What Should Be Done About Welfare? The Causes of Poverty in America – Economics (1994)

What Should Be Done About Welfare? The Causes of Poverty in America - Economics (1994)



Bernie Sanders independent of Vermont politically and legislatively where is welfare reform in Congress right now well I think debate is beginning in earnest patsy mink is gonna bring forward some very important legislation i believe tomorrow and the fight is hot and heavy my concern is that in the process of welfare reform we begin to look at the causes of poverty in America that we make sure that we improve the situation and not punish poor people in children especially the children a seventy percent of welfare recipients as you know our children and then in fact that we understand that a lot of the debate about welfare reform is taking place in a sense because of the economic decline in our country and I hope that we don't divide our people along class lines but in fact we begin to stand together and say how do we rebuild the American economy how do we create new jobs how do we raise the minimum wage how do we stop the flight of capital from the United States to Mexico to China to third world countries where people are being paid 12 15 cents an hour as in the case of china by millions of American workers are being thrown out on the street I think you have to throw all of that in the pot talk about how we went from first in the world in terms of the wages our workers received 20 years ago to 12th place right now so I think when we talk about welfare reform the goal is to create an economy where all of our people have decent paying jobs now clearly it is not tolerable for somebody who said oh gee I have nothing else to do I want welfare I don't want to work that's not acceptable that's got to be eliminated but it is silly to be talking about welfare reform it's absurd unless we create jobs for people if you're on welfare and there is no job out there and we say hey we're throwing you off welfare really what's gonna happen and then when people say oh there are plenty of jobs out there I say there are nine million workers in America today or unemployed real wages in my state workers who are well educated workers what trains were working decent wages they've been thrown out on the streets so what do you say about somebody who dropped out of high school and let me tell you something else what people talk about welfare let's get those people jobs the jobs that those people are gonna get our your jobs if you're making eight dollars an hour nine dollars an hour now say you're working in a school and somebody said we're gonna put those welfare recipients into the public sector sure they go they'll take out the worker now is making eight bucks an hour throw that person out on the street take the person who's on welfare today pay them for in a quarter and put them in that job so what I would suggest is that the issue of welfare reform has got to be looked within the context of the entire economy representative patsy mink democratic hawaii does the current system create this cycle of poverty that congressman Sanders was referring to hide your are you talking about the welfare system right now the welfare system doesn't create poverty the welfare system exists in America because we have poverty in the country and because people are not able to provide for themselves they don't have jobs so I think that bernie is correct the real problem in the country is our economic system and it's an ability to provide the jobs that people need to sustain their families on the era's well let me ask you on the average how much does an average welfare family receive I know it's depend commercial but stay what's your range it depends on what state you're from because the amount of money is dependent upon what the state contributes to it so stated in the south they may get as little as a hundred dollars a month states that are generous like mine perhaps about six hundred dollars a month the average is somewhere around three hundred dollars a month for a family with two children so the support by the government is not very large and so but I think the issue is that people are so concerned about their own security about the future of this country and so they're out there reaching to try to find ways in which things can be changed so that their security can be better assured and so they bash out that the poor they look at welfare as a handout system of people that are not worthy they try to find other punitive ways to soak all correct the system and what I'm trying to do with my legislation is to say hey wait a minute these people on welfare are people like you and I they may be in difficult circumstances right now by and large what they need is help and support they don't need to be thrown out onto the streets and create another problem for society so I'm hoping that we can take a balanced look obviously there are people in the welfare system that are not going to be helped by any legislation even the one that I have fashioned but I believe that the approach I'm taking will provide substantial support and a quick remedy there about five million adults on AFDC and about nine million children we have to be concerned about the children it's not their fault that their families are on welfare and we'll make sure that they have support without a jeopardy to their future so in a FTC aid to families with dependent children yes good day from Washington this is the latest in a series of programs that we have been doing looking at a variety of welfare reform measure is now moving through both the House and the Senate our phone lines as always are open to 0 to 6 to 8 25 25 if you live here in the east and for those of you out west 783 27 27 our fax line is also open at 347 2111 earlier this month we talked to