The Poverty of Welfare: Helping Others in Civil Society

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About the Book

The 1996 Welfare Reform Act was the most significant changes in social welfare policy in nearly 30 years. The Poverty of Welfare examines the impact of that reform, looking at the context of welfare’s history, and concludes that while welfare reform was a step in the right direction, we have a long way to go to fix the deeply troubled system.

Tanner suggests that we should be working toward the total elimination of government welfare programs, substituting a renewed and invigorated program of private charity and economic opportunity.

Press Release: The Poverty of Welfare

About the Editor

Michael D. Tanner is director of health and welfare studies at the Cato Institute and is the author of several books, including A New Deal for Social Security. He lives in Takoma Park, Maryland.

What Others Have Said

“Michael Tanner has written a fascinating expose of the American welfare system. Tanner marshals compelling evidence to show that government has impoverished millions of Americans in the name of helping them—but he also shows a way out, if only policymakers are brave enough to follow his advice.”
—Linda Chavez, President, Center for Equal Opportunity, and Author, An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex‐​Liberal

The Poverty of Welfare is indispensable reading. Michael Tanner brilliantly makes the moral case for an imaginative alternative to a system of government‐​delivered social services that all too often keeps individuals from helping themselves. This provocative book advances Albert Camus’ thought that ‘Without work all life goes rotten.’ Tanner, like Camus, believes that work is the best way to cultivate human aspirations and promote human dignity.”
—J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State

“Michael Tanner has produced a provocative study, calling for private solutions to social problems. He demonstrates that government attempts to help the poor cause more harm than good. The well‐​being of the vulnerable and poor is too important to leave to lobbyists and politicians. Tanner’s is a radical solution to a radical problem.”
—Father Robert A. Sirico, President, The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty

“Once again, Michael Tanner has raised the central, underlying issues about the nature and extent of the U.S. welfare state. The Poverty of Welfare reminds us that the structure of the welfare system is far from inevitable. In his new book, Tanner enriches our discussion and helps lay the groundwork for new and creative alternatives.”
—Howard Husock, Director, Case Studies, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University