From Faneuil Hall in Boston, The
Advocates. Tonight’s question, Should Congress Pass President Carter’s
Welfare / Jobs bill? Arguing in favor is Franklin Raines, Assistant Director
of the White House Domestic Policy Staff. Appearing as witness for Mr.
Raines are Arnold Packer, Assistant Secretary of Labor, and Carol Burris,
President of the Women’s Lobby in Washington, D.C. Arguing against the
proposal is John Kramer, Special Counsel for the Welfare Reform
Subcommittee. Appearing as witnesses for Mr. Kramer are George Gilder,
writer and social critics and Alvin Schorr, public policy reformer and
author of Jubilee of Our Times.
evening and welcome to The Advocates. I’m Marilyn Berger. Tonight we look at
two issues that are troubling to our economy and to our society,
unemployment and welfare, and a Carter administration proposal to deal with
both of them. The President has asked Congress to approve the biggest jobs
creation program since the great depression of the thirties, part of a
legislative proposal designed to deal with the duel problem of unemployment
and welfare. Under the plan 1.4 million public service jobs would be
created. Pay for these jobs would be just above the minimum wage or a little
under $4 when the program is slated to begin in 1981. The jobs would be open
to principle earners and families with children. Certain welfare recipients
would be required to take these jobs if they could not find employment
elsewhere. The legislation, known as the Better Jobs and Income Act, is part
of a wider welfare reform package now before Congress. Our question tonight
is: Should this bill be passed? Advocate Franklin Raines says,
The goal of the President’s program is
to reduce dependence on the welfare check. Most people in this country earn
their own living and get by on that. People on welfare want nothing less.
With me tonight to help me explain the President’s program is Arnold Packer
and Carol Burris.
Advocate John Kramer
Spending over ten billion dollars
a year to force the poor into dead-end unskilled jobs with the government is
not the way to put people to work or to reform welfare. With me tonight are
George Gilder and Alvin Schorr.
gentleman. We’ll be back to you in a moment for your cases. But first, a
little background. During his campaign President Carter promised to reform
the welfare system and to ease unemployment which is now running at 6.3
percent. In the program he calls the Better Jobs and Income Act, Mr. Carter
attempts to do both. Like much of the legislation that has been developed by
this administration, his welfare reform proposal has produced an unusual
coalition of conservatives and liberals for the bill, and conservatives and
liberals against the bill. The first part of the proposal legislation which
is not at issue here tonight consolidates the many existing welfare programs
into one cash grant program and sets uniform minimal welfare assistance
rates from state to state. The second section, the job creation part of the
bill, is the subject of our program tonight. Our question: Should Congress
Pass President Carters’s Welfare / Jobs Bill? Now
there’s no doubt there will be changes and compromises involving the details
if the legislation as it proceeds on what may become a long road through
Congress. Tonight, however, we want to look at the broad concept. The basic
economic and social questions raised by this bill. Should the federal
government create public jobs? If those jobs are created, should certain
welfare recipients be required to accept them? What impact would such a
program have on the people involved and on the economy? Mr. Raines, the
floor is yours.
Our current welfare
programs are gigantic failures. They’re disliked by the people, taxpayers
who have to pay for them, they’re disliked by the federal employees who have
to administer them, and most of all, they’re disliked by the recipients who
are supposed to benefit. The President’s proposals mark a complete break
with this legacy of failure. For those who cannot work, the program for
better jobs and income provides a more decent income in a more humane and
equitable manner. For those who can work, the program provides jobs search
assistance, training and public service employment. The President’s program
would assure a job to every poor family with children. This will require the
creation of 1.4 million jobs, the largest job creation program since the
Great Depression. A wage at or just above the minimum wage will insure that
the jobs will go to those most in need. When combined with the other income
supplements under the program, the program will insure that every family
with children with one person willing to work will have an income
substantially above the poverty line. A decade and a half after the
beginning of the war on poverty, that would be a tremendous achievement. I
call as my first witness Arnold Packer.
Packer, welcome to the Advocates.
Packer is an Assistant Secretary of Labor and one of the authors of the jobs
program. Could you briefly describe the programs for better jobs
Yes, the most important innovation
in this program is the essential guarantee of an assurance that one can find
a job for every family with children. We estimate that 1.4 million public
sector employment jobs will take care of all of those who cannot find a job
in private industry at a higher salary. Secondly, in addition to the income
flaw for those who do not work, we will supplement the wages of those who
earn so little that they cannot take care of their families. Third, and very
important, we have provisions and incentives in the bill to insure that
people will look and find jobs in the private sector and only take the
public jobs when they have no other alternative.
But why do we need a large public job component as a part of
Well, the other
alternative is to use cash only. We find cash only encourages continued
dependency, encourages family instability. With the jobs program we can
raise all families with children who have one worker to thirteen percent
above the poverty line. Trying to do that with cash alone would be much more
expensive than we could possibly afford.
