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THE FIRST STEP IN WELFARE REFORM SHOULD HELP AMERICAN FAMILIES

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Mrs. James /FJM

I am the daughter of a former welfare recipient. So when I listen to some people in Washington talk about welfare reform, I shake my head. They talk about welfare like they know the first thing about it. But it is clear that many simply do not. They were not raised by a welfare recipient. They have never seen what welfare so often does to families and communities.

That is why many in Washington think of welfare programs as a tool for social engineering. They frame the debate as a racial issue, even though most recipients are white. Moreover, they honestly believe welfare can raise up poor families. The people who created our welfare programs 50 years ago meant well. They really did try to solve poverty, and I am grateful to them for caring so much about poor people.

But the tragedy is they got it all wrong.

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