American Elephants

The Return to “The War on Poverty,” The “War” Didn’t Work Before, Won’t Work Now by The Elephant's Child

You never know what you’ll find hidden in pages of President Obama’s 2011 budget.  Katherine Bradley of the Heritage Foundation found a “little-noticed request to extend and expand a program that would effectively, reverse welfare reform.”

The $5 billion TANF Emergency Fund, originally created in the infamous “stimulus” package, was supposed to be a short-term infusion of money to states whose welfare caseloads were increasing. The president is now seeking an additional $2.5 billion to expand and extend the emergency fund for another year. Congress is looking for ways to make this happen, either as part of a jobs package or in another legislative vehicle destined for the president’s desk.

The TANF Emergency Fund reverses exactly what made welfare reform successful. The 1996 reform changed the nation’s largest cash entitlement program, known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), to a fixed block grant to states known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The 1996 welfare-reform law was hugely successful.  More than 2.7 million families left the welfare rolls, got jobs and became self-sufficient.  Casesloads that were 4.4 million families in 1996 dropped to 1.7 million families in 2007.  The poverty rate for black children fell and the number of single mothers who are working dramatically increased.

Obama’s TANF Emergency Fund, in effect, gives states bonus money for increasing the size of their caseloads.  And it’s even more generous than the old AFDC system.  Also included is a request to end the Marriage and Fatherhood grant program, which was designed to promote healthy marriages and responsible fatherhood.

The overall message for people in low-income communities is “Stay on Welfare and don’t get married.”  Exactly the reasons for the failure of the War on Poverty.  The Left encourages dependency for political purposes.

If you are dependent on Democrats for your livelihood, they’ve got your vote.  Cynical and sad.

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