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Social Programs

February 21, 2000
Lisbeth B. Schorr and Daniel Yankelovich tell us that "what works to better society can't be easily measured" (Commentary, Feb. 16). Such statements, coming from comfortably smug liberals, are highly questionable. Their article attempts to explain away the massive failure of virtually every "social program" ever tried--by questioning the "methods" used to evaluate them. Of course, some of us are cynical enough to believe that none of these programs were failures. The "unintended consequences" were in fact the intended consequences--so that the erosion of our culture, morality and family, the increase in crime and violence and the collapse of the education system were precisely those outcomes desired by the designers of programs that claimed to address "social problems."
March 30, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
As often happens when the financial demands on government social programs rise, there's been a lot of talk lately about the need to return to the traditional American system of community and faith-based help for the needy: charity, not government handouts. One hears this most often from fiscal conservatives such as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who spoke on the radio not long ago about how suburbanites shouldn't drive past blighted neighborhoods and say, "I'm paying my taxes, government's going to fix that.
April 8, 1986 | JOHN NEEDHAM, Times Staff Writer
A coalition of community groups serving senior citizens, the poor and the disabled warned Monday that Orange County will lose millions of dollars in federal funds for housing and medical assistance if President Reagan's proposed budget is approved.
February 4, 2014 | By Richard Fausset and Cecilia Sanchez
MEXICO CITY - President Enrique Peña Nieto said Tuesday that his government would invest the equivalent of about $3.4 billion in social and infrastructure programs for the beleaguered Mexican state of Michoacan, where armed vigilante groups have been clashing with a drug gang. The program, which Peña Nieto announced in Morelia, the state capital, represents a significantly larger investment in Michoacan than the one unveiled last month by his social development secretary, Rosario Robles, who promised to spend about $225 million.
May 29, 1986 | JUAN ARANCIBIA, Times Staff Writer
The new president of the American Assn. of Retired Persons vowed Wednesday to continue pressing the government for social programs to cope with the growing number of senior citizens. John T. Denning told the AARP's national convention at the Anaheim Convention Center that the growing population of senior citizens is forcing the nation to consider long-range social programs as more people become dependent on aid.
April 23, 1985 | DAN WILLIAMS, Times Staff Writer
Just north of Managua, on a broad swath of scrubland good for cattle and not much else, a recent visitor was surprised to find a commodity somewhat rare in Nicaragua: contentment with 5 1/2 years of Sandinista rule. The residents do have complaints common to thousands of their compatriots--high prices, shortages of beans, rice and milk and the disintegration of transportation and roads.
October 7, 1989 | From Associated Press
State governments facing current or potential declines in revenues are being asked by Congress to spend billions on social programs and will have to dip into their reserves, cut other spending and raise taxes, state officials said Friday. In their annual fiscal survey of the states, the National Governors' Assn. and the National Assn. of State Budget Officers said many Northeastern states ended fiscal 1989 with balances smaller than they enjoyed at the end of the previous year.
April 7, 1990 | From Times Wire Services
U.S. Roman Catholic bishops have asked Congress to give "special scrutiny" to costly weapons systems and readjust the nation's "misplaced priorities" by significantly increasing domestic social spending.
January 26, 1989 | ROBERT SHOGAN, Times Political Writer
Democratic lawmakers, seeking a new, centrist approach to social programs, Wednesday introduced a sweeping proposal for national service legislation intended to harness the latent energy of voluntarism to combat such problems as illiteracy, homelessness and crime. Described by its sponsors as an updated version of the GI Bill of Rights, the legislation would create a "citizens corps" whose members could choose either civilian or military service.
As Gov. George Deukmejian and the Legislature wrestle with a $3.6-billion budget deficit, the fate of dozens of social programs, affecting millions of Californians, hangs in the balance. The programs range from AIDS research to Indian education to diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. The programs are generally non-controversial and enjoyed widespread support in prosperous years. But when money is tight, as it is in the 1990-91 budget, this kind of spending is in trouble.
