The Public Interest

Paternalism and welfare reform

Douglas J. Besharov & Karen N. Gardiner

Winter 1996

AFTER years of collective denial, most politicians (and welfare policy makers) have finally acknowledged the link between unwed parenthood and long-term welfare dependency, as well as a host of other social problems. But it is one thing to recognize the nature of the problem and quite another to develop a realistic response to it. For, truth be told, there has been a fair amount of wishful thinking about what it takes to help these most disadvantaged parents become self-sufficient.

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