Welfare Reform Lessons
I found an op-ed in this morning’s Atlanta Journal Constitution very interesting and relevant to our issue. The article was titled “Welfare reform’s lessons worth a listen” and it was written by Robert Samuelson. I have attached the entire article for those groups which are set up to receive attachments. Here are Samuelson’s conclusions.
“Here, welfare reform’s political lessons apply. One is the need to overcome a bias against change. We underestimate people’s ability to adapt. Today we could gradually raise Social Security and Medicare eligibility ages without causing a social catastrophe.
Another lesson is the virtue of candor. Welfare’s flaws were openly acknowledged. If we aren’t more honest about other problems, they will simply get worse.
The final lesson is the value of some bipartisanship. Although welfare reform was mainly a Republican project, President Clinton (who had pledged to “end welfare as we know it”) provided general support, as did many Democrats who voted for the final bill. All agreed that the system was broken. Bipartisanship makes big changes in policies more acceptable to the public by signaling a broad consensus. But in today’s poisoned and polarized climate, bipartisanship is almost a relic.”
Volunteer Regional Director – SE