Ed Kilgore Faces Facts about Welfare Reform
Ed Kilgore’s thought develops as he finally faces facts.
It is entirely unsurprising that Paul Ryan and his many supporters have been advertising the [skip]in his budget proposal as the greatest thing since the Clinton-era welfare reform legislation. What is surprising is that some progressives seem to be going along with the characterization in order to grind some old axes about the 1996 act.
There was a big Sunday New York Times piece by Jason DeParle conflating the plight of “the poor” with those of the single unwed mothers affected by state-level reductions in cash assistance under the TANF program (the post-1996 name for the old Aid to Families With Dependent Children program, a.k.a. “welfare”).
Ezra Klein takes a different tack in suggesting that welfare reform’s record is an accurate yardstick for how the Ryan budget might work out: since Ryan (and for that matter, in his own proposal, Mitt Romney) wants to turn Medicaid, food stamps and other safety-net programs into state-run block grants, it’s important to look at how states have cut TANF to see how they might handle these other programs.
Ezra’s right about that, but like Paul Ryan, he’s mixing apples and oranges: TANF costs and caseloads were intended to go down in no small part because the other safety net programs, along with the extremely important earned income tax credit (EITC) were intended to pick up the slack.
so EITC expansion was part of welfare reform and critics of welfare reform are grinding old axes stuck in 1996 when they discuss poverty in the USA right now.
I assert that in this post he called Jason DeParle and Ezra Klein objectively pro Ryanist left deviationists.
Now he is basically saying they were right (see after the jump). I think that what we have here is a huge gap between perceptions which matter for politics and reality which matters for decent policy. Welfare reform is much loved both by most of the general public and by almost all of the very serious people. It is also a disaster.
Later he wrote
Indeed, we were about the only people in the non-technical chattering classes who seemed to understand the distinction between the Clinton administration’s philosophy of welfare reform (aimed at getting welfare recipients into private-sector jobs, not just through work requirements but with robust “making work pay” supports like an expanded EITC, which was enacted at Clinton’s insistence well before welfare reform) and that of congressional Republicans (House Republicans were mainly concerned about punishing illegitimacy and denying assistance to legal immigrants, while Senate Republicans enacted a bill that was just a straight block grant that let states do whatever they wanted so long as they saved the feds money).
Also note the recognition of uh like time and calenders and stuff
“expanded EITC, which was enacted … well before welfare reform”. Wow the man has noticed that 1993
My oh my it seems that by August 7 2012 criticisms of the 1996 welfare reform bill were no longer Paul Ryan serving old ax grinding eh. Why exactly is DeParle’s article on current events in Texas stuck in 1996 old ax grinding while this post is forward looking discussing of what shits Republicans were in 1996 (in writing the bill signed into law by Bill).
Now we have come full circle. Playing into Paul Ryan’s hands has become
Beyond everything I’ve already said about this ad, I’d also note Harold Pollack’s fine post today at Ten Miles Square about the realities of TANF,
he quotes with approval
Right now, states are often rewarded for simply cutting recipients off, or for other activities that do not successfully place recipients into stable jobs. The Obama administration is granting waivers to do better. Under the July 12 memorandum, states must “explain in a compelling fashion” why their proposed approaches would provide “more efficient or effective means to promote employment entry, retention, advancement, or access to jobs” which “will allow participants to avoid dependence on government benefits…..”
More generally, these Romney commercials warn us about a nonexistent problem: The supposed excessive generosity of cash assistance for poor families with children. The most pressing welfare problem is quite different: We’re neglecting millions of low-income families who need help. The number of Americans in poverty increased by ten million between 1996 and 2010. Unemployment among low-income single moms has correspondingly grown. Yet TANF serves a progressively declining share of children living in economic need. When welfare reform was enacted, 68 American families received AFDC/TANF benefits for every 100 families with children in poverty. By 2010, only 27 did.
So can anyone explain to me how the “really fine post today at Ten Miles Square”
differs from the old ax grinding od DeParle and Klain.