Congressman Jim talent Republican of Missouri is what he had to say about welfare reform I think there's three essential elements the first is ending the enormous subsidy in the welfare system which causes the creation of of families in which there is no father from the beginning other words it's it's caused the out of wedlock birth rate in the United States go to about thirty two percent and that is because it presents even even young teenagers with an option of saying look if you're thinking about having children even if you're not if when you do if you have a child without being married without working yourself will present you a benefit package worth on average about fourteen thousand dollars a year it lures them in essence into setting up a family which is then a dead-end trap for them because at that point of course they can't pursue a career very profitable they have a child they have to take up it's much more difficult for them to form a normal family at that point so that has to be ended I think the second thing is to make welfare a two-way street which means a large workfare kind of component to it my bill would impose a a 50-percent workfare requirement by the end of 1996 and then I think also if you're going to be serious about welfare reform you should expect that the welfare rolls would at least be held constant as a result of your reform and if that's the case then we should be able to to fund welfare or welfare programs without enormous new increases so my bill imposes up the three and a half percent spending cap on welfare congressman Sanders that was about two weeks ago with congressman talent what do you think of that idea well I think once again I believe I think most members of Congress believe that if people are able to work they should go out and work if the kids are protected and so forth I'd leave the problem with what the representative forgot to mention is that you have nine million Americans today who are unemployed you have millions more house are not on the unemployment statistics because they have given up looking for work and what he forgot to tell us is what kind of new jobs are being created the new jobs that are being created are more often than not part-time temporary work low wages without benefits now if we're going to be serious about talking about welfare reform I think we must begin to talk about a major jobs program and I and other members of the Progressive Caucus are working on a major jobs program which would reinvest in America make this country once again the greatest nation on the world economically by rebuilding our physical and human infrastructure it is insane is the representative forgot to talk about this you say that you have millions of workers who are unemployed will learn earning inadequate wages and meanwhile a physical infrastructure is falling apart our educational system is falling apart our childcare system is totally inadequate our library system is totally inadequate we can put millions work is back to work rebuilding America and then when the jobs are there you can say to people if you provide child care for people if we deal with our health care crisis and say to a mother with two kids you're not going to lose your health care benefits but we're going to continue your health care benefits and then if you don't want to work let's deal with that but the point that these guys see these guys many of our Republican friends they were the architects of Reaganomics and they transferred hundreds of billions of dollars from the working people of this country to the very rich and what they're doing now is continuing that process by dividing America and say to the working people who are hurting very very badly your enemy your opponent is not the corporate America's who are laying off millions of millions of workers while the chief executive offices you know he didn't forgot to mention that the CEOs of American corporations make a hundred and fifty seven times more than the average work they're taking our jobs to China where the pain workers twelve cents an hour unless we begin to get a handle on that problem the whole discussion of welfare reform is a fraud we want to get the phone calls but in a minute or two outline what your plan which is called what jobs start yes what are the elements of the planet how does it differ sedate equip that we just saw said as as long as we hold the line on the numbers on welfare we're making progress my bill will probably reduce the numbers on welfare by at least a half once it gets going and the whole thesis is to look at the individuals who are on welfare and make an assessment there's a general myth out there that everybody on welfare has never worked is not educated we have looked at the statistics and more than fifty percent of the persons on welfare have a high school diploma more than fifty percent have worked and so what we're doing in my legislation to take these people who have the greatest success potential and try to augment a training and job counseling program so they can get on to a job bernie is right we have to find jobs first but for many individuals for jobs that may be available now it's going to require some degree of job training and so we provide that fun of course we have to have child care there's no way in which we can have a welfare reform program without child care what we're also saying is that let's take the welfare recipients who have school-age children we don't have to then worry about child care at the onset the administration's proposals take the youngest and so immediately with infants we have to get the most expensive child care programs in place under my proposal we take the people that have worked before who have a high school education and who have children in school we cut the cost of that program immediately and I think