errors.” Food-stamp regulations were sonlax that overpayments to recipients whonhad conveniently “forgotten” to tell thenwelfare office some fact relevant to theirnbenefit level proved uncollectible. Asnone “welfare rights” group advised itsnclients, ‘Tou only have to pay back then[illegally acquired] stamps if you wantnto.” Such a situation was tailor-made fornfraud and abuse.nIn this milieu, welfare recipientsnevolved into a special class, one at oncenpampered and regimented by their caseworkers.nThe “welfare community”nfought for years against efforts to movenAFDC mothers with children over thenage of two into paying jobs. It was “immoral”nto force such women to taken”menial” work, activists charged. Or therenweren’t “adequate day-care slots available.”nBernstein cuts through this Alicein-Wonderlandncant. “In the worldnaround us,” she notes, “more than halfnthe female heads of households arenworking and are not on welfare. Theynapparently can be trusted to make adequatenarrangements for the care of theirnchildren…. But once the mother is onnwellare, she cannot work imless a varietynof officials agree that [her] child-care arrangementsnare satisfactory.” Toss in thenauthor’s dissection of the omnipresentn”Welfere Advisory Committees” (labeledn”the high priests of welfare”), her rebukenof the reigning orthodoxy amongnwelfare professionals that “the client isnalways right and never says anything butnthe truth, the whole truth, and nothingnbut the truth” (not the liberal view, shensuggests, but “simple naivete”), and hernslap at the vainglorious judges who castnthemselves “in the image of Solomon”nabove legislative intent, and she hasnaffirmed by experience most of then”conservative myths” about welfare.nA more fundamental reason for thenrise in welfare dependency after I960,nthough, was a seldom-acknowledgednupheaval in normative social relationships;nspecifically, the unprecedentedngrowth in the number of female-headednfamilies. Between 1969 and 1978, then12 inChronicles of Culturencount of statistically defined poor blacknfamilies headed by men actually fell 34%.nMeanwhile, the number of poor femaleheadednblack families climbed 64%. Innthat latter year, only 6% of all two-parentnfamilies fell below the poverty line, comparednto 42% of female-headed families.n”One of the most fascinating welfarenstatistics in New York,” Bernstein notes,n”is the tiny number of intact families receivingnwelfare.” Echoing, with a twist,nthe famed 1968 Kerner Commission reportnon urban riots, she concludes “thatnthe black and Hispanic communities arenmoving toward two societies: one composednof intact families, the other ofnfemale-headed families—separate andnunequal We are in danger of creatingna permanent underclass in the country.”nClearly, the most effective way to reducenwelfare dependency would bensomehow to promote the formation andnmaintenance of intact families. But herenthe difficulties, both ideological andnpractical, multiply. Back in 1965, then-nAssistant Secretary of Labor Daniel P.nMoynihan had already fingered illegitimacy,ndivorce, and the female-headednfamily as the sources of urban socialnpathology and the emerging welfare crisis.nYet the so-called “Moynihan Report”nquickly became the bete noire of “progressive”nsocial forces. Widely attackednfor its “racist,” “middle-class” (and laternnn”sexist”) assumptions that femaleheadednfamilies and illegitimacy werenabnormal or immoral, the Report markedna turning point in liberal welfare policy.nNormative social standards rooted innthe Judeo-Christian tradition—whichnhad animated the New Deal among othernpolicy formulations—were quickly abandonednin favor of a chic, value-neutralnrelativism. Moynihan and the LyndonnJohnson Administration thereupon beatna hasty retreat from “family policy.”nThe situation has scarcely improvedntoday. Bernstein notes that the “welfarencommunity” still dogmatically deniesnany linkage between dependency andnfamily breakdown, ascribing the formernstatus instead to racial discrimination,nunemployment, underfunded schools,npoor housing, and so on through thenfrazzled list of “causes” that left-liberalnanalysts drag out on every occasion.nFurthermore, feminist outrage at thensuggestion that women with childrennmight benefit from a husband-fathernaround the house has only increased innrecent years.nBernstein calls for a new governmentnagenda “addressed to the task of findingnways to counteract trends toward familyninstability [and] ways of promoting thenformation of intact families.” Unfortunately,nher overriding managerial-scientificnview of the welfare problem does notnallow for a full appreciation of thosentasks. Painstaking management and a fewnsimple devices (such as regular, face-tofaceneligibility reviews of all recipients)nallowed her to cut the number of ineligiblenrecipients in New York City fromn13% in 1975 to 5% in 1980 and to reducenthe number receiving overpaymentsnfrom 35 to 15%. Yet this samentechnical orientation cannot providensolutions to the essentially moral problemsnunderlying the decay of family life.nBernstein sacrifices considerable ground,nfor instance, in her strained avoidance ofnthe word “illegitimate” (she uses insteadn”the nonformation of families”). Elsewhere,nthe author insists that the birth ofnchildren to unwed 14- and 15-year-oldsnshould not be viewed as “a problem ofn