSES? FROM TODAY’S SOCIAL POLICIES: Popular wisdom holds that money for government programs goes only to the poor. But, in fact, the data show that these government dollars serve many non-poor individuals and organizations. This unit analyzes the social welfare system, by looking at who is and is not served by its programs. The discussion is based on the policy framework referred to as “who benefits and who loses?” The distribution of resources by social welfare programs to populations at-risk as well as to the middle class and corporations suggests that everyone is on welfare. However, the data show that some groups benefit more than others.

A. Overview: Not For the Poor Alone

Abramovitz, M. (2001). Everyone Is Still On Welfare: The Role of Redistribution in Social Policy, Social Work, 46, pp. 297-308. (ER)

Mettler, S. (2011). Our Hidden Government Benefits, The New York Times.

Plumer, B. (2012). Who Receives Government Benefits In Charts. The Washington Post. federal-government-in-six-charts/

Porter, E. (2012). Who Gets the Breaks and Benefits, The New York Times.

Three Ways Making the Poor Prove They’re Worthy of Benefits is Problematic (video – 2 min.)

BWho Benefits?

1. Poor, Working Poor & Middle Class

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (2018). Chart Book: Economic Security and Health Insurance Programs Reduce Poverty and Provide Access to Needed Care.

2.Wealthy Individuals

Kurtzleben, D. (2017). CHARTS: How GOP’s Tax Breaks Would Shift Money To Rich, Poor Americans. NPR. to-rich-poor-american

Mathews, D. (2018). How the Republican Tax Law Hurts the Poor and Helps the Rich, in One Chart. regressive-rich-poor-graph

3. Large Corporations (subsidies)

Young, A. (2016). Taxpayer-Funded Capitalism: The Biggest Corporate Subsidy Deals of 2016. deals-of-2016/

Sinn, M. (2015). Think by the Numbers: Gov’t Spends More on Corporate Welfare Subsidies than Social Welfare Programs.

Sirota, D. (2014). The Real Welfare Queens. In These Times.

C. Who Loses?

1. Voting Rights

Vincins, A. (2016). Everything You Need to Know About Voter Suppression in One 5-Minute Video.

Mother Jones. Edsall, T. (2018). Why Don’t We Always Vote in Our Own Self-Interest? The New York Times.

Gumbel, A. (2017). America’s Shameful History of Voter SuppressionThe Guardian. election-fraud

Editors (2018). What the Supreme Court Doesn’t Get About Racism. The New York Times.

Roth, Z. (2017). Wave of Voter Suppression Measures Targets Latinos. MSNBC.

Melton, A. (2018). Voting Rights Is an LGBTQ Issue. Demos.

Taking Action Burmila, E. (2018). How to Fight Voter Suppression in 2018. Dissent Magazine. practical-guide

2. Labor Rights Policy

Dunn, M. & W. (2016). Union Membership In The United States. Bureau of Labor Statistics. the-united-states.pdf

Levinson, J. (2018). Supreme-Court Decision Janus-vs AFSCME Likely To Permanently-Weaken- Public-Sector Union. NBC News. janus-v-afscme-likely-permanently-weaken-public-ncna851376

National Employment Law Project (2015). Minimum Wage Basics: Overview of the Tipped Minimum Wage.

Taking Action Rios, E. (2018). Wave of Ticked-Off Teachers Is Running for Office in Oklahoma. Mother Jones. oklahoma/

3. Immigration Policy

Immigration Policy Center (2014). The Growth of the US Deportation Machine.

Immigration Policy Center. (2011). Racial Blame Game.

Ewing, W. (2018). Federal Audit Outlines Lasting Impacts of Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration. orders-on-immigration/

Dahlberg, V. (2018). Ice’s Military-Style Raid Leaves Immigrant Communities Terrorized. ACLU. Raid-Leaves-Immigrant

Jordan, M. (2018). Whistle-Blowers Say Detaining Migrant Families Poses High Risk of Harm. The New York Times.

Wang, C. (2018). In Its Zeal to Deport Immigrants, Justice Department Scraps Due Process. ACLU. justice-department

Gruberg, S. et. al. (2017). The Trump Budget Neglects Basic Protections and Funds a Deportation Force Instead. American Progress.