that we're targeted for success the program is called jobs start America it's unveiled tomorrow tomorrow in this morning's Washington Post editorial on welfare reform says quote congressional liberals have weighed in to argue that mr. Clinton may be going too far in proposing a requirement that welfare recipients go to work after two years on welfare rolls the editorial goes on to say that friends of the poor will do their cause no good by defending a welfare welfare system that is better at maintaining people in poverty than it moving them to the higher ground level of self-reliance that's absolutely correct because if you're all you're doing is a minimum wage job or a community service job which pays minimum wage you are just maintaining the poverty of that family what we're hoping to do is to train individuals so that they can move out of poverty get a decent job so we have a maintenance idea too that they don't go immediately off of cash assistance let me just pick up on Patsy's point and i agree with fancy let's not just look at people on welfare today because the people who were today said all those welfare recipients be careful tomorrow it might be you because your employer may be moving to mexico or moving to asia i think what we also have to look at and we have legislation in now which has close to 50 co-sponsors is to raise the minimum wage people today are making for that we have millions of workers we're making four dollars and twenty-five cents an hour the purchasing power of the minimum wage has declined significantly in the last 20 years that means that the poor low-income poor working poor in america a much poorer than they were before what we have got to do is make policy in this country that anybody who works for a living is entitled to be above poverty now once again let's talk about what's going on in the economy there was a study that came out from the census Department not so long ago and what they said is that half of the young workers in America the new jobs that are being created are paying less than 13 thousand dollars a year how do you bring up a family on less than 13 thousand dollars a year for the first time in the modern history of the United States the younger generation is going to be poorer than the older generation now our conservative friends aren't talking about those issues they aren't talking about attack system in America which raises taxes on working people middle-income people but has for the last 15 years lower taxes on the wealthy starving cities and towns for the resources that they need very quickly should there be a two-year limit though for welfare yourself absolutely not you just simply don't say within a country without a context throw people into the streets but we don't care about your children no you can't do that thanks for waiting Duluth Minnesota good morning I'm an avid fan watcher I'm just Restless morning however my comments are directed mainly at the gentleman from from Vermont and the lady from Honolulu as has been happening frequently whether we're discussing health care are now this reform the focus is continually on economics I think the change of gentleman from Vermont is mixing up many things people who are on welfare and who are underserved underemployed have many human issues that need to be resolved first they can't many of them even get to work on time well I think what we need to do is begin to focus on rebuilding the family and trying to help these people and employers to develop programs that would allow these people to be mentored and and to do such things as get to work on time like you and I do in the 60s there were many psychological studies done at Yale I think we better pull those back again and before this gentleman tells a Republican gentleman that has forgotten a lot of things I think this gentleman better go back and end or ivory look at his own views in light of whether or not we have minimum wages or maximum wages or what I think the first issue is people and families and their values and what they thought thank you thank you very much congressman Sanders well the woman suggests that perhaps as I understood her question that I'm focusing on economics too much I think that not to understand that the breakup of the family in America many many families is directly resulted with consistent with with the decline of our economic well-being is Israel what you have right now is a significant growth in poverty in America in many minority communities in America you're talking about thirty forty fifty percent unemployment and I think while everybody is distressed about children being born out of wedlock and the breakup of families not to see that within an economic context i think is mistaken who is co-sponsoring your plan well we're out now distributing the bill and the drafts and we hope to have a significant number earlier on when we first got glimpse of the president's proposal we circulated Bernie and I a letter to the President and obtained about eighty nine or so signatures on that letter asking emerging him not to put in a two year limit basically so I assume that interest still remains among that group and I hope to enlist it there co-sponsorship for directed you are a co-sponsor of the bill I will be a co-sponsor Johnson City Tennessee good morning hello this little personal story for the two representatives that feel that situations may be dealt with similar to previous caller have a personal example of feller that I was trying to help out he with a high school dropout he just couldn't hold a job I let him stay with me for a month so the eventually to jail for breaking and entering the the injustice though it was really that he was collecting his welfare check while he was in jail and it's I mean this is someone that I knew I knew that this was happening I