View Poll Results: Should we overturn Welfare Reform?

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  • Yes - success notwithstanding it is mean to expect the poor to work

    5 35.71%
  • No - leave it as it is

    8 57.14%
  • I don't know / No Opinion

    1 7.14%
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Thread: should we gut welfare reform?

  1. #11
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    Re: should we gut welfare reform?

    Quote Originally Posted by GhostlyJoe View Post
    This directive allows states to submit alternative plans to the work requirements -- for example, allowing schooling to satisfy such requirements.
    bed rest?

    ...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 work provisions of the TANF program are contained in section 407 (entitled, appropriately, “mandatory work requirements”). Critically, this section, as well as most other TANF requirements, is deliberately not listed in section 1115; its provisions cannot be waived. Obviously, if the Congress had wanted HHS to be able to waive the TANF work requirements laid out in section 407, it would have listed that section as waivable under section 1115. It did not do that.

    In the past, state bureaucrats have attempted to define activities such as hula dancing, attending Weight Watchers, and bed rest as “work.” Welfare reform instituted work standards to block these dodges. Now that the Obama administration has abolished those standards, we can expect “work” in the TANF program to mean anything but work....
    weight watchers?

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    Re: should we gut welfare reform?

    There should be an "other" option, instead of "I don't know / No Opinion". The focus should be on helping people find employment. I have no problem giving people a necessary boost to keep them from losing the house, or so they can feed their kids. However, at the end of the day, if the system isn't "teaching them how to fish", then the system is effectively no different than a heroin dealer keeping people hooked.
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    Re: should we gut welfare reform?

    I think the days of bi-partisan success stories have come to an end. This country is moving toward greater partisanship, not toward greater compromise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky View Post
    The economy will improve under this bill. If a few people die, it will be for the betterament of this country.

  4. #14
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    Re: should we gut welfare reform?

    First of all, let's clarify that there's no such thing as welfare. There are many different anti-poverty programs, including SNAP, SCHIP, TANF, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, Pell grants, the earned income tax credit, and housing vouchers. So it's hard to say if we should gut "welfare reform" without knowing specifically what you're talking about. If you're referring to Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the program no longer exists...so would gutting welfare reform entail bringing it back as it was in 1996?

    Anyway, let's take a look at that Brookings article, and see if their evidence supports their conclusion in the headline that "it worked."

    What has been the effect of these major changes? Welfare caseloads began declining in the spring of 1994 and picked up steam after the federal legislation was enacted in 1996. Between 1994 and 2004, the caseload declined about 60 percent, a decline that is without precedent. The percentage of U.S. children on welfare is now lower than it has been since at least 1970.
    This is not evidence that it worked. This is just a restatement of the policy that it became harder to use social programs.

    But are the mothers who leave (oravoid) welfare able to find work? More than 40 studies conducted by states since 1996 show that about 60 percent of the adults leaving welfare are employed at any given moment and that, over a period of several months, about 80 percent hold at least one job.
    This is not evidence that it worked, unless there are also statistics showing the pre-reform situation.

    Even more impressive, national data from the Census Bureau show that between 1993 and 2000, the percentage of low-income, single mothers with a job grew from 58 percent to nearly 75 percent, an increase of almost 30 percent. Moreover, employment among never-married mothers, the most disadvantaged and least-educated subgroup of single mothers, grew from 44 percent to 66 percent, an increase of 50 percent, over the same period. Again, these sweeping changes are unprecedented.
    This does seem like a positive, although I question what happens to the kids when their only parent is unable to care for them or afford childcare services.

    What about income? Census Bureau data show that in 1993, earnings accounted forabout 30 percent of the income of low-income mother-headed families while welfare payments accounted for nearly 55 percent. By 2000, this pattern had reversed: earnings had leaped by an astounding 136 percent to constitute almost 57 percent of income while welfare income had plummeted by nearly half to constitute only about 23 percent of income.
    This is not evidence that it worked. This is just a restatement of the policy that it became harder to use social programs.

