How "Welfare" Became a Dirty Word

In the last half-century, the American definition of "welfare" has been reversed. A term that once meant prosperity, good health, good spirits, and social respect now implies poverty, bad health, despondency, and social disrespect. A word used to describe the health of the body politic now evokes images of its disease -- slums, depressed single mothers, neglected children, crime, despair.

Today, welfare particularly refers to one universally maligned government program -- Aid to