called dad I called the office that was responsible for this the governmental office may said you know we have no way of checking up on these sorts of things how long was he in jail taller approximately two months okay I've been up after that um he went to jail for auto theft and fraud oh you know he's still collecting the checks while he's in prison sir thanks for calling well that's absolutely not right and it's a matter of insisting on proper and adequate administration of the laws i don't think you condemn all the rest of those who may be on welfare because a system has been incapable of enforcing the rules there's no reason why someone in jail should receive welfare checks if you've just joined us we were talking about welfare reform the president's plan is expected to be out early next month it's been delayed on several occasions is the administration also works on health care reform last week at a news conference Wolf Blitzer talked to the president about the issue reform which has been delayed you know repeatedly over these months so many of your colleagues are so many Democrats in Congress a health care reform should have the priority now that if you do going forward with a welfare reform package to in terms of finance in it that would money the waters make it more difficult to get health care reform since welfare reform is dependent as you often say on welfare on health care reform why not simply delay welfare reform a little bit longer so you get health health care first well at first let me say Congress just as it did last year when we had the most productive first year of a presidency in 40 years I guess Congress has a lot to do they've already passed major education reforms school that work gulfs a thousand Head Start expansion they still have to deal with lobby reform campaign finance reform most importantly to me the crime bill as well as a health care issue but as you have seen with with health care are with welfare reform introducing a piece of legislation starts a process that does not finish in a week or a month and i think the outlines of the principles that i have embraced on welfare reform are very well known indeed my my own views on this are not markedly different from the bill introduced by mr. mccurdy and others except for the way that i would propose to pay for it and so I think that putting out in the late spring we're a little later than I thought we'd be I thought we'd have this bill out around the first of may but putting out the bill so that the Congress can can see it and see what I think ought to be done and how I would propose to pay for it and so the Democrats and Republicans alike can't evaluated there's an appropriate thing to do it might catch fire the whole thing might catch fire we might have a bipartisan consensus to move the bill in a hurry and get it this year I wouldn't write that off but I don't see that that will undermine health care it is however the flip side is true until you find a way to provide health coverage for all workers you will never have full welfare reform because you're going to have people staying on welfare because that's all the way their kids can get health care and you're going to have the anomaly of people getting off welfare taking low-wage jobs giving up their health coverage so they can earn taxes to pay for the health care of the people who stayed on welfare so it is but that is the more important issue for the long run but I don't believe that that my introducing my plan will undermine our ability to achieve health care reform this year congressman Sanders that was last week at news conference in the east room it is their bipartisan support for welfare reform on Capitol Hill well I think I'm not a democrat or republican so you might want to make that tripod is that I'm an independent I think that there is widespread acknowledgment that the present system is not working nobody wants to see people become dependent upon a welfare system generation after generation uh no one wants to see people who are capable of going out and getting a job not taking the job but having said that the analysis of what the problem is in the solutions I'm afraid are very widespread from Palmdale California good morning good morning I'm beginning to think that the only time the Republicans make any sense is when their lips are not moving I'm really you know I'm sitting here where does this man that spoke two weeks ago get off fan that they get a package worse 14,000 to an unwed mother with a child it's ludicrous it's absolutely ludicrous I have a neighbor that's on welfare she gets one hundred and thirty-five dollars a month per child when it's all broken down the poor girl can't live now I want to say this but they're talking about getting the people off welfare under jobs jobs for what four dollars an hour that man Sanders is absolutely right I don't know what this woman thought job start America's all about but I won't say this a refugee with refugee status in the United States has more wealth and prosperity than a united states citizen these people out there and us America that that woman calling in and said that welfare people can get to work on time does she know what she's talking about there are good decent people that are left with children husbands are walking off and leaving them these men are marrying again starting up other families which they should not be allowed to do when they can take care of the family they have I'm gonna jump in thanks for making those points and we'll get some reaction thanks for calling in Congress wanna tell me an agreement with what she said I mean I think that many people operate on myths that the people on welfare are different than the rest of us they don't have the same concerns and aspirations for their family and I think that's terribly wrong and so