Welfare at 10

August 21, 2006 at 9:28 am

The NY Times today runs a piece analyzing the landmark 1996 welfare reform legislation and its still lingering effects:

Ten years after a Republican Congress collaborated with a Democratic president to overhaul the nation’s welfare system, the implications are still rippling through policy and politics.

The law, which reversed six decades of social welfare policy and ended the idea of free cash handouts for the poor, was widely seen as a victory for conservative ideas. When it was passed, some opponents offered dire predictions that the law would make things worse for the poor. But the number of people on welfare has plunged to 4.4 million, down 60 percent. Employment of single mothers is up. Child support collections have nearly doubled.

“We have been vindicated by the results,” said Representative E. Clay Shaw Jr., Republican of Florida and an architect of the 1996 law who was vilified at the time. “Welfare reform was one of the most successful policy changes in our nation’s history.”


In an interview, former President Bill Clinton said he was “more convinced than ever” that he had been right to sign the bill, after vetoing two earlier versions that he had seen as too harsh.

“The bill has done far more good than harm,” Mr. Clinton said. “Most of the people who got jobs are still working.”

When the 1996 law was passed, Democrats like Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, liberal advocacy groups like the Children’s Defense Fund and liberal academics predicted that it would increase child poverty, hunger and homelessness. The predictions were not fulfilled.

For much more on this from the Heritage Foundation, watch Welfare Reform at 10: Marking the Milestone. Also, read The Impact of Welfare Reform, by Robert Rector.

Welfare Reform at 10: Marking the Milestone

August 17, 2006 at 1:28 pm

The Heritage Foundation this afternoon is hosting a stellar panel to talk about the greatest conservative policy success story of this decade. The panel is as follows:

2:00 P.M. The ‘96 Reform: What It Was and Why It Worked

Kate O’Beirne National Review (Moderator)

Eloise Anderson The Claremont Institute

Ron Haskins The Brookings Institution

Michael Wiseman George Washington University

Robert Rector The Heritage Foundation 3:00 P.M. Welfare Reform in America and Abroad

Matthew Weidinger U.S. House of Representatives Human Resource Subcommittee (Moderator)

June O’Neill Baruch College Mark Greenberg Center for Law and Social Policy Lawrence Mead New York University

Jason Turner The Heritage Foundation 4:00 P.M. Building on the Foundation

The Honorable Wade Horn Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Host(s): Michael Franc Vice President, Government Relations, The Heritage Foundation

Watch the event live here.

Welfare Reform turns 10

August 17, 2006 at 9:45 am

National Review Online chronicles the success story of welfare reform in their NRO Editorial today:

Ronald Reagan famously quipped that Washington had launched a war on poverty and poverty had won. By the early 1990s, over $5 trillion had been spent on welfare programs, and annual outlays on those programs had grown larger even than the defense budget. Swelling welfare rolls, chronic dependency, and rising illegitimacy rates accompanied this spending surge — until a Republican congressional majority came along. With next week marking the tenth anniversary of the GOP welfare reform, now is a good time to reflect on the most successful transformation of social policy in 50 years.

Welfare Reform turns 10

August 15, 2006 at 10:22 am

This week marks the 10th Anniversary of the enactment of welfare reform policy that abolished the old failed AFDC nanny-state handouts in favor of a conservative approach in which welfare recipients were introdiced to “workfare” and thereby the dignity that comes with being a productive member of society.

The results were spectacular. Millions were moved off the welfare roles and lives were changed.

Today, my Heritage Foundation colleagues Robert Rector — a key architect of the 1996 reforms — and Christine Kim write a blog post commemorating this success story on the front page of Red State. Be sure to head over their and check it out.

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