The beneficial effects of GOP welfare reform have been widely noted on its 10th anniversary. To recap: welfare rolls cut by over 60 percent, 1.6. million fewer children in poverty, and a huge increase in the employment of the most disadvantaged single mothers. This doesn’t quite square with some predictions about the law’s effects. In her media column in the August 26, 1996, issue of The Nation, Jill Nelson castigated the press for its coverage of the “likely impact of the welfare bill” and then set her colleagues straight:
Those on the edge will either die or be shoved into the abyss of permanent economic exclusion. . . In [the place of a caring community] will come massive and deadly poverty, sickness and all manner of violence. People will die, businesses will close, infant mortality will soar, everyone who can will move. Working and middle class communities all over America will become scary, violent wastelands created by a government that decided it has no obligation to its neediest citizens. In such a landscape, each of us becomes either predator or prey.
Guess she will now conclude that the legislation failed to meet these Republican goals?