...And Economic Justice for All: Welfare Reform for the 21st Century

By Michael L. Murray | Go to book overview

CONCLUSIONS

In his inaugural address on January 20, 1993, President Clinton stated "But for fate, we, the fortunate and the unfortunate, might have been each other." He may have been commenting primarily upon the fortuitous consequences of our efforts, but the statement also reflects an understanding of the fate involved in our ability to make those efforts.

One of the consequences of adopting the determinist view is that it helps to eliminate the "them versus us" attitude which is far too prevalent in discussions of public assistance.

I hope that readers will, at this point, see the merits of the determinist argument. It just makes sense. It is one of those views which many don't want to believe because it does not coincide with the way in which we wish to view ourselves (and perhaps others). Nonetheless, there are always some things we want to believe and others we should believe. 60

In Chapter1 I developed a concept of justice which incorporated the determinist view. This notion of justice will form the basis for a proposal for a major change in our economic structure. A major basis for my proposal is a desire to see that every American has the opportunity to feel good about him or herself because she or he has an income provided, without discrimination, solely as a recognition of his or her worth as a human being.


Notes
1.
This is true with respect to current federal programs; after the 1996 welfare reform legislation, states may change this. However, it is quite unlikely that the state rules will be less restrictive in this respect.
2.
This includes not only our attitudes toward economic justice but also our attitudes toward criminal justice.
3.
"Proof" is at any rate an elusive concept. Nothing can be proven unless the "provee" accepts the criteria for proof as laid out by the "prover."
4.
It may be that this is a view people accept simply because it makes them feel better.
5.
Talk show host Rush Limbaugh, on his September 23, 1993, program decried the tendency of liberals to excuse people's behavior. He noted that people who abuse their children were often abused by their parents, but argued that this should not give them license to do whatever they want to. I agree.
6.
Many readers will recognize in this argument the classic Christian admonition to "hate the sin; love the sinner." I liked the point made by a caller

-145-

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...And Economic Justice for All: Welfare Reform for the 21st Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Life Is Not Fair, but People Can Be 11
  • Notes 33
  • 2 - Are You Worthy? Current U.S. Welfare Programs 41
  • Notes 65
  • 3 - The Market Who Gets What, Why, and Whether 75
  • Notes 100
  • 4 - Work--Who Needs It? 107
  • Notes 124
  • 5 - We Are What We Were 129
  • Notes 145
  • 6 - Why the Guaranteed Adequate Income 153
  • Appendix Results of Negative Income Tax Experiments 169
  • 7 - The History of Guaranteed Income Plans 178
  • Notes 187
  • 8 - The Guaranteed Adequate Income Proposal 190
  • Notes 201
  • 9 - Cost and Funding Calculations 204
  • 10 - Final Thoughts 222
  • References 227
  • Index 229
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