S. M. Miller
After the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan, Albert Einstein reportedly said that everything had changed in the world except our way of thinking about it. In a less dramatic vein, one could say that the same thing is happening in the employment and welfare arenas today. Should we embrace the changes, attempt to moderate them, oppose them, protect past achievements, push for the consideration of long-standing unrealized proposals, leapfrog to the innovational? Even if the answer is all of the above, questions remain: Which changes merit which responses and to what extent? Should we work within current political limitations or advocate solutions that now appear politically taboo? I do not offer answers to these questions in this chapter; I merely have them in mind.
My approach is to study broad employment issues but, to a major extent, from the particular perspective of those in means-tested programs, like the recently deceased federal Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, that now mainly reside at the state level. The two parts of this dual outlook are not consistently examined separately because I assume that the conditions and prospects of those receiving means-tested assistance are tied to the situation of the general labor force.
One does not have to be a Freudian, a Marxist, a political conservative, or a union leader to believe that work is a major anchor of people's lives. As Dostoyevsky would have said today, to destroy a person one need only