Social challenges have become more serious in developed countries than it had been estimated by the end of the World War II. This has been precipitated by adamant poverty and the increasing gap between the rich and the poor in the society. According to Glennerster, (2000), the economic theory dictated that increasing incomes in countries would be equally distributed among the society. However, this theory had not foreseen the ineffective tax systems favoring the amassing of wealth by the rich in society. Alleviating social problems in society through social initiatives is not only the mandate of the government, but the private sector either through non-governmental organizations or private businesses can also contribute to this effort by adopting social initiatives. However, it is up to the government to encourage the private sector by empowering them through measures such as tax exemptions, market subsidies and grants.
This was greatly evidenced in the first term of former President Clinton’s administration. With the coming to power of conservative politicians in the U.S. in the 1980s, the current thinking on poverty was adopted (Weir, 2004). This saw the adoption of policies that advocated for social initiatives such as:
The government introduced vouchers for the poor in society as a means of alleviating poverty and ensuring that everyone enjoys the set up social infrastructure in full.
There has been an allocation towards this in the national budget. Some of the available vouchers include: Housing voucher: These vouchers are meant for the homeless in society although special individuals living in poor neighborhoods are given this to help them move to more organized neighborhoods that are considered safer. Child Care Voucher: This offers assistance especially to single parents so as to properly care for their children in a conducive environment. School Voucher: This is given to students who choose not to go to public school and since the government will not be incurring any expenses for them in public school, a certain amount of money is given to the parents to help the student attend private school or home-schooling. Subsidized student loans are also made available by the government to enable students to access cheap loans.
One form of government grants is Medicaid and it is for low-income families, pregnant women, disabled persons, the aged and children especially those under the care of single parents. States also have their own health plans under the State Health Insurance Programs (SHIP). Medicare is also available for persons over six years and disabled persons although there are those senior citizens who may not qualify for Medicare, but may get assistance through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The U.S. department for veteran affairs ensures veterans access their healthcare benefits.
The government has put these programs in place to alleviate the plight of the poor, those out of formal employment who had to lose their medical insurance and the disabled in society. It is a right of all human beings and its even entrenched in the constitution that we should all enjoy affordable healthcare, despite our financial status. The government has also enacted laws to guarantee this. For instance, the provision ensuring long-term care insurance premiums have the equivalent status as those of health insurance premiums; increasing health insurance premiums for the self-employed and tax protections for accelerated death benefits. However, sometimes, this may not be the case as men by nature can never be equal.
(2007). British social policy: 1945 to the present Volume 4 of making contemporary Britain. London. Wiley-Blackwell Weir, M.
(2004).The social divide: political parties and the future of activist government. Washington DC. Brookings Institution Press.