what I'm hoping to be able to create is a different view of the welfare recipient and to provide a program of hope where those that are most likely to succeed and the statistics are there we believe that at least half if we could augment the whole program with job training counseling and so forth that we could get them on into a job and to stay there permanently the phenomenon in welfare is it because we don't have a support system they go off they work for a few months and then something happens there they're back into the system so they come in and out I think that a positive program which concentrates on the total issue of preparing them for a permanent job and getting them into a job that pays a decent wage is the most important element of this whole effort when we were watching the president at his news conference from last week you said that he is going to unveil his welfare plan net in early June when Congress is out of session why would he do it then and not when you're in session well I think that's typical of most administration's I don't think that it's unique to the President and they like to have a open opportunity to present their side without it immediately hitting a lot of objections from people in the Washington scene so this is what I expect that it will be done next week when the Congress is in recess and then we'll come back and we'll have to deal with it but I think most of us know what his plan entails it's got the two-year cut off which most of us object to what happens after two years I mean it to me it's just an empty situation if you can't get a job you you're off of welfare who's going to provide the job Patsy raises I think the right question about the children and what we have to ask ourselves is is it acceptable in America today that we have x double the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world now we really want to go to war against the children of America twenty-two percent of the kids in America today a living in poverty the estimate is we have five million children who are hungry today are they really the enemies and I have to tell you I don't know if Patsy agrees with me or not but I I think that a lot of this discussion about going hard against and taking on the victims hungry children there are enemies is a deflection of really where we should be focusing while we speak right now corporations are disinvesting from American cities from rural areas they're taking our jobs to China 12 cents an hour they're taking our jobs all over the third world maybe instead of dividing up america between welfare recipients and the working poor and the working people and the middle class maybe we should all come together and ask ourselves a hard question how do we reverse the decline in our economy so that we begin to have an economy which pays working people decent wages and we have a full-employment economy I don't see our friends talking about that issue terribly much how do we say to corporate America don't throw millions of workers out on the street because of new technology use that technology to increase wealth in America not to take for working people out onto the street once we begin to do that I'm sure the issue is the same in Hawaii in my state of Vermont we have a very strong work ethic people want to work and when the jobs are there people go out and they work and therefore it seems to me the job of the United States Congress the job of the president the job of Corporate America is to say how do we create an economy where the jobs are there for people that's really what the issue is let's get this call from Miami good morning I've never heard a better / old town meeting speech in my life but I don't know what in blazes I have a direct this to representative make I think she earned it over the years really and it's not a liberal question I have but it pertains to a study which i think is related to this issue regarding judge sessions study it that it may not seem immediately related I don't know it has to do with something that that hasn't been brought up recently it's it's something that you may think is not related but I'm sure you walk on it when I'm through if you'll allow me to ask the question I don't know what in blazes my generation of the 50s can't figure out the the the welfare problem and and the reason why so many people are signing this living will if you'll allow me I'll get to the point yeah we're short on time I know this is probably a lot of people have put up with this what's the talk shows have to offer us but I don't think this is ever really this maybes too intelligent for talk shows I think our welfare system is more crumbling not not because of the obvious attempts of good men to do something but an invidious sort of thing like you get a leader like Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy who signs a living will and poor people out there actually are forced to sign a living will to be 0 so their families so they die and there's no rly ghal liability on their health care providers or the trauma network to provide them with the health care so they're practically forced to sign a living will and die to support their families well that that's tragic if that is happening in our medical system and certainly it links up the importance of passing the health care bill they're all linked together many people are not able to get off of welfare because of their fear if they took a job that was not covered by health care that they would be forced into those circumstances we hear it every day and so there's no question in my mind that health care must be passed first and then we could move into our welfare reform you just pick up on the point that's a little bit tangential to what we're talking about today but the evidence is overwhelming and the studies are quite clear that