Do New HHS Work Requirement Waivers Gut Welfare Reform? That Depends On Whether You Trust the Obama Administration

Is the Obama administration “gutting” welfare reform by getting rid of its work requirements, as the Romney campaign claims in a recent ad? Not quite — or at least not yet. But the administration is asserting legally dubious authority to waive work requirements that have been crucial to the success of the reformed welfare system.

First, some background: In 1996, welfare reform legislation overhauled the program by turning what had been an entitlement into a more limited program that discouraged the endless mass dependency that had come to plague welfare. The reform bill converted the program into a system of state block grants and, crucially, tied funding to federal work requirements.

The resulting program was not perfect by any means, but nearly all observers agreed it was an obvious improvement over the old system, leading to vastly smaller welfare rolls: Total enrollees dropped from 12.2 million to 4.5 million over the next decade, and caseloads declined 54 percent. In a 2006 New York Times op-ed celebrating the law’s 10 year anniversary, President Clinton, who signed the overhaul into law, offered an explanation for the reform’s success:

At the time, I was widely criticized by liberals who thought the work requirements too harsh and conservatives who thought the work incentives too generous. Three members of my administration ultimately resigned in protest. Thankfully, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans voted for the bill because they thought we shouldn't be satisfied with a system that had led to intergenerational dependency....Sixty percent of mothers who left welfare found work, far surpassing predictions of experts. Through the Welfare to Work Partnership, which my administration started to speed the transition to employment, more than 20,000 businesses hired 1.1 million former welfare recipients.

The success, in other words, was the reduction in rolls and caseloads, and the push towards work, real work, was the key. As Mickey Kaus notes in a helpful welfare reform primer, “a great deal of effort was put into defining what qualified as work, and making sure that work actually meant work and not the various BS activities (including BS training activities) the welfare bureaucracies often preferred to substitute for work.”

But in a July 12 memo, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a memo asserting the authority to waive those carefully determined work requirements. The memo was at least partly in response to written requests from two states with GOP governors, Nevada and Arizona, for more leeway to pursue welfare reform’s employment goals.

So what’s the big deal? The problem is not so much with the particular requests from Nevada and Utah, which aren’t likely to undermine the work focus of welfare reform, but with HHS's assertion of authority to waive the law’s work requirements. That authority doesn’t really exist in the statute, and is therefore of questionable legality.

The long-term reason to worry is about what HHS will do with that authority. As Cato Institute Senior Fellow Michael Tanner tells me, “It really is a question of how much you trust the Obama administration. They have unilaterally granted themselves a waiver authority that does not actually exist in the legislation — surprise! — but say that we shouldn’t worry: They won’t use it to actually weaken work requirements.” 

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.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Almanian 1||

    The long-term reason to worry is about what HHS will do with that authority.

    No, no. Nothing to "worry about" at all. They'll abuse it - no worries.

    And thanks for the REASON-ed response (didja see what I did there? didja?) to all the bombast from the Teams. I understand the roots of the current kerfuffle much better now - thanks!

  • LibertyMark||

    I'm just responding to this first comment to warn people of the stupidest performance of T o n y I have ever seen on this forum. And that's saying something.

    Prepare to be entertained/disgusted.

  • T o n y||

    You could just say Mitt Romney's a big fat liar, and it would define this controversy with maximum honesty compared to the paranoid speculation in this article that seems to exist to give Romney a little bit of an out. Romney's ad is a big fat lie. That's all.

  • Brutus||

    So Obama isn't gutting welfare reporm, just usurping the power to do so. Did I get you right?

  • T o n y||

    You got the author of this pointless article right, but not me.

  • Brutus||

    So what's the point of seizing the power, if not to use it? It's like a gun in a play, Tony, if you present one in Act I, by Act III you have to use it.

  • T o n y||

    If there was an unconstitutional assertion of authority, let the courts sort it out. I don't know if that's the case. Nor do I care. What I do care about is Romney's shameless lying.

  • Brutus||

    "If." Funny. There's no question that Obama is claiming this power. And since he is, isn't he intending to use it? If not, why did he claim it?

    So Romney's saying that Obama is gutting welfare reform is just anticipatory.

  • T o n y||

    I wish. It was a huge mistake.

    But he didn't say "will" he said "is."

  • Brutus||

    But he didn't say "will" he said "is."