Hayes, D. (2018). Misogyny and Racism in Sessions’ Unraveling of Asylum Law. The Gender Policy Report.


Who Benefits? Who Loses?

Wanda Pena

Silberman School of Social work

Based on the foundations of Mettler and Plumer, the social policy which is supported by government spending, private and non-private institutes offer similar benefits (Abramovitz, 2001). More importantly, they claim the social policy has a fiscal policy underneath, which offers people in the community benefits in terms of housing, allowances, medical, retirement plans and aids in different forms. Based on the research conducted and reports, it did not surprise me since the social welfare policies in the community are meant to be a basis and foundation for helping people in the community (Abramovitz, 2001). On the other hand, the public believes those who are in poverty are the ones who benefit since the government targets the poverty and this is to help them through benefits. But, in real sense, the many different social policies are focused on targeting the middle class and those in riches. Hence, the assumption on the public is not true based on the foundations of Mettler and Plumer.

According to the Washington Center for Equitable Growth economist Greg Leiserson, the tax reforms focuses on the reduction of tax cuts for the top quartile, who mostly controls the wealthiest corporations and individuals (Mathews, 2018). This indicates in the next decade, their after tax income has increased greatly. But, it is a vice versa for the poor and those below the income average. As the decade continues, the poorest by 2025 when the law is still being implemented will see their share drop in the similar range (Mathews, 2018). Thus, it is a challenge for the many people and communities in the society who will get the necessary rise in after-income tax and this will be sure to ensure a common growth in the modern community (Mathews, 2018). Who benefits are the rich and richest corporations through tax cuts focusing on a rise in the after-tax income. They benefit through the reductions on the tax rates based on the gross salary.

From the “Who Loses?” section, discuss two of the groups (voters, workers, immigrants) listed, and how they lose

Based on the immigration policies, many people in the American community are blaming the immigrants to be the reasons behind the increased rates of unemployment in the American society. But, based on stats, the number of immigrants in the American community does not show any correlation with the rates of unemployment. Hence, the less the immigrants the less the wages in the American community. Therefore, immigrants’ policies are negatively affecting the propensity of the immigrants to make a worthy living and being paid for their services. A common association is also immigrants search for increased employment opportunities (Immigration Policy Center, 2011). In cities, where there are no immigrants the rates of the unemployed African American is higher, but, where there are a higher rates of immigration, the rates of unemployment are low. Hence, the immigrants creates jobs, but, they lose in terms of benefits due to the immigration policies and in sharing of their wealth.

The social welfare system has helped the children in the community who do not have any medical support and parents who cannot support them from the financial obligations. In this program of the Medicare or Medicaid. It has helped the community to focus on the challenges and ways to ensure it is productive and growing to improve on the changes of the society. It is a challenge for the children living under the poverty line, but, I know a neighbor whose son was enrolled to medical insurance and housing supplements (Abramovitz, 2001). They benefited from the social welfare policy due to the condition of their financial obligations. But, have others benefited? The Medicaid program has helped many to thrive under the social welfare program as it targets the poor and those who cannot depend on income to solely support their medical and health obligations in the community.

There is a consideration on the value of the information obtained from the generally accepted social welfare programs. It is a consideration on how to ensure, develop, and improve towards meeting effective considerations on the modern community. For instance, the social welfare of the agency, offers clients and employees life premium covers, which they are have to stand in and substitute with financial support. As a result, it is a challenge, which hinders and affects the commonality between development and valuable information. Thus, the clients and employees are enrolled in a lifetime premium, which has to cover some of their issues. But, many lose since the premiums do not support them in the long-term since they either die naturally and the premiums become obsolete. Hence, it is a challenge on the credibility of the government’s social welfare policies and they impact the common man’s interests through tax deductions and benefits.


Abramovitz, M. (2001). Everyone is still on welfare: The role of redistribution in social policy. Social Work46(4), 297-308.

Immigration Policy Center. (2011). Racial Blame Game. Accessed on November, 2018. Retrieved from:

Mathews, D. (2018). How the Republican Tax Law Hurts the Poor and Helps the Rich, in One Chart.

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