You said this would have some effect on family stability. How is
Well, the information we have, both
from experiments and from survey data is that if you provide cash only and
no jobs, you disrupt families. And we have families who come apart because
there is no work.
How is it you think we
can create 1.4 million jobs without spurring on inflation? Just what kind of jobs will these be?
Well, first in general, if you're going to support people, it's
less inflationary if you ask them to produce also. Let me give you one
concrete example. In North Carolina there are elderly people in rural areas
whose health is failing, but who could be taken care of in their homes. They
are being taken care of by public service employment. If it were not for
these jobs, not only would those other people be unemployed, but the elderly
would end up in much more expensive nursing homes, costing the taxpayer much
But why is a government job
program necessary? Why can't we rely on the private sector?
To a great extent we will
use the private sector and it is very important that the economy continues
to expand. But from decades of experience we know that an expanding economy
by itself does not take care of this problem. We have had tax incentives to
hire welfare persons since 1967. We have had good times and bad, and it has
not taken care of those who need training and work experience.
You've talked about movement to the private sector.
Why do you think that this program will lead to people moving into the private sector?
Well, we have job assistance, to help people find positions in the private
sector. We will provide a situation for those whose previous failure makes
them afraid to look in the private sector for work, and now they'll know
they have a guarantee and this can be a transition from a dependency to
private work. And I've seen some examples that make me feel confident that
it will work. In Los Angeles there are welfare persons who are learning the
nursing skills to work in geriatric situations in hospitals and nursing
homes. Here in Boston I've seen people learning skills that they can use
to...in landscape gardening. And throughout the country we have got,
demonstrated success with the kinds of skills that will provide people
Thank you, Mr. Raines. Now
we will go to Mr. Kramer with some questions for Mr. Packer.
Mr. Packer, last year you
spent over thirteen billion dollars on training and employment programs, and
yet 40% of all minority youth and 13% of all minority adults remained
unemployed. Their situation didn't improve. What makes you think that
throwing in another 10 or 15 billion to the problem will make a
Well, I think your fundamental
assumption is incorrect. The data if one takes a
look at it shows dramatic improvement between May of last year when these programs began and last...the last few months.
After employment of black and minority teenagers
fell for a number of years, it's increased by 11
1/4 percent since the second quarter of last year when the
Congress made the money available for these
But you talk about the
possibility of targeting these jobs to the black youth. Where is it written in your proposal that an unemployed, white,
adult male college graduate with a wife and children couldn't get a
By targeting, we're not targeting by
race. We're targeting on people in need. Now with the targeting we've had in
the previous program, close to 90% of those who have taken the jobs have
been economically disadvantaged.
white unemployed adult male in need under your bill?
Yes. This is not a program restricted by race. It's
a program directed to those who are in need
irrespective of race or sex.
been the problem over the years, that the people with the better skills and
the better training and education get the jobs and force the other people to
take the back seat?
That's exactly correct
and that's why this program is an essential guarantee at a wage that's relatively low so that those with more
skills will find private sector employment much
more to their liking, and so these jobs will
provide for those who from other programs have always failed to be served.
You say relatively
low, but as I understand it this bill provides a guaranteed 18 month job,
paying as much as over §10,000 in Michigan and New York. Why wouldn't
somebody with a private job at the minimum wage there leave his job to earn
that extra money and have the greater security that the job would
Well, the jobs that pay as much as
$10,500 would pay that in 1981, and you have to take 20% off that to get to
today's dollar. So that's $8,500. Only 15% of the jobs in the area could pay
more than the average and not very many close to the $10,500. And so we want
to build in a job ladder to let people get promoted as they stay in the job,
but for most people who are well trained, they would not find this job
For most people, but for a
substantial segment there might be a transfer of
people from the private sector into the public sector.
We have made a number of very sophisticated
analyses, and come up with the 1.4 million figure. That was not an
arbitrarily chosen figure. It is our estimate of what is necessary to serve
all those who would want to take the job and that if the 1.4 million is
provided, then we think we will in fact take care of all those families with
children who want one of these jobs.
all families with children, you don't meanwLth small children, you mean with
children over 14 or part-time job if there's a child in school. Is that
No. The jobs are open and
You are guaranteeing a job to
every family with small children as well as with
Well, I've heard the North Carolina example used. I
gather President Carter used it earlier this week in the CETA program, and
everytime Secretary Marshall has testified, he's referred to the North
Carolina home help care aides. And I know that you have a list, a list of
about 13 categories of jobs, like weatherization and insect and pest
control, that you want performed. But you have no way, do you, of forcing
the states and municipalities to create those particular jobs?
No, and those examples are not taken from an
abstract analysis. What we've done is to take a look at the experience we've
had with this other program over the last six months and seen what is
working. We speak of North Carolina because Secretary Marshall went down and
saw that job in operation and was impressed, and each of us has our own war
story depending upon the situation that impressed us most.
