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Peter Cove
What I Learned in the Poverty War « Back to Story

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This article presents a very one-sided view. I don't claim to know all the facts about welfare implementation, and I thought the author actually had the best interests of the poor in mind until he spoke about his work with Mayor Guiliani. The work program. How do you expect to help people get back into the workplace and restore their lives when you force them to work below minimum wage jobs in order to receive any welfare help? This is another form of slavery.
And those are lofty ideas to save the money spent on welfare and put it into job training. Are you going to starve people first while you figure that out? It sounds like it.
The most horrific idea Mr. Cove put forward is that of taking children away from their parents if they refuse to work. This is no different than the disgraceful policies of the reform movement.
Wow "Bills". Your comment about your poor dead stepdaughter receiving disability because of LEUKEMIA is extremely cruel! How could you say that? She's DEAD! She DIED! She was ill with a terminal illness! And you begrudge the aid given to her, complaining that she went on shopping sprees? I wonder what her mother (obviously your wife) would say about that? You monster. You idiot. I know this thread is old but I hope you see this. Catholic indeed, you evil moron.
People do whatever is financially incentivized. That is why strict time limitations must be placed on all emergency assistance. Apart from the disabled, unemployment, food stamps and housing assistance should begin tapering off after 3 months so people see the money doing down and are motivated to find work. If they find work early, they should get a bonus rather than the current unemployment system that reduces your check by $800 if you find a way to make $800 one month. Without a bonus or reward system for finding work and paying for your own food & housing, people are incentivized to find nothing and keep maximizing govt payments. People do whatever is financially incentivized.
And where do they expect people to work and for how much is what I want to know. Everyone is getting laid off so its not like people are lazy. I did not go to school to learn how to sweep sidewalks. This is a slippery slope. Next stop, government labor camps!
H. G. Wells, once wrote, "there has never been a time in history or a nation in history, that had enough jobs for all it's people."
The newspaper this week, said that many of the jobs lost in the past few years will never come back. In addition, technology is gradually and persistently eliminating jobs.It's now time to move away from the old arguments and look for new answers.
The challenge is; to get away from the old arguments and assumptions and look for new solutions.
"But even the so-called deserving dependents should be more carefully scrutinized."

Sometimes the vile nature of someone's writing can almost be smelled, coming off of the screen.


However, congratulations is apparently in order: Do you realize that you are now, officially, the 171,458th conservative to write this same column---albeit with some slight variations---in the last 47 years?

I know the "argument" is stale. But can't you guys even come up with new nomenclature by this point? Geeze...
Mike Rowe is another person who has developed his work ideas.
One does have to move the mouse on the opening picture to get the links

Make some time to catch up with him.
You may be able to help each other with your different perspectives, strengths and experiences, so both gain, and your hearts being in the right place.

Work, in these difficult times may be difficult to find and to do and the pay not so good, life does build on from that, and it is best to get on with life.
The Man from the Government can not help us with every thing.
Good luck to all = where preparation meets opportunity

"Where are the millions of jobs?"

Ask our President who doesn't know anything about the need or how to use what power he does have to improve the economy - all he knows is 99 weeks unemployment bennies - 99 weeks! (and Boehner, equally incompetent, somehow went along with it - twice).

Could also ask Congress about the wisdom of borrowing money from our chief trading competitor, so that we can't say a word about their monetary or trading practices -a game that Japan knew very well too - loan money to the American government and watch that government sell their people out.

But, really, it's the voters fault - they continue to vote in people - like Obama - who simply don't know how to govern, other than through corrupt practices. Unless that changes - and it won't - you can forget about jobs.
What I'm learning in the poverty war is that work doesn't uplift the poor either. I just had a talk with my apartment building's security guard who works full time - but at only $9 an hour she qualifies for Medicaid and food stamps. Again, SHE WORKS FULL TIME. She is also a part time hair stylist and is looking for other part time employment. Even if she lands another gig, at 3 jobs (1 full time, 2 part time), she'll still be poor.

Its not just work that uplifts the poor... its also wages. Unless the working poor gets paid higher wages, poverty will continue.
Where are the millions of jobs for welfare recipients GOP?
The government is a corrupt entity bent on controlling the masses. Unfortunately they found the correct formula.

Feed the parasitic minorities and grow them.

America is doomed!
Well, sure, work is preferable to welfare. Even people on welfare say that. But where are the jobs?

At any given time, we have about 3.5 million job openings, and about 14 million active job seekers competing for them. Even if every job seeker were perfect for the job, that still leaves more than 10 million job seekers unemployable.

Show us the jobs, and THEN talk to us about the noble benefits of work over welfare.
Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day.

Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

Tell a man that it's the other guy's fault that he doesn't have a fish, and he'll vote Democrat.
I agree in principle with "no cash" to the recipients, but like college tuition, medicare etc.. The program will suffer from companies abusing the system. Holding people accountable, and getting them employment ASAP does seem like the way to go.
Excellent article. Very readable and a good account of the author's conversion.
I'm with Ted - although it is only grudgingly that I would accept that there wasn't an intention to destroy behind the original welfare policies that encouraged young woman to have children without a man around, with the overall goal the society we have today.

But, however it started, the way it works today is that one party - the Democratic - has no intention to lift anyone out of poverty, since that would reduce its power. The Party is well satisfied with the status quo in those areas firmly under its control, with the situation as it now exists, since the result is that the Party gets ALL of the votes, and has ALL of the power. And no matter how bad things get, it never loses power - results don't matter to Democratic contituents - only power does.

Plus there are always Republicans to blame for Democratic institutional failures - failures which will never be rectified since failure (as we define it - for Democrats it is not failure at all) is the goal of the organization.

Single mothers? For Democrats, this is the goal, not a problem to be solved, more single mothers with more children the better - these are future voters, and people to fill the prisons. No fathers means criminalized community? For the Democrats this is a positive, since more prisons means more prison guards, plus more programs that mean more money for government and for non-governmental organizations. Democrats seek to spread around the patronage, but never to solve the problem - the status quo never changes, it is always the status quo, since it preserves power.

More votes? The Democratic answer is to import voters - who cares if the jobs the immigrants take were traditionally done by Party supporting blacks - those jobs of ocurse could have led to better things, but too bad, the Party needs the votes, and that's what's important, certainly not jobs. There's plenty of patronage money to spread around to the community leaders provided the leaders never change a thing and always put Party above Community.

And, of course, more government jobs means more money for the Party since those jobs are unionized, and the union sends lots of money to the Party.

Schools that don't teach? - for the Democratic Party that's terrific, a benefit, since it means more teachers, who are also unoinized and send money to the Party. Why shouldn't they? The Party makes sure they get paid and can't get fired - and under the society encouraged by the Party, the students are for the most part without fathers,so they have problems learning, which means we need more teachers, more prison guards, more programs, run by NGO's and government, more workers, more money - and everyone donates to the Party since it makes it all possible.

And so it goes, until the Party and the government are one, and the society suddenly votes out the Constitution, replacing it with one more suited to its needs, like this one:

Pay attention to Article 83 since it means all citizens not only have the right to work, but all citizens must work. Things do come round, right?

The Democratic Party is a vile instiution, filled with vile, hypocritical people, who are respobsible for spreading enormous amounts of misery. What else need be said?
Nothing - the Democratic Party is an equal opportunity misery machine.
This article is true, true, true. It is just too bad that Congress and the Obama administration really don't care. They only care about keeping power and making citizens dependent on the government of which President Obama has mastered perfectly!
The Democrat Party, as it exists today, can only survive with "purchased" votes and power, using confiscated taxpayer funds.
Facts, reason and history do not support their socialist values and programs. They must recruit and hold more and more people to dependency upon big government and life on the "plantation". This is why they so vehemently fight for federal judicial seats, particularly the USSC, and attack any minority and/or woman who escapes (defects) from their "plantation" and may be a role model for others.
Federal socialism is a cruel disease and represents the most feared threats to the republican form of government, as the Founders so often pointed out.
True individual freedom and accountability can not survive under the thumb of a tyrant or an intrusive central government, regardless of how benevolent it may claim to be.
I would like to correct an egregious factual error in this otherwise excellent article on the history of the war on poverty. You correctly state that President Clinton promised in his campaign to “end welfare as we know it,” and in his first state of the union address (which was on Feb. 17, 1993) Clinton said, "Later this year, we will offer a plan to end welfare as we know it." But you are in serious error in suggesting that the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, known as Welfare Reform, was ever proposed or supported by President Clinton. In fact, in spite of the promise made in his state of the union speech, Clinton never did introduce any type of welfare reform proposal.

The Bill which became the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 was a cornerstone of the Republican Contract with America and was introduced by Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr., a Republican congressman from the 22nd district of Florida. You state that Clinton signed this law the following year after his first state of the union speech, which would have been 1994. Clinton actually signed Welfare Reform into law on August 22, 1996.

And, he so quite grudgingly. He had vetoed this act twice before he finally signed it, and he did so only because his pollster, Dick Morris, conducted a poll which tended to indicate that Clinton might not be re-elected if he vetoed Welfare Reform a third time. On August 23, 1996, The Washington Post reported Presidential candidate Robert Dole as saying, "My only regret today is that President Clinton did not join with us sooner in helping end a welfare system that has failed the taxpayers and those it was designed to serve," Dole said. "After two vetoes of similar welfare reform bills, President Clinton knew he couldn't afford a third strike.”

Clinton’s fellow Democrats were incensed at him for signing Welfare Reform. The ink on the document was not yet dry before Clinton reassuring them that he only signed it because he had to and that they should not worry because as soon as the election was over they could “fix it,” meaning either repeal it or water it down to take out the work requirements.

Finally, you fail to mention that last year Barack Obama made good on Clinton’s promise to “fix it.” He used an executive order to strip the work requirements out of The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996. This was, of course, an extra legal maneuver by Obama, perhaps even an illegal one. Nevertheless, nobody is taking him to task for it, and the media has hardly reported it.