November 6, 2013 | By James Rainey
Mall developer and political mover Rick Caruso pledged $5 million Wednesday to expand an "ecosystem" of social and educational programs in Watts, with the goal of helping 200 young people break out of poverty and violence in South Los Angeles. The donation from the Caruso Family Foundation will support the programs for a decade. It will pay for about a seven-fold increase in students benefiting from tutors, weekend mentors and college scholarships via Operation Progress, an umbrella service organization founded in 1999 by Los Angeles police officers.
November 3, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
Never mind the conventional speculation about whether the resolution of some political standoff in Washington favors Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, "entitlement" fans or skeptics. The more fundamental question, says Benjamin Radcliff, is this: Does it make people happier or not? Radcliff is a political scientist at Notre Dame whose work places him in the forefront of what might be labeled happiness studies. His particular corner of the field looks at social policies and political outcomes.
October 8, 2013 | By Melanie Mason and Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO - Facing the prospect of a prolonged federal government shutdown, Gov. Jerry Brown will soon need to decide if the state will shoulder the cost to keep running federal programs used by millions of Californians. State officials say there's no guarantee that critical social services in California - such as food stamps, subsidized school meals and nutrition assistance for pregnant women and infants - could run without interruption in November. The Brown administration has not yet said if it plans to plug the gaps for social programs at the end of the month.
April 2, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
Bonnie Lee worked for 12 years as a health technician for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, started her own Web services company, and raised two kids as a single mother in Ontario. Then Bonnie, 51, moved back East to rural Pennsylvania and took up work as a visiting nurse - until her leg shattered from an otherwise undiagnosed case of osteoporosis. Now she can't stand, drive or even sit up for long periods of time, much less lift a patient. In 2003, after a long wait during which she drained her IRA, life insurance and 401(k)
March 5, 2013
Re "Romney criticizes Obama," March 4 So Mitt Romney still believes the president won reelection by giving "gifts. " The very people who are so against government social programs are the reason much of this spending exists. Wages buy less than they did decades ago. The federal minimum wage is stuck at an outdated level. Companies have replaced their better-paid full-time workers with cheaper, part-time employees. Benefits like health insurance and retirement are more rare.
February 12, 2013 | By Joseph Tanfani
WASHINGTON - In the tea party rebuke to President Obama's vision of the state of the union - and some in his own party - Republican Sen. Rand Paul laid out a deeply conservative alternative that includes cutting corporate taxes in half and slashing trillions in federal spending. Paul, the freshman from Kentucky contemplating his own run for president, staked out some sharp differences from the president, including on the spending cuts due to begin March 1. In his speech, Obama called these so-called sequester cuts a “really bad idea” that will slow the economic recovery and devastate social programs.
Even as the White House is criticizing so-called "big government" programs of the 1960s for failing to solve festering social problems, the General Accounting Office is boasting about one such program that works. A new study by the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, gives high marks to the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children--better known as WIC.
January 31, 1986 | PAUL HOUSTON, Times Staff Writer
The first round of Gramm-Rudman spending cuts, which will throw a $1-billion punch at the massive Health and Human Services Department, appears likely to force sharper program disruptions than White House budget officials have forecast. "This will be very painful," William Lukhard, commissioner of the Virginia Social Services Department, said of a coming $6.5-million cutback in HHS funds for a wide range of social services in his state.
December 4, 2012 | By Joseph Serna
Though President Obama quickly dismissed the Republicans ' deficit-reduction proposal this week as "out of balance," the plan offered by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) provides his party the negotiation starting point his side had lacked. More important, it's a sign that America might not be pushed over the " fiscal cliff " after all. The proposal was what you could come to expect from a Republican initial offer -- no tax rate increases and deep cuts to social programs -- but it's also a starting point for the nitty gritty of behind-closed-door negotiations.
November 2, 2012
Opponents of Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's ballot initiative to raise money for schools and other state programs, have tried to convince voters not just that the new tax dollars wouldn't go to schools but that the extra revenue isn't really needed. Nor does the public need to worry about the cuts that state law mandates to schools and higher education if Proposition 30 fails, the critics say. The dust kicked up by the opposition is obscuring what's really at stake. If Brown's proposition fails, it would leave the state with an $8.5-billion hole in its budget - almost twice as large a gap as the alternative cuts floated by GOP leaders.
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