    And you leap the length of your leash over the tense of the verb?

  • ||

    As opposed to Obama's shameless lying?

  • wareagle||

    Tony,stop. Obama and his minions are lying. Welfare reform has worked and the administration wants to replace work with things like resting and spending time with your kids, among other options that no one would ever conflate with work.

  • ||

    Don't forget "journaling" and "smoking cessation". This is another Obama blatant act of "Don't worry, your sugar daddy is here to make it all better...just make sure to vote for me."

  • Adam330||

    "If there was an unconstitutional assertion of authority, let the courts sort it out. I don't know if that's the case. Nor do I care."

    Well, first, the courts probably won't wade into this since no one will have standing to challenge it. And second, it seems pretty legitimate for people to decide to vote against Obama for acting illegally (particularly where there is no other way to hold him accountable).

  • Kwanzaa Cake||

    The plan is obvious, isn't it? Don't issue new requirements before the election. Then, win the election, gut the work requirements, and become the "tranfsformational" president Obama always wanted to be. As in, transferring ever-more Americans onto the government dole.

  • John||

    Yup. That is the plan. And the Dems in the Senate can filibuster any attempt to stop it.

    I almost kind of hope he wins because this country deserves to see and experience exactly what these people want.

  • ||

    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.

    That's some weapons-grade sarcasm, Peter. :D

  • T o n y||

    Here's some speculation: at least until the election, Obama will do absolutely nothing intentionally that will make him look like he's doing anything to confirm Republicans' absolute #1 most important domestic policy obsession, that black people are getting too much of white people's money.

    That won't stop Romney from just making shit up to fit the narrative, of course.

  • Hyperion||

    I don't know so much about what Republicans think, but there are not too many of them around here. What Libertarians think is that lazy people who don't want to work are already getting way too much of the tax payers money, period. Race card not gonna play here, Tony.

  • A Serious Man||

    Buh buh White Privilege and equality of opportunity!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    White Man's Greed Runs A World In Need!

  • Loki||

    Buh buh White Privilege and equality of opportunity results!

    FIFY. This is what egalitarian collectivists really want.

  • Hyperion||

    Equal outcomes. Yep, that is it. I don wanna work, it's not fun and is stifling my creative abilities, just give me the same stuff that guy over there has.

  • RBS||

    In tony's world black people are assumed to be lazy. But they aren't racist at all.

  • tarran||

    Every time he writes on the subject, I become more convinced that Tony is a racist who thinks that black people need to be ruled and domesticated by people like him or sink into savagery.

    He seems to assume that anyone who doesn't want to exercise such a power over them must want them to sink into savagery and thus be a white supremacist.

    At times I am fascinated by the stereotyping his prejudices lead him to.

    The fact that blacks are human beings that should be left to manage their own affairs never crosses his mind.

  • Hyperion||

    Every time he writes on the subject, I become more convinced that Tony is a racist who thinks that black people need to be ruled and domesticated by people like him or sink into savagery

    Are you saying that he's a Democrat?

  • Hyperion||

    Tony actually believes that human beings should be left to manage their own affairs, as far as sexual preference is concerned. On everything else, not so much.

  • wef||

    as far as sexual preference is concerned

    only a short term concession

  • T o n y||

    I don't think, because it's not true, that blacks represent a majority of welfare recipients. That's just what Republican politicians want you to think, so that in their quest to transfer wealth upward they get you to vote for them by making you think your money is going to dirty blacks. This is not a secret (anymore). It's how Republican politics has worked for decades.

    Now Romney seems to want to get in on the act. The fact that he's Romney and perfectly willing to just make shit up out of thin air just adds to the delicious hideousness of it all.

  • RBS||

    willing to just make shit up out of thin air

    Oh the irony!

  • Brutus||

    So iniquitous Republicans are willing to sacrifice their honkey consitutencies to make us all think they're stiffing the black guy?

  • Loki||

    "T o n y| 8.8.12 @ 4:14PM |#

    I don't think"

    The hell you say?!

  • Translucent Chum||

    I'm going to quietly tug my chin thinking about how all those rich poor people are making those poor rich people wealthy. Yes.

  • T o n y||

    There is no "lazy people on the government dole" without racism. It is a Republican-invented election strategy, not a representation of reality. So to the extent that libertarians buy into that stereotype, I'm so very sorry you've been duped so much.

