Welfare Reform Worked

Ten years ago, President Clinton courageously faced down liberals in his own party to sign a largely Republican drafted bill that ended welfare as we knew it. (Lefties called it the worst thing he had ever done) It was a true bipartisan success. Clinton understood that people respond to incentives. They make rational choices. The poor are not doomed to be permanently dependent. After ten years we know that was right.

This does not mean that everybody is happy or successful. Opponents and supporters of welfare reform can bring their dueling anecdotes. Life is still tough for the poor. That is almost the definition of being poor. But today child poverty has fallen. 1.6 million fewer children live in poverty today than in the year before welfare reform. Let me anticipate the Bush hater mantra. It is true that the rate has increased since 2001. /insert anti Bush slogan here/. But even in the face of all that, child poverty and welfare caseloads are down. So even if you dislike Bush, you have to admit even HE could not derail the good results of welfare reform.

The only real losers in all this has been the poverty industry. All those professional advocates, academics and protestors have taken a serious hit. Unfortunately, it really doesn't bother them much. Listen carefully to HOW they state their case. They usually start with admitting things in general have gotten better, but that some have gotten worse. Yes. This is the nature of average. Half of all the people will be below average and this is true now and forever. Sometimes they simply deny the general proposition by bringing up some specific cases. It is like finding the shortest guys in the NBA and claiming that height is not an important factor. Do not be fooled.

Some things clearly work. Marriage works. Encouraging marriage and discouraging illegitimate births are the best ways to eliminate poverty. People in stable marriages are rarely in poverty, although it is difficult to determine the direction of causality. Do more successful people get married or does marriage make people more successful? Probably the cause and effect interact. In any case, the Bush marriage initiatives are a step forward.

We have learned a lot from our mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s, after we lost the war on poverty. We have learned that short term intervention programs do not work. We have learned that treating the poor as dependent victims does not work. We have learned incentives and behavior changes DO work. The bottom line is welfare reform works. Our challenge now is to make it better. Let's look at that half full glass and figure out how to make it better. Let the losers keep their half empty one.

You can find a lot of data on welfare reform here or here. If you are interested in a left leaning discussion, try the WGBH Forum discussion.

Posted by Jack at August 17, 2006 9:27 AM
Comments
Comment #176063

The USA is a great nation because we believe in competition - the struggle to succeed where others fail. It’s WHY we are the greatest nation on earth.

Entitlements for the poor simply perpetuates failure. In essence, it is rewarding failure.

The bad part of all this competition is that in our drive to succeed we have lost the will to take care of our own. The poor should be given aid by family and friends, not the federal government. It has always amazed me to see how many elderly poor are out there, while their children live in nice houses in another state. If I was going to enact any kind of welfare legislation, it would be that family must be the first source where subsistence is in question.

The same goes in reverse… Rich parents that refuse to help their kids. There are of course sundry reasons why this may be, but as a rule I think we purposely turn kids out into the world that aren’t ready. Hey - it’s gettin’ tough to be a ho’.

European nations (not my typical metric) don’t thrust kids out the door. Asian nations certainly don’t. Why do we do it?

What was my point? Oh yeah… Forget welfare. Forget social security. Rely on yourself. And when that is impossible - your family should pull together and support those in need, not the government.

Posted by: Bruce P at August 17, 2006 9:57 AM
Comment #176070

I am Mexican (race not nationality), and family is definately a priority. We usually depend on our family in emergency situations and also on day to day tasks. Unfortunaltely, my people are falling into the welfare trap and becoming dependents of the State. Im afraid that immigrants, not able to see success in Mexico, are ignorant about the great success one can achieve living in the greatest country in the world. Fortunately, the succesful Mexicans, without the govt’s help, educate members of their family. They help with money for school. They provide computers for relatives. And, they share their success. So, more power to my people. They will make this country great!

P.S. I am an American (nationality not race). Im not a Mexican-American, or any other half of an American anyone wishes to label me. I am 100% American and very proud of my country and my people. This is pre-emptive strike for any libs that want to beat up on me.

Posted by: JoeRWC at August 17, 2006 10:20 AM
Comment #176073

Bush could even reduce poverty more if he could give Social Security a death benefit.

Posted by: Brian B at August 17, 2006 10:41 AM
Comment #176078

JoeRWC,

You know what you sound like? You sound like so many immigrants that I have met. Just so damn glad to be here…and proud of it.

All I can say to you and yours is that you have learned the great lesson that this great country teaches people. You CAN succeed…and this country gives you every chance to succeed and prosper.

And, by the way, I agree with your statements about 1/2 Americans. If someone has to be half one thing and one half another…then they are neither.

To be 1/2 something and 1/2 another is nothing more than Jim Crow, Lester Maddox, Theodore Bilbo segregationism. To be 1/2 one thing and 1/2 another SEPERATES you…it SEGREGATES you.

To be an African/American, European/American, Polish/American, Mexican/American, Asian/American, Whatever/American segregates you into a smaller, seperate group.

To be an American…period…INTEGRATES you into the whole mass. Black, white, brown, yellow…it doesn’t matter. You’re all Americans. This, people is integration.

