Thursday, March 7, 2013

Welfare Reform

Excerpts from and some additional commentary on:

President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform legislation in 1996. He claims it as a signature success of his presidency. Today, Conservatives say the law worked well and we should get even tougher on welfare recipients. Liberals say the law failed and we should repeal it.

-- Many claim success for the program, but today’s “This Week in Poverty” column in The Nation tells a different story

A stunning report released by the University of Michigan’s National Poverty Center reveals that the number of US households living on less than $2 per person per day—a standard used by the World Bank to measure poverty in developing nations—rose by 130 percent between 1996 and 2011, from 636,000 to 1.46 million. The number of children living in these extreme conditions also doubled, from 1.4 million to 2.8 million

Jack Frech, director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services in Appalachian Ohio, where he has been doing this work since 1973, told me that the state has cracked down on people who fail to meet their thirty-hour weekly work requirement “and in the last six months or so they’ve driven at least 30,000 people off of assistance. The welfare caseload in Ohio is dropping rapidly. ” He’s traveled throughout the county of late to see how conditions are changing. “There’s a growing number of families out there—through the combination of time limits and sanctions—who have no cash whatsoever, they’re just surviving on food stamps,” he said. “The housing conditions—people are doubling, tripling up even in little trailers. These kids are hungry, they’re sleeping in chairs, or makeshift beds, crammed together. They can’t afford transportation—they’re stuck out in these communities with no way to go anywhere or do anything.” --

So the program IS a great success, if your goal is desperate families and hungry children.

Of course, we are a Christian nation, so we do prefer these things.

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