Beyond "Ending Welfare as We Know It"
I've been 'buked and I've been scorned'. I've been talked about as sure as you are born.
PAY THE GAS BILL AND THEY'LL SHUT OFF THE PHONE. DO THE laundry and the car fare to the dentist is gone. Buy the baby's diapers -- and tell your older girl she'll have to skip her class trip because you can't give her bus money and she won't let you ask for even more extra help from the school. For women on welfare, everyday life is a series of small Sophie's Choices, a painful, bitter, humiliating juggling act. To be poor in the United States today is to live between a rock and a hard place, day in and day out.
But if that isn't tough enough, society seems to insist on adding insult to injury. A fly on the wall in an unemployment line or a social security office would still hear very different tones and innuendoes. Social security may be confusing, and unemployment may make you feel bad, but a woman who uses welfare to support her family must endure questions about her sex life, risk being fingerprinted (as a fraud prevention measure), and must grit her teeth and smile when they tell her that her benefits will soon be "transitional" whether her needs are or not, and that she must give up her dreams of the higher education, which she knows is her only hope. And if she turns on the radio, likely as not she will hear welfare mothers insulted and find out about yet another threat to her family's stability.
How did it get so bad? How has welfare become popularly viewed as, not just the stepchild program it began as in 1935, but as itself the