Also, by being a Whatever/American…you’re assuming that people are too STUPID to know where your ancestors came from. You’re assuming that if I see an Asian guy walking down the street, I can’t tell that his ancestors came from Asia…and you have to point it out to me that your ancestors are Asian.

I am neither a segregationist or stupid.

Thank you.

Posted by: Jim T at August 17, 2006 11:19 AM
Comment #176081

Very good post. People should be responsible for themselves and any time the government is involved I’m leary. The extended family should be all the support anyone needs, but if they are not able to help someone down on thier luck, then some social programs and faith based organizations should be ready to help - NOT be there for every Dick and Jane that won’t work, has babies like an assembly line or can’t cope with life.
But then again, I’m a Republican, so I believe in small government and personal responsibility and education to make good choices.

Posted by: Ilsa at August 17, 2006 11:35 AM
Comment #176082

I agree that families need to help where they can. I believe our society should also help as much as we can afford. Society has to decide how much it is willing to sacrifice to help the less fortunate.

I don’t agree with either extreme. I heard a story about a man who called the city complaining they hadn’t removed a dead dog from the street in front of his house. It turned out to be the caller’s dog. People need to take SOME personal responsibility.

On the other hand, we as society have decided to help the children in our country get food, education, and other basic necessities even if the parents aren’t acting responsibly. If we don’t help the child be successful then the poverty will be passed to the next generation.

If we can afford it I support giving free lunches to every child in school. There is less paperwork if everyone get’s it. Rich kids and poor need to eat. The rich families are paying more taxes, and if their kids are eating the food too then they will care more about the quality.

I don’t believe our society has enough healthcare capabilities for that theory of everyone get’s it for free to work. Insurance companies and Medicaid who can pay for $40,000 operations help keep people alive who in previous generations would have died “of natural causes.” Doctors can replace lots of organs, and more as technology improves, if there’s enough money to pay for it all.

Horrible decisions have to be made about priorities no matter what system is used. Free medicine for all would automatically require some form of rationing, because people would come to the hospital when they don’t really need to if there is no cost. Additionally, how many millions of dollars to we spend on a 90 year old to replace their lungs or provide some yet to be invented cure?

As technology improves we as society can afford more and better healthcare for everyone. Until then people need to face the fact that people die. Someone of course will complain about who gets to decide who lives and who dies. It used to be the family because they paid for it. More and more it will have to be society since society is paying for it.

That same logic carried to extreme is being applied in the lawsuits against fast food establishments trying to blame them for peoples’ poor choices.

Motorcyclists have to wear helmets in some states because the society there said they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) afford paying for the head injuries of those who couldn’t pay for their own medical care.

Seatbelt rules and no-smoking rules also impose society’s reasoning (aka judgement) upon people.

So if you want society to move more in your way of thinking you will need to let your elected representatives know and help get people elected who share your priorities about life.

Be careful though, because a weakness to democracy is when the masses try to vote themselves a life of ease at the expense of others. The economy can only take so much laziness and lack of person responsibility in decision making about accepting risks.

Besides family, churches and individuals in the United States are the most generous on the planet just about any way you measure it, so government isn’t the only way to meet the needs of the people.


Posted by: Steve S at August 17, 2006 11:36 AM
Comment #176083

Jack - With 14 million people in poverty, are you calling welfare reform a success?

You admit poverty is going up since 2001, and you still think welform is working becasue case loads are down. Why are they down? maybe it is economics, maybe reform changed the rules to qualify. Just becasue the case loads are down, it dosen’t mean poverty is down. becasue people drop off unemployment dosen’t mean they found a job..Benefits ran out.

Helping to ease poverty in this country will take much more than welfare reform. It is an economic recovery that trickles down, eductaion and training of unskileld workers, and family and support sservices and organizations.


Posted by: stefano at August 17, 2006 11:42 AM
Comment #176086

“The only real losers in all this has been the poverty industry. “

So, how does Bush’s Faith-based Initiatives work within all this? How bad have they lost? (Or did ever truly get funded…?)

“Very good post. People should be responsible for themselves and any time the government is involved I’m leary. The extended family should be all the support anyone needs, but if they are not able to help someone down on thier luck, then some social programs and faith based organizations should be ready to help - NOT be there for every Dick and Jane that won’t work, has babies like an assembly line or can’t cope with life.
But then again, I’m a Republican, so I believe in small government and personal responsibility and education to make good choices.”

Wow… so how do you feel about Iraq?

Posted by: tony at August 17, 2006 12:01 PM
Comment #176089

Brian,
How is giving money to someone who is DEAD gonna end poverty?? At that point, it’s too late!!

Posted by: Rich at August 17, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #176090

BTW, the point of the post is how entitlements perpetuate poverty.

How do you figure that the solution to poverty is yet ANOTHER entitlement??

Posted by: Rich at August 17, 2006 12:10 PM
Comment #176091

It’s called a beneficiary. The guy who died put the money in…so his family should be able to collect the balance.