    Equally important, with earnings leading the way, the total income of these low-income families increased by more than 25 percent over the period (in constant dollars).
    What this analysis overlooks is that the period the author cites (1993-2000) coincided with a booming economy. And 25% wasn't particularly impressive compared to the other income quintiles...in fact, the bottom quintile benefited the least from the boom.
    http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/incom...H01AR_2010.xls

    Not surprisingly, between 1994 and 2000, child poverty fell every year and reached levels not seen since 1978. In addition, by 2000, the poverty rate of black children was the lowest it had ever been.
    Again, this coincided with an economic boom. It's interesting that an article written in 2006 would stop measuring in 2000...did the subsequent years fail to bolster his case?

    I'm not necessarily opposed to requiring work in exchange for poverty assistance, from those recipients who are able to work...but this article wholly fails to make the case that welfare reform worked. A better solution to eliminating poverty is to fix our schools, subsidize childcare for parents who want to work, make sure everyone has access to health insurance, and stop locking poor people in cages for years or decades at a time.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 07-14-12 at 03:49 PM.
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    Re: should we gut welfare reform?

    I think the administrative action is limited to TANF. Discussion of other programs on this thread is a distraction from the subject at hand.

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    Re: should we gut welfare reform?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    The welfare reform of the 90's was one of our few, recent, bi-partisan true success stories. Millions of people were lifted out of poverty. According to the Brookings institute, for example:




    [later edit] HAH - I was going to fast and accidentally voted wrong in my own poll!
    Just because someone has a job doesn't mean that job pays a livable wage, which is why they continue to get government assistance.
    Also, we need to legalize recreational drugs and prostitution.

  7. #17
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    Re: should we gut welfare reform?

    Quote Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
    I think the days of bi-partisan success stories have come to an end. This country is moving toward greater partisanship, not toward greater compromise.
    I think you are probably right. As our problems grow larger, each side will see the other as doing more damage.

  8. #18
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    Re: should we gut welfare reform?

    Quote Originally Posted by samsmart View Post
    Just because someone has a job doesn't mean that job pays a livable wage, which is why they continue to get government assistance.
    Which presents a whole 'nother passel of problems:

    Why a single mom is better off with a $29,000 job and welfare than taking a $69,000 job

    ...The U.S. welfare system sure creates some crazy disincentives to working your way up the ladder. Benefits stacked upon benefits can mean it is financially better, at least in the short term, to stay at a lower-paying jobs rather than taking a higher paying job and losing those benefits. This is called the “welfare cliff.”

    Let’s take the example of a single mom with two kids, 1 and 4. She has a $29,000 a year job, putting the kids in daycare during the day while she works.

    As the above chart – via Gary Alexander, Pennsylvania’s secretary of Public Welfare — shows, the single mom is better off earning gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income and benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income & benefits of $57,045....

    why would someone making $29K here want a raise to $32K that meant a net loss of income?






    But the issue isn't welfare cliffs - it's whether or not we should get rid of the work requirement that was the heart of Welfare Reform in the 90's.



    Wonder how ole Bill Clinton feels about this. It'd be interesting if we see another "gaffe" sometime in the not too distant future.
    Last edited by cpwill; 07-15-12 at 10:05 AM.

  9. #19
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    Re: should we gut welfare reform?

    Quote Originally Posted by samsmart View Post
    Just because someone has a job doesn't mean that job pays a livable wage, which is why they continue to get government assistance.
    What? That implies that ANY work is OK, as ANY WAGE will magically become a "living wage" if you simply fill out forms to make it so. Another elephant in the welfare room is the NEED to have a dependent, as that ALONE, makes you into a "family". So not only does your McJob not support YOU, it now qualifies YOU and your added dependent to get taxpayer funded assisance. One crucial part of Clinton's reform was preventing additional out of wedlock children from causing a "raise" in benefits and poof, like magic that behavior stopped (or slowed drastically), ONLY in states that actually enofrced it. Link: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d01924.pdf
    Last edited by ttwtt78640; 07-15-12 at 10:26 AM.
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  10. #20
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    Re: should we gut welfare reform?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    No. But we need to "clean it up." When link cards can be used in casino's . . . when people are buying diapers and selling them to their neighbors off their link cards . . . and, I'm sure, a host of other fraudulent uses, too many people are getting aid.
    Probably 0.1 %, but the conservative media/press assures that we know all about these incidents...
    IMO, welfare has been constantly improved, but this should never stop...

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