Social Welfare Cuts up Next
Carcieri indicated he would try a second time to convince lawmakers to cut in half, from 60 months to 30, the time limit for receiving financial aid from the Family Independence Program, and also to reduce state costs for subsidized childcare.
“Given the magnitude of what we are facing right now, we are going to have to go back to a lot of the welfare areas, things that I’ve tried to do in the past…I think the magnitude of the problem we are facing right now, I think, means that in many areas we are going to have to sit down, meet with the churches and the philanthropic community and say, look you know the state government just can’t keep doing some of these things … and they are going to have to step up their efforts to support where the needs are the greatest…By the way…I think that’s the more efficient way to do it, frankly, because I think they are more careful about how they spend their money and hold more accountability, unfortunately, than often when these things become state programs.”
Enter the banshees:
Kate Brewster, director of the Poverty Institute at Rhode Island College, was “blown away” by Carcieri’s comments. “Churches cannot replace the role of government in providing training and supports like childcare that low-skilled and low-wage families need to succeed in the work force,” she said.
Added Lucie Burdick, president of the union representing about 400 social-service employees at the Department of Human Services alone: “There are people who will not get help.” Likening Carcieri’s assumption that community groups will help out to the failed notion of “poor houses,” she said some people “weren’t helped because they didn’t fit into that particular church’s idea of someone who might be salvageable.”
Brewster and Burdick are purposefully conflating things, here. First of all, the Governor spoke of “the churches and the philanthropic community” and it is the latter that will have to pick up some of the slack for job training and the like. And, contra Ms. Burdick, I have a hard time believing that the Catholic Church, for instance, ever turns anyone away from a soup kitchen or shelter. As for the “poor houses,” well, those were usually government run facilities, not private institutions. So Ms. Burdick should blame government for that particular “failed notion.”