The End Of Welfare Reform

Yesterday the welfare reforms of the 1990’s ended. There was no note, there was no trumpet fanfare, and I haven’t seen it on the news. What happened? An executive order by President Obama cut out the heart of the welfare reform bill passed during the Clinton Administration.

The Corner at National Review reported:

The welfare reform law was very successful. In the four decades prior to welfare reform, the welfare caseload never experienced a significant decline. But, in the four years after welfare reform, the caseload dropped by nearly half. Employment surged and child poverty among blacks and single mothers plummeted to historic lows. What was the catalyst for these improvements? Rigorous new federal work requirements contained in TANF.

Contrary to some perceptions, the formula that made welfare reform a success was not giving state governments more flexibility in operating federally funded welfare programs. The active ingredient that made the difference was requiring state governments to implement those rigorous new federal work standards.

The article explains how the work requirement was changed:

…the Obama administration issued a dramatic new directive stating that the traditional TANF work requirements will be waived or overridden by a legal device called a section 1115 waiver authority under the Social Security law (42 U.S.C. 1315).

Section 1115 allows HHS to “waive compliance” with specified parts of various laws. But this is not an open-ended authority: All provisions of law that can be overridden under section 1115 must be listed in section 1115 itself.

The welfare reform bill was vetoed by Bill Clinton twice before he signed it.

The article concludes:

Obama’s new welfare decree guts sound anti-poverty policy. The administration tramples on the actual legislation passed by Congress and seeks to impose its own policy choices — a pattern that has become all too common in this administration.

The result is the end of welfare reform as we know it.

This is another example of executive overreach. All this does is create more government dependency, increase the size of government, and change a policy that was successful. It is time to elect a new President.

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