On Tuesday The New York Post posted an article about President Trump’s Executive Order on welfare reform. The article notes that America currently has a very low unemployment rate and a very high number of people on welfare. That really does not seem to compute.
Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today on the subject.
The editorial reminds us of some of the history of welfare reform:
Although it was President Clinton who signed that sweeping welfare reform bill into law, plenty of Democrats were furious. Marion Wright Edelman, then head of the Children’s Defense Fund, called it a “moment of shame.” Illinois Sen. Paul Simon declared that “this isn’t welfare reform, it’s welfare denial.” Even now, many Democrats want to get rid of it.
And that’s despite its proven track record of success.
“In the past decade, welfare rolls have dropped substantially, from 12.2 million in 1996 to 4.5 million today. At the same time, caseloads declined by 45%. Sixty percent of mothers who left welfare found work, far surpassing predictions of experts.”
That was how Bill Clinton himself described the reform’s success a decade after he signed it into law.
The reforms that President Clinton put into effect were greatly loosened under President Obama, and welfare rolls soared. Part of that was due to the sluggish economy under President Obama, and part of that was due to the changes in the reforms.
The editorial concludes:
In Trump’s executive order, he makes the compelling case for expanding work requirements:
“Many of the programs designed to help families have instead delayed economic independence, perpetuated poverty, and weakened family bonds.
“While bipartisan welfare reform enacted in 1996 was a step toward eliminating the economic stagnation and social harm that can result from long-term government dependence, the welfare system still traps many recipients, especially children, in poverty and is in need of further reform and modernization in order to increase self-sufficiency, well-being, and economic mobility.”
Well said. But to make that happen, Republicans need to keep hammering away at this theme until it sinks into the public consciousness. And they need to turn around the metric used to define success to one that counts declining enrollment as a victory.
That’s the only way we will ever be able to turn the tide on what seems like a relentless and unstoppable expansion of the welfare state.
Senator Daniel Patrick “Pat” Moynihan wrote a report in 1965 predicting that the War on Poverty would destroy the African-American family. He was right. The welfare programs under the War on Poverty have also destroyed the white family. It is time that generational welfare becomes a bad memory of the past–not a present problem. Hopefully, President Trump has just taken the first step in that direction.,