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Welfare rules leave some hanging
Wolfowitz heads to the Pentagon
Nitze on deck for naval honor

Welfare rules leave some hanging

Welfare-to-work reality check: Evelyn Santero.

Santero, a Boston woman trying to move off welfare, missed a monthly deadline to file a form that listed the income and work hours for her new job. So her federal aid and food stamps were suspended for "refusal to return the completed monthly report."

Santero could not read or speak English well. Her phone had been disconnected, and she faced a number of other stresses: She held a job that called for a three-hour daily commute, she cared for six children and one grandchild, and she had a boyfriend who threatened her with violence.

Nearly 2 in 10 welfare recipients surveyed in three large American cities in 1999 reported losing federal assistance--but not because they refused to find a job under new welfare-to-work policies, a recent Hopkins-led report shows. Most said they had their benefits reduced or stopped because they failed to follow basic rules--usually missing appointments with case workers or failing to file paperwork on deadline.

Illustration by Charles Beyl And adults who lose benefits under the stricter rules and sanctions of the 1996 welfare reform act appear to be less likely to have jobs, and earn less than those who leave welfare rolls because of new five-year time limits or employment, researchers say. (Only 1 in 3 were employed in 1999 compared with 67 percent of the latter group; the difference in average household income: $249 vs. $554 per month.)

That's not what welfare reformers expected when they proposed that time limits and other measures would encourage the most job-ready to join the work force. "Everyone thought people leaving welfare rolls [first] would be more prepared, better educated, in better health, or with less stress in their daily lives," says Andrew Cherlin, Hopkins professor of sociology and department chair. "Some of the people who are being penalized for rule-breaking are in challenging family situations trying to manage the daily task of working and keeping families together. They seem to be the most vulnerable. It's odd that they are being removed."

Cherlin has been leading the four-year study with a team that includes fellow Hopkins professor and labor economist Robert Moffitt, and researchers from other universities. Using interviews and other methods, they hope to find out how well former welfare recipients are doing economically and whether caregivers can balance work and family responsibilities--a struggle that could affect the next generation. Last year, study interviewers surveyed 2,500 caregivers, many of them single parents, who live in low-income neighborhoods in Boston, San Antonio, and Chicago. Most had not yet reached welfare-to-work time limits at the time of the interview. A policy report prepared for Congress and others was released in February.

According to the report, about half of those cut for breaking rules were able to reinstate benefits. Yet overall this group also reported a number of barriers to future employment, including education and health issues, use of drugs or alcohol, lack of transportation, and neighborhood violence. Unless addressed, researchers argue, their struggles could undermine the goals of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton. "If the goal is to help families become self-sustaining, these families may not be able to do it on their own," says Cherlin. "Welfare agencies need to find out why they are not following the rules and help them come into compliance-- help them fill out the form, find day care, build a resume, or enroll in literacy training so they can build up their capabilities to the point where they are employable."

The study, launched in 1998, includes researchers from Harvard, Northwestern, Penn State, and the University of Texas. Funding agencies include the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which gave a $12 million grant, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. --Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson

Wolfowitz heads to the Pentagon

Known as a conservative defense analyst and a Cold War hawk, a cerebral think-man and an avid critic of Clintonian foreign policy, Paul D. Wolfowitz is now back in the halls of power at the Pentagon.

Wolfowitz, the high-profile dean of Hopkins's Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), became President George W. Bush's choice for deputy secretary of defense in early February. He stepped down as SAIS dean soon after. Wolfowitz had served in top posts in the elder Bush's administration, including undersecretary of defense for policy from 1989 to 1993. He also worked for President Ronald Reagan, directing the State Department policy planning staff and serving as U.S. ambassador to Indonesia.

Paul D. Wolfowitz, right, with National Security Adviser Condaleezza Rice and George W. Bush at Bush's ranch.
Photo by AP/Wide World Photos
Since coming to SAIS in 1994 to much fanfare, Wolfowitz has been identified with a clan of Republican policy leaders waiting in the Washington wings for the past eight years. Those years--in which Cold War conflicts gave way to international business deals--have broadened Wolfowitz's views, his colleagues here say: A man focused on "conservative defense politics is not the Paul Wolfowitz we know around the corridors of SAIS," says Roger Leeds, director of SAIS's Center for International Business and Public Policy, which was created in 1999. "He is an intellectual sponge, interested in broad and deep issues that go far beyond defense."

Wolfowitz--a PhD who has served on the political science faculty at SAIS and Yale--is widely viewed as a conservative addition to a national defense team that backs a national missile-defense system and advocates tougher stances on China, North Korea, and Iraq. He was a foreign affairs adviser to Bush during the 2000 campaign and a member of Vice President Dick Cheney's inner circle when Cheney was secretary of defense under Bush's father.

And just over two years ago, Wolfowitz joined then-former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in releasing an independent commission report that warned of the danger of rogue nations deploying ballistic missiles against the United States.

Yet there is another side to Wolfowitz most media analysts neglect to mention. His years at SAIS, and other international experiences, have expanded his political lexicon with terms like "globalization" and "international financial architecture." Wolfowitz leaves the SAIS deanship after a tenure that oversaw a shift from a Cold War orientation to a curriculum that emphasizes the new global financial marketplace, capitalistic democracy, and a growing interest in environmental policy.

"The end of the Cold War, and the appearance of relative stability in the world, which is not as great as it appears to be, has made security issues less important and that, by itself, makes economics and finance appear more important," Wolfowitz told Johns Hopkins Magazine in spring 1999.

"People who conduct foreign policy increasingly have to understand this international corporate phenomenon and how to harness it and take advantage of it and not get run over by it," he pointed out.

On his watch, SAIS added a lecture series on "Constructive Capitalism" and most recently brought in renowned political economist Francis Fukuyama. Wolfowitz also strengthened the school's international economics program, making highly touted faculty hires, and bringing in an environmental economist to head up the school's Energy, Environment, Science, and Technology program.

What repercussions will result from the change of American administrations re-mains to be seen. That's partly because the latest New World Order has yet to be quantified. As Wolfowitz told Hopkins Magazine: "People still call it the post--Cold War era simply because no one has defined it yet."

Maybe Wolfowitz, scholar and revived politician, will coin a new phrase. --JCS

Nitze on deck for naval honor

Paul H. Nitze, a man of steel and stamina and a political leader with the ability to navigate high-threat environments and international crises, was given a fitting tribute early this year: A U.S. Navy ship has been named in his honor.

Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig named the 44th ship of the Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers the USS NITZE after the longtime career statesman who served as the 57th secretary of the Navy from 1963 to 1967. Nitze, who is co-founder of the Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), which was later named for him, is only one of a handful of living Americans to be honored with the naming of a naval battle ship. He turned 94 a few days after the January announcement marking his nearly five decades of public service.

Long known as a Cold War warrior, Nitze has been one of the chief national security and arms control architects of the 20th century. In 1950 he formulated the document which set up the strategic framework for U.S.-Soviet relations. He joined the U.S. delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in the late 1960s and early '70s, and was a member of President John F. Kennedy's inner political circle that met daily during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He has advised every president from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan (with the exception of Jimmy Carter), and over the last decade has continued to write books and op-ed pieces. --JCS

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