North Carolina is one or five or ten jobs, but we're
talking about 200,000 jobs according to you, in home health care, and you
have absolutely no way of knowing that that service will be provided in
200,000 slots in this country, do you?
are estimating the number of jobs. We have increased the public
service employment from 300,000 to 700,000 in 8
I'm sorry. I'm going to have
to interrupt. Mr. Raines, one more question.
Mr. Packer, as fine as the North Carolina program is, can you give
us another example where in the current program we are providing these
Well, one of those that
impressed me was right here in Boston in Franklin Park. I came in and saw
people who had not worked for many months, and who were very happy to have
the jobs. And while I was there looking at what they were doing, some
resident from nearby came along and said that the cleaning up of the park
meant that his children would not have to dodge automobiles in the street,
but could play in a park that previously was unsafe and was now an
attractive and safe place for his children to play. And I think that was
only one of very many examples.
Mr. Raines. Mr. Kramer, one more question.
It is correct, is it not, that that landscaping job is not being done in any
way, shape or form by the private sector. Do you ever have any hope that the
private sector will have that job performed or is this going to remain in a
public job forever?
No, I think that's
incorrect. Any suburban homeowner who has ever had a tree removed from his
backyard or had his trees trimmed, knows that it's very expensive, it's done
all over the country, in the private sector at a very high price right
But the private sector won't touch
Franklin Park. You're going to have to employ someone there forever to have
that tree constantly taken care of, are you not?
Well, the highways of Massachusetts have the trees trimmed by
private contractors who work for the state, but they're private contractors
with all the good incentives of the private sector.
Thank you, Mr. Kramer. Thank you, Mr. Packer, for
joining us on The Advocates. Mr. Raines, we'll be
back in a moment for another witness but first, let's hear from Mr. Kramer
for the case against creating public jobs as part of the welfare reform
We all agree that able bodied
adults who have no dependents to look after should have an opportunity to
acquire useful jobs skills and earn a decent living. Unfortunately, that is
not what the President has proposed. He would not integrate welfare
recipients into the regular economy. Indeed he would segregate them by
making them second class citizens, and requiring them to perform unskilled
chores for state and local bureaucracies. If they refused, they and their
children would have less to eat. The President would turn his back on the
private sector and rely on the government as the employer of first and last
resort. He would hope that businesses would be willing to hire program
graduates, but it is hard to see how that would ever happen. Not when half
of the public job holders have never made it through high school. Not when
all of them would be earning nearly $4 an hour doing work that no business
has ever been willing to pay a cent for, and certainly not when businesses
confront rising payroll taxes and higher minimum wage levels. The
President's dream is noble. We share it. The reality of his program is a
bureaucratic nightmare doomed to failure. We can do better. To examine the
economic fallacies of the President's plan, I would like to call George
Gilder to the stand.
Mr. Gilder, welcome
to The Advocates,
George Gilder is a
social critic and he is an author of a forthcoming non-fiction novel on
poverty and unemployment. Mr. Gilder, why do you oppose the creation of over
one million jobs?
One out of five
Americans today works for the government. Isn't that enough? We're now
spending sixteen billion dollars on jobs for the creation and training
alledgedly for the hardcore unemployed. It isn't working. The hardcore
employed aren't working either. Nor are the people in the CETA programs
which Mr. Packer is celebrating, working very much. These...this is a not a
real job experience which people have in this program. Thus in doing
make-work for government, they get the idea that a job is something that is
not productive, that does not occur under stringent regulations, it cannot
end in being laid off or in being fired. In other words, it is a false job
experience and it gives the people who have it a sense that this is a job.
Thus it makes them less capable of moving into the private sector rather
than more capable.
Why do you suppose that
state and local politicians are heavily in favor of the President's plan?
its a boondoggle. It is an extension of all the current revenue sharing and
comprehensive employment and training act programs that now are being used
chiefly by most cities to substitute federal money for state and local money
in existing employment. Some 75% of all the CETA jobs in Detroit for emample
are merely substitution jobs. Fifty in New York City. And Mr. Packer can
give the statistics across the country, alledgedly they're a little better.
But if they can't run the current program, why do they think it's going to
be much better if they double it?
you concerned, however, about the growing number of the
Of course I'm concerned with
the declining number of the unemployed, but it's precisely because I care
about the unemployed, the hardcore unemployed, that I'm opposed to this
program. Ninety percent of all the people on welfare are women. Seventy five
percent of all the jobs that have been created or nearly 75% of all the jobs
that have been created in recent years have gone to women. This program by
focusing on the welfare poor merely is...merely will improve the employment
advantage of poor women against poor men and thus increased family
Do you have any recent
experiences in New York that confirm your ideas about public job programs?
