Praise for the Book
"Gov. Reagan was definitely the father of genuine welfare reform in America—the “tough love” concept of ending cash subsidies except for the truly needy and creating incentives with which those on welfare could find work and thus be freed from dependency. And if Reagan was the father of these innovative reform concepts, then its midwife was Robert B. Carleson, his state director of social welfare. Now in a remarkable memoir titled Government Is The Problem, the man known as “Reagan’s welfare reformer” tells just how the bold proposal that rescued California from a sea of red ink (and released hundreds of thousands from government dependency) came to be."
"Carleson’s service at the very center of welfare reform for a quarter-century is recorded in his Government Is the Problem. His guiding hand was the chief factor in then-California Gov. Reagan’s successful welfare reforms in the early 1970s. This writer covered Washington hearings on welfare at the time. Reagan’s testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on the issue so impressed that panel’s Chairman Russell B. Long that the Louisiana Democrat asked if he could borrow Carleson’s talent to help the committee in its welfare work. The request was granted."
"Without Bob Carleson, Ronald Reagan's dream of welfare reform never would have become a reality. Bob was a man of unmatched tenacity and devotion to conservative ideals—and should be remembered as one of the most remarkable figures of our age."
—, former editor-in-chief, Reader's Digest
"Welfare, both its destructive tendencies and the ways it can be made to help rather than hold people back, are two of the most challenging issues in politics. Bob Carleson was present—and instrumental—at the creation of welfare reform with Ronald Reagan, when the Gipper was governor. And he pioneered many of the reforms that culminated in the pathbreaking federal welfare reform of 1996—one of the most successful public policy changes in history."
—, Wall Street Journal
"Other reforms, especially of means-tested welfare, could take their inspiration from the late Robert Carleson, whose Government Is The Problem reveals the insights of a conservative practitioner of welfare policy who designed and implemented reforms. Carleson warrants attention because he was first to deliver measurable results as the architect of Ronald Reagan’s welfare reforms in California, the precursor to reforms in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Utah as well as the replacement of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in 1996. Moreover, he reminds those who seek a more efficient and effective welfare system of the vested interests, entrenched at both state and federal levels, that seek to preserve the status quo."