  • ||

    There is no "lazy people on the government dole" without racism.

    Seriously?
    I mean stop and read what you just wrote.

    You seriously believe that everyone who objects to people collecting handouts must be assuming that the people collecting those handouts are black, and oppose them only for that reason.

    You seriously think that nobody could possibly object to the idea that someone who is not working should get something for free, regardless of race.

  • T o n y||

    I seriously think nobody is going to vote against his own handout. I have never heard of a libertarian turning down unemployment benefits on principle.

  • T||

    I've never filed for them, even when I was eligible. So, there you go. Have I made your day a little brighter?

  • Hyperion||

    Me either. I was out of permanent employment for 4 months in 2008, so I sucked it up and took what part time consulting jobs I could find.

  • Brutus||

    I seriously think nobody is going to vote against his own handout.

    Which is exactly the Obama strategy. More handouts, more votes.

    And you think these waivers aren't going to be showered onto compliant constituencies, Tony?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Silly Brutus, it's not a political machine when a scion of corrupt Chicago politics does it.

  • Brutus||

    As they say, HM, when you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can certainly count on Paul's vote come election day.

  • T o n y||

    Someone like Brutus inevitably comes along and proves me right. You others do notice that, don't you?

  • Brutus||

    Just silly.

  • Scaliwag||

    No, clearly peter is white and Paul is a lazy, shiftless, darkie.

  • Barack Obama||

    "I seriously think nobody is going to vote against his own handout."

    I'm way ahead of you on that Tony. Way ahead.

  • ||

    I seriously think nobody is going to vote against his own handout.

    Most people call that buying votes.

  • ||

    I have. I have a libertarian friend who got laid off last fall. He worked for a friend of his's company, and rather than take money from that business (part of UI is paid by the former employer) he immediately got another job.

  • ||

    I seriously think nobody is going to vote against his own handout. I have never heard of a libertarian turning down unemployment benefits on principle.

    Even if the handout isn't "yours", that doesn't imply you think the recipient is from another race.

  • #||

    That and he's apparently never met anyone on welfare or food stamps or the like.

    But yes typical liberal think - if you don't agree with me, you must be racist.

  • Hyperion||

    Tony just topped Obamas you didn't build that gaffe. Fuck, I doubt that even Joe Biden has ever said anyting that stupid.

  • John||

    You seriously believe that everyone who objects to people collecting handouts must be assuming that the people collecting those handouts are black, and oppose them only for that reason.

    You have to remember Tony is a racist white supremacist. When he hears "lazy person" he thinks "black person" because in Tony's mind only black people are lazy and all black people are lazy.

  • T o n y||

    No, when I hear Republican code words, I think "Oh, Republican code words."

    I personally don't give a shit who is lazy and who isn't. It's not my business and it's not government's.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I get the feeling that Tony was one of those kids who played his rock vinyls backwards to hear the hidden Satanic messages.

  • Hyperion||

    I think it made him some sort of masochist or something like that. Afterall, he seems to love coming on Libertarian blogs and getting beaten to a pulp intellectually.

    The other day he was making a comment about how he loves strong authoritative women. I can just imagine him going off to serf porn of Dyke looking women wearing huge strapons, lol.

  • Loki||

    I get the feeling that Tony was one of those kids who played his rock vinyls backwards to hear the hidden Satanic messages.

    I get the feeling he's one of those kids that ate paste by the bucketful in kindergarten.

  • Hyperion||

    If you gave a crap at all about the economy, you should care when that lazy person is getting paid, by you, for doing nothing. Duh.

  • T o n y||

    I don't support poking into people's personal lives before deciding whether they get subsistence payments, no.

    I think there are much better ways to do this than the US does, however.

  • T||

    I don't support poking into people's personal lives before deciding whether they get subsistence payments, no.

    So, you don't support means testing welfare?

  • T o n y||

    Means testing, yes. But if people would prefer to collect government checks (and live the lavish lifestyle that affords) than get a job, I don't see how that's any of my business. To the extent that our welfare system is too generous such that it discourages work, that's a problem. But, of course, the problem in this country right now is a lack of jobs, not a lack of people willing to work. Lazy welfare queens is and always has been a Republican stereotype meant to get certain people's votes. It's generally been my experience that the poorer a person is, the harder he works.