As of now and for at least as long as Obama remains in office, welfare in America consists solely of cash payments with no work requirements. The Democrats rightly believe that their power is assured so long as great numbers of people remain dependent on them.
Wonderful idea Peter. Please keep spreading the word.
Unfortunately, our president opposes welfare reform, and can only create government jobs while destroying private sector work opportunities.
In other words, welfare reform is dead until Obama leaves office or the system collapses under its own weight, which ever comes first.
I applaud your efforts though. Work is the solution, but a slacker president, aided and abetted by a racial grievance industry stand in the way.
The Right likes welfare, too. In the UK were I was born and in Australia were I now live. The benefits payable to the middle class have steadily increased, rasied by the Right to buy middle class votes. Welfare buys votes, like tax cuts, plain and simple.
The problem for welfare recipients can be the temporary contract, in Australia if your temporary contract is over say a couple of months and then you are let go, when you go to get welfare it can take six weeks to get any payments. The result is temporary contracts are less attractive and can result in less money over the year than just getting welfare. Secondly, the tax rate and welfare withdrawl levels can make part time and temporary work, effectively taxed at around 50-70% (tax, travel and welfare loss); on a $10/hour job, before trave and perhaps a hard hat and boots.
The biggest first step should be to have a simple known system that allows welfare recipients to take any temporary employment for as long as it lasts, but be able to get welfare payment resumed once that work ends (at a reduced rate if income goes over a set amount).
Once this system is up and running, private, religious or notforprofit organisation should take over a payment service in employment, training or public works. Within a realitively short while most unemployment would be offered steady work.
Welfare should pay the rent, utilities (to a certain level), issue food stamps and provide minimal cash. If employment is refused the cash is stopped, but the rent and bills are paid, no kids starves or freezes, but tabacco, alcohol and spending stops dead.
Michael Louis Andersen January 01, 2013 at 4:48 PM
I agree whole heartedly with your views. This if implemented would surely bring a spirit of self-reliance to all those afflicted with poverty that gain the will of self control.
I know the hardest obstacle will be the government paid "workers" who profit under the guise of "helping" the poor. It is a broken system structured to "lock" recipients into it will no way to get out. Thank you for your work and for your analogy of real meaningful ways to overcome this American tragedy.
Very impressive. I've learned that leftists don't seem to have a threshold for failure. More and more people on food stamps doesn't bother them - they're worried about how to steal the money from the productive. That's what they see as a problem. Keep up the good work.
I have often mentioned how the great society and the war on poverty has added to the the numbers of people who are dependent on bigger and expanding government. This guy- Peter Cove, has worked both sides. He states clearly how inappropriate and inefficient government redistribution of money is. Even with governments objective of ending poverty the system established through social services couldn't allow success because it would cause its own demise.
Liberal progressives could give a rat's ass about improving the lot of the poor, or frankly, anybody.
Their goal is to obtain power even if it means totally screwing over the folks they purport to help.
Just look at the inner city schools - the worst on the planet earth. Liberal progressives/democrats are the ones blocking any school choice programs despite the fact that continuing the status quo GUARANTEES the horrible, horrible results. Of course, those progressives in power - black or white - do not have to send their kids to those horrible schools.
Increasing the welfare roles is one of the GOALS of the liberal left/progressive democrats (i.e, socialists and communists) because it leads to income redistribution, loss of individual liberties and a smothering, overbearing and yes, tyrannical, government; the antithesis of a capitalist, constitutional republic.
Since the days of Karl Marxm the left/liberal agenda has been the total destruction of capitalism.
As a famous communist once put it, " you must break a few eggs to make an omelet." In this case, the 'eggs" are the poor - they are expendable, disposable, inferior pawns considered by the intellectual left as cannon fodder to be sacrificed. The "omelet" is the formation of a communist tyranny for the government.

I can't relate to the terms of reference when talking about poverty. I and a lot of people like me, live our life facing a fiscal cliff.
In society the fiscal cliff is an invisible line that makes the difference between well being and poverty.
I see poverty, I know it could be me and I feel there is enough wealth in society that somehow there is no need for suffering from poverty.
Somehow it is relection of our lives that the suffering of others, especially young innocent children, is so visible.

Yet nature makes it so easy to produce children. You don't need to pass a test showing you can support a child, you don't need a high school diploma, you don't have to be attractive and there is no requirement to be a good person.
I would wish that social engineering would address the problem but social engineering doesn't stop the production of poor children.
The control freak social engineers could advocate sterilization will end poverty in two generations.
Cove suggests a capitalistic solution, himself a capitalist.
The fatalists would say, let them suffer, it's natural selection.
I think our language is too inarticulate in discussing the issue.
I can't make every poor person as determined as me to avoid the fiscal cliff. Who am I to change them?

