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by Green Party Media Team Wednesday, May. 15, 2002 at 7:39 PM

Welfare 'reform' will impose massive federal control, enforce dependence, turn many women into second-class citizens, and continue to deny health coverage and child care


For immediate release:
Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator, 207-326-4576,
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624,


Welfare 'reform' will impose massive federal
control, enforce dependence, turn many women into
second-class citizens, and continue to deny
health coverage and child care

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Greens blasted the plans by
President George W. Bush to earmark $300 million
of the $17 billion welfare budget for experiments
to promote marriage as a way to get women off
welfare and to force most welfare recipients to
work a 40-hour work week without child care and

"Too many Democrats crumble when they encounter
Republican rhetoric about family values," said
Rahul Mahajan, Green candidate for governor of
Texas. "Bush's plan doesn't promote healthy
families or moral values. These are schemes to
make many women more helpless and dependent, to
push them into jobs and marriages without regard
for the women themselves or the care and health
of children. They have everything to do with
posturing on the supposed moral shortcomings of
poor people, and nothing to do with alleviating
dependence and poverty. The real measure of
success is the extent to which any plan reduces

"So-called welfare reform often doesn't solve the
problem of getting people into good jobs, because
it neither creates real jobs with good wages nor
ensures good wages and good benefits in jobs that
already exist," said Robert Miranda, elected
Green member of the Social Development Commission
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is responsible for
administering welfare in that state. "Instead,
welfare reform of the past decade, whether from
Clinton or Bush, has meant cheap labor and
enforced dependence."

Greens have called for living wages, full
benefits, collective bargaining rights, and
democratic workplaces for all people who work,
including those moving from relief to jobs.
Greens support national health insurance for all
Americans; assistance for employment through
stable and responsible locally based business
instead of make-work and dead-end Walmart-wage
jobs; and recognition of caregiving as real work
that deserves compensation, not a luxury or an
excuse to avoid jobs.

Many Greens want the reauthorization of Temporary
Aid to Needy Families (TANF) to increase
investments in child care, education and
training, and job creation rather than impose
stricter workfare requirements on states and
participants as proposed by Democrats and
Republicans in Congress. Greens cite the
Carter-Bayh bill, supported by liberal Democrats
like Hillary Clinton (NY) and John Rockefeller
(WV), which includes such regressive agenda and
which would also divert TANF funding to
noncustodial parents and to groups that seek to
win custody rights over children for abusive

"Do all poor people have to return to slavery and
indentured servitude before Congress finds the
backbone to say no to Bush's insane welfare
proposal?," asked Donna Warren, Green candidate
for Lieutenant Governor of California. "Bush's
plan is counterproductive, disrupting, and drains
money from efforts to move poor people from
government dependency. The Greens know this, 39
states know this, and Bush knows this. It is
amazing that Congress pretends not to know."

Green activists and candidates list specific
dangers in the Bush plan:

*** It doesn't provide what many mothers trying
to rejoin the work force need most: child care,
training and education where effective
(especially GED preparation and English as a
Second Language), and transportation. "At the
same time Bush would expand the workfare
requirement to 40 hours a week, there's no
acknowledgement that working mothers have special
needs," said Miranda. "It's devastating for many
women and some men who take care of children,
elderly, or disabled family members."

*** Bush's plan discriminates against mothers,
including lesbian mothers, who need help but may
find themselves barred from public housing and
other relief. The plan creates a second-class
level of 'undeserving' lesbian mothers and single
heterosexual mothers who are unwilling or unable
to wed. Proponents claim the plan will
strengthen marriage. But by compelling marriage
solely for economic convenience, the plan
encourages unstable, temporary, and even
exploitative relationships. "Many women who
remain single or have separated from partners in
order to escape exploitation, abuse, or
dependence will now find themselves thrust back
into the kind of circumstances that forced them
to seek welfare in the first place," said Mark
Dunlea, Vice-Chair of Green Party of New York

*** The plan's "Super Waiver" option allows
states to spend welfare relief and job training
funds on projects like the promotion of marriage.
It also allows some faith-based organizations --
groups that seek exemption from discrimination
statutes in hiring and training, providing
services, and licensing requirements -- to claim
larger shares of public funding.

"I thought Republicans opposed 'social
engineering'," observed Dr. Jonathan Farley,
Green Party congressional candidate from
Tennessee. "I don't want to be married by Big
Government. I want to be married by a priest."


The Green Party of the United States
National office: 1314 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
202-296-7755, 866-41GREEN

Index of Green Party candidates in 2002

- END -

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