The Ideology of Division: Behavior Modification Welfare Reform Proposals
28 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2012
Date Written: 1992
Even before the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, the rhetoric of “welfare reform” debate blamed recipients for their poverty while diverting attention from structural problems of our society. Proponents of “reform” argued that by withholding welfare benefits, government could change recipients’ behavior, transform present recipients into “productive members” of society, and solve the intractable problems of poverty. This article analyzes two of the most popular behavior-modification models, Learnfare and Family Cap, and contends that these “reform” efforts were driven by a New Right agenda, an “ideology of division” that manipulated public opinion by highlighting racial and gender biases.
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