I think the churches should spend less money on their castles, and let their congregations go to church in blue jeans so they could channel their money to share with the poor.
The spiritual addresses human dignity which a social engineer or government can't dispense. I really don't understand why churches spend their time on politics and abortion.
Brian, your concerns are what I was getting at with my comment. As I said, I have no doubt that work is better than handouts. But realistically, if people aren't eventually enabled to move up from entry level jobs, they aren't lifted out of poverty. All to often what has actually been happening since the welfare reform of the 90's is that the very lowest wage jobs are actually being subsidized by a variety of government benefits designed to reward those who keep working for wages too low to actually be making a living, and all too often these are immigrant workers. Better than handouts, I still say yes. But is this really what we're shooting for when we say we want people to work for a living??? I love to see someone here address what I'm saying!
I support the idea of work for welfare recipients but while just getting someone into a minimum wage entry level job is fine for a start, there must be some mechanism for these entry level workers to obtain an education that will give them true upward mobility. Leaving them at the bottom of the economic scale with no benefits or opportunities for improvement will eventually lead to disillusionment and a sense of why bother.
Absolutely right on the money.Handouts never work. We have examples here in Australia, where two,three and even four generations have never had a member of their families who ever worked.
No offense but they pulled a fast one on the young (once) idealistic author. Make me think of the old adage "useful idiots". Welfare policy is about wealth redistribution not reducing poverty. The left could give a rats a$$ for the poor. In fact they need the poor in ever greater numbers.
When are you people going to end the semantic misrepresentation that "welfare has failed to end poverty"? Welfare was and is intended to keep the poor from starvation, homelessness, and similar catastrophic states, notto "lift them" out of welfare.

Nor will the vague idea of "jobs" lift people out of poverty--the jobs have to pay high enough wages for the working poor to be able to support themselves to some minimum level.

And, by the way, where do all the jobs come from in a world economy that now concentrates a huge percentage of unskilled labor work in a few countries where wages are absurdly low?

It's sickening to listen to people rail endlessly about the poor being lazy, comfortable in their poverty, etc. I came from welfare, I know exactly how hard it is for people who come from that level of nothing to reach even the next higher rung on the ladder.

This kind of deceit is what turns "the war on poverty" into a "war on the poor."

Too bad no one on left is listening to your wonderful ideas. If the Right tries it they are demonized by your leftist friends.
Is it cool to feel that perhaps, just maybe, Mr. Cove self-portrayal as a chastened liberal is a wee bit, uh, self-serving? To state the obvious, perhaps some-one who owns a "for profit welfare to work company" would see it in his self-interest to argue for the government giving money to folks in his line of business? I notice that Mr. Cover avoids use of the term "welfare-pimps" to describe those who argue for more welfare spending. Perhaps this is because the term embarrasses him?
Very impressive effort and it sounds to me as though it would work wonderfully. How to go about changing an entrenched mindset seems more the challenge. I am talking about the government infrastructure which has a vested interest in assuring things never change...this is THEIR work assurance program and they have no incentive to improve the lot of their so called clients...This is only encouraged by efforts of the President to undermine any inkling of initiative and self esteem by eliminating the work requirement, encouraging more and more people to go on disability, which is gutting the social security "trust fund", and expanding out aid specifically to illegals who are unable to support themselves. Other countries have much stricter rules about who is eligible for what and we shouldn't be ashamed to ask people to work. It is not a violation of some unwritten societal contract that the poor unemployed should be guaranteed a lifetime of support.
Charity should be voluntary not another reason to steal from those who earn and give to those who dont. Bleeding hearts have created generations of parasites. Money is not the solution. 15% POVERTY at the START of the "great society".... 17% POVERTY now. FAILURE.
An interesting article by a realist. I remember my sister-in-law, who had emigrated to the Antipodes, telling me about this family in which two or three generations have never known employment because of generous welfare payments. No doubt things are a lot harder there these days -- as in other Western societies-- which have woken up to the fact that protracted welfare assistance (as opposed to a temporary one, and one that any humane society must not deny, so as to enable its recipient to tide over difficulties until such time when he or she can find a job)tend to create in their recipients a disincentive to seek employment. Disregarding its obnoxious association with genocidal and fascist ideology, perhaps, the motto "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Makes One Free)at Auchwitz (and I hope I will not be reviled here for mentioning this horrific death camp) has an element of truth in it as to be gainfully employed would free us, first, from the notion that the world owes us a living, and secondly, liberate us from being in thrall to the misconception that helping oneself, unashamedly, to the state's largesse and subventions, is a divine right -- which, at the end of the day, can only bring ruin to any nation by emptying its coffers, however affluent it might be. By the way, I first came across the word 'iatrogenic' in one of Ivan Illich's books. Limits to Medicine, I think it was.
Four letters that will ensure that these ideas are never fully implemented - ACLU.

The welfare recipients are like trained dogs - they get fed and housed by their liberal masters. When it is time to vote, they get their chains pulled with threats of losing their care, so they vote to keep their liberal masters in place. There is no way that the 'pet owners' are going to let their 'dogs' off their chains and allow them to move about freely.
This is very interesting. But this article doesn't answer some very important questions. It's great that people placed in jobs were still there six months later. But what kind of jobs were they? Even $10 an hour does not lift a worker out of poverty if they have children. And if they have to pay for childcare, the figures that make up their budget prove utterly hopeless unless they are able to benefit from government subsidized childcare. The next question is: after a year or two, were those workers able to use their experience to move up? Or was the entry level job also a dead end? How often were the low wages of these worker suplemented by government programs so that it was actually worth their while to work? While I don't doubt for a second that it is far better to work than to simply sit on welfare,I would like to see these questions addressed.
Great validation of what common sense says.

