As welfare reform turns 20, Catholics discuss its legacy [CNA]

#1 D.C., Aug 24, 2016 / 12:13 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Washington D.C., Aug 24, 2016 / 12:13 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Welfare reform was one of the biggest United States legislative events of the 1990s, but after 20 years what is its legacy from the standpoint of Catholic social teaching?

Catholic policy experts gave differing responses to the program.

“It’s complicated,” said John Carr, director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University.

Meanwhile, John D. Mueller, director of the Economics and Ethics program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., thought it a “success, in general.”

August 22 marked the 20th anniversary of the passage of welfare reform, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.

The new program – Temporary Assistance to Needy Families – was a major overhaul of the previous one, Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Democratic President Bill Clinton signed into law the bill passed by both houses of a Republican Congress.

Among the biggest changes of the 1996 law were the federal government delegating block grants to the states and letting them administer assistance, and the addition of work requirements for families receiving government assistance.

Full article…


So9me of the reflections prompted by the book:TOXIC CHARITY by Robert D. Lupton come to mind.

  1. Charity creates dependency. Thus, charity disempowers its recipients, and does not lead to lasting improvement.
  2. “Distribution” of charity “emasculates,” disempowering fathers especially… and, ultimately creates resentment among the recipients.
  3. Empowerment, and development, need to replace charity.
    • Let the “recipients” be the leaders, deciding what needs to be done.
    • Let the “recipients” be owners (e.g., food co-ops, with “small” dues, are better for the folks “served” than food pantries just giving away food).
  4. Noble motives do not always translate into effective outcomes…
  5. There is only so much to go around (so much money; so much time). Put any and all money and time available to the very best use possible – do not waste money or time


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