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Blaming the Victims of the Recession

by Brian Jaudon 06-01-1992
Welfare reform measures appease anxious taxpayers rather than help those in need become more self-sufficient.

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."

U.S. Border Agents Charged with Abuses

by Brian Jaudon 05-01-1992

News from the US-Mexico border

Census Bureau Puts Lid on Iraqi Casualties

by Brian Jaudon 05-01-1992

Government censoring statistics

No Refuge for Haitians

by Brian Jaudon 04-01-1992

The American attitude toward Haiti

Making Life Accessible

by Brian Jaudon 04-01-1992

Disability rights activists didn't waste any time.

The Cry of the Poor

by Brian Jaudon 04-01-1992

The gathering of the EATWOT

1992: Reading the Signs of the Times

by Brian Jaudon 02-01-1992

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

by Brian Jaudon 01-01-1992

Human rights in Burma 

Nicaragua Drops World Court Case

by Brian Jaudon 01-01-1992

International aid flows to Nicaragua 

Southern Plantations Revisited

by Chris Herman, by Brian Jaudon 12-01-1991

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 …

by Chris Herman, by Brian Jaudon 12-01-1991

Hunger around the world

The Evil of War

by Chris Herman, by Brian Jaudon 11-01-1991

News coverage and views of war

Confronting Clergy Sexual Abuse

by Brian Jaudon 10-01-1991

Clergy sexual misconduct

South Africa: Negotiating for a Non-Racial Future

by Brian Jaudon 10-01-1991

Update on South Africa

The War's Most Deadly Phase

by Judy Coode, by Brian Jaudon 08-01-1991

Desert Storm euphoria masking the mess of post-war Iraq

Encyclical Spin Control

by Judy Coode, by Brian Jaudon 08-01-1991

"Up With Capitalism," exclaimed the May cover of Crisis magazine, a conservative Catholic monthly

Iran-Contra -- The Sequel?

by Judy Coode, by Brian Jaudon 08-01-1991

The October Surprise

From Debate to Dialogue

by Julie Polter, by Brian Jaudon 07-01-1991

Churches struggle to address homosexuality and sexual ethics

COs' Crime Of Conscience

by Judy Coode, by Brian Jaudon 06-01-1991

Update on conscientious objectors

'From Dissent to Resistance'

by Judy Coode, by Brian Jaudon 04-01-1991

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.