Laurence Lynn

Recent Articles

Government Lite

Two cheers for the Gore Report. The vice president is good on repairing the means, oddly silent on the ends.

WORK DISCUSSED IN THIS ESSAY National Performance Review, From Red Tape to Results: Creating a Government That Works Better and Costs Less (The Gore Report), 1993. M aking government work better is newly fashionable. Bashing bureaucracy has been popular since Richard Nixon's presidency and has grown in popularity with voters frustrated by deficits, an uncertain economy, and "politics as usual"--and egged on by opportunistic politicians. The idea was given a positive spin in David Osborne and Ted Gaebler's Reinventing Government . Their upbeat principles put administrative reform on the political agenda and even in airport book shops. The reform bibliography has since lengthened, capped by From Red Tape to Results: Creating a Government That Works Better and Costs Less , Vice President Al Gore's report on the administration's "National Performance Review" of federal administration. Liberals, of course, have a major stake in effective government, for government is the necessary...

Ending Welfare Reform as We Know It

Liberals who embrace welfare reform have conceded too much of the argument to the right. The main problem is not lazy, shiftless welfare mothers; it's the collapse of the lower middle-class economy.

E nding welfare as we know it would appear to have a fighting chance at last. Not only has President Clinton remained committed to this campaign promise, but key members of the centrist coalition behind the "historic" Family Support Act (FSA) of 1988 are now making policy as Clinton appointees. The FSA requires states to offer a job opportunities and basic skills (JOBS) program and transitional child care and Medicaid to mothers at risk of long-term welfare dependence, who are, in turn, expected to go to work. The lightly funded act seeks to replace "entitlement" with "mutual obligation" as the theme of welfare administration. Moreover, the coalition's long-time mentor and the FSA's champion, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, now chairs the Senate Finance Committee. Seemingly, this presents an opportunity for a badly needed triumph of common sense, policy analysis, and liberal imagination. However, "welfare reform" will remain an oxymoron unless political expediency and intellectual...