Welfare

Heritage Foundation: Stimulus Will Stimulate State Welfare Rolls

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The Heritage Foundation sees a dangerous stimulus to states expanding their welfare rolls in the new stimulus bill.

A key part of the Clinton-era welfare reform was changing the way the federal government reimbursed states for state welfare spending, switching to a flat rate that did not increase just to adjust to increases in the number of people in the state enrolled in welfare. Now:

For the first time since 1996, the federal government would begin paying states bonuses to increase their welfare caseloads. Indeed, the new welfare system created by the stimulus bills is actually worse than the old AFDC [Aid to Families with Dependent Children] program because it rewards the states more heavily to increase their caseloads. Under the stimulus bills, the federal government will pay 80 percent of cost for each new family that a state enrolls in welfare; this matching rate is far higher than it was under AFDC…..The House bill provides $4 billion per year to reward states to increase their TANF [Temporary Aid to Needy Families] caseloads; the Senate bill follows the same policy but allocates less money.

Proponents of the stimulus plan might argue that these changes are necessary to help TANF weather the current recession. This is not true. Under existing TANF law, the federal government operates a TANF "contingency fund" with nearly $2 billion in funding that can be quickly funneled to states that have rising unemployment. It should be noted that the existing contingency fund ties increased financial support to states to the objective external factor of unemployment; it specifically avoids a policy of funding states for increased welfare caseloads, recognizing the perverse incentives this could entail.

If the authors of the stimulus bills merely wanted to provide states with more TANF funds in the current recession, they could have increased funding in the existing contingency fund. But they deliberately did not do this. Instead, they completely overturned the fiscal and policy foundations of welfare reform.

Michael Lynch in 2002 and Cathy Young in 2006 surveyed for Reason some of the successful results of the 1996 welfare reform.

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  1. “Instead, they completely overturned the fiscal and policy foundations of welfare reform.”

    I remember during the election saying that the Democrats would put an end to welfare reform only to be told by Democrats that was just rightwing paranoia and no one was proposing that and it wouldn’t happen. Lying sacks of shit.

  2. I also seem to remember welfare reform being brought up to refute my claim that no government program really ever ends.

  3. Imagine my surprise.

  4. Clearly we need a Fairness Doctrine for the Internet to shut up the first three commenters.

  5. [Entry deleted – too many opinions of this nature have already been expressed. Please wait until more opposing viewpoints have been added, or rethink your position and try again]

  6. Clearly we need a Fairness Doctrine for the Internet to shut up the first three commenters.

    Ted Stevens and Senatorial friends already tried that.

  7. shrike,

    What are you talking about?

  8. “Pro Libertate | February 13, 2009, 11:09am | #
    shrike,

    What are you talking about?”

    Net neutrality? Just a guess if we’re talking Ted Stevens.

  9. Hey, people dependent on govt are valuable to govt, and those that create said dependency should be rewarded.

  10. Killing net neutrality was the Stevens/GOP attempt to control internet content.

    The Fairness Doctrine hyperventilation crowd conveniently veers away from the NN topic though.

    Its the same with the right-wing “internet gaming” law. “Freedom” is limited to just what they approve of.

  11. I don’t think net neutrality (or the lack thereof) and the Fairness Doctrine are remotely similar in effect. On the other hand, though some Democrats publicly talk about reviving the Fairness Doctrine, I doubt the Congress as a whole would buy into any attempt to restore it. And the Court would likely stick a stake through any such legislation.

  12. Srsly tho, think of teh childrens.

    Srsly you guys.

    —————————————

    Ok, that opinion should raise the net neutrality of this thread. Carry on.

  13. “Killing net neutrality was the Stevens/GOP attempt to control internet content.”

    I call shenandigans on that. How is not letting the government tell private industry what they can charge different customers “controling internet content”. In the end, that is really all was. It was telling ISPs what they could not engage in price discrimination.

  14. And the Court would likely stick a stake through any such legislation.

    Of course they would.

    I mean, they really would, right?

    Right?

    Oh, crap.

  15. You’re misinformed, John. NN was about content delivery prioritization. Some service providers want fee-based and political packet delivery.

  16. No net neutrality has not effectively chilled speech. The Fairness Doctrine did chill speech. It isn’t coming back, most likely, but in comparison, there is no comparison.

    P Brooks,

    If for no other reason than the court has five conservative votes, leaving out the obvious Constitutional failings of the doctrine.

  17. If for no other reason than the court has five conservative votes, leaving out the obvious Constitutional failings of the doctrine.

    (1) Any Court that approved McCain-Feingold could easily approve the Fairness Doctrine.

    (2) Five “conservative” justices for how long under an Obama administration? A bare majority on the Supreme Court is very thin reed indeed.

  18. Probably I’m being too optimistic. I do think the political fallout from an attempt to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine would be pretty bad, though this government seems unconcerned about 2010. Look at the blatant politics around control over the Census Bureau! If Bush had done that, we’d be hearing huge outcries. Still, I think the public has limited tolerance for these kinds of moves.

  19. Shrike:

    Have you thought of being a national security adviser. With a wit and analytic ability you have you’d be a nature for Team Hussein.

    Can we also hear about your opinions regaring the connections between gun control and enthanol subsidies? Such out of the box thinking must be rewarded if we are to reach a people’s paradise.

  20. We need to come up with a fatal virus that only affects brains that have liberal welfare supporting bias to them. Maybe if we cull the herd a bit by ridding us of many of the idiots that voted for Barry Sotero we can get back to a fairer and more reasonable governance. Aids that binds only to the liberal brain cells maybe??

  21. Hey I worked for McDonalds for four years, dude, I’m no welfare dude, I just want more money, a Mercedes, four weeks off in Tahiti, a six bedroom house, and full benefits, as benefits someone who voted for the One.

    Its so negative and racist to attack the One.

  22. Remember you read it here first. The Messiah will look good for maybe 2 or 3 years and then all hell is going to break loose. DEVASTATION!
    Wait and see! Just one man’s opinion: prepare.

  23. I’m about to graduate from college and I feel so disillusioned with American society and government. I know that eventually, in the foreseeable future, over half of my annual income will be confiscated and some will be distributed to persons I have never met nor will likely ever meet. This all in the name of social justice and equity. I want domestic tranquility, a strong military, good roads and bridges, and to be left the hell alone by the left.

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