Tyranny of Kindness: Dismantling the Welfare System to End Poverty in America

Theresa Funiciello, Author
Theresa Funiciello, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $23 (340p) ISBN 978-0-87113-543-8
Paperback - 340 pages - 978-0-87113-578-0
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A former welfare mother who became a welfare organizer and later a government anti-poverty bureaucrat, Funiciello offers an impassioned indictment of the current welfare system. Though her account sometimes bogs down in redundancy and overly personal commentary, Funiciello convincingly describes a brutal, capricious welfare bureaucracy in New York and demonstrates how the voices of the poor are generally ignored. Especially deft are her dissections of the practices of the agencies receiving grants from much-praised charities like Second Harvest and the New York Times 's ``Neediest Cases'' Fund. Arguing that welfare does not cause dependency, she points out that there are few criticisms of the essentially similar program of Social Security survivors benefits. Given the current zeitgeist, which supports the requirement that welfare recipients must work, Funiciello's forceful argument for a guaranteed income for all (first proposed by President Nixon) is unlikely to garner support. (June)
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