I made a study of 300 people who were receiving jobs under CETA in a private
employment program in New York and it really was a joke. Their experience
was uniformly bad. Virtually none of the jobs had any real substance. It all
was a form of welfare that rather than just requiring you go to the office
once, you have to go every day to the welfare office, is the effect. It
gives these people again a sense that jobs and money is something that comes
from the government regardless of whether you produce or not. And this is
precisely the wrong lesson to give to the poor.
What should the government do to expand job opportunities in the
OK, well, if you..if you..if you tax something you get less of it. If you
subsidize it you get more of it. Right now we are heavily subsidizing
unemployment through welfare and unemployment compensation. We're heavily
taxing employment though payroll and income taxes that with inflation rise
every year. What we should do is substantially reduce the level of taxation
on business and incomes in America, and subsidize in a rigorously targeted
way on-the-job training programs for the hardcore unemployed. These
on-the-job training programs will not only help the hardcore unemployed,
they will also help the small businesses, the labor intensive small
businesses in poor communities that are most likely to employ the hard
We'll have to go to Mr. Raines now,
for some questions.
Mr. Gilder, I'd like
to engage in a slight critical examination of some of your assertions tonight. One of the goals of the President's
program is to improve the employment opportunities
for the female heads of single parent families.
Don't you agree that that's a good goal of public policy?
Sometimes. I think that.,
however, that since in the recent years that the chief problem in poor
communities is that disadvantage of the men visa-vis the women in getting
employment, getting jobs and getting money, that a program to increase that
disadvantage will just increase breakdown of families. So I really think
that you can't have a job program that goes through the welfare system,
cause men don't join the welfare system. Men live off women who are on the
welfare system, but they aren't on the welfare rolls.
But you are aware, Mr. Gilder, that there's nothing
in this program that requires you to be a welfare recipient to receive the
benefits, that in fact it's open to anyone, male or female.
Yes, but men don't join these programs. That's the
chief finding of all my studies over the last couple of years and this
subject among these poor people is that men don't sign up for these
programs. They prefer anything to going down to the welfare office. That
whole system is oriented toward women with small children.
But nevertheless we know most of the participants in
public employment programs are men. Now you've testified that you would
favor a tax credit approach. We already have a tax credit to encourage the
employment of welfare recipients. We have another tax credit to encourage
the employment of people who are unemployed. And if this approach would
solve the problem, why do we still have the welfare....
Because these taxes are virtually insignificant
compared to the vast increase of the overall tax level in America over the
last decade. There1! been, with inflation, every year businesses and
individuals enter a higher level of taxation and this discourages employment
and discourages business. But I want a general tax cut. I don't...all these
little subsidies and...of this sort don't work very well. The only kind of
subsidy I want is a quite concentrated one on the hardcore unemployed for
on-the-job training, period. And I think that is useful and can be effective
approach. In the private sector, not in the public sector.
You complained in the public sector that there's job
substitution because the public employees... employers will fire their
current workers and hire these workers. Just why wouldn't that occur in the
private sector where the private employer could get a tax credit if he hired
one of these workers and fired someone else?
Well, first of all, I don't think that's the way substitution
occurs. They don't fire anybody, they just do a little shuffling of the
papers and the... that the person that was previously doing his job in an
office suddenly becomes a former disadvantaged person who qualifies for the
So are you proposing that
people who earn $15,000 in the offices will quit those jobs and they will
suddenly be paid at the minimum wage and they'll think that's an
No, those people certainly
won't. But in most cities there's a steady enlargement of payrolls, at least
in a large number of cities, and the question is whether this expansion of
payroll is being paid for by the state and local authorities that have
fiscal problems, or whether they can shift it to the government. So this
program just provides a new incentive not only for the expansion of federal
employment, but also for the expansion of state and local employment. And it
will not reach the hardcore unemployed. That's... everything we know about
CETA...see, first of all about 75% of the people in it have high school
diplomas. About 20% of them have college education. It's all the incentives
in the program are for creaming. Perhaps it can be improved, but you don't
have to double the program to improve it. First you get the current program
working a little bit and then maybe you can expand it significantly. But
this is a vast expansion focusing on the welfare poor.
Thank you. I'm going to have to interrupt. Mr.
Kramer, another question.
Mr. Gilder, how
deep a tax cut do you think the small businesses would need to overcome the
rising taxes you've talked about and the increase in social
I think—I haven't given it very
close analysis of this, but I think at least 30%. I mean I think a really
substantial across the board tax cut. Incidentally, I think this would
probably increase federal revenues. Nobody will believe this, but this would
expand the incentives, it will expand the incentives for growth and
investment to the extent that public revenues would increase over a time
rather than decline.
Thank you, Mr.
Kramer. Mr. Raines, now you can ask that next question.
