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Blaming the Victims of the Recession
In 1988, during the last presidential election campaign, Congress passed the Family Support Act—a much-heralded welfare reform measure that required all states to implement job training and educational programs for welfare recipients. The legislation symbolized a new "social contract," emphasizing government's responsibility to offer needed support for those seeking self-sufficiency, and a commitment to participate on the part of those seeking the benefits.
The idea was, and still is, a good one. But it hasn't brought the kind of radical social change it promised, as a recent study by SUNY's Rockefeller Institute of Government pointed out. The recession, combined with a lack of political will in many states to expand its services, has limited the effect of the job training program. (Because of budget constraints, states have used only about 60 percent of the $1 billion available in matching federal funds.)
Many experts now say that such welfare-to-work programs, while reducing welfare costs and encouraging self-sufficiency, must be supplemented by other government assistance if welfare recipients are to escape poverty.
Meanwhile, as economic conditions have worsened, the number of parents seeking funds through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) has skyrocketed. Many states have responded by freezing or slashing welfare programs such as AFDC and tightening eligibility standards.
In Michigan, where manufacturing jobs are on the decline due to closing plants, Gov. John Engler eliminated last fall the entire "general assistance" cash aid program to single adults in need—a move that religious leaders in the state described as "cruel and immoral."
Census Bureau Puts Lid on Iraqi Casualties
Government censoring statistics
U.S. Border Agents Charged with Abuses
News from the US-Mexico border
No Refuge for Haitians
The American attitude toward Haiti
Making Life Accessible
Disability rights activists didn't waste any time.
The Cry of the Poor
The gathering of the EATWOT
1992: Reading the Signs of the Times
In case the rush of the holidays prevented you from having time to read our last issue, let me repeat that this new column is devoted to covering the groundswell of creative grassroots activity...
Repression in Burma Continues Despite World Attention
Human rights in Burma
Nicaragua Drops World Court Case
International aid flows to Nicaragua
Southern Plantations Revisited
The plantation mentality of the Old South is alive and well on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina -- literally.
Confronting World Hunger …
Hunger around the world
The Evil of War
News coverage and views of war
South Africa: Negotiating for a Non-Racial Future
Update on South Africa
Confronting Clergy Sexual Abuse
Clergy sexual misconduct
The War's Most Deadly Phase
Desert Storm euphoria masking the mess of post-war Iraq
Encyclical Spin Control
"Up With Capitalism," exclaimed the May cover of Crisis magazine, a conservative Catholic monthly
Iran-Contra -- The Sequel?
The October Surprise
From Debate to Dialogue
Churches struggle to address homosexuality and sexual ethics
COs' Crime Of Conscience
Update on conscientious objectors
'From Dissent to Resistance'
The waning media coverage of public dissent since the outbreak of the Gulf war in January (due partly to the public backlash against such dissent) makes it hard to get an accurate picture of the breadth of opposition around the country.