welfare coverage

Mark Rickling rickling at netzero.net
Mon Apr 26 21:16:01 PDT 1999

Max Sawicky wrote:

>It's an empirical question with a political implication.
>Empirical because we would like to see data that bear out or refute Doug's
>thesis. As I discussed, the first post-reform data are not inconsistent
>with the thesis, but more needs to be said to determine whether his scenario
>is in fact playing out on a significant scale.

I agree, but in lieu of definitive numbers over an acceptable time span, one can make an educated guess as to which way the wind is blowing, no?

>This is in fact precisely what happened between 1968 and 1972, as the
>welfare rights movement organized the poor to reject associations of welfare
>with stigma and demand that their *existing* right to enroll in AFDC be
>recognized. This was the basis for an important movement, and if state
>governments are stupid enough to persist in blocking enrollment, it can and
>should be again. The 'enrollment' movement (for which "Regulating the Poor"
>by Cloward and Piven was the roadmap) had the great effect of overloading
>state budgets, which lead to greater federalization and growth of
>anti-poverty spending throughout most of the 1970's.

Another excellent point. I wasn't directly aware of a broad based "enrollment movement" per se, but I did know that the expansion of government programs like AFDC was due in no small part to the explosion of racial pride in the late sixties and seventies.

BTW, what specific groups were organizing the poor to apply for state transfers? The National Welfare Rights Organization immediately comes to mind, but I really only know of their opposition to Nixon's Family Assistance Plan (I assume that they did much more). Plus I vaguely remember the NWRO being derisively referred to as a small coterie of liberal lawyers, but I discounted that characterization. And whatever happened to the NWRO?

>Another reason why, from a radical perspective, it pays to distinguish
>between rhetoric ("welfare is gone") and reality.

When, if ever, will the vulgar empiricists <grin> know what reality really is??? First statistics, then the revolution?


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