WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Greens
blasted the plans by President George W. Bush to earmark $300 million of
the $17 billion welfare budget for experiments to promote marriage as a
way to get women off welfare and to force most welfare recipients to
work a 40-hour work week without child care and benefits.
"Too many Democrats crumble when they encounter Republican rhetoric
about family values," said Rahul Mahajan, Green candidate for
governor of Texas. "Bush's plan doesn't promote healthy families or
moral values. These are schemes to make many women more helpless and
dependent, to push them into jobs and marriages without regard for the
women themselves or the care and health of children. They have
everything to do with posturing on the supposed moral shortcomings of
poor people, and nothing to do with alleviating dependence and poverty.
The real measure of success is the extent to which any plan reduces
"So-called welfare reform often doesn't solve the problem of
getting people into good jobs, because it neither creates real jobs with
good wages nor ensures good wages and good benefits in jobs that already
exist," said Robert Miranda, elected Green member of the Social
Development Commission in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is responsible for
administering welfare in that state. "Instead, welfare reform of
the past decade, whether from Clinton or Bush, has meant cheap labor and
enforced dependence. It's a revival of indentured servitude."
Greens have called for living wages, full benefits, collective
bargaining rights, and democratic workplaces for all people who work,
including those moving from relief to jobs. Greens support national
health insurance for all Americans; assistance for employment through
stable and responsible locally based business instead of make-work and
dead-end Walmart-wage jobs; and recognition of care-giving as real work
that deserves compensation, not a luxury or an excuse to avoid
Many Greens want the reauthorization of Temporary Aid to Needy Families
(TANF) to increase investments in child care, education and training,
and job creation rather than impose stricter workfare requirements on
states and participants as proposed by Democrats and Republicans in
Congress. Greens cite the Carter-Bayh bill, supported by liberal
Democrats like Hillary Clinton (NY) and John Rockefeller (WV), which
includes such regressive agenda and which would also divert TANF funding
to non-custodial parents and to groups that seek to win custody rights
over children for abusive spouses.
"Do all poor people have to return to slavery and indentured
servitude before Congress finds the backbone to say no to Bush's insane
welfare proposal?," asked Donna Warren, Green candidate for
Lieutenant Governor of California. "Bush's plan is
counterproductive, disrupting, and drains money from efforts to move
poor people from government dependency. The Greens know this, 39 states
know this, and Bush knows this. It is amazing that Congress pretends not
Green activists and candidates list specific dangers in the Bush
It doesn't provide what
many mothers trying to rejoin the work force need most: child care,
training and education where effective (especially GED preparation
and English as a Second Language), and transportation. "At the
same time Bush would expand the workfare requirement to 40 hours a
week, there's no acknowledgement that working mothers have special
needs," said Miranda. "It's devastating for many women and
some men who take care of children, elderly, or disabled family
Bush's plan discriminates
against mothers, including lesbian mothers, who need help but may
find themselves barred from public housing and other relief. The
plan creates a second-class level of 'undeserving' lesbian mothers
and single heterosexual mothers who are unwilling or unable to wed.
Proponents claim the plan will strengthen marriage. But by
compelling marriage solely for economic convenience, the plan
encourages unstable, temporary, and even exploitative relationships.
"Many women who remain single or have separated from partners
in order to escape exploitation, abuse, or dependence will now find
themselves thrust back into the kind of circumstances that forced
them to seek welfare in the first place," said Mark Dunlea,
Vice-Chair of Green Party of New York State.
The plan's "Super
Waiver" option allows states to spend welfare relief and job
training funds on projects like the promotion of marriage. It also
allows some faith-based organizations -- groups that seek exemption
from discrimination statutes in hiring and training, providing
services, and licensing requirements -- to claim larger shares of
Republicans opposed 'social engineering'," observed Dr.
Jonathan Farley, Green Party congressional candidate from Tennessee.
"I don't want to be married by Big Government. I want to be
married by a priest."
Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator, 207-326-4576, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, email@example.com
The Green Party of the United States
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Index of Green Party candidates in 2002