Skip to main content

April 8 (the limits of welfare to work)

The New York Times has an article exploring the limits of welfare to work during periods of economic contraction, enemic growth, millions of lost jobs, etc. In it, we read that many states have done what the law stated they had to do--drop folks from welfare when their time limits expired. I remember reading an article from about ten years ago, on how other states were quietly shifting welfare recipients to other kinds of aid to maintain some type semblance of humanity. I once described this to students in a freshman English class, and some had looks of disbelief--aghast that the states would defy their will, offend the "taxpayer," and break the spirit of the law. I suspect others of course didn't see it that way, but for whatever reason, they weren't the ones to speak out in that class.

Although it was partly rationalization because on Tuesdays I was working twelve-hour shifts that could stretch to fifteen if I found an "up" while walking the lot in the p.m., the 1996 general election was the only Presidential one that I've been eligible for but didn't vote in. On the one hand, it seemed almost certain that Clinton would win, and on the other, I was angry at the welfare-to-work law. At the time, to me, it seemed like the worst kind of inhumanity because it clearly was the kind of country where college grads could easily be forced into sales and leasing of automobiles if they hoped to move off their parents dime and pay their student loans on time.

And then the economy began to improve dramatically, and like so many others, I increasingly got lost in my own concerns and surviving. It often seems like America necessitates a careerism that can leave some of our most successful citizens with no idea of what's going on in this world. In that way, it's a scary place.

Happy holidays.


Popular posts from this blog

Top Ten Russian Novels!

L.U.S.K. is excited to feature a guest post from Aisha O'Connor-Fratus, writer, editor, parent, and blogger at Hell's Domestic Backside. Enjoy this list of Aisha's ten favorite Russian novels:
1. Anna Karenina (Lev Tolstoy, 1873 to 1877). Anna is rich and bored. Anna hates the way her husband chews his food. Count Vronsky—played by Christopher Reeve, so handsome) sweeps Anna off her feet! But things do not end well for Anna.
2. The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1880). Not about a traveling circus acrobatic troupe. Its sweeping explorations of God, free agency, and morality are timeless and haunting. My favorite part is Ivan’s reciting of the poem “The Grand Inquisitor” in which Christ is resurrected during the Spanish Inquisition.
3. Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky, 1866). Life-long graduate student Rodion Raskolnikov tries to justify an unspeakably immoral act with eugenics and hey—a guy needs to eat.
4. Rudin (Ivan Turgenev, 1856). Dmitry Rudin talks the talk, but…

The Writing Life Starring Iain Levison

Iain Levison's Dog Eats Dog was published in October, 2008 by Bitter Lemon Press and his even newer novel How to Rob an Armored Car will be published by Soho Press in October, 2009. Back in '00 or so, L.U.S.K. first discovered Levison's A Working Stiff's Manifesto in hardcover with its original subtitle, "Confessions of a Wage Slave." That memoir established Levison's scalding wit and ability to hold the attention of an ever-tweeting audience. It was later released as a trade paperback with a supercharged second subtitle, and Levison has managed to survive, publish, and publish again. With long-terms roots in Scotland and Philadelphia, Levison currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina where he commits literature and carpentry as much as he can.

USK: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and when did you first identify as a writer?
IL: Writing is the only thing I've ever been any good at. Well, the only legal thing. Early on, I realized t…

Auggie's Revenge: Reviews, Interviews, and Excerpts