Well of course, Mr. Gilder, you know that the
President's already proposed a 25 billion dollar
tax cut. But let me ask you this question. You claim that these jobs are
make-work? Do you really believe that this country does not need the kinds
of services that Mr. Packer talked about?
I think that...well, you know, whenever we talk about CETA you always can
say that here and there there's a program that seems to do some nice,
inviting thing. But this is a vast program that has to be administered all
across the country. Millions of people involved. And it's very difficult.
Long experience shows that it's very difficult to organize make-work in a
productive way, that all the civil service unions resist it, all the current
job holders resist it. It's difficult. And this problem has not been
overcome, with all due credit to Mr. Packer and his colleagues, yet. And
until it is, it seems to me foolish to almost double the money involved in
this kind of effort.
Thank you, thank
you, Mr. Gilder, for joining us on The Advocates. For those of you who may
have joined us late, tonight's question is: Should Congress pass President
Carter's public jobs program as part of his welfare reform bill? Mr. Raines
has presented one witness in favor of such passage. Mr. Kramer has presented
a witness against. And now we will go back to Mr. Raines for the case for
President Carter's Welfare/ Jobs Bill. Mr. Raines.
Thank you. We've discussed the overall economic
impact of the program. Now let's examine the
human impact. I call as my next witness Carol Burris.
Ms. Burris, welcome to The Advocates.
Ms. Burris is President of the Women's Lobby, a
Washington-based women's rights group. Ms. Burris, could you tell us just
who is it on welfare who'll be affected by this jobs program?
Well, I think our opposition has made the case so
well that 90% of the people who are on welfare are women, and they are women
who have been left by men to take care of children. Contrary to this
touching story of how men cannot go down to the welfare office and apply,
they are in fact perfectly capable of doing that. They don't because women
are so much poorer than men. In fact women earn .56 for every dollar that
men earn. By every measurement standard that we know, women are poorer than
other people. And these women are now taking care, these three million women
who are currently AFD recipients, of 8 million children. In the states that
provide benefits for unemployed fathers, the fathers provide less than 10%
of the total case loads because they're far . more employable. Half of the
women who are on welfare are women who are minorities and so they suffer
from double discrimination. Their job skills are poor and unless we provide
a real work program for them, they are going to continue to be unemployed
because we as a country have absolutely no plans for continuing their
dependency. And when their children are grown they will be displaced
homemakers with a vengeance—women who have very little access to job skills
So although Mr. Gilder
would have us believe that it's unimportant to do anything for women on
welfare, you believe it is important even though we are at the same time
doing things for men?
Well, I don't think
they're mutually exclusive which Mr. Gilder seems to believe. But I think
that most women do live with men. But the truth of the matter is that I
think it's important to realize that unless we solve the problem of high
unemployment among the women who are currently very poor, and unless we
address ourselves to the two really deep seated problems—many of these women
do work. The average person is on welfare for about six months. But they
work in women's work jobs. They work in terrible seasonal and part-time
situations in which they simply cannot support their children. And unless we
end that by giving them skills and training, we're going to continue their
Let's examine some of the
criticisms that have been made of the jobs program. Do you think that it's
fair to require welfare recipients to work and threaten to reduce their
benefits if they don't?
I think all women
on welfare want to work. And I think that if we look at a middle class
pattern, what we see is that about 52% of all the married women in this
country work outside the home as well as carrying on their work inside the
home. And so women want to work and they're participating now in the labor
market. They voted with their feet. And that one of the things that we have
to do is make available to the very poor those resources and training skills
that have been available to the more middle class.
Well, what about the limit on the number of jobs to
one per family?
I think ideally it would
be best to provide jobs for all those who want to work and a level of
entitlement for those people who are currently participating in the program.
This is a program in which 90% of those people are women who are taking care
of children because some man left them to take care of those children. And
the fact that we have to remember is that they are going to be the primary
beneficiaries of the program. I personally have reservations about the idea
of only one job, and I have some reservations also about the question
whether or not there should be a head of household. But I think that it's
important to realize that the heads of these households are women who are
taking care of the children.
We heard a
criticism that the program pays too much, but it's a fact that the wage
levels of the program are low, at or near the minimum wage. What do you
think about having a wage that low?
let's remember that the minimum wage is really a population of women in
sales, service and clerical jobs. Two-thirds of all the people who work for
minimum wage are women. What has been done in this country is to pay women,
for example in Texas where we pay a woman with three children $140 a month,
very much less than the minimum wage to stay home and work at home taking
care of her children. And this is a step up for them and provides them at
least some level of income.
the criticism that this program forces women or others to leave their homes and take work outside the home?
I have to have a very brief answer.
Briefly, they're already working in that way.
They're on welfare for a very short time and
they're working outside the home.
you, Mr. Raines. We'll now go to Mr. Kramer for some questions to Ms. Burris.
