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More Work Demanded of Welfare Recipients

February 22, 2003

Just when I think the Bush administration cannot go any further in its assaults on the least-advantaged Americans, I read "House Passes Bill to Step Up Welfare Work Requirements" (Feb. 14). Of course, these "compassionate conservatives" added little or nothing for child care or job training to help these people find work in a depressed economy.

And then the Republicans reveal their true right-wing agenda, including in the bill $300 million annually for programs to encourage marriage and continuing a $50-million grant for states to promote abstinence from sex until marriage. Is there no end to the damage this administration is doing to poor people, to our civil liberties, to the economy, to the environment and to the basic values we Americans hold dear? As a citizen of the world, I am ashamed to be represented by President Bush and his crew.

Margery Gould

Los Angeles

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Bush and the Republicans claim that the 1996 welfare reform bill was a success because it cut the welfare rolls in half. By that measurement, why don't we just kick everyone off welfare and drop welfare rolls to zero, just like in Charles Dickens' 19th century England? After all, Tiny Tim really didn't have it so bad. More than 32 million Americans live in poverty, about the same number as 20 years ago. The goal of welfare reform should be to reduce poverty, not just to reduce caseloads.

We have to get rid of the myth that "welfare to work" will solve the problems of poverty and homelessness. The U.S. has never been able to provide enough jobs for everybody who wants to work. Why have welfare at all? For most of us, it is simply instinctual behavior; we look after our own. In a good country, your own includes a lot of people. It includes everybody.

Al Sheahen

Sherman Oaks

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