From welfare state to police state

Independent Institute
by Stephen Baskerville

05/04/08

It’s not called the welfare ’state’ for nothing. Even more serious than the economic effects has been the quiet metamorphosis of welfare from a system of public assistance into a miniature penal apparatus, replete with its own tribunals, prosecutors, police, and jails. The subsidy on single-mother homes was never really curtailed. Reformers largely replaced welfare with child support. The consequences were profound: this change transformed welfare from public assistance into law enforcement, creating yet another federal plainclothes police force without constitutional justification. Like any bureaucracy, this one found rationalizations to expand. During the 1980s and 1990s — without explanation or public debate — enforcement machinery created for children in poverty was dramatically expanded to cover all child-support cases, including those not receiving welfare...

//www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2184


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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