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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every woman in America should read this book
I picked up this book to do a research paper on the topic of welfare reform. This book has been both enlightening and frightening in its information and the arguments put forth by the author. The research is amazingly thorough and well documented throughout the text. Hays points out many contradictions concerning the goals set forth by the Personal Responsibility...
Published on February 8, 2006 by Zoe Weslowski

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Voices of those most affected by Welfare Reforms are so completely muffled, their awesome communications are rendered useless!
Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform is a good solid book that's more suited to the professional classes and college students. Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform looks honestly at the issues facing ladies on welfare and the struggles they face weighing family needs against new often conflicting welfare rules. Flat Broke...
Published 1 month ago by THE AUTISTIC WEREWOLF


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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every woman in America should read this book, February 8, 2006
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This review is from: Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform (Paperback)
I picked up this book to do a research paper on the topic of welfare reform. This book has been both enlightening and frightening in its information and the arguments put forth by the author. The research is amazingly thorough and well documented throughout the text. Hays points out many contradictions concerning the goals set forth by the Personal Responsibility Act.

The bottom line is that we are living in a society that is still grossly unequal in terms of sex, race, and class. I especially appreciated the realism that the ideals and provisions of welfare reform fall far below any sort of real hope of mobility in terms of the demands of an evolving global market place.

This book is not just about welfare reform; it is indicative of a society that we are becoming - one that undermines the care of our nation's children and welfare for struggling families and most especially the plight of single mothers.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly insightful, February 9, 2003
By A Customer
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Hays does a remarkable job of revealing the cultural logic behind welfare reform. In the process, we do not "just" learn about welfare recipients and their values, we learn something about our own values. It becomes very clear in reading this book that we must resolve the tensions that all families (and especially women) feel when it comes to which comes first: work or family. Only then can we figure out what is fair and good to ask of welfare mothers.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who seeks a better understanding of the paradoxes and contraditions in our laws regulating the family.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality vs. Rhetoric, February 8, 2003
By A Customer
The old cliche' of welfare and women who sit home eating well and driving nice cars is just that-Ms. Hays reflects the stories of the real women and children affected by our belief in the Horatio Algier syndrome. Too many variables exist to allow the cliche' of welfare and families to continue. The stories in this book are real people, real families who are experiencing the backlash of our punitive welfare reforms. This is not a book per say, but real people, people we care about, who are speaking to us. We need to listen.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly insightful, February 9, 2003
By A Customer
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Hays does a remarkable job of revealing the cultural logic behind welfare reform. In the process, we do not "just" learn about welfare recipients and their values, we learn something about our own values. It becomes very clear in reading this book that we must resolve the tensions that all families (and especially women) feel when it comes to which comes first: work or family. Only then can we figure out what is fair and good to ask of welfare mothers.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who seeks a better understanding of the paradoxes and contraditions in our laws regulating the family.
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19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Reform" Sucks, June 6, 2003
By A Customer
This book will prove enlightening to anyone who is concerned with the consequences of "welfare reform." Flat Broke, while "putting a face on" reform, provides the analytical tools with which to understand the crux of the welfare dilemma. The dilemma is not unique to those women who must turn to public assistance, it is one faced by all those that live within American culture. Work and family. We all know the struggle - at least in some form.
Hays does an excellent job illustrating how welfare recipients DO pursue mainstream ideals, DO foster mainstream American ideals. . . but are systematically denied the ability to live up to our cultural ideal of middle class. As always, those at the bottom bear the brunt of our cultural contradictions more than any other social group.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Voices of those most affected by Welfare Reforms are so completely muffled, their awesome communications are rendered useless!, August 16, 2014
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Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform is a good solid book that's more suited to the professional classes and college students. Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform looks honestly at the issues facing ladies on welfare and the struggles they face weighing family needs against new often conflicting welfare rules. Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform chronicles how welfare changes work against the very populations it is supposed to be helping. Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform embodies a political shift from pure entitlement to a temporary stop gap or buffer between paid employment. The idea that paid employment is the goal of welfare reform is hard wired into every part of its workings is amply illustrated by this book.

Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform would have been a much more fun to read book if it was not so full of high tone analysis and socialworker speak. I had hoped this would be far more a book about welfare reform as told by actual mom's and dad's with families on welfare. The most important voice on Welfare Reform is the voice this book effectively muzzles, that of mom's and dads on welfare in the post Welfare Reform law era. I don't care what its like to be flat broke on welfare from a social worker or professionals perspective. I was hoping to hear countless stories about what it is really like to live on post welfare law, public assistance told in unflinching detail by actual real welfare receipants.

