Newt Gingrich on Welfare & Poverty

Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House

Boys Town-style orphanages better than kids on welfare

Newt Gingrich, the soon-to-be Republican Speaker of the House, was eager to flex his muscle. Minor controversy erupted over remarks he made about welfare reform and orphanages. Some Republicans had suggested that the nation could reduce welfare rolls by placing the children of welfare mothers in orphanages. The idea was to prohibit states from paying welfare benefits for two groups of children: Those whose paternity was not established and those born out of wedlock to women under 18. The savings, according to this proposal, would be used to establish and operate orphanages and group homes for unwed mothers.

I thought this was a horrible idea. In a speech before the New York Women's Agenda on Nov. 30, 1994, I criticized Gingrich.

Gingrich swung back: "I'd ask her to go to Blockbuster and rent the Mickey Rooney movie about Boys Town [an orphanage]. I don't understand liberals who live in enclaves of safety who say, 'Oh, this would be a terrible thing.'"

Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p.262-263 Nov 1, 2003

Reach majority by better ideas, not by handing out goodies

I dreamed of helping to elect a Republican majority in the House when there had not been one in 24-years, and at the time of which I speak, would not be one for another 16 years.

I wanted that GOP majority to be a certain kind of majority, one based on ideas. I also wanted it to represent a party that would be open and beckoning to a majority of our fellow Americans not because we were handing out goodies to people but because we had better proposals for them and their families’ futures. In short, I wanted to do nothing less than replace the welfare society with a society full of opportunity. I dreamed of a society that would begin to move the powers of a smothering, overcentralized federal government back to the states and local governments back into the hands of volunteers much closer to the people and better aware of their real needs and wants.

Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p.16 Jul 2, 1998

Eight steps to improve opportunity for poor

    One of the encouraging developments of the last few years has been that a lot of truly caring, intelligent people have spent a lot of time thinking about the tragedy of modern welfare systems. As a result, we now have a fairly good idea of what works and what doesn’t. The eight steps we need for improving opportunities for the poor are:
  1. Shifting from caretaking to caring: Caretaking’s most important concern is to make the provider feel good, while caring’s first concern is the outcome for the person being helped.
  2. Volunteerism and spiritual renewal: more volunteers could get to know individuals and their families, [and ] emphasize spiritual salvation.
  3. Reasserting the values of American civilization
  4. Emphasizing family and work.
  5. Creating tax incentives for work, investment, and entrepreneurship.
  6. Re-establishing savings and property ownership.
  7. Learning as the focus of education.
  8. Protection against violence and drugs.
Source: To Renew America, p. 73ff Jul 2, 1995

Limit welfare to 2 years & cut welfare spending.

Gingrich wrote the Contract with America:

[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:

The Personal Responsibility Act:
Discourage illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers and denying increased AFDC for additional children while on welfare, cut spending for welfare programs, and enact a tough two-years-and-out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility.
Source: Contract with America 93-CWA5 on Sep 27, 1994

Other candidates on Welfare & Poverty: Newt Gingrich on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010