WELFARE HAS FAILED
|• Everyone agrees that welfare, as we know it, has failed.|
|• All responsible (intelligent) people agree that welfare must end and be replaced with a program more in harmony with the "basic values of the American people."|
The most clear example of this problem occurred during the Contract with America's Welfare Reform debate in March 1995. For once, many House Democrats rose up and protested long and hard about the need to retain a federal commitment to income maintenance, and against the cruelty of the Republican proposals. The next day, President Clinton chided House Democrats for being "too partisan." "After all, we all agree that welfare has failed," he intoned unctuously. "Let's tone down the rhetoric" ( Boston Globe, 25 March 1995).
However, in the mid- 1980s, Massachusetts welfare officials had made public speeches that agreed with welfare rights activists that the system was punitive and demeaning. When I make speeches, people consistently began their remarks with "We all agree. . . . " I try to present a view that grapples with the complexities of the issue.____________________