Saturday, July 14, 2012

Welfare Reform Requested by Republicans Comes Under Attack

Two Republican led states, Utah and Nevada, have requested that they be allowed some flexibility in the welfare program so they can spend more time helping recipients find work, and less time filling out paperwork. Some states actually spend more time filling out documentation than they do on job finding efforts for people on welfare. (See the Wall Street Journal)

So the Obama administration has decided to allow some waivers for states that think they can do a better job. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
In its waiver announcement, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notes that demonstration projects approved will be “focused on improving employment outcomes” for participants.  This is a major step forward.  Under the current structure, states can meet their TANF work participation rate – the only measure of state performance – without recipients finding paying jobs.  These demonstration projects will help to shift the focus of TANF employment programs from process and “bean counting” (whether recipients participate in programs) to outcomes (whether they actually find and keep jobs). (See here) 
Now what is the Republicans' response to this new empowerment to states to try more effective measures?

A leading tea party site calls it "dictatorship" by President Obama. (See here) Judson Phillips says, "Just like that a law enacted by Congress and signed by another President is set aside.  Yes, it remains on the books, but it is effectively gone."

That is a lie. The law remains. And the goal, as shown above, is still to find employment for welfare recipients, but to allow states to try to do a better job of it.

But Judson Phillips and the tea party are not the only ones participating in the lie. House Speaker John Boehner says Obama has "gutted" the work requirements. (See here)

Mitt Romney says, "President Obama now wants to strip the established work requirements from welfare." (See here) That is a lie. Lying Republicans have even gone so far as to say that the new approach would be "opening the door to letting states count such things as bed rest or going to weight-loss programs." That is a lie.

If these Republicans were telling the truth, then maybe they should explain why two Republican led states asked for this flexibility in the first place. 

Republicans have long asked for more power and flexibility in their handling of programs. Now that they get it, at their own request, they turn around and accuse President Obama of being a federal dictator. Will these lies never stop?

Many of these liars, like the tea party, claim to be good Christians. Maybe I'm behind the times. Maybe something about Christianity changed, and one of the commandments now has been amended to "Thou shalt lie."

I predict more so-called Christians will cheer the lies now being told about the welfare flexibility. It's time for decent Americans to stop applauding these lies and the liars, and start condemning them.

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