November 2010
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Day November 22, 2010

Flat Broke with Children

In Flat Broke with Children (Oxford University Press, 2003), welfare reform advocate and University of Southern California gender studies and sociology professor Dr. Sharon Hays claims that the “demonizing [of] welfare mothers,” in the United States, “implicitly allows us [Americans] to wash our hands of this population.” Flat Broke with Children

Hays uses both empirical and anecdotal evidence to illustrate a “mainstream” America that considers welfare mothers – 90 percent of the adult welfare population – to have different values, beliefs, and practices than its own. She paints an unjust system and argues that these mothers (especially those with no responsible significant others) do, in fact, “share the core values of most Americans.”

“The trouble,” she explains, “is that welfare reform was founded on the assumption that welfare mothers [are] personally responsible for undermining our nation’s moral principles.” Like other welfare reform advocates, Hays points to a flawed objective: “The policies and procedures instituted… have thus been aimed at ‘fixing’ these women.”