working people and poor people live longer than wealthy people there's no question about that if you're poor if you're working class person in this country you will die younger than the people who have the money and one of the reasons is is that we have 37 million Americans without any health insurance and tens of millions more or only partially injured who have large the duxelles people can't even afford to go to the doctor anymore so they're feeling sick they say well it'll get better tomorrow you know they wait three or four months they walk into the doctor's office and the doctor said I can't help you know we have to go for a major surgery so to the degree in terms of health care yeah working people poor people are suffering terribly because we are one of two nations in the industrialized world that do not have a national health care system guaranteeing health care to all people by my count according to congressional quarterly there are three House bills and three Senate bills moving through Congress on welfare reform does that sound right to you Ronnie three that have been introduced as of tomorrow there'll be four in the house Chesapeake Virginia excuse me Chesapeake Virginia your next good morning and thank you very much for receiving my call I am very much an agreement buffet mr. Saunders a cat disagree with the lady from Hawaii i guess but i am terrible to distress that they sound over calls that are coming in with respect to welfare it is clear to me that the folk who are calling in or have called in this morning have no concept whatsoever or what it is like to be on welfare i am an individual who grew up on a farm left the farm without one Brown penny I chose to become professors rather than a prostitute I am present presently retired and I'm retired on a reasonably comfortable income but there are so many people particularly in today's society who have never ever been able to obtain a job our men have grown from boys to men manhood and never have known what it is like to hold a job so how can you learn the attitudes the work attitudes if you never had a job thanks thanks very much for phoning in humming I have no disagreement with that that's our whole purpose and trying to emphasize what's wrong with our economy here the importance of job job training and allowing people the opportunity to have the dignity of supporting your own family mr. Sam I think woman's statement was was profound and very moving and she's absolutely correct but I want to reiterate a point because it's not made very often enough it is very easy to come down heavy on poor people it is very easy you know why poor people have no power poor people don't vote poor people are a good target for demagoguery and yet I find it so very interesting that the same politicians of the courage to beat up on the poor they have nothing to say about the heads of the major corporations in America which are disinvesting which are throwing our own people out on the street moving to the third world how can we have nothing to say about those people when you talk about the increase of poverty and joblessness and welfare what about somebody who has a profitable company where they're paying workers in my state / month okay fifteen dollars an hour in a factory in the southern part of the state Johnson Controls is the name of the company we have worked as they're earning decent wages good Union good benefits the company decides to move to Mexico throwing those workers out on the streets happening all over America I don't know what's going to happen to those workers inventing different month maybe some of them will end up on welfare I don't know but we have nothing to say about the large corporations or making those decisions in order to make the rich richer somehow the radio talk show hosts have nothing to say about that the leaders of our political parties have nothing to say about that why are those people contribute heavily to political campaigns those people attend a thousand-dollar up late dinners but poor people no problem you can say anything you want any outrageous thing you want what people do not contribute to packs they don't go to the thousand-dollar or play tennis so I think once again I want to make this point because this is to me the most important point if you're working right now and you're working hard you're working long hours and you're hurting you too can't afford health care you can't afford to send your kid in college don't let the wealthy people in this country force you to get angry at the people below you let's begin to get together and focus on the real causes of the problems and ask ourselves for example while the rich why the richest 1% of the population own more wealth than the bottom ninety percent we don't talk about that issue too much while the chief executive officers who throw people out on the street earning millions and millions of dollars in salary once again let's all come together as a nation let's not divided by class by race by religion let's come together and create an economy which provides hope for all of our people it's the middle of the night in Hawaii that's where our next call is from ia ha Hawaii good morning to you thank you for letting me call in um I have a question here should the people these poor people with representative from Vermont was just talking expect some subrogation of their rights or are they entitled to maybe additional rights two examples i can think of here in hawaii those on the welfare rolls are receiving free automobile insurance another example is presidents clinton's statement that he wanted to find a legal way to conduct weapons sweeps and weapon confiscations in the public projects in chicago congressman i think that in a free nation a great nation like America all people should have the same rights in the same