Welfare Reform -- Rep. Newt Gingrich Attacks Least Powerful Element Of Society With Aid Plan

Editor, The Times:

I was reading an article concerning Newt Gingrich and his ideas concerning welfare reform. At first I thought it was a bad joke, but then I reread the article and realized with horror he was serious! I have rarely come across such a case of blatant cruelty as he sets forth.

He attacks the most powerless segment of our society - young women and children. Of course, this group doesn't form PACs or contribute to the coffers of our erstwhile congressmen, therefore they're safe to victimize. He proposes to allow them only two months of welfare. If they don't find employment in those two months, he would have their children torn away from them and put in orphanages.

I happen to know how difficult it is to find a decent job in the current employment market. I graduated in 1992 with a degree in engineering, and it still took me 1 1/2 years to find a job. I have also heard horror stories concerning people with doctorates looking for clerical work because they couldn't find employment in their chosen field.

Does Gingrich intend to adopt them all, or even one? He also expects private charities to pick up the tab when these women are thrown off welfare. Hasn't he heard that charities are having enough difficulty raising funds to take care of existing problems much less take on new ones? And what do we save when all is said and done - only 1 percent of the federal budget. I would also predict that the measly 1 percent savings wouldn't pass to the middle or lower class in the U.S., but to those who already have the money, such as Newt Gingrich himself.

Newt would make Charles Dickens' character Ebenezer Scrooge look like a saint. I can only hope Newt will one day be visited by the spirit of compassion. Undoubtedly he won't listen. After all, the spirit of compassion neither belongs to a PAC nor puts money in his pocket. Claire Trippett Seattle