I think that Kilgore has finally recognised that he was wrong wrong wrong and that DeParle and Klein were just describing reality as reality based entities recognise that it really is, I think he owes them a HUGE apology.
I’m not totally convinced of Clinton’s intention overall, but I’m faily confident it was not to just the ideology that involves the idea of “the undeserving”.
Some day, people are going to realize there is no one under them pulling them down the ladder but people above them pushing on their heads.
Besides, at least giving money to the poor at least is government money going into the economy at the point that it has the most power to better the economy than putting it in at the top like we have been doing for decades.
Acceleration is a thrill, but velocity gets you there.
Just to add to my comment I posted this with some numbers this February:
Really folks, giving money to people who needed is not hurting us. It is actually helping us.
I started out writing this and it disappeared. Where does the US stand amongst its peers? In one study conducted at UW, the US came out dead last with regard to poverty.
Using the 2000 Luxembourg Study, half of Median Household Income for each country and a measure of resources equivalent to the the US net income; the US ranked last at 17% with Ireland at 16.5% and Italy at 12.7%. Poverty rates in Canada were much lower at 11.4% followed by Germany at 8.3%.
If the comparison is made strictly with households with children, the US increases to 18.8% followed by Ireland at 15% (decreased). Canada came in at 13.2 %. When the comparison is made utilizing the elderly, the US is second to England for poverty amongst the elderly the elderly even with SS improvements.
“analysis is substantially different from the earlier columns, in which the poverty threshold for each country is set based on its own income distribution in recognition that part of the concept of poverty is having less than what ‘the custom of the country” deems it needful to have.
In the absolute measure used in this table, the approximate amount that could be purchased in the United States with an income equal to the U.S. threshold is taken and the equivalent amount of income is calculated in other countries.
Under this measure, poverty in the United States is lower than that in the United Kingdom, and closer to other countries. Thus, the United States has higher poverty rates than most other rich countries under both measures, but especially so under relative measures.” ” Poverty Levels and Trends in Comparative Perspective”
Others using LIS data did a comparison based first on gross-market income and secondly basedon net-disposable income, and then compared the results of the two measures. The outcome of which showed the impact of transfer and tax policies. Again the US came near the bottom in reducing poverty with its programs. The US ranked last with regard to its cash and credit programs to the poor as a percentage of GDP.
Looking at differences in Labor supply, wages, and hours worked, the US exceeds that of 6 other countries (where there was comparable data). For example, the poor US household was working 1200 hours as opposed ~490 in the Netherlands and ~460 hours in Belgium.
What is the US doing to fight poverty? Looking to Florida and now Georgis, a law has been passed to require drug testing of applicants for assistance . . . which the applicant is supposed to pay for the test. This comes as a recommendation of Tarren Bragdon, director of the Foundation for Government Accountability who claim was applicants are more likely to be using drugs. The ferreting out of the druggies and denying them benefits would save the state money overall.
Not only did Bragdon’s recommendation not save the state money as “his” study was based on flawed statistics, the law was struck down by a Federal Judge who calling it a violation of the 4th Amendment unreasonable search tennant. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/25/rick-scott-drug-test-welfare_n_1031024.html
In the end the new law cost the state ~$45,000 more money after the state refunded money to those who passed. Apparently, the numbers of druggies on welfare never reached the percentage Tarren claimed. 2.6% tested positive as opposed to > 8% amonst the general population. Maybe it does cost money to be a drug user?
There is more to this stupidity amongst those such as Romney declaring he will offer the dignity of work to single female parented households while his wife who has not enjoyed the same dignity “OUTSIDE” of the household lectures others on the topic. The attack on the lower income brackets in meant to sway the argument away from the 1 percent who have enjoyed the gains of tax policy, etc. since 2003.
Well the basic fact
is that the U.S. economy does not provide enough jobs for everyone who needs one.
Tax Transfers may be necessary, but they are not a solution to poverty. Even if your welfare check is enough to put you over the “poverty line,” you are still poor.
The tragedy here, the sickening, evil, tragedy, is that we are not doing anything about it. Except electing lying politicians.