Posted by: Brian B at August 17, 2006 12:10 PM
Comment #176096

So….you are in favor of privatizing SS and making people responsible for their own retirement accounts? Personal responsibility in lieu of entitlements!!

Outstanding!! And I was afraid we would not get along….

Have a wonderful day!

Posted by: Rich at August 17, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #176098

I just mentioned getting the money back that YOU put in. Have a wonderful day.

Posted by: Brian B at August 17, 2006 12:19 PM
Comment #176101

I believe the nuclear family is the key to continued welfare reform. We as a nation should be following are Asian counterparts in taking care of are elderly. Selfishness is far to common when it comes to the care of our aging members. We must remember the sacrafices made by are parents and grandparents for our own educational success. They were willing to put family first. Government should have never been placed into the role of elderly care giving that is mine and your responsibility.

Posted by: john malsch at August 17, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #176105
But today child poverty has fallen. 1.6 million fewer children live in poverty today than in the year before welfare reform. Let me anticipate the Bush hater mantra. It is true that the rate has increased since 2001.

Jack,
Are you playing games with statistics? How can the rate have increased if fewer live in poverty unless there has been a big population decrease?

Also, I would go along with your overall sentiment. I just wish you had a similar objection to giveaways to the rich such as estate tax elimination. That tax cut has exactly the same result as a direct giveaway. And it results in our entire country being closer to poverty.

Posted by: Schwamp at August 17, 2006 12:36 PM
Comment #176109

Jack,

There was an interested op-ed piece in the New York Times yesterday about this. Here’s the summary:

So, yes, welfare reform reduced welfare dependency, but not as much as suggested by the political rhetoric, and a great deal of dependency is now diffused and hidden within larger social welfare programs.

Essentially, his point is that welfare rolls went down across the nation, even though states did very, very different things over the past 10 years. So, it’s quite possible that the old role of “correlation does not imply causation” might apply here - the improvements in welfare might be related more to the overall improvement in the economy than to the changes in law 10 years ago.

Posted by: LawnBoy at August 17, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #176110

Exactly, Brian.

The money you pay into SS was NEVER intended to ‘belong’ to the contributor. It belongs to the government. The government, in turn, pledges to keep you in poverty and dependant on government during your retirement years. How nice of them.

The only way for you to pass along the fruits of your labor to your beneficiaries is to be responsible enough to plan for your own retirement by saving, investing, owning your own home, buying insurance and so on.

Posted by: Rich at August 17, 2006 12:59 PM
Comment #176115

Rich
Exactly. I’m all for personal responsibility and against most entitlement programs. I’m sorry…I sensed you were being sarcastic in you privatizing ss comment. I didn’t want to start a debate about the Privatizing of Social Security, and take away from Jacks excellent post. Jack just made the tongue in cheek remark about Bush not being able to hurt welfare reform, but my point was that it could be even further assisted with the Death benefit from his privitazation plan for Social Security.

Posted by: Brian B at August 17, 2006 1:13 PM
Comment #176116

Jim T

To be 1/2 something and 1/2 another is nothing more than Jim Crow, Lester Maddox, Theodore Bilbo segregationism. To be 1/2 one thing and 1/2 another SEPERATES you…it SEGREGATES you.

To be an African/American, European/American, Polish/American, Mexican/American, Asian/American, Whatever/American segregates you into a smaller, seperate group.

That is exactly what the proponents of the Whatever/American want. That way they can keep their cushy over paying jobs advocating for ‘the victims’ while driving the BMW’s and/or Mercedes Benz’s. Heaven knows they sure couldn’t keep any other job.


Ilsa

But then again, I’m a Republican, so I believe in small government and personal responsibility and education to make good choices.

I reckon you aint a Democrat either then.


All the welfare system did is make folks dependent on the government. Of course this is what Liberals want. They way they can control people.
Dependents on Government never got one person out of poverty. In fact it created a whole new class of folks. The welfare class. This class was basically told and are still being told that they were to stupid to make it on their own. They fell for this and taught their kids this. And their kids taught their kids. And so on.
What we have ended up with is 5th and 6th generation welfare dependents and most of them wouldn’t know how to do a days work. And most won’t get out of poverty.
But they all think that they are owed something. And they’re right. They’re owed the chance to make something of themselves. And the only way they can do that is by working. The government will NEVER get them out of poverty. I don’t care how many programs it enacts in the name of doing it. It doesn’t want to loose power over these folks.


Posted by: Ron Brown at August 17, 2006 1:24 PM
Comment #176117

Ron Brown,

Why would a “liberal” want to control anyone?

Posted by: Arr-squared at August 17, 2006 1:38 PM
Comment #176118

I agree welfare reform is far and away the best action during the Clinton presidency.

However, one small caveat to Jack’s post “Clinton understood that people respond to incentives.”

MAYBE … I believe that Bill went along with this (where nearly no other Dem would have) because Bill was so unpopular in ‘94-95 after 2 yrs of presidency that Newt and the boys (remember Newsweek(?) cover called Newt the most powerful man in America?) pushed hard for this and Clinton … accepted it. Clinton did not push for this, he did not author or champion it. While he since has claimed more responsibility and while he had previously talked about ‘Reforming Gov’t’ (which he did only by making it bigger), Clinton gave tepid support to this reform, which was thrust upon him. The signing seemed more Eating Crow than something he wanted.