opportunities thank God 40 years ago 50 years ago we entered the apartheid against black people which existed in the south and we said they're all people have a right to go to the same schools travel on the same buses so to his greater degree as possible we've got to say to all the people especially our children what a stigma it is what a stigma it is throughout America today for the kids for the poor kids to be internally feeling that they are not equal to they're not as smart they don't have the same opportunity as operating come kids so my view is everything being weak well all people should have equal rights I'm a Pats equal know more about a wide law but I suspect the auto insurance thing means if people if you if you say to everybody that they must have auto insurance that's the law of the state then you say to you you have to have a job well how do you get to your work unless you have automobile insurance and probably what was going on there yeah it's the same problem as in the healthcare poor people can't afford health insurance or their employers don't provide it so they end up in the emergency room the emergency room costs are much higher than ordinary healthcare all of us pay for it same thing happens in automobile insurance the uninsured motorist cost is borne by everybody that buys automobile insurance policies for themselves so some years ago what happened in Hawaii was a no-fault insurance program which said that the government would pay for those who had no income or unemployed so that the uninsured part of that program didn't have to be transferred to the people who bought their own insurance policies so I think that's a not a situation where the poor are being put upon but that they're being given the same advantages that everybody ought to have it was it with respect to the sweep and the housing projects I think that that is simply a tragic situation where you have housing projects with such a heavy incidence of crime where the assault weapon is a handgun and I think that it is a matter of legitimate concern by police authorities to go in and try to do something about that public safety issue both our guests have been in the US House of Representatives for the past two and a half years congresswoman mink is no stranger to the house you were first elected in 1977 though and left in 90 sec 1965 left in 1977 right and is a native of Hawaii congressman Sanders is originally from brooklyn new york graduate of the university of chicago and is the only independent in the US House of Representative elections charleston south carolina thanks for waiting yes good morning mr. Sanders um I am an independent and you just give me all kinds of faith that you know we can prevail but um I was a case worker I was a social worker for four and a half years and at the welfare department and I worked two and a half years under Jimmy Carr and I work two years under Ronald Reagan now in 1981 in January one of the first things that happened that Reagan did was he changed the criteria for a lady that gets day care if they worked 32 hours a week at minimum wage they made too much money for daycare now another that then within 10 days he said that if you were 19 years of age and a student you can no longer qualify for food stamps so we have the EOG grants and we had Pell grants and we had tools at that time to help women you know get off of welfare so now this week this needs to be reinstated because these ladies were trying they were going to school they were working they had daycare they got some food stamps they had a little bit of educational help and this all helped us to you know get these ladies off of welfare that all changed under Reagan and these ladies quit school quit work and everything in droves because he just Mets the rug right out from under them and we need to go back to you know giving welfare workers social workers some tools to help these women because they do not want to live on welfare but they're not stupid and when it comes to supporting their family you give them no choice for any advancement they all right I've got to stop you there because we are short on time thanks for calling that's exactly the point that we're making with my job start America bill we're saying that at least half of the people who are on welfare are there because of very difficult circumstances someone in the family lost a job or whatever but these are people that have tremendous potential we ought to concentrate on it because it's going to be a short amount of support that they need and continue their housing assistance continue their educational assistance continue their child care don't put barriers along the way to their re-entry into the economy it's really a very very simple effort and I think that if people would look at this bill they'll see that it has enormous potential of eliminating i would say about half of the people on welfare support today immediately a fax from Scranton Pennsylvania Ron Perry writes congressman Sanders why do people have children if they can't support themselves are your bad choices my responsibility but we all have children I have fortune uh I don't know how many children do have a child I think once again in America let's look at ourselves as one family at one people and not go to war against the poor this last caller called up and made the point that many of the victims of what's happened in this country in the last 15 years or not only children but they are poor women as well we are a great nation we are a dignified nation we should not be beating up on the most vulnerable people in our society we have time I think for one more call Oklahoma City Oklahoma is still with us oh yes go ahead please I have ten young ladies working for me all of them are going to college minimum wage they're not making a lot of money but they