Ideas from Charles Murray:
Should the system be abolished? - welfare reformer Charles Murray - Cover Story
The best way to solve America's welfare problem is to close off a large part of the welfare infrastructure--Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) (now known as TANF) and food stamps--to single mothers. His principal exception would be Medicaid, he said, because "all children [should] have medical coverage."
There should be decisive moves to reduce the number of children born out of wedlock. The current welfare system, by paying mothers more for each child and denying benefits to families with two parents*, Murray argues, is a powerful force driving illegitimacy.
Out-of-wedlock births--not crime or drugs or poverty or illiteracy or homelessness--constitute "the single most important social problem of our time," Murray contends. Illegitimacy has produced a huge "underclass" in the black community and is within a whisker of doing the same among whites, he says, and this trend is creating the very dynamics that produce growing numbers of welfare recipients.• Murray argues that if the welfare safety net were at least partly removed, women on welfare would be discouraged from having children, and people around those women--mothers, sisters, brothers, boyfriends--would join in discouraging them from having children.
• Welfare women who still choose to give birth, Murray says, could do the old-fashioned thing and marry, seek charity, or put the children up for adoption in orphanages funded and run by government--a chilling thought to many politicians and welfare officials.
• source*Public Assistance Use Among Two-Parent Families: An Analysis of TANF and Food Stamp Program Eligibility and Participation
Under the TANF structure, the federal government provides a block grant to the states, which use these funds to operate their own programs. States can use TANF dollars in ways designed to meet any of the four purposes set out in federal law, which are to: “(1) provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives; (2) end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage; (3) prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies; and (4) encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.”