I understand your concern for women, what troubles me is your support for
this bill. You talk about the primary beneficiaries of this bill being
women. Are you aware of the statistics that Mr. Packer prints that says that
only 49% of the jobs are going to go to women?
I think you have to understand that Mr....that is Mr. Packer and
Dr. Allen's analysis of who will actually apply. All of the statistical data
shows that the prime population is in fact women and that the add-on
population are even more women and that what we're going to talk about here
are women being able for the first time to have access to public service
jobs. And I don't think that his predictions have any relation to
In other words, your idea of the
bill and his are somewhat different. Particularly from that regard, I'd like
to focus on the intact families, the father, the mother and the two
Which are so rare on welfare
because men can earn their way out.
Well...in fact, that's going to be a good substantial slug and perhaps over
half of the jobs. And in 93% of those families, the only eligible person is
going to be the man who was viewed by their...by the way they characterized
the principle wage earner is going to be male, not female. Won't that
reinforce the myth you want to dispell of the male breadwinner?
I think that that's a serious problem in the
discussion that they have, and the criteria that they use, just to expand
your case, is a seriously sexist criteria. But I think that we should
discuss in fact what the real population is, which is women who are taking
care of children. They are the people who are going to come out into this.
Very few two parent households very rarely are ever eligible for welfare
because you men are an economically valuable thing. On the hoof you are a
high wage earning person who will raise your wife out of poverty.
Unfortunately, some of us are not.
Statistically, all men are.
I would like...but in individual cases which amount
to well over a million, unfortunately, they don't make it. But I would like
to question... and I agree with you that we ought to have some special
skills and training for women, but are you aware of the jobs that he's got
in mind for you?
No, I'm talking about the
child care and the home care and the teachers' aide category that comprise
well over half of what they have in mind. Those are all traditional female
roles, aren't they?
Yes, but they're
traditional female roles going to a group of people who are currently now
doing seasonal and part-time and part-year work that does not raise them out
of poverty. And we have to look, too, at the question of under-utilization.
If you look at the geographical distribution, minorities, Chicanos and
blacks never get as high as traditional female roles in the South and
Southwest, and so there's a question of how we want to make
under-utilization of those women be an important part of the
But aren't we going to be
reinforcing the very jobs that have been limited to women by putting them
back in those same roles in the child care and the home care and the
teachers' aide jobs?
Well, after long
discussion with both Mr. Packer and Mr. Raines, I think that we've come a
long way toward discussing also non-traditional jobs for women. I think that
you would have to consider in the overall jobs package a series of
snowmobile trails in New Mexico, fire rent control, question
...but New Mexico's likely to
share the prejudice that you wish to dispell.
That's not true. In the West, in fact, women are doing far more
non-traditional jobs as CETA workers than they are in the East.
What makes you so sure that this proposal will
contribute to families staying together? Are you aware of the fact that
if...in an intact family, if the husband moves out, leaves his wife and two
children, the overall benefits of all four would rise at an annual level of
over $2,400 for five weeks and they would be $500-a-year better off
I think we should discuss
this...but let's discuss first the question of intact. One might not be
intact if one lost one's arm. Losing a man whom one associates...one assumes
one is going to voluntarily associate with, does not leave you less intact.
So that the question then should be based on whether or not the two parent
family is the real mode that one would like to have.
I agree with you that that might be the problem and
the Denver, Seattle study shows that the family tends to break up even
quicker when they received a guaranteed income.
But I think, John, that you have to say that Nelson Rockefeller and
the rest of us middle class people who get divorced are not doing it out of
economic necessity, and so we have to be very clear about this. The increase
in the divorce rate does not reflect the level of poverty among those people
at the bottom. In fact, they're less likely to get divorced. They just can't
afford the lawyer's fees.
we're going to have to go to you for one more question.
Ms. Burris, we've clearly established that the
program will be beneficial to women. You wouldn't be unhappy if 50% of the
men actually did get the job. You just don't expect that they'll show
I just don't think that they're
there. The numbers reflect a much more 70-30
Mr. Kramer, you have one more
chance to carry on your dialogue here.
just wanted to thank Ms- Burris for coming over to our side with the
prospective criticisms of the bill, and hopefully the two of us together
with other people can work to correct it.
Thank you, Ms. Burris, for joining us on The Advocates. Mr.
And now defending the male
chauvinists, I'd like to present as my next witness, Alvin Schorr.
nevertheless, I welcome you to The Advocates.
Mr. Schorr is not a male chauvinsit, he's a social work professor
now visiting at Catholic University, a social critic and an author of a book
on problems like these called Jubilee For Our Times. Mr. Schorr, what are
your specific objections to the President's plan?
Thank you. I was about to disassociate myself from everybody here.
Specifically, I have general objections, but specifically, on the jobs part,
the proposal is for 1.4 million jobs. As originally proposed— I have lost
track, that was not to be additional jobs, it was to replace, anyway,
725,000 jobs that were being phased out. If they are indeed additional I
would be glad to hear that from the representatives of the administration.