survived and they're not on welfare and they resent welfare they resent the government paying of their paychecks if they'd have enough money to do their job and go to school if they weren't paying for all the people on welfare well let me just take a shot at that welfare is just to be set the facts straight one percent of our national budget it's about 17 billion dollars we should tell those young women that we're spending a hundred billion dollars a year defending Western Europe in Asia against a non-existent enemy we should tell those women that their taxes are much too high because we are lower taxes on the upper income people and I think the mythology that it is welfare which is bleeding this country is wrong on the Reagan on the bush taxes went down for the wealthy they went up middle income and working people I think we've got a reverse that you get the last one thank you I think that it's a shame that we have to sort of pit people who are working at minimum wage against those who have nothing I think we are a big and compassionate country we ought to be dealing with some of these things in terms of their root causes many of these women on welfare want to be able to support their families they want to be self-sufficient they just need a little help and that's the help that we're hoping that we can provide get them into a work situation hopefully they can do better than minimum wage but if not at least a minimum wage job it's costing the government now to maintain them on welfare surely you can't reset the fact that we're going to provide some assistance to them so that they could get out there hold a job support their families and live in dignity that's all we're trying to do representative patsy mink Democrat from Hawaii's second District her job start plan will be unveiled tomorrow here in Washington thanks for joining us and congressman Bernie Sanders the at-large independent from Vermont thank you very much coming up in just a moment we'll be talking with David Kessler of the Food and Drug Administration and later we'll turn our attention to health care we've been showing you the proceedings in the US House and also by the Ways and Means Committee with Chairman Dan Rostenkowski members are conducting a line-by-line review of the measure what's known as a markup session our live coverage of that is expected to get underway at ten o'clock this morning seven o'clock pacific time the house will then convene at ten thirty eastern 730 pacific time for morning hour during that time members will be able to speak on any topic for up to five minutes after that lawmakers are expected to continue debate among the issues the Defense Department authorization bill for fiscal year 1995 that's at the US House which will convene later this morning here on c-span as most of the headlines in the morning papers continue to show you the nation is mourning the loss of Jackie Kennedy Onassis yesterday burial services were held here in Washington across the river actually at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and among those who spoke

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7 thoughts on “What Should Be Done About Welfare? The Causes of Poverty in America – Economics (1994)

  1. Sanders: "The budget for welfare is 1%." Not a concern for Americans in paying taxes to help those people needing federal funds. Full employment is the job objective mandate of the Chair of the Federal Reserve of the United States, not congress.

  2. If you have a criminal record and no one will hire you, create your own job. I know a man who uses his pick-up truck to collect scrap metal everyday and makes between $700.00 to $1,000.00 per day ! He knows where to go to get the metal. I know another Guy who does demolition removal and he makes more than the scrap metal guy. One of the best small businesses to start is a used tire shop. This is one of the smartest businesses to start. Because by the very nature of the demand these little mighty businesses almost never fail.

  3. What's sad is that this was broadcast over 20 years ago, and the problem of welfare has only gotten worse since then. The main problem is not a lack of jobs, it's the government coddling people and telling them everything is going to be alright and they shouldn't have to work, here's some free money, free food, free housing, free medical, and a free phone.

    Well, guess what? Those "free" things that the government is providing for you are not free. Someone has to foot the bill, and that someone is the American taxpayer that has a job and works so you can sit on your ass all day.

    Now, before someone bites my head off, I know that there are people who don't have any choice other than to go on welfare or disability. Those aren't the people I'm talking about. The people I'm talking about are those who game the system, those who have no intention of even looking for a job, and those who have become complacent with the government handouts they've been given for years and have accepted that as their lot in life and have no aspirations of anything greater.

  4. I Can tell you one way to help reduce welfare and that is to force employers to actually give 2nd chances to those with criminal records!!I have been on welfare for around 15 or 20 years because employers refuse to hire me casue of my criminal record, i then became disabled and I am now on a pension. I was taught many useful skills inside like I Can sew,cook, even do electrician, forklift license and I even have a degree in computers.

  5. Cut corporate welfare increase human welfare……..you judge a nation by how it takes care of its most vulnerable citizens (kids, elderly, sick, etc) & by its jail population…..Capitalism thrives off of oppression and societal ills…

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