Source:The New Democrat
“This week marks the 19th anniversary of legislation that conditions income assistance for parents and children on participation in a disciplinary program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Over the lifetime of the brutal TANF regime, the provision of actual income assistance has been overshadowed by the imposition of rules and services to regulate poor mothers’ lives. As the Black Lives Matter movement shines a light on the racism of so-called criminal “justice,” it is an important moment to consider how the intersecting inequalities of race, gender, and poverty are reproduced in the policy that claims to promote poor peoples’ “welfare.”
From Common Dreams
“Twenty years ago in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, more commonly known as “welfare reform.” The welfare reform of 1996 sought to “end welfare as we know it,” as President Clinton had often stated. The Winter 2016 issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management has a “Point/Counterpoint” exchange on the effects, which at least for now is freely available on-line, although many readers will also have access through library subscriptions. The intellectual combat here isn’t in the binary, black vs. white. fire vs. ice, war-of-the-worlds style. Instead, Ron Haskins takes the position the glass-half-full position in “TANF At Age 20: Work Still Works” (pp. 224-231), and then the team of Sandra K. Danziger, Sheldon Danziger, Kristin S. Seefeldt, and H. Luke Shaefer takes the glass-half-empty position in “From Welfare to a Work-Based Safety Net: An Incomplete Transition” (pp. 231-238). The authors then offer a response-and-rejoinder to each other, as well.”
From the Conservable Economist
“Ron Haskins, co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution and senior consultant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, speaks about welfare reform and its milestones throughout history.”
Tim Taylor, makes some great points about the timing that Welfare to Work was done in 1996. The economy started booming again in 1994. The budget deficit was falling, unemployment was dropping. But we’ve had good economic booms where poverty didn’t fall at all and if anything went up. In the 1980s homelessness, became a national issue. Poverty went up and the prison population boomed.
In the 1990s the economy boomed after the 1990-91 recession, unemployment dropped dramatically, crime dropped dramatically and poverty which is the most critical issues in any Welfare reform, also dropped dramatically. Eleven-percent poverty level by 2000. The budget deficit didn’t just fall, but we had four balanced budgets in a row by 2001 and actually started paying down the national debt.
And yes the poverty level in America is now twenty-percent again, but that isn’t because of Welfare to Work. It would be higher without Welfare to Work. You might remember 2008-09 pretty well when we had this little economic disaster called the Great Recession. Which sent middle-income working families into families on Unemployment. You don’t get rich collecting Unemployment Insurance. People on Unemployment Insurance have lost their homes. Plus there was another recession from 2001-02 from another stock market collapse and thanks to 9/11.
The only way you get out of poverty (which means off of public assistance for non-retired workers) is with a good job. You need good skills to get a good job. If you’re a single-parent without good skills you’ll need childcare and health insurance as well. That is all part of Welfare to Work.
As much as today’s so-called Progressives (New-Left Socialists, in actuality) want to paint Welfare to Work as a racist scheme to kick minority families off of Welfare and force them to fend for themselves, you couldn’t be further from the truth if you were on Planet Pluto.
Welfare to Work and going further with that, with more childcare assistance, a higher minimum wage and make it more like 10-12 bucks an hour, forcing neglecting parents to at least take financially responsibility for their kids and making even low-income work pay more than Welfare, are the best things we can do for low-income families.
Work should never be an option on public assistance, but instead a requirement. Along with education and childcare, requiring parents, to keep their kids in school, would be big help as well.
Welfare Insurance, or cash payments, is only the first part in a new campaign to defeat poverty. That once you’re on WI you receive it but in a real short-term and take the first job that you’re qualified for. If you didn’t finish high school, you would do that as a condition for receiving Welfare. If you have a high school diploma now you’re in community college, or some other job training. Even if you have a job, but especially if you have a job and would get childcare assistance so you would have the time to get an education and work.
So instead of Welfare just being a net that catches people before they end up homeless or in jail or something, it instead is a vehicle to help people move themselves out of poverty. And once they finish their education they would even be eligible for small business loans and go into business for themselves.
Welfare and Public Housing, shouldn’t just be tools to prevent people from homelessness and starvation. But again vehicles to transport people out of poverty along with their kids.
If we truly want to fight poverty in America and I sure as hell do as both a Liberal and actual Progressive who wants to use government to empower people and create real progress, then homelessness and starvation prevention insurance, is not enough. You can’t just have people living a little more comfortably while still in poverty, but instead empower them to move themselves out of poverty. And even make it a requirement that people self-improve themselves. So we know who wants to work and be productive and who simply wants to live off of hard-working taxpayers.