Gerald Ford on Welfare & Poverty

President of the U.S., 1974-1977; Republican Rep. (MI)


Urban policy: $6B in revenue sharing for cities & states

CARTER: As is the case with the environmental policy and energy policy, this administration has no urban policy. It's impossible for mayors to cooperate with the President, because they can't anticipate what is going to happen next. A mayor of NYC, for example, needs to know 18 months ahead of time what responsibility the city will have in administration and in financing, in things like housing, pollution control, crime control, education, welfare and health. This has not been done, unfortunately. I remember the headline in the Daily News that said, "Ford To New York--Drop Dead."

FORD: Let me speak out very strongly. The Ford administration does have a very comprehensive program to help our major metropolitan areas. I fought for, and the Congress finally went along with, a general revenue sharing program whereby cities and States--the cities, 2/3, and the States, 1/3--get over $6 billion a year, in cash, with which they can provide many, many services, whatever they really want.

Source: The Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate , Oct 22, 1976

Long overdue reform of scandal-riddled food stamp program

Compassion and a sense of community--two of America's greatest strengths throughout our history--tell us we must take care of our neighbors who cannot take care of themselves. But everyone realizes that when it comes to welfare, government at all levels is not doing the job well. Too many of our welfare programs are inequitable and invite abuse.

Complex welfare programs cannot be reformed overnight. Surely we cannot simply dump welfare into the laps of the 50 States, their local taxpayers, or their private charities, and just walk away from it. Nor is it the right time for massive and sweeping changes while we are still recovering from the recession.

Nevertheless, there are still plenty of improvements that we can make [especially] tightening up the rules for eligibility and benefits. Last year I twice sought long overdue reform of the scandal-riddled food stamp program. This year I say again: Let's give food stamps to those most in need. Let's not give any to those who don't need them.

Source: Pres. Ford's 1976 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 19, 1976

Replaced categorical housing grants with block grants

One of the first bills that I signed as President was the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. Inasmuch as it called for block grants to replace the far more costly and cumbersome system of categorical grants, it was landmark legislation.
Source: A Time To Heal, by Gerald Ford, p.240 , Sep 9, 1974

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Other past presidents on Welfare & Poverty: Gerald Ford on other issues:
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Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022