I suspect Clinton accepted this not for some deep belief that Americans should have incentives at every level, as he had just made the cornerstone of his presidency the passage of Nationalized Health Care which would have been the largest increase in welfare and largest decrease of personal incentives in our history. He also advocated large welfare programs with more conviction.

…but when he failed at ballooning gov’t handouts, and Americans didn’t like him (and strongly supported welfare reform according to the polls) I would characterize Bill as Rolling on this issue and going along with decreasing gov’t handouts. I suspect Clinton is more a man of opportunity rather than deep convictions on this issue.

Shortly thereafter, Newt wanted to reduce gov’t spending more (‘Entitlements’/etc.). But this time Clinton refused believing he could beat Newt in in the battle for public opinion as Newt refused to fund the Gov’t (in hindsight definitely the wrong tactic/battle). Clinton won this PR battle, and Newt certainly lost.

Posted by: Brian at August 17, 2006 1:43 PM
Comment #176128

I agree Bill Clinton was a great president and one of the great things he did was try and break the cycle of dependence and poverty. By giving people a helping hand and not a handout. The real question is what has shrub done? Cut off the hand?
Steve

Posted by: Steve Piatek at August 17, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #176127

I agree Bill Clinton was a great president and one of the great things he did was try and break the cycle of dependence and poverty. By giving people a helping hand and not a handout. The real question is what has shrub done? Cut off the hand?
Steve

Posted by: Steve Piatek at August 17, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #176129

I agree Bill Clinton was a great president and one of the great things he did was try and break the cycle of dependence and poverty. By giving people a helping hand and not a handout. The real question is what has shrub done? Cut off the hand?
Steve

Posted by: Steve Piatek at August 17, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #176132

Actually, Brian, Clinton was a master of triangulation. To say that Clinto (or liberals) want more people on welfare roles so they can control them is just … I’m searching for an inoffensive synonmyn for “stupid.” Clinton had liberal ideas, but essentially he was a pragmatist, and was open to non-traditional ways to achieve goals. In short, more than most politicians, he got things he believed in done. He also, more than most politicians, resisted mere partisanship (I certainly wouldn’t claim he was never merely partisan). The contrast between Gingrich and Clinton is astounding. Both had some compelling ideas, but Clinton more than Gingrich toned down the combative rhetoric.

In 1992, Clinton pledged to “end welfare as we know it.” It is a testiment to his political skills that he was able to work with Republicans to win passage. (He vetoed the first two Republican attempts until he got a bill he could sign.) Ironically, passage of welfare reform helped him trounce Bob Dole.

Posted by: Trent at August 17, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #176135

JoeRWC, Ron Brown & others-

I get the impression that people do not know what a “liberal” or “lib” is. An atypical “lib” is not going to jump all over you for calling yourself an “american”. They will jump on you for denying someone their “rights” (I put in in quotes because I disagree that many of them being the governments responsability at all) on the basis of their ethnicity or nationality.

C’mon people…I know the midterms are polorizing…but lets keep our compasses pointing north.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 17, 2006 3:12 PM
Comment #176136

And please, dont respond by quoting some extremist and using it as evidence that all “libs” believe that.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 17, 2006 3:15 PM
Comment #176140

Lawnboy

Many of the articles I mentioned take into account the good economy. But the economy did less well from 2000-2002 and the rates did not fall back to the old levels. There are probably many ways to be successful. We needed to get people thinking about it and break away from the failed policies of the 1960s & 1970s. We know they didn’t work.

Sometimes just removing a bad set of incentives or policies is enough to produce good results. Welfare reform, if it did nothing else, shook up the old style welfare paradigm. Something worked.

Swamp

I included the thing re Bush just to anticipate the Bush bashing and a question such as yours. Child poverty is still below the pre reform levels of ten years ago. That shows that the reform did not depend on the great economy. It also leaves people who both dislike Bush and welfare reform up the creek without a paddle. Since the only argument they can make (and even that is not a good one) is that the economy under Bush is so much better than the economy in 1996 that it is making otherwise bad reforms work well.

Posted by: Jack at August 17, 2006 3:41 PM
Comment #176149

It really is too bad that we often have to think in partisan terms. Welfare reform showed both sides of the aisle could work together to get things done for the country. Of course, we still have a problem with millions of children living in poverty, and I’m not willing to write them off. In the spirit of bipartanship, I hope we can find the political will and innovative ideas needed to address the continuing problem.

Posted by: Trent at August 17, 2006 4:05 PM
Comment #176155
Some things clearly work. Marriage works. Encouraging marriage and discouraging illegitimate births are the best ways to eliminate poverty.

Then we should allow gay marriage… but only the impoverished gays. Why fight abortion?

Sorry if this is slightly off topic.

Posted by: Devil's Advocate at August 17, 2006 4:13 PM
Comment #176165

Trent, I never said anything related to controlling others. Were you referring to anyone else’s posts??

