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October 1995

Just Say No... Welfare

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics Duke University Medical Center Box 3179 Durham, NC 27710

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(10):1177. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170230131023

The editorial by Joffe1 in the March issue of the Archives gives good advice to pediatricians: get involved in politics and the debates that will decide our future. Simplistic "market solutions" aimed at removing "incentives" for teenage parents to bear children for whom they cannot properly care are incomplete. The legacy of family breakdown and its effects on (and results from) illegitimate births foretold by Daniel P. Moynihan in the early 1960s will not be undone by one-shot attempts to remove federal welfare payments to teenage mothers. However, it is a good start. Benefits administered by Washington, DC, or even by state capitals are less likely to be efficiently or judiciously granted than are charity and job training programs run at the local level. No relationship forms between the donor and the recipient of charity in federal welfare programs. Welfare must be acknowledged as charity: it is not a

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