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Liberals Assail Goldwater Remarks on Poverty

Jan. 16, 1964 - Senator Barry Goldwater’s views on the causes and treatment of poverty were attacked today by liberals in both parties. Senator Abraham Ribicoff (pictured), Democrat of Connecticut, criticized Goldwater for suggesting that those on welfare rolls should be put to work on community projects to earn their benefits. Ribicoff declared: “I cannot share the impression he leaves that, if only the unemployed would have the gumption to go to work, all our welfare problems would be solved.” Ribicoff said there were seven million people on relief in the U.S. and that “the overwhelming majority of them” could not “possibly go to work.” They are, he said, too old or sick, or they are mothers or children.

An official of the Democratic National Committee quipped that Goldwater was leading with his right and was “wide open to getting knocked out.” One liberal Republican senator said privately, “Some of Goldwater’s statements are appalling — an embarrassment.”

In a speech last night before the Economic Club of New York, Goldwater suggested an investigation into the extent to which “the attitude or the actions” of the poor had caused their poverty. He said that as an “essential safeguard” to welfare programs, recipients who were physically able should be “put to work to earn their benefits.” In New Hampshire, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller said his own views on poverty were “diametrically opposed” to those of Goldwater.


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