Domestic Social Policy I: Welfare Reform
DURING his tenure in the presidency, Richard Nixon devoted far more time and attention to foreign policy than to domestic social and economic policies combined. At times he spoke to his staff and even to members of the press as though he regarded his domestic responsibilities as onerous burdens, as distractions from the really important work of bargaining with the Russians or holding together the Western alliance. 1
Yet when Nixon thought more grandly, he liked to envision a series of major domestic reforms that would fit harmoniously with his foreign policy triumphs as parts of the Augustan legacy he aimed to leave to the nation. " Nixon had a sense of architecture, in both domestic and foreign policy," Elliot Richardson has said. "Some parts of the programs were more important than others, but they all belonged to the design."2
The most controversial, indeed astonishing, element in Nixon's domestic program was his proposal for reform of the nation's system for providing aid to low-income families, which he presented in a televised address on August 8, 1969. The family assistance plan, as it was called, seemed to propose further expansion and centralized administration of government services--exactly the opposite of what Nixon had appeared to be promising during the campaign. Had Nixon become a liberal? Or had the administration's welfare reform program been put together by liberals in the executive branch while the president was preoccupied with foreign policy? Or was the plan somehow
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Publication information: Book title: Conservatives in an Age of Change:The Nixon and Ford Administrations. Contributors: James Reichley - Author. Publisher: Brookings Institution. Place of publication: Washington, DC. Publication year: 1981. Page number: 130.
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