  • T||

    But if people would prefer to collect government checks (and live the lavish lifestyle that affords) than get a job, I don't see how that's any of my business.

    Okay, then. Thanks for the martian perspective on welfare.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Open your fucking eyes! Since LBJ ended poverty, black out of wedlock births have gone from 25% to 75%. According to the CDC, 49% of black teenage girls have an STD. According to the Dept. of Education black fourth graders not able to read at their grade level is 67%. The KKK probably applauds you.

  • Brutus||

    I don't support poking into people's personal lives before deciding whether they get subsistence payments, no.

    But let them try to sell a good or service, and Tony'll be on them like a pit bull on a poodle.

    Why the insouciance now? If those dollars were being transferred between people on a voluntary basis, you'd be elbowing your way into the transaction to make sure it produced some gaseous idea of socially beneficial results. Now you don't think anyone should do it when it's a coercive transaction?

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 8.8.12 @ 4:27PM |#
    'No, when I hear voices in my head, I *kn ow* they're right!'

    FIFY, shithead.

  • ||

    You think it's impossible for Republicans to think that white people could be lazy?

  • Hyperion||

    Tony, this statement proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have no fucking clue what you are talking about. Geez, that is one of the most blatantly clueless things I have ever heard anyone say on a blog. And I have heard plenty. So the lazy white people that I have personally known, who continue to stay on the government dole, that is because of racism?

  • T o n y||

    They're not who Republican voters have in mind when they vote. You really don't get this, do you?

    What the fuck business is it of yours, or politicians, whether a person is lazy or not? Aren't you supposed to be a libertarian?

    Subsistence programs exist to keep people's children from starving. I'm all for minimizing their need by maximizing employment opportunities. That is entirely beside the point, however.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 8.8.12 @ 4:25PM |#
    "They're not who Republican voters have in mind when they vote."

    Shithead claims to read minds.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    They're not who Republican voters have in mind when they vote.

    You know, Tony, you should do more with your telepathy than post asinine comments on an internet forum. With superpowers like yours, you could prevent crime or something like that.

  • T o n y||

    I didn't make this up. Why do you guys pretend to be so ignorant of this all the time?

  • Brutus||

    Isn't Lee Atwater dead?

  • Scaliwag||

    Hey Everybody! It's 1968 again! Those 42 years you thought had passed? Never happened.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And the Southern Strategy has relevance in 2012 because...?

  • T o n y||

    And the Southern Strategy has relevance in 2012 because...?

    ...Mitt Romney just made it so?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So any criticism on Obama is "Southern Strategy". Got it.

  • Brutus||

    If Mitt Romney were a Democratic Nationall Committeeman, he'd be just like Bull Connor!

  • ||

    And the Southern Strategy has relevance in 2012 because...?

    ...Mitt Romney just made it so?

    What, you can't even mention welfare reform without engaging in a "southern strategy" of racism?

    Fuck, somebody tell Bill Clinton.

  • Scaliwag||

    Many black men on welfare are married to white women, so when I think of welfare, I think of big, fat, white chicks.

  • Hyperion||

    I think black guys really like big fat white women, I always see them with them at the mall. I like curvy women myself, just not big fat beached whales.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I think black guys really like big fat white women

    Which is why Seal married Heidi Klum. What a whale, that one!

  • Brutus||

    Which is why Seal married Heidi Klum. What a whale, that one!

    Yeah, but she slimmed down too much and he's kicking her to the curb now.

  • Hyperion||

    You aren't even making any sense now Tony. You drunk already today or something?

  • ||

    They're not who Republican voters have in mind when they vote.

    Really? There are no Republicans who think of lazy white people when they vote against welfare? Really?
    The ONLY POSSIBLE people they could be thinking of are black. Really?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    There are more whites getting welfare/food stamps/transfer payments/subsidies/"disability"/etc than blacks - your baseline assumption seems to be rather bigoted, or ignorant... either way.

  • Kwanzaa Cake||

    Actually, your position is that it is better for those blacks to remain depedents than to earn their own money in the marketplace. There is no other explanation, since the left still hates a deomstrably successful reform that moved welfare recipients to self-sufficiency. It's not just because you want to keep control over all aspects of these folks' lives, but because you share the liberal assumption that blacks are too stupid to make their own living.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 8.8.12 @ 3:51PM |#
    'That won't stop Obama from just making shit up to fit the narrative, of course.'

