I found Ehrenreich's blog in the course of reading this interview with her, at ZNet:
TD: You recently commented, "Thanks to Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, we now have a government with vastly expanded military and surveillance functions and sadly atrophied helping functions. Imagine, for an awkward zoological analogy, a lioness with grossly enlarged claws and teeth but no mammary glands."
Ehrenreich: This was something I first wrote about in 1997 in an essay in the Nation which they entitled, "Confessions of a Recovering Statist." I talked about the shift of government, at the end of the Clinton years, away from the helping functions and toward the military, penitentiaries, law enforcement. At what point, I asked, do progressives have to say: I don't want to expand the helping functions of this government because look what it's doing? A nice example is public housing -- okay, public housing's a good thing, but when you start doing drug tests on people to get in or stay in such housing, then it's become an extension of the law enforcement function of government.
I still raise that question. Today, we have this even larger federal government, more and more of it being war-related, surveillance-related. I mean it's gone beyond our wildest Clinton administration dreams. I think progressives can't just be seen as pro-big-government when big government has gotten so nasty.
TD: And also when civil society has been stripped of so many of its "civil" capacities, including, as with Katrina, the capacity to rebuild.
Ehrenreich: Katrina's a perfect example of how militarized the government has gotten even when it's supposedly trying to help people. The initial response of the government was a military one. When they finally got people down there, it was armed guards to protect the fancy stores and keep people in that convention center -- at gunpoint! I mean, this is unbelievable.
TD: And what about the fobbing off of the civil parts of government onto religious and charitable groups, often politicized?
Ehrenreich: It's partly that the evangelical churches have reached for these things, and then there's the faith-based approach coming from the Bush administration where the dream was: Let's turn all social welfare functions over to churches. A lot of the megachurches now function as giant social welfare bureaucracies. I wouldn't have found this out if I hadn't been researching Bait and Switch and gone into some of them, because that's where you go when you want to connect with people to find a job. That's also where you find after-school care, child care, support groups for battered women, support groups for people with different illnesses. As government helping functions dwindle, the role of the churches grows. What's sinister is that so many of these churches also support political candidates who are anti-choice, anti-gay, and -- not coincidentally -- opposed to any kind of expansion of secular social services.