Academic journal article Social Justice

Subsidy Reform

Academic journal article Social Justice

Subsidy Reform

Article excerpt

I hope welfare reform does not become revenge on the poor where we throw away any reason because there is a scream out there by people who really do not know who the fat cats on welfare are, and do not realize they are being swindled out of their taxpayers' money day in and day out by people who are in some cases billionaires. They just see poor people and they want to get revenge, get rid o any benefits that they are getting, and they lose their perspective, we lose ou perspective and we create more problems than we solve. We are going to scar and hurt children in ways that will make it more costly for society in the future.

I want to thank the gentlewoman from Hawaii. I am going to have to leave now, but I look forward to further dialogues with her. I hope that the American people are watching closely as we develop this welfare reform program. The Congressional Record

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LAUGHLIN). Under the Speaker's announced policy of February 11, 1994, the gentleman from New York [Mr. OWENS] is recognized for 60 minutes as the majority leader's designee.

Mr. OWENS. Mr. Speaker, we have just concluded a very important Phase 1 of this year of the 103rd session of Congress. In conclusion, we passed H.R. 6, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Assistance Act. I think to close out this phase of this year's session with passage of a major education bill was very much in order.

There are discussions under way now in the White House, and a few other places, about welfare reform and the relationship is an obvious one. Education is a vital necessity if we are going to have meaningful welfare reform. Education, job training, and actual creation of jobs, those three are very necessary if we are going to have meaningful welfare reform.

I rise in favor of welfare reform. I am in favor of any form of reform of a Federal function or government function. Everything can be improved. But I hope the reform will go forward without hysteria, and without seeking to wreak revenge upon the poor. Welfare reform ought to be guided by scientific principles, by logic, by sound management principles. I think we can accomplish a great deal.

I rise to advocate welfare reform with principles that really should apply to all American citizens who receive assistance from our government. If we are going to establish certain principles with respect to welfare, then let it be across the board for all citizens who receive assistance from government.

From time to time, different classes of citizens need assistance. We just passe not too long ago a bill that appropriated more than $8 billion for earthquake relief for victims of the earthquake in California. And it is totally appropriate that government should come to the aid of people in need. In this case, victims of the earthquake, regardless of income level, regardless of education, will be recipients of that earthquake relief.

Last year we appropriated $6 billion, more than $6 billion for relief for victims of the Midwest floods, more than $6 billion. They were victims. They needed assistance of their government. It is altogether appropriate and fitting and proper that our government should come to the aid of those who need assistance.

The year before that, we had appropriated I think more than $6 billion for hurricane relief for victims of the hurricane in Florida. People who were victims of hurricanes needed the government to come to their assistance. It is fitting and proper that we should do that. Wherever Americans are in need, then they should be assisted.

Members must understand, however, that in our big cities we have a form of disaster that is not a natural disaster or a God-made disaster, but it is nevertheless a disaster. Certain of our inner-city communities have had unemployment levels 10 points higher than national unemployment levels for the last 10 years. There are areas in my congressional district where unemployment has been up as high as 20 percent for a long period of time for adults, and for young adults even higher than that. …

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