President Clinton has fulfilled another of his 1992 campaign promises by enacting welfare reform legislation that encourages traditional Democratic values of work and responsibility. But these reforms are too severe for many liberal Clinton supporters. And many of these supporters are now threatening to not vote for Clinton in November.
I would like to ask anyone who is thinking of abandoning President Clinton in this election to consider a few points before making a decision they will probably regret if Bob Dole wins.
As severe as this welfare reform appears to some, it could have been much worse. President Clinton saved children's health care, increased funding for safe child care, provided for children's nutrition, protected disabled children, child foster care and child abuse prevention services, and enacted tough child support enforcement.
If the new welfare system needs improvement, President Clinton will work hard to make it better through future legislation. Dole, in his Republican zeal, is likely to work with Congressional Republicans to cut welfare programs further in order to fund tax cuts that benefit the wealthy.
The President's reforms stem from traditional Democratic values of work and responsibility. There is no free ride. Eventually, we all have to pay. So, by encouraging those of us who can work to go to work, we are, as a country, better able to bear the burden of caring for the most needy among us.
The old welfare system was built on a noble premise, but eventually it came to hurt the country more than it helped. Although these reforms might not be perfect, they protect our poor children, encourage responsibility among our adults, and strengthen the social fabric of our nation.
Dean L. Axelrod