Connect with Point of View   to get exclusive commentary and updates

Reversing Welfare Reform

Lazy guy on a couch
Penna Dexternever miss viewpoints

For months now, politicians have been negotiating over trillions of dollars in new spending. Inflation is surging partially due to the “stimulus” dollars already injected into the economy for pandemic “relief.” Adding trillions more will exacerbate inflation.

This spending has another devastating consequence in that it provides poor families with a disincentive to work.

The Heritage Foundation’s news outlet, The Daily Signal, points out that “President Biden’s Build Back Better” plan increases means-tested welfare spending by $756 billion over the next five years. The Biden administration, via executive action, has already increased spending on food stamps by $180 billion over five years. That’s a 21% jump. Plus, “Build Back Better” adds massive new spending for low-income housing.

According to Heritage’s domestic policy expert Robert Rector, each poor family in the country already receives an average of “$65,000 per year in cash, food, housing, and medical care for their children.

What seems to disturb him most, though, is that the Biden Administration’s plan removes the work requirements that were added to many of these programs under Bill Clinton’s welfare reform.

Robert Rector was involved, back in the 90’s, in the successful effort to restore work requirements to massive welfare programs. The progress made at that time goes down the tubes under “Build Back Better,” which, he says, “resurrects a failed policy of paying families not to work.”

He warns that disincentivizing low-income families from working worsens intergenerational poverty because it discourages marriage. Before the Aid to Families With Dependent Children program was reformed in the 90’s, some 90% of cash-safety net recipients were single mothers; the majority were never married.” And, he says, the majority of families in this welfare program remained on its rolls for 8 full years.

The Administration is also attempting to make a pandemic-inspired child tax credit permanent — again without work requirements.

President Clinton stopped paying families not to work. We should not resurrect that destructive practice.penna's vp small

Viewpoints sign-up