One criticism: No mention of the self-interest of those who make a career out of the status quo of the welfare industry--those whose income, prestige or political careers depend on the continued funding of failed programs.
It's all about the money. The government pays for additional children. In Ohio, we have the two year rule. You can't be forced to work if you have a child 2 years or under. Result? When the child reaches 2, you can see another one in the oven just in time to keep the money coming in. Add free phone, free housing, free food, plus using the children for sympathy to get even more money, and you have the mess we have today. Should the government be subsidizing commercial companies, I don't think so. You should not be able to make a profit running these organizations any more than you should be able to make a profit in medicine. Having said that, I am very much for reinstating orphanages with public support. You can't take children away without giving them somewhere to go. But as the head of the local high school said here, if he could do one thing it would be to build a dormitory. Case closed.
Finally, a government assistance plan based on reality and not some socialist after thought.
The hugh social services industry that thrives on the poor will never allow the source of their livelihood to be subsantially reduced.
We get more of whatever the government subdizes. The government subdizes poverty and failure.
It is too bad that common sense has to take a back seat. The entrenched political class is willing to enslave as many people as possible to keep their power. "Vote for me and I will give you more of what I say you want". The current administration is pushing the envelope of fiscal and moral insanity. Is there a way back?
"The poor are the human shields government uses to grow government," quote Thomas Sowell.
I have one question for you,why did it take you literally decades to figure out something that (mostly) conservatives have been saying for decades I.e continuous welfare creates dependency?
Share at work
Amen. People not working lack the best source of pride and independence and their talents are let to waste unused. Everyone benefits by putting them to work.
Government assistance=jobs for govt. employees
There is a tension in a free society between welfare and work. Nobody wants a society where people are starving or homeless. So we all want a welfare "safety net" where the destitute are taken care of by the community, but not a system that is so generous that it creates an incentive for the poor not to work. The answer to this tension is to create an organization like the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) of the 1930's and use it to provide welfare benefits to the poor. We could create CCC communities throughout the nation to give the poor three square meals a day and a roof over their heads, along with education and useful work to do, just as the original CCC camps did. However, there would be no cash payments, and there would be a spartan, almost military, lifestyle in the communities, just as there was in President Roosevelt's CCC camps. This would create an incentive for the enrollees (as the original CCC called its members) to get back on their feet and to leave the communities for regular employment and a freer, less regimented lifestyle. Some might object to the spartan, regimented lifestyle imposed on welfare recipients in such communities. But it would be no worse than the lifestyles enjoyed by the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen of our Armed Forces.
Nothing will change until the right to vote in federal elections is restricted to those individuals who have held full-time employment continually within the previous five years, or have been gainfully employed full time for at least twenty-five years prior to retirement, or are the spouse of the aforementioned classes of individuals. Elderly or disabled family members who are brought into this country legally under family reunification laws and who are unable or unwilling to hold a full-time job for at least five years after they arrive and who cannot pass an English-language proficiency test will not be eligible to vote, regardless of whether they become a U.S.citizen or not.
When the above happens, Santa's elves such as Obama, Clinton, Cuomo, Schumer, Reid, Pelosi and their ilk will lose their key constituency - the parasite class.
Until then, the party and the candidates who fly over the landscape of this once great country throwing the most one hundred dollar bills out of the airplane window will win, again and again and again.
as a 58 year black ocnservative who used to be a democrat for many years, I have always considered that the social engineering programs of the 60's and 70's have been the beginning of the demise of the black family. While these programs were concieved with good intensions the net effect is what we have socially and politicaly today.

Many poor blacks, hispanics and single mothers depend on the government for what I have always called CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE of an benevolent BLACK AND WHITE elite who think they know better what is sufficient for poor individuals to survive.

But what about their sense of purpose, motivation, upward mobility and self esteme?

I am a tax accountant and I see first hand many single mothers with children bring me multple W-2 from various employers for what would amount to part-time work. enough to get a good sum of money in the form of a tax return of $2-3-4-5-6,000.00 or more as a consequence of having children. The Earned Income Tax Credit
( a poverty program ) should be abolish if not severely scaled back. It is still rife with abuse despite the IRS best efforts to audit them.

We are simply rewarding younge mothers to get welfare and tax benifits at present and that has been a prescription for disaster for the black, hispanic and poor white communities.
This should be an inducement to encourage a work ethic knowing they will not be rewarded for these anti-social behaviors.

A younge girl who has a child at ages 14-17 should not be allowed to raise that child without social supervision. Especially if a family member cannot sufficiently provide adequate mature help for the child.

I have also always believed also many of the younge men who have license to impregnate multiple partners and then live with many of them unmarried with the benefit of their housing benefits, and younge mothers who have babies who would be dependent on government services to survive, should be forced to do time in the service for civil training if they cannot stay gainfuly employed. If they have a GED or high school diploma they should be allowed to enjoy the many benefits of the services, irregaudless of criminal record, to receive additional training in the services that will prepare them for gainful employment when they serve their time. This would take idle time to make babies, getting high commit crimes and generaly wasting many years from their lives.

If they are high school drop outs they would automatically be drafted for civil training to get their GED or diploma's. And of course any child support due would be debited from their pay until satified before they would be released from their civil requirements.
On this present course generational theft of work ethic, self-esteem, personal responsibility and other redeeming qualifications are being lost.

