How to Get America Off the Dole

The explosion in L.A. has redoubled calls for welfare reform, but procedural Band-Aids and fiscal tinkering won't solve the problem

THE INITIAL WHITE HOUSE REACtion to the Los Angeles riots was to blame them on the "failed" Democratic poverty programs of the '60s and '70s. That claim by Marlin Fitzwater was pilloried so mercilessly that President Bush had to backpedal away from his own spokesman. But Fitzwater's comments did not come out of a vacuum. Bush has made public assistance -- specifically welfare -- a constant target of his campaign rhetoric. He compared the dole to a "narcotic" in his State of the Union message and regularly peppers his speeches with vows to "change welfare and make the able-bodied work."


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