Welfare was not a major issue in the 1976 presidential campaign. Mindful perhaps of the disaster of McGovern’s negative-tax proposal, Jimmy Carter avoided committing himself to specific reform proposals. In December, new HEW Secretary Joseph Califano surprised no one by announcing that welfare reform would have to wait until it could be undertaken comprehensively.
Yet the problem of welfare remains a pressing one. For those on the left it poses an agonizing dilemma: while, until recently, ideology and practical concern for the economic plight of the poor united in condemning the present welfare system and in urging certain basic reforms, this may no longer be true. Ideological objections remain as valid as ever. The welfare ...
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