    FIFY, shithead.

  • John||

    Because all black people are on welfare. And the only thing black people care about is welfare. Right Tony?

    You, like most liberals, are a disgusting racist with horrible views about black people. I know that kind of racism is allowed and even encouraged in the various leftwing internet swamps you normally inhabit. But it is not around here. Take that racist crap elsewhere you troll.

  • Hyperion||

    I was on Yahoo posting a few days ago, and the topic was about a shooting in Detroit. There was a black guy on there calling out the black community about the attitude and the violence in the inner city areas. Other posters proved him right really fast by accusing him of moving to whitey suburbs and acting like an Uncle Tom, etc. Whites sure as hell do not have a monopoly on racism. Just sayin...

  • RBS||

    Yahoo comments are some of the worst around. Second only to ESPN.com in stupidity.

  • Hyperion||

    You haven't been to Huffpo or Politico, have you?

  • RBS||

    I should have been more clear. ESPN and Yahoo comments are what I imagine would happen if a bunch of insane 12 year olds had internet access.

  • Hyperion||

    Spend an evening on HuffPo or Politico, and you will see what it is like if retarded and crazy 8 year olds had internet access.

  • ||

    Yahoo comments are some of the worst around. Second only to ESPN.com in stupidity.

    I think you are underestimating the abilities of Shrike, Tony and joe.

  • T o n y||

    Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn't have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he's campaigned on since 1964 and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

    Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

    Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."

  • John||

    Tony,

    Just because you think it is okay to be a racist and all of your friends are racists, doesn't mean it is okay.

    The people on this board judge people individually. We don't think black people are inferior. You do. Over and over again you show how you think black people are some kind of children whose lives need to be controlled and taken care of by benevolent white people.

    I feel sorry for you. But you need to understand that those kinds of views and that kind of belief in white supremacy isn't respected here. Go back to your liberal friends if you want to talk about how inferior black people are because no one is going to listen to it here.

    I would think you of all people would understand how nasty prejudice is. But apparently no one ever taught your that it is wrong when you do it.

  • John||

    Tony if you want to be racist, you need to find another forum. Keep posting the N word and diatribes about how black people can only succeed with the help of others, and we will have reason ban you and your posts deleted.

  • T o n y||

    Who is "we," fascist? I was quoting the inventor of the Republican election strategy to which I referred.

    The principal vote-getting strategy of the party you belong to is to convince enough white people that Democrats want to take their money and give it to black people. This is not a controversial statement, though it should be controversial that Romney is still using the strategy.

    It should also be a scandal beyond measure that the Republicans are actively suppressing minority votes in order to make up for the fact that their universally white voting base is losing demographic ground.

    But go on distracting from these facts by calling me a racist for quoting the architect of your own party.

  • John||

    Tony I am not the one claiming all lazy people are black and all black people are on welfare and welfare is only important to black people. You are. So you can scream about dead white guys all you want. But that doesn't change the fact that you are a racist or make me any more willing to let you off the hook for being so.

  • T o n y||

    I didn't say that either, and you damn well know it.

    I'm saying ignorant fucks who vote Republican perceive it that way, otherwise they wouldn't have ever been so anti-welfare. It's an evilly genius strategy--the antigovernment crazies get what they want, and they get it by getting people to vote for it. All it took was a little racism and lying.

    We'll see how the GOP base responds to attempts to gut Medicare. They still like that handout.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 8.8.12 @ 4:34PM |#
    'I'm saying people who don't vote like me must be racists!'

    FIFY, shithead.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Actually, there is an element of truth to that. I'm sure a certain percentage of old White "hands of my Medicare" "establishment" GOP get riled up when they think their diabetus medicine could even cost less if the government wasn't giving money to those welfare mama Snoopy Dog listenin' ghetto types. But kindly explain why we L/libertarians should give a fuck about what the establishment GOP thinks?

  • Brutus||

    But kindly explain why we L/libertarians should give a fuck about what the establishment GOP thinks?

    This. And shouldn't good Democrats be wringing their hands with glee that Republicans are cutting off more ofay types with the actual effects of welfare reform, thus cutting their own electoral throats?

  • T o n y||

    You shouldn't, except to the extent that your "states' rights" and anti-social-welfare rhetoric comes from them. To whatever extent that is, it's sad.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You shouldn't, except to the extent that your "states' rights" and anti-social-welfare rhetoric comes from them.