Secondly, they are not equal jobs. They are second class jobs in a variety
of ways. In a way delicately I think Mr. Packer has indicated that that was
really deliberate in order to interest people in going into the private
market. In the face of those two observations, to place a mandatory work
requirement on people in order to get assistance seems to me a continuation
of a charade that has gone on in welfare for, anyway, 15 or 16 years. I
thought Miss Burris asked about the mandatory requirement somewhat evaded
What do you mean by a
Well, since 1962 Congress has
taken a position that people getting welfare should be made to work, there
has been a variety of programs, training them, they've been trained for work
when jobs didn't exist and so forth. Although governments on one side or
another of the partisan fence have consistently claimed they were
succeeding, the General Accounting Office has found their success very
modest indeed, and so have independent evaluators. They do not work if there
are no jobs. The essential problem is whether there are enough jobs. There
are seven million people unemployed, looking for at best 1.4 million
jobs. I'd like to say a word on the cash side in
a second or two. On the cash side, the levels proposed are not adequate.
Remember we're talking about sums of money in 1981. The levels proposed are
lower in all states but 12 than is now being received by welfare
recipients. Secondly, the program proposed is
extraordinarily complex. I won't take time to go into it. Worked on a
national level it will take it will throw up a great deal of difficulty.
People will get lost between one category and another. The computer system
will fail. Computer systems always fail in some small percentage, but 1%
will be a quarter of a million people. There has to be, if there is to be
such a program, a discretionary program to deal with emergencies and special
If you had the option, you
were President, how would you deal with the welfare problem?
I would go at it quite
differently. Fundamentally, it is the wrong approach. It is in principle the
same approach that was proposed by President Nixon and though a variety of
people were blamed for the failure of that program, in fact Congress showed
great good sense in letting it go. They could not solve the problems
intrinsic to it. Fundamentally it is...it says that we will let people be
without work, and we will let our social security system and our tax system
be used to favor those who have more money, things we've increasingly been
doing and we will let...and then we will deal with 25 to 30 million people
in one vast program. It is un-administrable. No country like us, no European
country, nor Canada, tries to do it, and we have really only been trying to
do it in the last few years.
Have you an
I would give
Some quick examples, Mr.
A quick example, I would use the
private and public market to develop jobs with equal pay and equal
conditions and fringe benefits. I would use social security. Vice President
Mondale when he was a Senator, proposed a tax reform, a tax credit, which if
made refundable would, in Vice President Mondale's terms, take off welfare a
quarter of the people now receiving assistance. I would use social security.
Five of the people getting welfare now receive social security. That's
plainly and simply because social security isn't adequate for those orphan
and disabled children.
Thank you. Now for
some questions from Mr. Raines.
Schorr, just for clarification, in fact, the President just recently
has proposed that Congress continue those 725,000
jobs that you suggested were going to be
replaced. But let's go into the particular
He will support 1.4 in addition?
In addition. Now you say that you have a principle objection to work
requirements. Do you really believe that it's unfair to require that an
adult in a two-parent family take a job if it's offered as a means of
qualification for government benefits?
believe that it's eminently fair to require such a person to take a job if
there are to be jobs. In the nature of the way it's structured, you have to
understand, Ms. Burris understands, who is on welfare. Only a third of the
mothers on welfare have as much as graduated from high school. A half of
them are by government judgments required at home. Many of them are working,
as she says. They work, they go in and out, the difficulty is that they're
not qualified to earn enough to get off assistance. They supplement. They
add a little, they save the government a little money, that's the best they
can do. In the face of the program that's proposed to force them to go over
there and go through an evaluation procedure and a job search and so forth
is nearly one enormous hassle, and we have fifteen years of experience with
Isn't it true that women who in
single parent families who have children beneath the age of six are not
required to work so that we're not talking about driving people to the
roles, and that women who have school age children are only required to work
Well, you're describing the
program accurately, yes.
As I see it, the
real difference between us is that you would provide cash for the poor and
that we would provide jobs. Isn't this really setting up second class
citizenship for the poor in a nation where most people earn their own
No, Mr. Raines. I want jobs to be
provided in the private market and in the public market. I want those jobs
to be equal. I want,for example, the people who work in those jobs to have
fringe benefits. It strikes me as a considerable irony that these people
that we're trying to rehabilitate in this sense are not to have medical
coverage, if I understand correctly. They're not all to have medicaid
entitlement, if I understand correctly. It strikes me as ironic that they
are to have ceilings on their wages, on the average most of them which if I
understand correctly, will be very little more than the minimum wage in
1981. Then after a year or IS months, no matter how well they've done
they're to be booted out of these jobs. Why the devil should they work hard
if they're going to lose the job anyway?
As you know there are incentives in the program for people to move into
private jobs that will pay them even more. Let's get to this question of
second class jobs. You say these are second class jobs. Why is it being a
health aid to the elderly is a second class job? Why is it that being a
worker in a day care center is a second class job, and why is it that doing
weatherization work is a second class job? Surely you don't believe the
people who do this in the private sector already are second class
You misunderstand me. I think
that first class jobs, if you'll provide enough of them and provide the same
conditions for doing them that people get in the private sector.
One last question. You have been a longtime
advocate of expanding social insurance programs and you've been a longtime
opponent of work requirements. But you have to have worked to get social
security. And you have to have worked to get medicare, and you have to have
worked to get unemployment insurance. Why is it that you don't think that
people ought to have to work to get benefits under this program?
Again, I'm going to have to ask for a short
I think, I am opposed to making
people work and go through a charade about working when in the end there
will not be equivalent jobs for them. I think they should work, I think the
government should provide jobs and I will support that. I don't think this
program does that.
Thank you, Mr. Raines.
One more question from Mr. Kramer.
Earlier, Mr. Schorr, you described taking those thirty million people and
breaking them down, dealing with the bulk of them through such objects as
refundable tax credits or social security changes or unemployment insurance.
Wouldn't that still leave a pool of hardcore welfare people? How would you
deal with them?
Yes. Well, I have some
feelings about words as Ms. Burris does. I would like not to use the word
"hardcore." I'll make a deal with you. The... what is proposed will get us a
welfare population of thirty million people. Impossible to administer and
really socially a disaster, an underclass with an army of government
officials dealing with them. Very bad business in the long run for our
society. If we did what we could do through social security and through
work, through unemployment insurance, a program that badly needs to be
reformed. Mr. Packer will agree with me. If we did those things, we could
have a welfare program that served six million people. It would be much more
easily handled, it would not have all these vast problems of
Mr. Schorr, I'm going to
have to cut you short on that one. Mr. Raines, one last question.
Mr. Schorr, isn't it
correct that under the President's proposal, that every family that will
provide a worker will have an income above the poverty line? Isn't that an
improvement over the current situation?
In 1981 every family that works, that provides a worker, will have a minimum
wage and if those are new jobs, it's an improvement at considerable program
costs in other ways. Yes. It's not the program the President promised to
propose, in my view. It's not the program that an administration like this
ought to be pressing, and I emphasize that of looking for 30 million people
in welfare is fundamentally unsound for a country like the United
Thank you, Mr. Raines, and thank
you Mr. Schorr for joining us on The
Advocates. And now let's go to the closing
arguments. First let's hear from Mr. Raines.
All of us here tonight are generally agreed that something must be
done. If we were ask the poor what they want, they would tell you. They'd
say that we want jobs. Those of us who have a higher paying job may think
that jobs paying at or near the minimum wage are second class. But for those
family heads without jobs, steady work at the minimum wage would mean the
difference between poverty and self-support. A work requirement may seem
harsh to some, but taxpayers and welfare recipients, are united in their
view that those who can work should work. Everyone agrees that we should
rely on the private sector for providing jobs. But that reliance should not
go so far as to doom to a life of unemployment and dispair those family
heads who cannot find work even in days of prosperity. While the President's
program is not perfect, it is, as Senator Moynihan has said, the single most
important piece of social legislation in 40 years.
Thank you Mr. Raines. Mr. Kramer.
Sixteen million people already work for Uncle Sam
and his state and local nephews and nieces, we do not need two and a half
million more people on the public payroll. Would they really be better off
with one of the President's jobs? What skills would they acquire? At best,
modest ones that have no private counterpart, much like prisoners who are
taught to stamp out license plates no one makes outside the walls. At worst,
they would learn that the quality of their performance in a job is
irrelevant to their continued employment. What socially valuable product
would they create? Not much, unless the improbable happens and cities and
counties stop using federal job funds to pay for work that was being
performed before the program came along.
Thank you, Mr. Kramer. I'm going to have to cut you off. Thank you
gentlemen. And now we turn to you in our audience
and we ask you to think about the questions raised in tonight's debate.
SHOULD CONGRESS PASS PRESIDENT CARTER'S WELFARE/JOBS PROGRAM? Send us your
answers, yes or no, on a post card to The Advocates, Box 1978, Boston
On February 9th The Advocates rebroadcast
the debate recorded last October entitled: SHOULD THE UNITED STATES EXPAND
ITS NUCLEAR POWER PROGRAM. The response to the repeat of this debate was
1,789 for expansion of the nuclear power program, and 2,845
If you'd like a transcript of tonight's
debate or transcripts of our previous debates, please mail a check or money
order for $2 to that same address. Three weeks from tonight The Advocates
will return to debate national health insurance: SHOULD THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL AMERICANS?
And now with thanks to our advocates and their
distinguished witnesses, we conclude tonight's debate.