Actually, Brian, … to say that Clinto (or liberals) want more people on welfare roles so they can control them is just … I’m searching for an inoffensive synonmyn for “stupid.”

BTW, I agree Clinton said he would Reinvent Gov’t, but I stand by all I said in my post. By his actions, Clinton pushed for bigger gov’t programs and I am unaware of him ever doing anything to make gov’t/handouts smaller … until acquiescing to Newt & Co. In fact, would his vetoing of Newt’s first 2 attempts reinforce that he resisted or was not too interested/committed to Reform (at least, not nearly so much as the House/Republicans).

Yes: Gingrich used combative rhetoric; signing Welfare Reform helped Clinton against Dole; Clinton was the Master Triangulator and a generally very effective communicator and savvy/slick (depends whom you ask) politician.

But re your quote “In short, more than most politicians, he got things he believed in done.” Besides Bombing soverign Serbia without ever going to the UN (really angering Russia & China and the ~rest of the non-Muslim/European world), what other things do you think Clinton did that he believed in??

I believe Clinton did not do much in his presidency, and that his list is considerably shorter than W’s is already (though W hasn’t done much recently).

Posted by: Brian at August 17, 2006 4:46 PM
Comment #176166

So since Clinton signed the bill, it was Bush who gets credit for changes in welfare? Sounds like some of the bosses I have worked for, Reagan, Nixon,Ford, seemed that the workers did everything and the bosses took the credit.

Marriage does work, but how does it having it in the constituion as a man and woman help stop welfare and poverty. A gay couple can raise a child just as good as a heterosexual.

Back on welfare, since it is only for a limited amount of time, how many have used their max and are not counted anymore? It is like unemployement, once it runs out, does it mean the person is now employed, no it means that they do not carry that person anymore as unemployed, they are just out in never-neverland

Posted by: KT at August 17, 2006 4:48 PM
Comment #176167

Devil and Kt

I support gay marriage for the very reasons you allude. Wrote a post about it.

KT

I gave Clinton credit. I generally like Clinton. Wrote a post about that too.

His three great achievements were NAFTA, NATO expansion and welfare reform. All bipartisan.

Posted by: Jack at August 17, 2006 5:03 PM
Comment #176168

Devil and Kt

I support gay marriage for the very reasons you allude. Wrote a post about it.

KT

I gave Clinton credit. I generally like Clinton. Wrote a post about that too.

His three great achievements were NAFTA, NATO expansion and welfare reform. All bipartisan.

Posted by: Jack at August 17, 2006 5:05 PM
Comment #176175

Now if we can just get Big Business off the Welfare Roll! Much, much more money goes to business with their hand in the government kitty than the goes to the poor. Wealthy farmers (read corporate farms) get tons of our tax dollars to keep prices artificially low and starve third world nations - of course the consumer pays for this payola. We could get cheaper sugar, cotton, etc. from other countries if the markets were truly ‘free markets’. Likewise, billions are ‘loaned’ to third world countries as a masquerade for giving huge construction companies payola because these ‘government’ loans require that US corporations are hired to construct the bridges, dams, roads, buildings, etc that are not as useful as other less profitable yet more fitting services for the people. Finally, the grotesquely large military-industrial sector charges mind-boggling amounts of money for so-so quality and at guaranteed profits. These companies never go belly up and they don’t worry about where their next dollar is coming from either. The fix is in for most of these government expenditures. If you want the free market… forget it.

If it works for incentives for the poor, why not the ultra-wealthy. End all non-essential expenditures and SQUEEZE the fat cats who spend millions to keep out the competition so that they can make billions.

This is something the right rarely wants to talk about. They paint the picture that the ‘welfare state’ is killing our country. But the biggest rats eating the most cheese are the ones pointing the fingers at the little guy who has next to nothing. Look up the budget expenditures.

Posted by: LibRick at August 17, 2006 5:26 PM
Comment #176183

I’m with ya LibRick

I don’t get to mad about the government giving my money to poor people even if they are beer swillin’ bums.

I get mad about the government giving my money to rich people and corporations.

Love to see someone write a piece on corporate welfare instead.

Posted by: darren159 at August 17, 2006 5:49 PM
Comment #176184

Jack,

First off, I’m impressed with your linked post. You’ll make yourself a liberal yet (kidding.) What really amazed me is how tame the replies were (I take some issue with the last poster regarding the statistics of pedophilia among homosexual parents but that’s off topic.) It was almost eerie how civil it was. I would almost suggest that liberals write conservative commentary and conservatives write liberal commentary for a while. But alas the two sides might actually come together and the world as we know it might crumble beneath our feet. That would be bad… Really.

Enjoy!

Posted by: Devil's Advocate at August 17, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #176194

Hey Jack, Bill signed NAFTA, but it was actually George the First who got it rolling.

Now to me that is one of the downfalls of Bill is NAFTA, do you know how many jobs have gone south because of it. Take a look at big three car makers. I was working for Citibank at the time it went thru and they were telling everyone to contact their rep’s and support it. I had a no NAFTA sign and they told me to take it down, which I did but I also told them to stop giving me their bs about how good NAFTA would be for everyone. (No Autos For The American’s)

Posted by: KT at August 17, 2006 6:40 PM
Comment #176204

Brian, opps, mea culpa. I was responding to someone else.