Somebody has to be an adult with these social conditions. Uncle Sam (Uncle Obama) and State governments are nothing more than enablers as to an alchoholic or drug addict.

And to all you black and white back in the day liberal poverty civil rights pimps you need to face reality. You have RE-ENSLAVED your own people to the crumbs from the table PLANTATION MENTALITY of GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS FROM YOURSELVES WITH ENTRENCHED GOVERNMENT JOBS SPENDING OTHER PEOPLES MONEY.

What is our society gonna look like 20-30 years from now on this present course. I thankfully may not see it but I can promise you it won't be pretty. We will not recognise the America I grew up in. tHIS ENETITLEMENT MENTALITY THAT IS ENGRAINED IN OUR SOCIETY CAN BE ERRATICATED. BUT IT WILL TAKE PEOPLE OF COURAGE TO IMPLEMENT IT.
The president has spent his life trying to give more to the poor. We will be dealing with his generosity for decades.
This again smells of the tyrannical assumption that government knows better than individuals how to live and how to raise their children.

I'm not 100% in synch with this article, but I have a nit to pick with Cloudbuster on the above. If welfare were completely eliminated, and there were some left who refused to work (given that these people left are NOT self-sufficient), then I would think you can safely say that the children in such households are in danger of starving to death, and should be removed from the home.

I'm no fan of the child protective service complex either, but I can't imagine a single instance of the above where the children wouldn't be neglected.
You had me right up until this:

"The federal government would use the huge savings from eliminating welfare to create or subsidize private-sector jobs, sending money to companies to reduce the cost of hiring and paying new workers."

This assumes a wisdom and expertise that government simply doesn't possess. Government picking winners and losers in the private sector via subsidies and direct cash payments is fundamentally unjust.

How about instead the savings be used to take a small bite out of the crushing burden of debt we're leaving our children.

I'm not too happy with this, either:

"But once we dismantle cash welfare and other forms of aid and offer paying jobs in their place, what about the children of those few people who simply refuse to work? I think that we should seriously contemplate removing these unfortunate children from their irresponsible parents. Under current child-welfare laws, social-services agencies can already take kids away from their parents if their home environment is unsafe. Is it so extreme to extend that policy to homes ruined by willful poverty and neglect?"

Yes, "willful poverty" is not the same thing as "neglect." This again smells of the tyrannical assumption that government knows better than individuals how to live and how to raise their children.
Your company publishes the best and most informative articles.
Rex Maffey
Perhaps social workers should be graded on their getting clients OFF of welfare, and into jobs.

Maybe make their job performance reviews and promotions, merit pay increases and such dependent on job placement of welfare clients.

Social workers aren't stupid, they know their job security is having lots of clients to serve. A person removed from welfare cuts their security, under today's circumstances.
As stated in the article, the "deserving dependent" certainly need closer scrutiny. My late step daughter suffered with leukemia for 5 years. She was diagnosed at age 19, and had minimal work experience, a few months at a fast food place. The social workers at her hospital were intent on her getting cash payments of some sort. She had no expenses whatsoever, she lived with us, but received $700 a month for 4 years through SSDI. The government never checked to see if she actually had any expenses, never asked her to produce a rent or utility bill. She spent the money on shopping sprees when the checks came in.
so, what percentage of welfare recipients in any jurisdiction have you been able to place, if you want to take a rather radical step of ending all cash payments? What makes you think that you can place 100%? Or is it then going to be the government having to create jobs so that people can be placed somewhere. I grew up in socialist Poland. There was no unemployment to speak of there. In fact there was an obligation to work, mandated by law. Was that better? Finally, what if you have a single mother who gets a minimum wage job, and her net income actually drops relative to the dole to a point when she can not make it? After al the costs of holding a job (transportation, daycare) are factored in. I am always weary of one size fits all, supposed cure all solutions.
My mom was raising us 5 children on her own in the early 60's, thanks to a severely alcoholic husband whom she divorced from shortly after I was born. After my dad lost their GI home, my mom had to move us into Federal Housing (projects) in East Los Angeles. My mom was determined to get her kids out of that situation: she briefly had welfare and she used the WIN Program to get job training. She was hired by the LA County Probation Department and she tried for years to get us out of the projects. The trouble was, every time she made more money, her rent was increased! Fortunately, she found a supervisor who let her work overtime "off the books" and she was finally able to save enough money to buy a modest home in another neighborhood.
My mom is an atypical case: she only used Welfare for a short time and she worked so hard to improve her children's lives no thanks to the system that strived to keep her dependent. She knew this and took extraordinary steps to get out of that situation.
I have spent my entire career (20 years) working with at-risk youth both in the delinquent and dependent court systems. In that time my experience has been congruent with what the author proposes. That said, I am not so sure that the prejudice he experienced as a for-profit agency in a non-profit world has totally changed his thinking. He states, "Another solution would be the establishment of government-funded institutions, operated by voluntary and religious nonprofits, to care for the children." I would ask why he does not also include for-profit agencies as part of the solution? Having worked for for-profit, non-profit, and government agencies, I can tell you that the best outcomes I have seen have come from for-profit agencies.

