Gropenfuhrer Wants to Gut Welfare


For the most part, levels of welfare benefits represent the amount of resistance and unity among the working classes, on one hand, and on the other hand, the balance of treasure available for elites to dole out. In the US, welfare rolls and benefits have consistently expanded in periods of open rebellion, and rapidly contracted as rebellions ebbed.

Welfare benefits (around $600 a month for a single parent three person family in California) are the real minimum wage, what has to be exceeded in order to get people to work. While wage rates do not always drop in response to welfare cuts, they usually do. An injury to one goes before an injury to all.

The attacks on the welfare system were initiated by the Carter administration, which attacked the weakest people in the working class first, the mentally ill. Carter, under the name of doing good, destroyed the existing mental health system, nationwide, and the US once again experienced mass homelessness.

Then came bizarre eligibility requirements for welfare, the rolls were cut along with benefits, and demands for concessions began to emanate from public and private employers.

Reagan, of course, picked up the ball and drove home the notion of forced work programs, which frequently make people laid off from public jobs, work those jobs for welfare benefits.

Racism, of course, plays a key role. Racism makes it possible to pass draconian welfare cuts, with hardly a whimper from the middle classes, who never seem to grasp that most people on welfare are kids, and of them white kids. But even if that was not true, it remains that standing by and letting welfare cuts happen only strengthens the enemies of most people in the US, and hurts the rest. Racism also sets up people of color as examples to white people, of what could happen to them.

Some major beneficiaries of welfare are medical corporations (I doubt any cheating welfare mom every surpassed the doctors cheating on the welfare system), and agricultural businesses (why have food stamps but to control what people buy?), and, of course, middle class welfare workers whose jobs depend on the system itself, many but not all of them pretending that the problem poor people have is psychological, rather than the simple fact that the poor do not have money, or inheritances.

No surprise that NCLB supporters will be supporting some form of welfare cuts. Children will be left behind, hungry and homeless, and zoned out in classrooms. Elites who support NCLB care nothing for poor and working class kids. No one should suggest that their motives are somehow good, that there is some believable element in NCLB that indicates it is meant to help kids who were forgotten before. Who forgot them? Probably not the teachers. Nor the social workers who see them all the time.

But there is an expensive war on. Somebody has to pay for it.

That does not have to be us. I hope educators will see this as an attack on all our kids and respond as if every one of them was our own.

best r

PS, as far as I know, the Cloward and Piven book, Regulating the Poor, is still the classic on welfare.