Posted by: Trent at August 17, 2006 7:11 PM
Comment #176208

While Clinton is a bright eloquent guy who I suspect would have done a better job than Bush II re Middle East and the Chinese shooting down our P-3C Orion (though maybe nothing else?), I will admit I don’t like him as a person and so maybe am not looking to give him credit for things.

However, per my above post, I really don’t think he deserves credit for Welfare Reform other than rolling over in a way that other Dems wouldn’t.

Re NATO expansion, this was favored by the House, the Senate, other members of NATO, and the countries who joined — so again I am not sure that Clinton should get much credit for this.

While in favor of free trade w/ Mexico, the negotiated terms of NAFTA were unilaterally bad for the US. The chief negotiator for Mexico personally said in a talk I attended that there were many terms where he ‘knew’ the Americans would demand equality, and he assumed he would have to. But he hoped to make these ‘sacrificial lambs’, and so said ‘No’ a few times to things like:
- US oil companies having access to Mexico
- Mexican trucks having to adhere to US standards

…and to his astonishment, the US just rolled over and gave in on basically all the points. He was very VERY pleased with himself.

So while a good idea, I feel NAFTA has bad/unequal/unfair terms against the US because it is not Open Markets and it is not about a level playing field. I don’t know who on the US side screwed this up, but knowing that Laura D’Andrea Tyson screwed up everything(?) she touched, maybe this was under Clinton’s watch since we had I suspect our worst international economic policy in many ways under Clinton & her. So while Clinton did support this and complete the negotiations, I do not see this as a full success.

In short, the only 3 things I think Clinton DID (that would not have been done without him) are:
- being so unpopular that the Repubs got the house in ‘94
- being so flexible/unprincipled (take your partisan pick) that he went along with the Republicans to partially Reform Welfare
- being very driven to make Kosovo (Serbia’s ancestral homeland) a new Muslim state / area.

I am surprised he was so successful re the latter, and that this was done without US bloodshed. However, I think Clinton was very prejudiced/bigoted in his policy, short-sighted wrt the people and the situation and the effects, did so very illegally/immorally, and did so with less international sophistication with allies who were opposed to this than Bush II was re Iraq (which is VERY poor).

Anything I said inaccurate?

Posted by: Brian at August 17, 2006 8:14 PM
Comment #176220

Jack said- “and discouraging illegitimate births are the best ways to eliminate poverty. “

Than why do so many conservatives oppose free condom programs?

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at August 17, 2006 9:31 PM
Comment #176228

Richard

The problem with many of the illegitimate births is that they are not accidental. The improved welfare program has actually stopped the increase in such births.

I guess I also do not have such a low opinion of people that I think that if they do not get something free they will go ahead and do ruin their lives. Someone so craven probably would not properly use condoms anyway.

Posted by: Jack at August 17, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #176243

Brian, lol. At least you admitted your bias up front and also have a sense of humor.

Posted by: Trent at August 17, 2006 11:25 PM
Comment #176249

Arr-squared
Why would a “liberal” want to control anyone?

Beats me ask them.


Kevin23
I never said that Liberals would jump all over someone for calling themselves an American. I’ll bet though that they’d jump all over me if I called myself a Native American because I’m White and don’t even know if I have any Indian blood in me at all. But I was born here so that does make me a Native American. Just like anyone else born here regardless of race, creed, color, or ethnic background.
And Conservatives will jump all over anyone putting someone down because of race. Y’all don’t have a corner on that.


I don’t know if welfare reform really worked or not. Sense it’s enactment I haven’t noticed any fewer folks coming in my store with food stamps. I kinda get the idea that it all was a hoax. Just like a lot of other things coming from DC for the last 40-50 years.

darren159
I don’t get to mad about the government giving my money to poor people even if they are beer swillin’ bums.

So you have no problem promoting laziness?


I get mad about the government giving my money to rich people and corporations.

So do I.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 18, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #176253

As a European/Colonialist/Invader-American, I tend to have trouble with telling other people, who may have had the unfortunate fate of coming here after my ancestors, what to do and how they can do it. The problem with welfare reform is that people abuse the system. They do. Some people are selfish and put their own comfort over that of the greater good. That said, the same criticism could be made of CEOs who put their own profits, and those of their wealthy upper-class shareholders, ahead of the working poor, the environment, and our national interests (in the case of Big Oil). Thinking of others and not being selfish is not Socialism, it’s common courtesy. Until all, rich and poor, start to think in this way, these problems will always be with us.

Posted by: J. at August 18, 2006 1:04 AM
Comment #176255

Ron Brown
I may have taken my comments a bit far on that one to make my point. I am far more concerned with the government taking my money and using to help those who are more fortunate.

I can’t even say that I disagree with you. You are probably right about the promoting of laziness, its just not one of my primary concerns. The majority of our observations of the less fortunate come from different locations. So I can’t begin to think like you. But I look at many of the “lazy” with pity, because I see a life with less potential (soft bigitry of low expectations yada yada yada)and I also see a lot of truly needy.