    Umm, no. No, it doesn't.

    Stop talking about shit you have absolutely no clue about. You embarrass yourself when you repeat things that you half-understood from the last time you read Zinn and Chomsky.

  • Scaliwag||

    "states' rights"

    Is that a reference to Obama saying that gay marriage should be left up to individual states?

    Are you calling Obama a racist or a gay hater? It's not exactly clear.

  • Scaliwag||

    /sarcasm

  • Brutus||

    Uh, wut?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Find one influential Republican who had good things to say about Atwater.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 8.8.12 @ 4:21PM |#
    "Who is "we," fascist?"

    Dunno, but I know who shithead is.

  • ||

    The principal vote-getting strategy of the party you belong to is to convince enough white people that Democrats want to take their money and give it to black people.

    Carter won the south in 1984.

  • ||

    1980 i mean.

  • Brutus||

    I don't think so, Josh. I think Jimmeh lost every southern state but his home state of Georgia.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "The principal vote-getting strategy of the party you belong to is to convince enough white people that Democrats want to take their money and give it to black people"

    Prove it - with unequivocal and absolute definitiveness.

  • Hyperion||

    careful, John. We don't want Tony shooting up a popeyes chicken or anything.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Damn, racists have a really elaborate way of getting their hate on -- even developing an Enigma-level code to communicate with one another. It's too much for a poor Puerto Rican like myself to understand, but I'm sure there's a vast qualitative difference between this sort of speculation, and other conspiracy theories about Jews, lizard people, etc.

    I'm so glad I have a white liberal to tell me all these things.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Wait, Tony's White? I thought he was a gay Black man.

  • Hyperion||

    He was a black lesbian in a past life. Now we're not sure what he is, just that he's stupid.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    If he were a Black lesbian in a past life, you'd think he'd have more respect for Zora Neale Hurston.

  • ||

    Right, so, welfare, in general, is perpetually off limits for political debate, because anyone who mentions it is automatically racist.

    In fact, let's just say it's impossible to use the word "welfare" without being racist.

    Wow. It's an amazing tool to make sure nobody ever discusses something you don't want to discuss.

  • ||

    God damn you are a racist shitbag.

    Did it ever occur to you that people don't like the idea of welfare because they don't like working their asses off so someone else can stay home and watch tractor pulls and make meth in their double wides?

    Cause that's who's mostly on welfare and that's who I think of when it's brought up.

  • T o n y||

    Cite?

  • Brendan||

    That race card, you didn't pull that.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I look forward to the revival of the old leftie cry of "Unitary Executive!1!1!1" every time O! says "I can do that myself"... I seem to be waiting in vain. Libertarians retain their healthy skepticism of any part of the Government proclaiming themselves new found powers, TEAM RED decrys it (for now...) and TEAM BLUE is suddenly silent where once quite vocal.

  • #||

    Seeing this and all of the other Team Blue hypocritical positions switching sides again would be the one thing going for a romney win. How entertaining will it be to see liberals pretend to care about executive power, civil liberties and was again? Oh and the filibuster will become sacrosanct again.

  • Hyperion||

    Most of the time I just don't care, or can't decide which of the lesser of two evils win. But there are sometimes when I want Romney to win just so all of the Liberals will move to Canada like they did when Boosh won a 2nd term. Oh wait...

  • fried wylie||

    I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, who, coincidentally happens to be Canada.

  • Hyperion||

    Fuck Canuckistan. Anyway, they are killig our children with that VC bud.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I look forward to president Romney granting waivers to various industries wrt CWA, ESA, CAA, ADA FEA etc.

  • R C Dean||

    Publish a fee schedule, and call it a fiscal responsibility measure.

  • wef||

    So what’s the big deal? The problem is not so much with the particular requests from Nevada and Utah, which aren’t likely to undermine the work focus of welfare reform, but with HHS's assertion of authority to waive the law’s work requirements. That authority doesn’t really exist in the statute, and is therefore of questionable legality.

    Therefore Romney did it too and so there!

    Servile logic.

  • ||

    Personally, I have no idea why HHS came up with idea that it had this authority. If only two Republican states want to waive the requirement, why would they care?

    Anyhow it is troubling that the executive branch is now claiming the authority to unilaterally waive the requirements of legislative acts with some regularity. Especially for seemingly trivial and politically ill-tuned uses.

