Backing Down on Benefits

The dilemma: how to cut handouts but not hurt the truly needy

COVER STORY

The dilemma: how to cut handouts but not hurt the truly needy

"On this day," said Ronald Reagan at the opening of his press conference last Thursday, "our economic recovery program begins." With the start of the 1982 fiscal year on Oct. 1, some $35 billion in budget cuts enacted by Congress last summer took effect. Social programs that had been expanding rapidly for decades began to shrink, and the nation embarked, at least for a time, on a different economic and philosophic course.

No one can yet calculate either the social or political...

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