The world is complex, cruel, and is moving at an ever increasing speed. Individuals will always be left behind and some become unable to fend for themselves. So if I have to feed (through taxes) three lazy people to save three truly needy people, then so be it.

I will not give the same consideration to those who can and do fend for themselves.

Posted by: darren159 at August 18, 2006 1:13 AM
Comment #176257

“I agree Bill Clinton was a great president and one of the great things he did was try and break the cycle of dependence and poverty.”

Steve,

Saying it three times still doesn’t make it true….

Posted by: LLE at August 18, 2006 1:43 AM
Comment #176294

What a bunch of crap. Excuse the vulgarity but when it is it is. Look at the assumptions made. Competition is best; it works for everyone. Our country is great (the greatest) because of competition. If we interfere with competition (read government) we will kill the goose that laid the golden egg (capitalism). This is ALL malarkey!

Life is not about competition it’s about cooperation most of the time. Some of you need to live through a really disastrous depression to see what it does to all of these noble ideas. As to welfare reform working, I’ll believe that when there are no longer homeless people, children starving and poor people in general. What is so noble about a culture that condones, no actually praises, such conditions? Get real will you?

If you want strong families marriage is not the answer—a good job and good wages are more important. That is why labor unions, the Wagner Act and NLRB were so important in American history. They leveled the playing field. What escapes me is how some Americans cannot see these realities. If it wasn’t for big government we all would be in deep do-do. Just look at what impact Medicare has had on senior poverty and health conditions. You want to continue to argue about these things, go ahead. But you had better look at some statistics first.

I am truly ashamed of some of the things people wrote here. Narcissism has taken the place of caring about the other guy; the bell does toll for thee, brother.

Peace, cml

Posted by: cml at August 18, 2006 10:00 AM
Comment #176300

When will the red states take “individual responsibility” and begin to refuse the welfare that the blue states provide for them???

Mr. O’Donnell raised the subject of secession on “The McLaughlin Group” during the weekend. “Ninety percent of the red states are welfare-client states of the federal government,” said Mr. O’Donnell, who was an aide to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Democrat. In a telephone interview, Mr. O’Donnell said the red states that went to Mr. Bush “collect more from the federal government than they send in. New York and California, Connecticut — the states that are blue are all the states that are paying for the bulk of everything this government does, from … Social Security to everything else, and the people in those states don’t like what this government is doing.
Posted by: Lynne at August 18, 2006 10:36 AM
Comment #176303

Here are some statistics about children living in poverty.

As you can see, welfare reform apparently did reduce the numbers somewhat, though the trend since 2000 is upward, unfortunately. I suspect that the tendency of the rich/poor gap to widen during Republican presidencies has something to do with this.

At any rate, the fact is, in terms of percentage points, welfare reform hasn’t made a huge difference. Don’t get me wrong; any improvement is good. But we are still left with millions of children in poverty, as defined by the government definition of poverty (which may not be realistic, but let that go for now).

Perhaps a difference between liberalism and conservatism is that liberals want to get all children out of poverty and conservatives are resigned in the belief that that is impossible. Many of the things said here and elsewhere are true: kids in stable marriages do better financially, encouraging welfare recepients to work helps, etc. etc. But we also know that, for whatever reason, these approaches are not going to get ALL kids out of poverty.

You know, I really don’t care how a problem is solved, but I do think we have a moral imperative to try, and that we can’t be satisfied with just minor reductions in poverty. Liberals sometimes are accused of just complaining, of not offering solutions. Well, you know, solutions are sometimes difficult, and it’s possible to recognize a problem without knowing exactly how to solve it.

I am concerned when we pat ourselves on the back for minor improvements in something as serious as this.

At any rate, please, I said these things without partisan rancor or insults. I really get discouraged when anyone, regardless of political affiliation, engages in partisan attacks. I just got through trying to have a calm discussion with a partisan on the another thread, and it’s so discouraging. I like Jack’s articles more than most because, though an advocate, you can talk with him.

Posted by: Trent at August 18, 2006 11:02 AM
Comment #176305

Poverty Statistics for the United States

Not a pretty picture of the “richest” country on earth…

Posted by: Lynne at August 18, 2006 11:12 AM
Comment #176307

I agree that “Life is not about competition it’s about cooperation most of the time.” Business is a competition.

It’s called free enterprise…if the only store we could shop at was Wal-Mart, we’d all be crying for some competition to move into town. We enjoy our “choices”.

As a tax accountant, I see this everyday - what makes free enterprise great is the hard work of average men & women. Over 90% of all businesses in the US are “small-businesses” owned by sole proprietors or partnerships. They don’t earned 90% of business profits, but they are still America’s bread & butter.

We live in a great country…please stop complaining everyone.