Bottom line: there are good and bad agencies irrespective of their tax status. We should continue to judge agencies on their outcomes and not their intentions.
Of course transfer payments are a farce and don't serve to end poverty. Nothing daunted, armies of liberal/socialist/communist legislators continue to enact ever-increasing transfer payments without turning a hair.

One has to understand the liberal mind to square this circle: Government is good; big government is better; and bigger government still is "optimal," in the president's tortured locution. Government will build the New Jerusalem.

Nothing will, or can, change a liberal's mind. Not proof. Not evidence. In the final remit, failed programs fail because of insufficient funding, Q.E.D. We will not be taking any questions.

These people are zombies. Zombies are not required to abide by the same rules of logic as those who do honest work. And there's no way to turn zombies out of office, because zombies are popular, and becoming more so with each passing day. Zombies will legislate until they -- and we -- drop. We are joined at the hip, and powerless to alter either circumstances or the inevitable outcome of this farce.
You are to be congratulated for your efforts to try to solve the county's dependency problem. I too worked with the "poor and needy" resulting from the so called "War on Poverty".(The Job training Partnership Act developed by Kennedy/Quayle was another effort that didn't quite get the job done). Unfortunately, you, like other left leaners, give Clinton credit for the bill when, in reality the idea was a tenet of the Republican "Contract with America" and submitted by E. Clay Shaw, a Rpublican. Clinton just signed it much to the chagrin of most democrats, especially Hillary.
After ruining the country for 50 years, liberals now realize what people like me have been telling them. It is such a sad waste of not only money but also human potential.

All we have done is create a dependant society that now people like the author who helped created it now want to reverse.

What the author still does not realize is that Democrats want to keep people dependent. This did not happen by accident it was designed that way. He was a foot soldier in the war on common sense but did not realize it.
Great piece. He's dead on that most government programs work to enlarge the programs, get larger budgets, salaries and offices for those in charge. The success or failure of the program is rarely considered. Thomas Sowell says this about the minimum wage law, which changed him from a Marxist to what he is today. Working at his first job, in the US Labor Department, he wanted to gauge the efficacy of the minimum wage law. As this program was responsible for 40% of the budget of the Department, no one had any interest of investigating its efficacy, but on expanding it.

A US President, certainly not this one, should have a guy like Cove in his cabinet.
We should be thankful for every conversion. Teaching productive behaviors will go farther to reduce poverty than any give-away program. Removing children from those who refuse to change is their only realistic hope, but not so much in the current ricochet style foster system. Stable institutions would serve children much better, and sooner is better. Endless charity is not the best way to demonstrate love for our neighbors.
What an on point and timely article. I work with the working, non-working, and disabled poor and the middle class. From my vantage point the disabled poor, either physically or mentally, deserve our assistance in full measure. The non-working poor run the course from needing a hand up to out and out gaming of the system, which in many, if not most, locales has become a high art form. The working poor from time to time need some assistance as well, but all too often in many cases the system is being gamed more and more with each day that goes by.

But here is what is frightening. I know of at least 6 former able bodied people from all levels of the middle class who have in the past year and one half applied for and now receive SSD. I presume, as we no longer have contact, that they are probably now working their way through the system with food stamps, medicaid, Title 8 and the myriad of other Federal, State and local entitlements that are available and paid for by their fellow citizens and China.

I have a friend who last year earned $30,000 and his not wife partner with two children earned $10,000. He in addition earned another $15,000 or so under the table and thanks to the magic of our tax code he found out that they would get an additional windfall of several thousand through various tax initiatives that help those less fortunate than the rest of us..

My concern is that the system IS being gamed on a grand scale and is now moving up the ladder of class. At some point in the not too distant future one has to wonder how those of us still working can pay for this, even with China aid and the printing presses running full tilt.

Still as Herbert Stein once said, paraphrased, " When something can no longer move forward, it will stop". I suspect that is the only thing that will bring this speeding train to an abrupt halt as the will does not exist in the well intentioned world of certain citizens and certainly not in our federal & state governments. Should be interesting to what happens when the checks stop coming.

Thank You.
Love this article. Already emailed it to two liberal friends of mine who are huge welfare proponents.
It seems like old school, common sense. Parents encouraging work at young age, not for the money, but as habit forming and character building. All life-long employed even moderately successful and responsible people can cite early, often humorous and humble job experiences, and always with jest, but clearly viewed since as a positive experience worthy of recommendation to similar experience for others. We are all the same, products of our environments, and we all respond to the same basic incentives. A sympathetic condescension toward the marginalized or downtrodden has served our people poorly when old fashioned adherence to the true gift of work and responsibility would have been the humane thing to do. Excellent piece, and an admirable and expert experience to impart. Thank you Mr. Cove.
Lots or writing to say that you and liberals are brain dead if you think rewarding failure will cause changes. Rewarding failure and bad behavior gets more of the same.

I believe most Liberals know this truth and their reason for rewarding is not to improve or help but rather to enslave and buy votes for Democrats.
Wow, Mr. Cove, barn-burner of an article. Wish all politicians knew this.
Do you think Obama and Democrats really care this Nation is getting getting poorer and deeper in debt every day and the quality of life is decreasing and the misery index is increasing?

