Alvin L. Sallee


On the horizon a huge wave is building, about to crash down on the poorest most hard pressed families in our country. The impact of welfare reform on families and on those who serve them will be profound The degree to which families and workers will be adversely affected is to date not fully understood. Yet as my son concluded, "...basically, if you are on welfare you had better win the lottery or learn to swim in the treacherous waters of poverty!" (C. Sallee, personal communication, November, 1996). We are also informed by looking back at the Elizabethan Poor Laws of 1601 where we find the origin of welfare reform. Orphanages, the responsibility of relatives, poorhouses and awarding relief work to the lowest private sector bidder, all introduced in the beginning of the welfare state, are key components of the current reform. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 washes away the entitlements and rights created during this country's greatest depression, leaving exposed the stark selfishness of the junk bond 1980's.