State of Washington Archives: on Welfare & Poverty


Paul Ryan: Remove anti-poverty programs that dishonor human dignity

Ryan said his budget program was crafted "using my Catholic faith" as inspiration [but] the US Conference of Catholic Bishops says it "fails to meet" the moral criteria of the Church.

[In response], Ryan argued that government welfare "dissolves the common good of society, and it dishonors the dignity of the human person." He would restore human dignity by removing anti-poverty programs.

When asked about "the moral dimension" of a budget that gives tax cuts to the wealthy and cuts spending for the poor, Ryan's answer included the phrase "subchapter S corporations." Spending on programs such as food stamps and college Pell Grants is "unsustainable," he said. If government does too much for the poor, "you make it harder" for churches and charities to do that work.

It was a bold economic--and theological--proposition. Even Jesus said to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. Ryan would rather give the rich a tax cut.

Source: Dana Milbank in Washington Post, "Faith-based" Apr 27, 2012

Barack Obama: GovWatch: Welfare laws he “passed” were federally mandated

Obama’s latest ad, “Dignity,” says he “passed a law to move people from welfare to work, slashed the rolls by 80%.” Actually, the Illinois law was a required follow-up to the 1996 federal welfare reform law worked out by President Clinton and the Republican Congress. Welfare rolls did go down by nearly as much as the ad says, but Obama can’t claim sole credit.

The bill that’s cited is the 1997 law that created the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program in Illinois, based on the federal welfare reform act of 1996. That law gave states the ability to design their own welfare programs. The bill that Obama cosponsored was Illinois’ version.

And far from having “passed” the bill single-handedly, Obama was among 5 Senate sponsors of the measure. But even the 5 co-sponsors of the Illinois law can’t take credit alone: It was the federal law, hammered out by Clinton & the Republican Congress, that set the wheels in motion and forced states to act.

Source: GovWatch on 2008: Washington Post analysis Jul 2, 2008

George W. Bush: Fund faith-based social services, not worship services

President Bush, facing broad opposition to his plan to help churches get federal contracts for social services, is trying to revive the legislation by adding stricter requirements for use of the money, administration officials said. The change is part of an effort by Bush and his staff to get the legislation back on track after Republican lawmakers told the administration privately that it is dead in its current form. Bush plans to tell the Conference of Mayors annual meeting that under his plan, federal money that goes to religious organizations “must be spent on social services, not worship services.”

The president’s faith-based initiative was one of the earliest entries on his list of six top goals and is the one to which he is most personally attached. It is designed to allow religious groups the chance to win federal contracts to help juvenile delinquents, the homeless and the elderly without making the programs secular.

Source: Mike Allen, Washington Post, p. A1 Jun 25, 2001

George W. Bush: Invigorate “a Civil Society” to protect vulnerable citizens

Bush said government must be alert to the “danger that lurks” for some workers from an economy in transition and should care for society’s most vulnerable citizens. But he would not use government to solve all these problems. Instead he said he would try to invigorate “a civil society” by encouraging churches and charities - ‘little armies of compassion’ - to help combat persistent social problems, such as drug abuse, teenage pregnancy or welfare dependency.
Source: Dan Balz, The Washington Post Apr 25, 1999

Al Gore: Set goals & provide tools to reach goals locally

Government that tries to be an omnipresent welfare state will only leave its people in a catatonic state. Smaller, more empowering government unleashes the energy of ordinary families & communities. [Our] welfare reforms set national standards for moving people from welfare to work, but then let states & local communities shape the reforms that work best for them. Government [should] set goals, & provide the tools to reach them-leaving a vital role for churches, civic institutions, & families.
Source: Speech at International REGO Conference, Washington DC Jan 14, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Microcredit is an invaluable tool in alleviating poverty.

Microcredit is a macro idea. This is a big idea, an idea with vast potential. Whether we are talking about a rural area in South Asia or an inner-city in the US, microcredit is an invaluable tool in alleviating poverty. Microcredit projects can create a ripple effect- not only in lifting individuals out of poverty and moving mothers from welfare to work, but in creating jobs, promoting businesses and building capital in depressed areas.
Source: Remarks at Microcredit Summit in Washington D.C. Feb 3, 1997

  • The above quotations are from State of Washington Politicians: Archives.
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2016 Presidential contenders on Welfare & Poverty:
  Democrats:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)

Republicans:
Amb.John Bolton(MD)
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Rep.Peter King(NY)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Secy.Condi Rice(CA)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
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Page last updated: Mar 29, 2014