May 29, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: The Atlantic "The New Welfare State: Faster, Cheaper ... and Out of Control?"

Joseph Lawler:
"In 1996, President Bill Clinton ignored the protests of his liberal base and signed a reform bill written by congressional Republicans that abolished the existing welfare entitlement and replaced it with a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. In doing so, he fulfilled a 1992 campaign promise to "end welfare as we know it," by instituting strict time limits and work requirements for recipients and block-granting funds to the states.

Within a few years, the number of families on welfare had shrunk by more than 50 percent. When caseloads remained low and single mothers' employment numbers and wages rose throughout the 2000-01 recession, even the law's critics began to take notice. Rebecca Blank, a member of Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers and a skeptic of the reform, acknowledged in 2006 that "[e]ven the strongest supporters of welfare reform in 1996 would not have dared forecast the steep declines and continued low levels of welfare caseloads a decade later."

Despite being mostly won over by the law's robust performance, Blank issued a warning: "in the face of a major economic shock ... the current system of public assistance may not provide adequate support for many of our poorest families."

The shock Blank worried about came in late 2007. Four years later, her fears seem to have been realized. Because of the 1996 law, welfare grants can't increase to accommodate surges in needy families during a downturn. The government simply block-grants about $17 billion to the states each year, regardless of the circumstances. ..." (Read more?  Click title)

"Unapologetic pursuit and tracking of patterns within the news others make since 2010."

No comments: