Who Do You Trust to Tell You The Truth About Welfare’s Work Requirement?

When they weren’t trying to stoke the flames of outrage over Rep. Todd Akin’s unfortunate remarks about “legitimate rape,” democrats have been denouncing the “false” claim that last month, Barack Obama illegally gutted the work requirement enacted by Congress in 1996.

Yesterday, on the anniversary of the enactment of the law, Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, the man who wrote the “welfare reform” that Bill Clinton was eventually forced to sign, described the “dirty trick” that the current occupant of the Oval Office used to remove the work requirement by executive fiat.

Who are you going to believe on this issue, B. Hussein Obama and his stenographers in the Lame Stream Media, or Mr. Rector? The answer should be obvious.

I have a question for Obama supporters. After Paul Ryan began discussing Obama’s $716 billion raid on Medicare, democrats lamely responded that Republicans couldn’t be trusted to protect Medicare because they have never supported it. Using that reasoning, and knowing that like all radical leftists Barack Obama opposed the work requirement in 1996, can he be trusted to impose strict work requirements as part of grants of “flexibility” to states?

16 comments

  1. Obviously the LAME STREAM SCREAMERS (a/k/a loose cannon statists, to put in nicely)are in sync, in step with the talking/screaming points from the White House. Funny that the upcoming Democratic “Socialist” Convention is calling it the “Peoples Convention.”

    Coincidentally, received today from Heritage Foundation, Morning Bell:

    Media “Fact Checkers” Promote Obama’s Gutting of Welfare Reform

    Since Heritage’s Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley broke the story on July 12 that the Obama Administration had gutted the work requirements from the 1996 welfare reform law, the Administration has denied it. In recent weeks, media “fact checks” have popped up all over declaring The Heritage Foundation’s scoop “False.”

    Major media—most recently, CNN—have carried water for President Obama’s defense of rewriting the welfare reform law. Since these supposed government watchdogs are playing the lapdog, Heritage will continue to provide the facts and do the investigative reporting.

    Rector has already debunked the Administration’s claims that it did not gut welfare reform and that Republican governors tried to do the same thing in 2005. Now, he is taking apart the Administration’s defense of its new waiver policy piece-by-piece in a new series of papers.

    The Claim: New Rules Will Still Increase Work

    CNN’s “fact checkers” claim that “In some small way, the waivers might change precisely how work is calculated but the essential goal of pushing welfare recipients to work—something both Democrats and Republicans agreed to in the 1990s—remains the same.”

    This is exactly Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s defense: that waiving welfare’s work requirements for states under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program will still require states to get welfare recipients into jobs. She maintains that the states will have to “commit that their proposals will move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work compared to the state’s past performance.”

    The Facts: Bogus Measures of Success

    Rector meets this claim head-on in his new paper, “Ending Work for Welfare: Bogus Measures of Success.”

    This standard is vague, first of all, since states do not actually need to fulfill it but merely “demonstrate clear progress toward that goal no later than one year” after they are exempted from the old TANF work standards. Nonetheless, at first glance, this goal looks fairly impressive.

    President Obama’s HHS will exempt states from the federal work requirements if they increase by 20 percent the number of TANF cases that lose eligibility due to increases in earnings, a measure called “employment exits.” There are four reasons why a 20 percent increase in the number of employment exits, although it sounds impressive, is a very weak or counterproductive measure of success in welfare reform.

    The four reasons this measure is weak, Rector says:

    1. Employment exits will increase automatically when the economy recovers. Virtually every state in the U.S. will experience an increase in its employment exits by 20 percent “compared to the state’s past performance” as the economy moves from recession toward higher employment.

    2. States could meet the target simply with better record keeping. A large number of TANF recipients leave the program each month for unknown or unspecified reasons. It seems likely that many states could meet the 20 percent increase target simply by collecting or reporting more accurate data on their current exits.

    3. A 20 percent increase in exits is insignificant. An increase in employment exits of 20 percent is actually a very small change. The average state has a monthly TANF caseload of around 40,000 families and an annual caseload of perhaps 80,000. Each state has around 600 employment exits from TANF each month, or 1.5 percent of monthly caseload. According to Obama’s new welfare system, the state can be fully exempt from the work standards written in the TANF law if it raises its employment exits from 600 per month to 720. Why is it reasonable, fair, or wise to exempt the remaining 39,000 welfare households from workfare participation just because an extra 120 have left the rolls?

