Tuesday, January 25, 2022


Article Index

Law Review Articles

Craig L. Briskin and Kimberly A. Thomas, The Waging of Welfare: All Work and No Pay?, 33 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 559 (1998). Total pages read: 15

            This article specifically focuses on the difficulty of welfare recipients to find and maintain work. The ongoing myth about welfare recipients, especially African Americans, is that they are lazy and use welfare as an excuse to remain unemployed. Instead of using welfare as an excuse for not obtaining employment, this article suggests that welfare recipients can and do find jobs; however, they are only qualified for minimum wage jobs that cannot sustain a family or housing. The article suggests that recipients use welfare more as a safety net to supplement their income when they do not have enough funds to cover basic necessities. By implementing budget cuts, the welfare system only keeps recipients poor and dependent on the welfare system.

Dorothy E. Roberts, Welfare and the Problem of Black Citizenship, 105 Yale L.J. 1563 (1996 Total pages read: 10

            This law review journal primary focused on how African Americans have been historically excluded from the welfare system due to their inferior citizenship status. Although African Americans now have access to the welfare system, they are still treated as an inferior class of people. African Americans are denied benefits and other federally funded assistance that other racial groups receive. In spite of the fact that African Americans do not make up the majority of the welfare system, they are stigmatized and targeted as the source of the problems the welfare system causes society. Political leaders also use the stereotypes associated with African Americans to implement reform policies to cut welfare budgets, which directly impacts their ability to leave the welfare system.

Sylvia A. Law, Ending Welfare As We Know It, 49 Stan. L. Rev. 471 (1997). Total pages read: 10

In this article, Professor Sylvia Law thoroughly discusses the conflict between the controversy that surrounds welfare policies and the reality of the lifestyles of welfare recipients. Throughout this article, professor law uses a variety of resources to explain the history of events within welfare policy that brought it to its current state. This article dispels the common myths that society has about the welfare system that tend to cast a negative light on the services and benefits it provides. Some of these stereotypes include how single mothers abuse the welfare system, welfare is generational, welfare encourages teen pregnancy, welfare recipients cannot obtain jobs, and welfare recipients remain on welfare for a lifetime. With each of these myths, the article provides substantive research to prove the fallacies with the reasoning. One interesting point that the author points out about political leaders who spearhead welfare reforms are ignorant about the welfare system in its entirety. For this reason, the welfare system is ineffective in assisting recipients in becoming self-sufficient. Specifically, the article mentions that political leaders consistently remain ignorant of the lives of ordinary people, yet they continue to implement laws that reduce the benefits and services of social programs based on their assumptions that they are hurting rather than helping citizens.

Lisa A. Crooms, An “Age of Impossibility”: Rhetoric, Welfare Reform, and Poverty, 94 Mich. L. Rev. 1953 (1996). Total pages read: 12

            This law review journal focuses on how politicians strive to end welfare by making welfare recipients self-sufficient through welfare reforms that limit the amount of time that a person can receive benefits. Politicians want to eliminate the drain that welfare places on society, yet they are uncertain how to achieve this goal without eliminating the entire welfare program. According to the author, “this ambivalence leads to policy initiatives designed to make individuals more responsible but that pay little attention to the structural forces that prevent the poor from escaping poverty.” The welfare reform policies may be lightening the financial burden off of society, but at the same time it creates a subculture of poverty. One commentator proposes that the problems associated with lower class Black communities stem from poverty rather than welfare. Additionally, this law review article proposes that blackness became a proxy for poverty and justified the stigma that attached to those who were in need of public assistance.

John Arthur Laufer, Alexander v. Sandoval And Its Implications For Disparate Impact Remedies, 102 Colum. L. Rev.1613 (2002). Total pages read: 10

            This law review journal provides an overview of the Supreme Court ruling in the case, Alexander v. Sandoval. The journal analyzes proposes that because Sandoval addressed only the existence of an implied private right to enforce the disparate impact regulations, and not the foundational question of these regulations are a permissible effectuation of section 601’s ban on intentional discrimination, the decision is read as a recognition by the Supreme Court of the regulations legitimacy. Furthermore, this journal argues that underlying the majority’s decision is a general suspicion about the use of disparate impact liability regimes to implement anti-intentional discrimination norms. In relation to the topic at hand on welfare and poverty, this journal raises the concern as to whether the Supreme Court banned private actions under Title VI to reduce the amount of claims that could be brought by individuals for discrimination whether it is intentional or not. As seen from the case, under the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Movement of 1964, it is very difficult for an individual to prove intentional discrimination, thus several cases that could be prosecuted slip through the cracks for failure to show such evidence.

Peter B. Edelman, The Welfare Debate: Getting Past The Bumper Sticker, 27 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 93 (2003). Total pages read: 3

            This law review journal specifically focuses on the ongoing welfare debate as it relates to budget cuts and the fear of creating economic dependency among the poor. In analyzing the welfare debate and the impact of reforms, this article proposes a variety of options that could potentially resolve the welfare crisis in the United States. This article proposes that welfare should be residual in the sense that welfare should be reserved for the times when other policies fail or when it is not appropriate to expect a parent or parents to work outside of the home. However, political leaders continue to struggle with welfare issues because the policies are complicated by the continued weakening of the poor and race discrimination.

Robert A. Solomon, Ending Welfare Mythology As We Know It, 15 Yale J. on Reg. 177 (1998). Total pages read: 10

            In this law review journal, Robert A. Solomon analyzes the mythologies that are associated with the welfare system. Particularly, the author evaluates the myth that since welfare is too costly, political leaders are justified in drastically reducing the welfare budget. In reality, this article proposes that maintaining welfare is not too expensive for the federal and state governments to maintain; however, welfare budget cuts are used to reduce the amount of recipients who rely on welfare for daily survival. Welfare budget cuts are ultimately creating a bigger population of people living in poverty because it is almost impossible for recipients to pay for housing without some additional subsidy beyond the welfare grant. In terms of housing, welfare grants are often lower than the market-rate housing.