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Welfare

  • ... we live in a society which salves its conscience more by helping the interestingly unfortunate than the dull deserving ...

  • Anyone who can live on welfare should be courted by Wall Street. He is a financial genius.

    • Joanna Clark,
    • "Motherhood," in Toni Cade, The Black Woman ()
  • How the American right managed to convince itself that the programs to alleviate poverty are responsible for the consequences of poverty will someday be studied as a notorious mass illusion.

  • The welfare system traps single mothers into remaining poverty-stricken pseudo-housewives and sentences their children to deprivation.

  • ... the Great Society's War on Poverty was also a war on alternative values. In reality it became a war on the poor, not on poverty.

  • ... religion institutions ... get lavish tax exemptions, subsidies, grants, service contracts, and giveaways of all kinds that keep their revenue stream flowing. It's a business, but one with little or no financial accountability. Religion is this nation's most favored welfare recipient.

  • Welfare is ... the victim of national compassion fatigue.

  • ... we're focusing too much energy on the symptom rather than the disease: Our real enemy is poverty, not welfare.

  • There's a group of Americans who are fully employed. They aren't very well paid or they're not paid at all. They're called mothers; and I've never heard of a mother who wasn't a working mother. And that includes the mothers on welfare.

  • While motherhood is sometimes touted, mothers are accorded little common respect and no claim to the public purse absent the requisite and sometimes brutal indigities of charitable, judicial, or administrative scrutiny.

  • Most social welfare programs get their funding not for being good at what they do but for being politically connected to the sources of the money.

  • [On welfare:] It is a crude and irrational system of income distribution, usually capricious and often downright cruel.

  • [Social] workers have this attitude that the welfare is coming right out of their pockets — an outlook the hierarchy likes to cultivate.

  • Think of the worst experience you've ever had with a clerk in some government service job — motor vehicles, hospital, whatever — and add the life-threatening condition of impending starvation or homelessness to the waiting line, multiply the anxiety by an exponent of ten, and you have some idea of what it's like in a welfare center.

  • As the agencies that did cash in [on the welfare business] grew and reinvented themselves, it became apparent that they were in an inherent conflict of interest with poor people. Welfare mothers, for instance, wanted an adequate guaranteed income, which would have rendered many of the activities of the social welfare professionals meaningless. The agencies wanted a guaranteed income, too: for themselves. With the money and power to lobby effectively, they got it.

  • ... our social welfare system suspended common sense years ago.

  • Welfare as we know it cannot be fixed. Tinkering with it for decades has accomplished little of value. Bureaucracies within bureaucracies have bloomed, mutations of a polluted society. Too many contradictory interests compete at the public trough in the name of poor people.

  • You can't buy a loaf of bread with a social worker. After all, most social workers are not the merciful equivalent of rocket scientists, and Mother Teresa is neither the model nor the norm for the profession.

  • In the American imagination, black women are the poster children for disreputable, irresponsible motherhood and Latina 'illegals' are a close second. From birth to adolescence, every girl of color must navigate a political climate in which Ronald Reagan's racist welfare queen caricature casts long shadows.

  • For a lot of middle-class women in this country, Women's Liberation is a matter of concern. For women on welfare, it's a matter of survival.

  • ... A.F.D.C. is like a super-sexist marriage. You trade in a man for the man. But you can't divorce him if he treats you bad. He can divorce you, of course, cut you off anytime he wants. But in that case, he keeps the kids, not you.

  • That's what a welfare check is: a certificate of blame. And it arrives every month.

  • Affirmative action, welfare state, and welfare queen have become a mantra, evoked as single (albeit complicated) signs for and of everything wrong with the United States ...

    • Wahneema Lubiano,
    • "Black Ladies, Welfare Queens, and State Minstrels: Ideological War by Narrative Means," in Toni Morrison, ed., Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power ()
  • The welfare queen represents moral aberration and an economic drain, but the figure's problematic status becomes all the more threatening once responsibility for the destruction of the 'American way of life' is attributed to it.

    • Wahneema Lubiano,
    • "Black Ladies, Welfare Queens, and State Minstrels: Ideological War by Narrative Means," in Toni Morrison, ed., Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power ()
  • The ADC mother learns that there are two kinds of housewives, the 'good' ones and the 'bad' ones. The 'good' ones do the same work as she does but they are still living with a man who 'provides' them with their needs from his pay for his work. The 'bad' ones are those who are not living with or being paid for by a man and so the state replaces him in the form of an ADC check ('The Man').

    • André Léo,
    • "ADC: Marriage to the State," in Anne Koedt, Ellen Levine, and Anita Rapone, eds., Radical Feminism ()
  • The fact is that ADC is just a substitute man and I will refer to ADC as 'The Man' from now on as it makes the whole issue a lot more clear.

    • André Léo,
    • "ADC: Marriage to the State," in Anne Koedt, Ellen Levine, and Anita Rapone, eds., Radical Feminism ()