Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Oh, we're still talking about how Obama cut the work requirement in welfare?

So let's keep talking about how Obama is gutting the work requirement for welfare!
From a purely political perspective, the waivers were a spectacular screw-up.  Essentially, Obama may have lost his presidency to make a few antipoverty bureaucrats at HHS happy.
The MSM keep protecting their snowflake by claiming the waivers to let states bypass the work requirement in the welfare law are not what the Romney campaign claims.  Well, what were they?  After all, nobody questioned the 16-year-old law until Obama found some unique sidestep around the law.

It looks like to believe that Obama didn't cut work requirements, you have to believe he'll make welfare recipients work even harder.  It's quite a leap of faith:
Now, as we all know, it's usually the case that when executive agencies claim legally dubious new powers they only use them to do good things, especially when they promise not to abuse their new authority. But still I have to ask: Why claim authority to waive the work requirements if not to undermine them? HHS insists that the whole point is to strengthen the law’s promotion of work, and points to a requirement that any waiver must be tied to a plan to increase the number of people moving to work by at least 20 percent. But of course the easiest way to do that is just to enroll far more people in the program. And as Clinton pointed out in his 2006 op-ed, the biggest success of welfare reform was reducing the rolls. The Obama administration may not have actually gutted welfare reform. But it has put a big, sharp machete up to its belly.
I, for one, welcome our President's authority to fundamentally ignore current about five months.


Nigel Tufnel said...

Obama allowed states to get a waiver if they could produce a plan that worked better than the federal plan. They had to demonstrate they could outperform it. You know, states rights and all that. It's the same thing he did to free up states like Massachusetts, in which education improvements were actually being held back by the Republican federal NCLB mandate.

From, which did a very thorough debunking of this:

"Ron Haskins was the Republican staff director of the Subcommittee on Human Resources for the House Ways and Means Committee from 1995 to 2000. Now at the Brookings Institution, Haskins’ biography states that he was “instrumental in the 1996 overhaul of national welfare policy.”

Haskins said Republicans at the time drafted the welfare law so that the executive branch could not waive work-participation rules. Obama’s unilateral action has understandably angered some Republicans who believe the administration lacks the authority to issue waivers, he said.

However, Haskins also said that the new waiver policy does not “gut welfare reform.” He cites two reasons: The federal government will continue to hold states accountable for moving people off welfare and into jobs, and the states have a tremendous financial incentive to use the new waiver authority to improve employment outcomes.

“The idea that the states will use this to bring people back on the welfare rolls … doesn’t make sense to me,” Haskins said. “The states are all about work. All they talk about is work. They agree with welfare reform and they want to figure out how to get everybody they can into the labor force — because it is to their advantage.”

Over the past 15 years, the federal government and states have spent $406 billion on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, and about 40 percent of that came from the states, according to the GAO.

Haskins notes that historically the “Republicans are the ones who talk about giving the states more flexibility. Romney himself talks about giving the states more flexibility.”

“Now all of a sudden the states shouldn’t get the flexibility because they are going to mess it up?” he says. “It doesn’t make sense.”

It doesn't make any sense, indeed, Ron.

Anonymous said...