The Effects of Welfare reform.

The Personal responsibility and work Opportunity act was passed and signed into law in 1996. The legislation is also known as Welfare reform. The act redistributed welfare delivery, and structure from the Federal government to state, and local governments. Allowing states to determine their own model for welfare. Since then some states have placed more requirements for welfare recipients  then the act placed.
Some of the major provisions of the PRWORA of 1996 include but are not excluded to:
1)      Requiring welfare recipients to be actively in search of employment. Limiting benefits for beneficiaries who do not obtain employment two years after receive benefits.
2)      The act also placed a 5 year lifetime limit on benefits paid by federal tax dollars, however there are some exceptions for children.
Now we are on to the real felt effects of Welfare reform. Firstly A study conducted by “The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,” published in 1999[Yes over ten years ago] found that from 1993-1995 poor families income increased by near $1,000. However the poorest families income after the passage of Welfare reform decreased even though the economy was experiencing significantly better economic growth. Their income fell by around $750 dollars in the two years preceding legislation. [1]
Other findings from the study show a significant drop in the number of children leaving poverty or extreme poverty. From 1993-1995 2.4 million children were lifted out of extreme poverty, compared to only 360,000 in 1995-1997, this is again despite a better economy during the latter years. [1]
The above mentioned effects are a bit shocking and disappointing for the well being of American families yet there's more.  
Before the welfare reform act 12 million Americans were on welfare, after the act the number of Americans on welfare fell to 5 million in 2001 or by 60%. Total yearly benefits for those on welfare fell by around $200 or by 10%. Total welfare spending equaled 28 billion dollars in 1996, and 24 billion dollars in 2001.[2,3] If your scratching your head wondering, “How come total welfare spending only fell by 15% when the number of people on welfare fell by 60% and their benefits fell by 10%?”[2,3]
The answer lies in the fact that the major effect of Welfare reform was a substantial increased in administration costs, commonly known as  bureaucracy, and wasteful spending. In fact the total amount of administration costs increased by 300%. [2,3]. After doing the math I found that we could double the number of people on welfare without adding a cent to the total cost of welfare, if we simply repealed “The Personal responsibility and work Opportunity act (welfare reform)”. The savings would come in the reduction in wasteful spending.
The major reasons why welfare reform increased wasteful spending include but don’t exclude:
1)      A decentralized system. Instead of one federally operated program there are now 50 different ones.
2)      Requirements on welfare recipients such as that they must be actively looking for a job. There’s tons of paperwork that has to be done to prove you’re looking for a job and it takes government time and employees to make sure you’re following the requirements.

Feel free to copy and past these realities as you desire.

Footnote #1
Footnote #2
Footnote #3



Been Here Before

A strange thing happened to me this Fall.  I stopped writing regularly about politics, for the first time since 2005.  I absorbed about as much as I always have, but all I had little more to say than "This is stupid."  Rinse, repeat.

I've always felt that the best blogging -- at least the stories I enjoyed reading the most -- were 2 parts productive anger, and one part cynicism, as least toward the two party architecture of our politics.  And in November, I was angry.  The Democrats had just backed away from the only winable fight on the Bush Tax Cuts, and seemed hell bent on heading into the election with nothing much to get voters, at home either content or disenfranchised, out to the polls to fight back.  Part of that was the policy they were defending, and part of it was the lack of any unified, consistent message.  You can't campaign on principle your policy doesn't back up, and the principle the policy does portrays -- Eh, we sorta tried? -- isn't a winning slogan.  Ta-da!  GOP "mandate."

We've been here before. 

In 2006, I remember making calls for Claire McCaskill from a coffee shop in northern Utah, almost as a rebellion against the politics of the state I live in as much as wanting to be a part of what seemed like an actual "movement" developing in the Democratic Party.  Dean was out fighting, the message was tight, targeted, and right.  A takeover was a-foot.  Right?

In 2008, I remember sitting in that same coffee shop re-drafting talking points for a long shot congressional candidate headed to an OFA event in Salt Lake City, feeling I was still a part of something bigger.  That campaign ended with the predictable 60/30 split Democrats can't seem to break here.  I was a bit frustrated with the voting betrayal of some I'd worked for in 2006.  But Obama was about to take the White House, Democrats were going to have their better-than-working-conservative majority, and the state party here was finally standing up, if a bit wobbly still, on two legs.  There was still a sense of "movement" to it all for me.  Call it naive, but for me that feeling is where it's at.