    It's a WTF on multiple levels.
    Why would Obama claim this power now, politically. And why is any president able to claim it at all.

  • fried wylie||

    Why would Obama claim this power now, politically. And why is any president able to claim it at all.

    Fuck, You, That's, etc etc

  • Adam330||

    Because Democrats have been complaining about the work requirement ever since welfare reform passed. So they see this opportunity to assert the authority, but first use it in a relatively non-controversial way to establish it as precedent. Then in the future they expand it to waive the work requirements completely, and point to the established precedent for their waiver authority.

  • R C Dean||

    If an agency doesn't have statutory authority to do X, its claim that it has the authority to do X isn't "of questionable legality."

    Its flat-out illegal. Just like the IRS's ultra vires extension of tax credits to people who don't get their insurance through a state exchange.

    Why so delicate about this, Peter?

  • Barack Obama||

    I am the LAW!!!!!

  • fried wylie||

    we shouldn't be satisfied with a system that had led to intergenerational dependency

    Bill Clinton, 2012.

    FOUR MORE YEARS!

  • ||

    Bill Clinton, 2012.

    FOUR MORE YEARS!

    Hilary did run in 2008.

    Dems chose hopey changey instead.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Oh, yeah. Romney knows exactly what's wrong with this economy.

    Just go into the HR department of any company in America and they will tell you:

    "Man, we could really get this business moving if we just had more resumes from people on TANF. Where are all those great WIC and SNAP candidates when we need to be hiring here?"

  • RUExperienced||

    "Total enrollees dropped from 12.2 million to 4.5 million over the next decade, and caseloads declined 54 percent."

    Does anyone know how the stats for collecting disability have changed over that time period? Seems to me they just shifted from welfare to disability. We certainly aren't spending any less money on entitlements.

  • Registration At Last!||

    And prisons. Prisons are America's # 1 response to unemployment.

    Everybody thought: "yeah, get those dirty bums off welfare and save my tax dollars!!!"

    That money just got shifted to more farm subsidies, more prisons, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and police pensions.

    Once the government has a hold on some money, it is never, ever, ever going back to the taxpayer. If they give you a tax cut, they damn well will pay for it with bigger debt, not by saving money.

    The only question about government money is what program it's going to get spent on. Vote Team Blue, a little more of it goes to human services. Vote Team Red, and it's nothing but prisons for us and cluster bombs for everybody else.

  • Sevo||

    Registration At Last!| 8.8.12 @ 7:09PM |#
    "And prisons. Prisons are America's # 1 response to unemployment.
    Everybody thought: "yeah, get those dirty bums off welfare and save my tax dollars!!!"
    That money just got shifted to more farm subsidies, more prisons, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and police pensions."

    And Obama has done everything in his power to keep it that way.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Are you even aware that there is such a thing as a "newswire"? Google it sometime. You will find items reporting about Obama drawing down troop presence in Iraq nad Afghanistan you might take note of (something Mitt Romney insinuates he will halt).

  • Sevo||

    Registration At Last!| 8.8.12 @ 7:51PM |#
    "Are you even aware that there is such a thing as a "newswire"? Google it sometime. You will find items reporting about Obama drawing down troop presence in Iraq nad Afghanistan you might take note of (something Mitt Romney insinuates he will halt)."

    Oh, look! Ignoramus points to irrelevant sources and innuendo to prove his ignorance!
    And ignoramus ignores (as ignoramuses do) what it reported every day!
    Dipshit.

  • Sevo||

    BTW, dipshit, please tell us of how your god is reducing that prison population by not prosecuting all those folks smoking dope.
    What does newswire have to say about that?

  • Registration At Last!||

    The newswire says that people who call other people "dipshit" do not get the courtesy of a responsive reply.

    Drop.

    Dead.

    Right.

    Now.

  • ||

    So how is Obama reducing the prison population by not prosecuting pot smokers?

    And it's funny that you mention a draw down in Afghanistan when the campaign is trumpeting his ramp up to give him national security cred.

  • SengaMooo||

    Sounds like one heck of a plan to me dude. Wow.

    www.Gettin-Private.tk

  • thelowedown||

    Well, the waivers are legal. Before spouting off that they are not, you might want to read relevant information.

    http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title11/1115.htm
    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/program.....01203.html

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement