Gruntled Center: My Welfare Reform Plan

Gruntled Center (9/30/08)

My Welfare Reform Plan

At this point I am inclined to abolish welfare altogether. The Earned Income Tax Credit is really a much more effective and politically feasible kind of poor support. If we expanded EITC, provided basic medical care for poor people, and some supplements for child care, we could eliminate welfare for able-bodied people, period. The truly disabled could be absorbed into Supplemental Security Income. The lazy would sponge off their mothers.

If we are to keep welfare, the next strongest step down, I think, would be temporary sterilization of the mother and father for as long as they receive welfare. The “temporary” is the crucial word here – Norplant works, and was only squeezed out for political reasons. A male equivalent could easily be developed. Getting welfare would depend on identifying the father, who would also be subject to temporary sterilization. If she was unwilling to identify the father, or he was unwilling to cooperate, she could only get, say, half the benefits. Equally important in this plan is that it only applies to people on welfare. If you are not asking the taxpayers to foot the bill, you can pursue any foolish plan you want, just as you can now.

Given this fact, one good thing we can do is de-racialize the welfare discussion. Most people on welfare are white. This is always a surprise to my students. And most black people are not on welfare, or even poor. This goes double for other non-white ethnic groups. This is also often a surprise to my students. As Promises I Can Keep makes clear, young welfare moms of all races reason in similar ways. The main obstacle to disconnecting the welfare and race discussions is the way-low black marriage rate. As I have pushed here often, the forces trying to improve the lives of African Americans have to be willing to push for marriage. Marriage is good for all races of kids and couples. I am convinced that if the marriage rates for all races and ethnic groups were the same, almost all other ethnic differences in social problems would disappear.


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