Star Parker on Gutting Welfare Reform: ‘What Are They Not Going to Destroy?’

Elizabeth Harrington | August 8, 2012 | 11:12am EDT
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( – Political activist and welfare-reform champion Star Parker, criticizing the administration’s recent waiver of the work requirement in the federal welfare program, told that President Barack Obama and the administration “really like people enslaved to government dependency.”

Despite last month’s move by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to strip President Clinton’s 1996 welfare-reform law of its signature work requirement, Parker said she is confident the change will not increase welfare rolls because those who have benefited from reforms have “tasted freedom,” and “they’re not going back,” she said.

Parker, who herself was on welfare for seven years and played a key role in the passage of its reform, spoke to last week Obama’s administrative action at The Heritage Foundation, after delivering a speech sponsored by the Conservative Women’s Network.

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. asked Parker: “The Obama administration has waived the work requirements in welfare reform. You were obviously a huge champion of that reform in the 90s, what’s your initial reaction and what effect will this move have on the program?”

Parker answered: “Well, my initial reaction is -- What are they not going to destroy?”

She added: “We were very successful with the work requirements in welfare reform. The women were successful. We’re talking 5 million women and 9 million children whose lives changed because of work requirements. These children, for the first time in their lives, had an opportunity in America to be prosperous because of their mom bringing in more than the welfare would pay.”

Parker added that she didn’t think the waiver would be as successful as Obama or HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius would like “because they really like people enslaved to government dependency.”

“I think that the women now know what freedom looks like and tastes like and they’re not going back,” Parker said. “I don’t think that because they’ve changed the work requirement poor women are going to stop working.”

Noting that record numbers of Americans currently receiving food stamps and that the administration is advertising the food stamp program on radio stations, asked Parker: “Why do you think they want to do that and is that program one you’re looking into and would like to see reforms in?”

“I believe that this administration -- as most liberals (are) -- (is) self-destructive,” she said. “And liberalism is reckless and it’s cruel.”

Parker continued: “And when you promise somebody that you’re going to take care of them from womb to tomb, the end result is larger numbers dependent, which is what’s happening in food stamps and more bankruptcy, if you will, for our government coffers.  We’re not going to be able to limit the size and scope of government, reduce that size, if we continue to allow for these out-of-control poverty programs.”

As of May 2012, 46.5 million Americans are participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as the food stamp program, according to the Department of Agriculture -- a 2.4 percentage increase from a year ago.

Parker, the founder of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), said she is hopeful that exposure of fraud and abuse in the program will lead to change.

“Most Americans didn’t know that food stamps (were) in the Agriculture bill,” Parker said. “Most Americans didn’t know that we are penalizing farmers to keep them from growing to keep prices high so that we can keep people on food stamps.

“The cat is out of the bag, people are starting to see the fraud that goes on here, the corruption that goes on here in Washington, D.C. and they’re rallying to make changes,” Parker added. “So, that I’m encouraged about.”

Parker’s remarks came following a speech on poverty in America and the “womb to tomb” entitlement state, delivered at the Heritage Foundation last Friday in Washington, D.C.

“There is no formula to get rich, but there is certainly a formula to stay poor,” Parker said.

“All you have to do is what I did -- just don’t mainstream your life, just blame your problems on somebody else, (and say) ‘My problems are somebody else’s fault.’ Believe the lie that the poor are poor because the wealthy are wealthy. Believe that America is so inherently racist that you don’t have to mainstream.

“If you make bad choices for your life, if you don’t finish school, if you won’t work, if you don’t ever save or invest any money, you could live poor. You will live poor in this country,” Parker told

“But in getting to the opportunities that we opened up for women and their children after welfare reforms so that they could at least get on the path toward health, toward wholeness, toward peace,” Parker said.

“Whether they ever realized a million dollar bank account or not was not our goal in welfare reform; it was to restore dignity that dignity that was stolen from them during the cruel hand of the government.”

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