This fall, when the pre-election Bush Tax Cut vote fight was scrapped, Democrats were running away from the health care reform many of the same helped to hobble, and I found myself writing -- embarrassingly often! -- in defense of Blue Dog Jim Matheson (yes, his opponent, Morgan Philpot, was that crazy, and things were trending dangerously close to a Bishop/Chaffetz/Philpot trifecta with little to offer but pandering to the same base that had just positioned the Skousen brain-trust Mike Lee as a US Senator), my energy and productive anger fizzled.  The Democratic Party suffered the same self-induced setbacks in 2010 they struggled with 2002-2005, and I was just angry.

We've been here before.

The past months, I've re-read those that had always inspired me before.  Drew Western.  Lakoff, Sirota, Moulitsas/Armstrong too.  I even tried watching David Gregory pretend to be useful a few times, hoping that might flare me up.  I buried myself in what local volunteering there was available, and gave up writing for longer than I had since first creating the ol' blogger account.

Last week though, I felt a little spark.  Still a bit irked at Jon Tester's Dream Act vote (I'd made calls and volunteered for him back in the day too), I was struck by just how tone-deaf his newly announced 2012 challenger seemed, announcing along-side none other than his "President" Michelle Bachmann.  This is really their world, I thought, and it's lunatic!  Dream Act aside, I know if anyone asks, I'll go to work for Tester.  Seriously, President Bachmann, Mikey?

But what really brought me back from the brink of silence wasn't Rehberg and Bachmann or the frightening hilarity that was CPAC'11 this week.  It was Dana Carvey, circa 1996.  Check it out, at least the first minute.

Notice that?  Edit Fred Armisen's Obama in place of Carvey's Clinton, and you've got relevant 2012 satire, without a single script change from 1996.

This is the Republican Party, my friends.  Has been for a very, very long time. 

The Democratic Party is a long way from where I or you want it to be, and no doubt still room for More and Better Democrats, but as Greg Giraldo would've said: They aren't that team!

A few week's into the new GOP House, they've tried to redefine rape and leverage tax code against women, fought carbon regs for polluters, made good on their "pledge" to propose a middle class gutting budget, and continued to feed the anti-government hysteria while quietly taking credit for it's benefits.  (I had to leave the PATRIOT Act extension out as example, because... well, Obama wanted a longer extension than the GOP.  Thanks for that, Mr. President).

The Democratic Party has abandoned progressives many times, and will again.  But once in a while, maybe by accident, progressives make gains, either in policy or poll cycles.  The Democratic Party right now, with all it's warts, is still the best vehicle for progressive change.  It doesn't have to stay that way, but as of this post, it is the reality.

Frustration is healthy, but at some point I let it take me almost to the point of resignation, and I doubt I'm alone in that.  Political change is much more fullfilling when you've got a clearly defined ass to kick, and nothing will ever mandate that targeting corporatist hacks posing as Democrats and unhinged opportunists driving the TeaGOP back centuries in policy IQ are mutually exclusive.

Also, Dana Carvey is still funny.

Clinton vs. Obama: Credibility, Exaggerations, and Lies

With all the media hubbub surrounding Senator Clinton's 1996 Bosnia trip, you'd think the woman had never been to Bosnia, or that she just took a trip to the beach and worked on her tan with her daughter.

There have been accusations that she has lied about her trip. Some pundits are claiming it calls her credibility into question.

Let's just get one thing straight, right here, and now - there is a huge difference between lying and misspeaking.  I'll even go further, because there are some who hear everything Senator Clinton says under the veil of suspicion and believe her capable of calculating every single word she ever utters and incapable of "misspeaking," and I will call her misspeak an exaggeration.  I chose to call it an exaggeration, because similar to a lie, they both require a purposeful action - they are not accidents. But that is where the similarity ends.

An exaggeration, has a foundation of truth. To exaggerate means to represent as greater than is actually the case, or to overstate. A lie on the other hand, has absolutely no ounce of truth. A lie is a false statement deliberately presented as being true. To lie means to present false information with the intent of deceiving.
One can say she exaggerated the dangerousness of the trip, but one cannot say she lied and said the trip was dangerous. There were snipers. It was a potential war zone. It was dangerous. It was not a lie, it was an exaggeration.

There's more...

The Clintons Appointed More Minorities Than Any Other Administration Had

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Appointed Assistant US Attorney for Civil Rights during the Clinton Administration,  
Deval Patrick
  is now first Black Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, winning another State House for Democrats that had been held by Republicans.  Diversity works for Democrats.

Democratic "progressive" blogs may not be entirely convinced of the value of diversity among their participants, Matt Stoller Story with under 3% Black participation at MyDD and DailyKos, but the Clintons have been practicing diversity successfully for over three decades.

With Blacks making up 20% of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention, diversity is a crucial part of the winning electoral strategy and governing philosophy of the diverse Clinton team. This diary explains why the Clintons' proven competence at involving minorities and winning loyal Black and Latino support is a requisite skill for contesting and winning the Presidency.

There's more...


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