I wanted to hear the actual voices of poor people speaking on the topic of welfare reform and how it has affected or changed their lives in their own words. Yes this book does give painfully small snippets of post reform real welfare moms sharing their experiences on and off the program. Unfortunately real accounts of welfare moms sharing their post reform experiences are few and far between in this book. You hear mostly professional types analysis every aspect of the book then effectively telling you what you should think in the most liberal terms. Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform at times reads like a velvet covered steel bat used to bash conservative values of hard work, earning versus taking and basic fair play.

However Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform does accuratey blame conservative interests who keep a minimum slave wage in place. The so called minimum wage is a slave wage that prevents upward mobility. The minimum wage is a slave wage that is in effect corporate welfare and Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform points this out. The minimum slave wage keeps the poorest of the poor in poverty shuttling between welfare and work at dead end burger flipper typ jobs. Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform reveals the so called welfare reform law as a cruel hoax to those who lack the core understandings and deceplines to escape poverty via education and tenacity

If you are rigorous in your self discipline welfare reform does offer a way out of life long poverty. Problem is the mental and physical lockdown on life activities required to focus on education an escape tool requires a level of savvy and discipline the average welfare taken does not have. You could give many welfare takers a thriving turn key business in a great location and a $100,000 cushion against loss and some would still drive said business into the ground. Building success and managing success are skills that you either have or don't. If you know how to build success you can do it from anymost any collection of scraps. If you don't know how to build then manage success all the "Help" in the world amounts to nothing. The peoblem is success strategists are few and far between in areas where poverty and welfare dependence is greatest.

Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform poses a basic question what will we as a society do with and for those among us who lack the understanding and discipline it takes to build success out of next to nothing. I ride the bus everyday with people mired in poverty who lack even the soft skills needed to enter the professional or business workplace. People for whom, please, tank you and excuse me are strange words never heard and rarely if ever used in daily life. Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform asks hard questions affecting these most vulnerable and marginalized populations. Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform is written for mostly college students and professionals but it does ask the right questions. Unfortunately the title Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform is a bit misleading since voices of impoverished welfare takers are rarely heard unfiltered and presented in their own words.

Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform applies its ultra liberal filter to everything written therein and the content and message suffer for it. Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform is a good book hence my rating but, Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform could have and should have been a much better book than it is. The voices of those most affected by Welfare Reforms are muffled so completely as to make their awesome communications almost useless.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welfare as it is and the values behind "reform", October 8, 2009
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This review is from: Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform (Paperback)
This is a very well written study of the realities of welfare in the United States that thoughtfully considers the values behind our policies and approaches to the poor, specifically welfare mothers, whose first-hand accounts, along with those of welfare case workers, feature prominently in her study without making it anecdotal like Nickel and Dimed.

Hays convincingly shows that welfare reform of 1996 was wrongheaded and generally ineffective because it was aimed "correcting" the poor in various capacities without adequately engaging the underlying causes of their poverty, namely a shortage of stable jobs accessible to the poor that pay well enough to help pull them out of poverty.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Wish there was a 2nd edition, June 23, 2014
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This review is from: Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform (Paperback)
It would be wonderful if this book could be updated with a 2nd edition. It is revealing, well-written, and deserves a second life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Satisfied, October 5, 2013
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This review is from: Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform (Paperback)
The book was in better condition that I expected when I received it. I was very satisfied with its time of arrival. Because I'm a college student, I need for the books that I order to arrive quickly and match their description. This seller provided enough information about the book for me to choose the one I needed for class.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye-Opening, November 25, 2011
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This review is from: Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform (Paperback)
I read this book for a college course essay assignment, and could not be more happy that I chose this to write my project essay on. The author of the book captured different sides of the welfare argument - show casing how different sides (the workers, the people receiving welfare, successes and failures) viewed welfare reform, how it impacted different types of welfare recipients, and more. Her information was backed up with lots of research, interviews, and information that many people are not aware of that government and other organizations are using to document the success or failures of welfare.

I believe that everyone should read this book, epecially if you think that welfare recipients are free loaders who don't want to work. Some of the women portrayed in the book were tragic victims of a system that couldn't or wouldn't help them. Others had just had some bad luck, and still others were ones that could almost fit the stereotype. You learn much about the real women and families that face this harsh reality every day of their lives - one that seems distant from our middle class existence.
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Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform
Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform by Sharon Hays (Paperback - October 14, 2004)
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