    4. More employment exits indicate a larger caseload. The number of employment exits generally rises when the size of the welfare caseload rises, and it falls when the caseload falls. This is due to routine caseload turnover.

    Rector concludes that “The number of employment exits is thus meaningless as a method for assessing the TANF program. Employment exits is a sham measure of success that creates the impression that welfare dependence is being reduced when, in reality, the number of persons on welfare is constant or rising.”

    Under the Administration’s new measurement, the old welfare program would have been deemed a success, while the extremely successful 1996 reforms would have looked like a failure.

    With an Administration that routinely creates new laws by executive order—disregarding the people’s elected representatives—accountability is in short supply. Heritage legal experts Todd Gaziano, Robert Alt, and Andrew Grossman have detailed why the Administration’s actions are illegal. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has no authority to grant the type of waivers it is creating. Yet the media haven’t done a “legality check” on the Obama Administration.

    Stay tuned for the next installment in Rector’s continuing series next week.

    Read the first installment: Ending Work for Welfare: Bogus Measures of Success

    I VOTE for HERITAGE for true facts, not “made-up facts,” otherwise known as FICTION, but, then again, the PRESIDENT is one big piece of made up FANTASY. He’s like a ball of string that someone gathered and saved over the years. All different pieces were put together so carefully, and now, that it is being used, it’s all falling apart, because there is not one thread (good or bad) holding all of the pieces together.

    • Darla, I was planning to respond to Garnet, but your excellent and information-packed post saves me the trouble. As you note, we can predict what the herd of independent thinkers (/sarcasm) in the Lame Stream Media, a lockstep passel of Stalinists afflicted with incurable groupthink, are going to say without even knowing what issue we’re discussing. OF COURSE, Mr. Rector is more credible on this issue than Obama’s stenographers, if for no other reason than his personal success doesn’t depend on access to White House mouthpieces. That fact should be obvious, and it is, except to those who have ingested way too much Obama Kool-Aid.

  2. Another example of the method used to call Gov. Romney’s claim “a lie”:,politfact, operated by the extremely liberal Palm Beach Post, chose as its “Lie of the Year” for 2010 the claim that Obamacare was a “government takeover of health care.’ Even Obama has admitted that when he said “if you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor” he wasn’t being completely honest at this point, but since his heinous scheme hasn’t been fully-implemented yet, politifact could say things like “Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies,” something that they can only believe if they completely ignore the inevitable dumping of employees onto government-run health care if Obamacare is not repealed. Since it hasn’t happened YET, they can say it’s a lie to claim Obamacare is a government takeover of health care. Ditto saying Obama, who like all radical leftists HATES the idea of any work requirement in a welfare law, won’t use his “flexibility’ to do everything he can to eliminate it. It’s like saying “Thelma and Louise’ didn’t go over that cliff because we saw only a freeze frame at the end of that stupid movie. Ridiculous.

  3. Darla, I LOVE your “ball of string” metaphor for the fictional character, Barack Obama. I also like this idea, which I think may be even more on point, given the nature of who this braying, lying, marxist jackass is: ratking. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_king_(folklore)

    • Excellent comparison to the “Rat King” stories. Your reference lists “Rat King” groups in museums. The City of Chicago, Cook County, State of IL abounds with Rat King groups. The least important rats, not yet connected to a group, bring the groups food to keep them alive. Each group fights among themselves and competes with the other groups for food. Which King will be the winner? The city of Chicago has an increasing RAT problem because they have cut back on funding – again, something important is abandoned; while plans are underway to create costly bike paths along the city streets, which will be inconvenient and hazardous, but this is the superficial facemask that the Rat Kings like to put on. We are in the process of rounding up the rats and purging them from our lives. We need to put them in a Rat Museum in Chicago, located on Northernly Island. How many groups would there be? We will need a great, big museum and make sure it is required that schoolchildren visit and learn about the Rat Kings and how to keep them extinct!

      • So true about needing to educate the next generation about the rats who try to undermine our country.
        And yes, we would need a HUGE museum.
        Thanks for adding such great content.

  4. Bring the requirement back. I am sure “The Donald” would endorse it in a heart beat”.

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