Demythologizing the 'Welfare Queen'

In the article, "Myth of the Welfare Queen," Dec. 3, the author vividly points out how destructive and false the practice of welfare scapegoating is. This practice has become all too common in the past decade of Republican presidency.The author correctly states that we need to look beyond the myth of the "parasitic poor" to find the cause of our country's financial burdens. One major area she overlooked is the bloated defense budget. Military spending is the antithesis of prosperity, as is shown by the experience of my own state. New Mexico ranks among the top five states in defense related employment, but remains one of the poorest states in terms of personal income. I wish the message of this article could reach those smug, superior types who would be the first to cast a stone at the poor. Jan Hurley, Silver City, N.M.

There certainly are heartwarming cases of dedicated welfare workers, as well as heartbreaking cases of recipients struggling unsuccessfully to get on their feet. But the system produces backward incentives to the poor recipient and to the dispensing bureaucrat. This may be the aggravation that makes people verbally lash out at the easiest target: the welfare recipients. But the author of this article does little to help us rethink our grave welfare issues by calling the complaints of coerced taxpayers "looney-tune" stories and painting welfare recipients as well-deserving people who only get a pittance. J. B. Gardner, Bethany, Conn.

Out of his element I beg to differ with the opinion-page column "Bush Is Hardly on the Ropes," Dec. 10. I agree that a president can act, he can propose, he can initiate. But George Bush is clearly out of his element now, and his clumsy efforts to do any of the aforementioned actions have backfired. To date, his only real "accomplishment" has been to veto ad infinitum, and that is a rather negative way to govern. President Bush is perceived now by more and more people in the nation as indecisive, unsure of himself, and more importantly, out of touch with reality. Nick Cherniavsky, Monterey, Calif.

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