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In the Shadows Of Ronald Reagan: Civil Rights Policymaking in the Clinton Administration
Unformatted Document Text:  In 1969 Richard Nixon proposed a radical change in welfare policy. Prodded by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Nixon proposed that the federal government guarantee an income to all families with children. 80 Although Nixon’s proposed Family Assistance Plan (FAP) included relatively stringent work requirements the idea of a guaranteed federal income shocked movement conservatives. Reagan, then the governor of California, spearheaded conservative opposition. 81 Reagan objected to the federal takeover, arguing instead the AFDC should be turned over to the states. Reagan also argued that FAP would result in a vast expansion of the welfare rolls at enormous cost to taxpayers. Finally, Reagan contended that the very idea of a guaranteed income was antithetical to American values. Although he was initially reluctant to oppose a president of his own party on a major issue, as the debate went on he became increasingly aggressive writing letters to every governor and member of Congress. 82 FAP was ultimately defeated through a coalition of conservatives and southerners who opposed any guarantee, and liberals and blacks who objected to the bill’s work requirements and what they saw as the low level of the income guarantee. 83 Although FAP was defeated, the Social Security Act was amended to create the Supplementary Security Income (SSI) program which provides a guaranteed income to the elderly poor, the blind and the disabled. In 1971 President Carter proposed the Program for Better Jobs and Income (PBJI). PBJI would have consolidated AFDC and food stamps into a single program that would have required welfare recipients to work in public 23

Authors: Smith, Robert.
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In 1969 Richard Nixon proposed a radical change in welfare policy. 
Prodded by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Nixon proposed that the federal 
government guarantee an income to all families with children.
 Although Nixon’s 
proposed Family Assistance Plan (FAP) included relatively stringent work 
requirements the idea of a guaranteed federal income shocked movement 
conservatives. Reagan, then the governor of California, spearheaded 
conservative opposition.
 Reagan objected to the federal takeover, arguing 
instead the AFDC should be turned over to the states. Reagan also argued that 
FAP would result in a vast expansion of the welfare rolls at enormous cost to 
taxpayers. Finally, Reagan contended that the very idea of a guaranteed income 
was antithetical to American values. Although he was initially reluctant to oppose 
a president of his own party on a major issue, as the debate went on he became 
increasingly aggressive writing letters to every governor and member of 
Congress.
FAP was ultimately defeated through a coalition of conservatives and 
southerners who opposed any guarantee, and liberals and blacks who objected 
to the bill’s work requirements and what they saw as the low level of the income 
guarantee.
 Although FAP was defeated, the Social Security Act was amended 
to create the Supplementary Security Income (SSI) program which provides a 
guaranteed income to the elderly poor, the blind and the disabled.
In 1971 President Carter proposed the Program for Better Jobs and 
Income (PBJI). PBJI would have consolidated AFDC and food stamps into a 
single program that would have required welfare recipients to work in public 
23


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