KausFiles

Do Dems want a debate on welfare?

Mickey Kaus Columnist

Does the Obama campaign really want the left to turn the Hilary Rosen/Ann Romney fight into a debate on whether single mothers on welfare should get a check for the work they do raising children? Reihan Salam doubts it, and I think he’s right. … That would be a clever way to turn Rosen’s ephemeral gaffe into a permanent reminder to voters of of why they rejected Democratic paleo-liberalism in the ’80s and ’90s. …

P. S.: The principle, of course, is that while parenting is work, every family should if at all possible send at least one person into the labor market to earn a living. If one parent isn’t there, it falls to the other parent. That’s the decision welfare reform made. It’s an argument about responsibility and self-sufficiency, and the social consequences of breadwinnerless single-parent families—not an argument that raising kids isn’t work. … [Update: Salam’s full article makes this point.]

P.P.S.: If there aren’t enough jobs in the economy, as there almost certainly aren’t right now, the near-obvious answer is to have a last-resort program of useful, WPA-style government jobs, not to encourage more poor women and men to go on the dole. Why do liberals push a cash dole instead of work? Hint: Among the most steadfast opponents of last-resort “workfare” jobs are public employee unions, which don’t want welfare mothers doing useful work that highly paid union members might otherwise do. …