In a nationally televised address on August 8, 1969, RN unveiled a series of domestic policies aimed at combating welfare dependency, alleviating poverty, and making government a more effective and responsible actor at solving America’s urban crisis.
The center-piece of this legislation was the Family Assistance Plan, a proposal crafted along with Urban Affairs Adviser and future New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
The two surmised that if an income floor was provided to the families of the unemployed and working poor on the condition that they find work or enroll in job training, the stability of a base income would encourage them to seek better pay and shed themselves from the welfare rolls.
“Family assistance recognizes a need and establishes a responsibility.” RN said his address, “With such incentives, most recipients who can work will want to work.”
Though the initiative was stopped in Congress, it became the model for welfare reform in the the mid-1990’s.
The FAP was the subject of the Nixon Legacy Forum, “Richard Nixon and the Origins of Welfare Reform” this past June (Click here to watch). The work of Daniel Patrick Moynihan is the subject of an upcoming forum this November in Washington D.C.
Photo: RN with Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs, Daniel Patrick Moynihan.