Recall that Governor Reagan began his first term as a novice who promised to squeeze, cut and trim the costs of government. By 1971, he was an experienced politician with an able finance director in Verne Orr and a competent chief of staff in Ed Meese. So they got to work. And in a sweeping welfare reform program, Governor Reagan stiffened penalties for fraud, removed employed recipients from welfare, and required adult children to help support their parents on welfare, among other changes. By 1974, welfare caseloads dropped 20 percent, benefits rose 43 percent for residents with no income, welfare fraud cropped and California saved hundreds of millions of dollars. Reagan, as governor and as president always struggled with the idea of welfare because, as he said, “the principal issue in any welfare reform proposal is whether or not it’ll help people become self-sufficient and lead a full life or keep them in a state of dependency.” It’s a question Americans struggle with to this day and Reagan, after leaving Sacramento and before the White House, delivered several radio addresses on the subject. So in today’s podcast, we’ll listen to a few good ones and let him tell the story. Let’s start with December 1976.

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