Changing The Welfare Paradigm

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.,

An Agenda That Would Help All Americans

On Tuesday, CNS News posted an article about President Trump‘s agenda after tax reform. It is an ambitious agenda that would do great things for America.

The article reports:

At the start of a Cabinet meeting on Monday, Trump plugged the Republican tax plan, then said spending cuts and welfare reform are next on the list:

“We’re working to reduce wasteful government spending,” Trump said. “We’ll be working on healthcare, infrastructure, and welfare reform. We’re looking very strongly at welfare reform, and that will all take place right after taxes — very soon, very shortly after taxes. So we’ll be submitting plans on healthcare, plans on infrastructure, and plans on welfare reform — which is desperately needed in our country — soon after taxes.”

Welfare is needed as a safety net–it should not be a career choice. It is time to examine what we are doing to educate those children from families where education is not seen as valuable. It is time to make sure that children who graduate from American high schools know how to fill out a job application, a college application, etc. The key to welfare reform is education and providing a reasonable transition from welfare to work. I think we can do that if both parties in Congress would work together.

The article concludes:

At the White House press briefing on Monday, a reporter asked spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders what Trump meant when he mentioned welfare reform:

“I think there’s no secret,” Sanders said, noting that Trump had spoken about it during the campaign. “And when we have specifics on what that will look like, we’ll certainly announce them and roll them out. I don’t anticipate that happening over the next couple of weeks. We’re very focused on tax reform and making sure we get that done by the end of the year.

“But this is something that the president has a great deal of interest in, and I think you can count on probably the first part of next year seeing more specifics and details coming out on that.”

To be a healthy country, we need to give Americans opportunities to improve their lives through education and hard work. Welfare reform would be a step in that direction.

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.

Enhanced by Zemanta