The Democrats policies that have reduced the Black Race to welfare bondage, with a high crime rate, anti-education, high school drop out rate, high breeding rate, high gang joining rate, high homicide rate, etc. and the most dependable Democrat voters is not a accident!

The Uneducated Illegal Hispanic,s invaders that Democrats love so much, share and exceed many if not most of the same characteristics as the blacks, in other words they have the prefect profile for a Welfare Democrat voter!

Normal people thinks no one would be diabolic and sick enough to purposely use policies to reduce the Nation and its population to a state of Poverty, Crime, Misery and Corruption, but you would be wrong!

That is exactly where the Democrat are taking this Nation!

The more Democrats can decrease Education achievement, Reasoning ability, Punish success, Reward failure and increase the Liberal idealogy, Poverty, Welfare and the Entitlement mentality the more Democrat voters they make and the closer they get to a Third World Socialist Food Stamp Paradise controlled Lock, Stock and Barrel by the Democrat party!

The last piece to achieve their goals is nearly in place. Amnesty for the 12 to 30 million criminals and uneducated invading Illegal Aliens. That with chain Immigration for the ones still left in Mexico and Latin American and with a Prolific breeding rate will assure a Democrat majority forever and a Third World Slum here of Crime, Corruption, Poverty and Misery modeled on Mexico and controlled by the Socialist/Democrat party of Northern Mexico!

It is all about Power, Control and the Democrat party and how to use lies, false compassion and the people,s tax money, to achieve their Sick and Treasonous goals!

One of the biggest hurdles to meaningful, much-needed welfare reform is that liberal politicians and bureaucrats don't judge the success or failure of specific programs, or welfare policy in general, according to the same standards of those of us in the private sector. Liberals are more focused on their good intentions. In their view, if a particular program doesn't seem to be working very well, it's not the assumptions underlying the program that need to be assessed, it's either a matter of simply finding the right "expert" to oversee the program or spending even MORE taxpayer dollars. I often get into arguments with liberals who say that when one of their pet programs clearly isn't doing what it was designed to do, it's probably explained by "insufficient funding." Being a liberal means never having to say you were wrong or that you're sorry. Their good intentions always serve as a trump card to justify their failed policies.
"In public policy, we should deduce our theory from practice. "

You could have started and stopped there, actually. In fact, why do we need a bunch of "public policy" to mold what is common sense? You're still a creature of the meddlers, trying to reverse-engineer common sense and draw maps, diagrams and owners' manuals for the rest of us. Feh.
A fine turnaround, after saddling the rest of your fellow citizens with unsustainable debt, you're still making money off the poor!

I keed. I keed. Just a little bit.

Hopefully you can now create a company that can give retirement aged people a livable income by finding them soft jobs that will carry them into their dotage. God knows, we can never STOP working. We've done it all our lives, and no do-gooders are stepping forward to bemoan our fate or salute our good disciplines. Indeed, the young are being taught-- by the same self-serving political class-- to detest their elders and wish them dead, sooner the better.

I'm sorry. I know I sound bitter and should applaud your marvelous conversion. I am, and I do. But you must, with all your successes, be made to feel a bit of the bitter fruits of your youthful indiscretions.

Even now, in your conclusions, one can see that you still don't get it, or you are willfully blind to the fact that your lawmakers do not lack vision or understanding of poverty and its causes. They understand well where their political power comes from. If you feed a thing, it grows. If you starve it, it dies.
Why would we use government money to private sector companies? Isn't the cost of hiring and paying wirkers reflected is the good being produced? And what do you mean by providing jobs of refurbishing bridges and so forth? Wasn't the stimulus program supposed to do that? And the states and localities used those funds for existing programs which they can't pay for. Also stimulus money given to federal agencies were added to the budget to act as the baseline for baseline budget increases. Your proposal seems to do nothing to reduce the size and cost of government. It seems to me that for a reduced price of a government agency acting as an employment agency for those who can't do it for themselves would be an effective way to reduce dependency and the size and scope of government.
"America is seeing huge gains in academic performance among Black and Hispanic children..."

Actually, US students of all kinds keep falling farther and farther behind.
This is amazing. The man has no understanding of efforts to invest across generations.

America is seeing huge gains in academic performance among Black and Hispanic children, particularly in stable teamwork-oriented public schools. We know how to do schools, though generating political leverage to protect good teachers is difficult.

Feeding those minority children (and rural white children in low income areas) regularly and getting them to doctors and dentists has made all the difference.
How much of my money have you wasted to learn something most of us knew as kids?
C'mon, man.
I once heard a man declare that "work is the psychological glue of life". That would be a good quote to put on the mast head of your stationery and to be the mantra of your presentations.

If you would care to know why that is true it is because that is exactly the way that the good Lord made us.
If Johnson promised that “The days of the dole in this country are numbered, at the signing ceremony for the War on Poverty legislation in August 1964, what provisions in that legislation enabled the "community action" organizations to entrench dependency? Surely, the consequences of the legislation were foreseen, just as were the consequqnces of the Hart Celler Act, and just as are the consequences of Obamacare.