Posted by: CJO55 at August 18, 2006 11:15 AM
Comment #176309

darren159
If I was feeding three lazy people to feed three really needy one I wouldn’t mind as bad as the fact that I’m feeding 1,000 lazy people to feed 1 truly needy one.
I’ve talked to a whole heap of folks on welfare and have even offered them jobs both at the factory and at the store. I don’t know the exact number I’ve offered jobs to but only three have ever taken me up on the offer.
The typical response is “Why the (insert your favorite expletive) should I get a job? I’ll loose my welfare.” Most seem to think that they’re owed something for what ever reason.


cml

Just look at what impact Medicare has had on senior poverty and health conditions.

Yeah, they still can’t afford medical care or medicine because they’re having to pay more and more of the bill.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 18, 2006 11:36 AM
Comment #176315

No Courage by Clinton.

Yes it worked. BUT clinton did a poll first wether it would help him or hurt him(Clinton). The poll said Americans were in favor of welfare reform and it would hurt Clinton’s popularity to oppose it. So Clinton supported it. That info comes from his pollster.

On Repb states getting more welfare, yes, liberal states like CA and NY have always robbed themselves by being Liberal (big spenders) Plus teh myth that Dems are poor and Reps rich causes this.

Posted by: Darp at August 18, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #176316

Ron Brown-

“And Conservatives will jump all over anyone putting someone down because of race. Y’all don’t have a corner on that.”

Except for that one “maccaca” right?

And who is “y’all”? Is that supposed to be me? Liberals? Anyone who doesn’t agree with you personally? I suggest you should stick to facts. This notion that people on the left are aggressively persuing any policy that even suggests that the word “american” be proceeded by a distant heritage is ludacrous at best. And certainly nobody ever claimed a monopoly on NOT being a racist. That is just rediculous. Which begs the question…what are you really lashing out against?

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 18, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #176322

Cml

You cannot achieve a perfect world. We keep on moving the goals, as we should. By world or historical standards, we have defeated poverty. By our standards modern we have not. And we never will.

Welfare reform has reduced those bad things you are talking about (starving children, homeless etc). It worked better than what we had before. Perhaps you prefer to complain when things are not perfect. I would rather improve the situation.

You have no confidence in the ability of people to make decisions. The programs you advocate are all for someone to do something for them. The proper mix is to do something for people AND expect them to do something for themselves. That treats them like people, not objects. If you truly care for your fellow man, you do not make them dependent on the state.

Lynne

Red/blue is silly formula, but if you want to do it, you have to go into greater detail. Now where did that tax money come from and where does the welfare go? Also remember that people pay taxes; states do not. The richest half of the population pays almost all the income tax. Are the Dems the party of the rich? If not, lay off the bad analysis based on color.

Trent

I would make a partisan attack, but I am kinda tired out today. Perhaps later. Poverty increased as the economy went south (which it started to do BTW in 2000). Poverty lags growth. The rates will probably improve this year. However, the fact that poverty did not return to its pre reform levels, even in the face of a weaker economy, shows how well it worked.

Please see above re poverty. Also the rates are not catching the truth. The poor consistently SPEND more than their proported income. We obivously do not account for all the variables.

A good analysis with charts

Posted by: Jack at August 18, 2006 1:04 PM
Comment #176323
But then again, I’m a Republican, so I believe in small government and personal responsibility and education to make good choices. Posted by: Ilsa at August 17, 2006 11:35 AM

Ilsa,

Didn’t we have this debate in another thread and it was decided that you beleived in personal responsibility…but, but, but…except, except, except…? You can’t have it both ways. If you believe in people taking responsibility for their own lives, that means for all aspects of their lives, not just the things you support.

I also have to assume that if you are Republican because you believe in small government and personal responsibility(?) then you do not support the current incarnation of the Republican party (Which seem to believe in huge government expansion and government intrusion into people’s private lives. For some reason they believe they have the right to know what everyone in the country is doing. I don’t recall seeing that right granted to the Feds in the Constitution.) The only party that truly believes in smaller government and personal responsibility is the Libertarian Party.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at August 18, 2006 1:08 PM
Comment #176328
I’ll bet though that they’d jump all over me if I called myself a Native American because I’m White and don’t even know if I have any Indian blood in me at all. But I was born here so that does make me a Native American. Just like anyone else born here regardless of race, creed, color, or ethnic background.

Ron,

Please don’t take this as jumping all over you, but technically speaking, people who are born in America are American Natives, not Native Americans.

And Conservatives will jump all over anyone putting someone down because of race. Y’all don’t have a corner on that.

Are you serious?
A New Explanation For “Macaca?”

Another republican caught on video slurring a minority- Blacks this time

Posted by: JayJay Snow at August 18, 2006 1:23 PM
Comment #176341

Jack:

Hit a nerve what with the blue states giving monetary support to the red states, hey???

And I even gave a reference, which is more than you’ve done…

Here’s another reference with further references imbedded within it…you might want to actually look at the statistics!

Red States have no values, no self-reliance; feed off Blue States

Posted by: Lynne at August 18, 2006 2:38 PM
Comment #176345

JayJay - You at least have to give Tramm Hudson a little credit for the preface, “I know this from my experience”, and then his appearingly sincere apology afterward. What he said “has” some basis in fact as a stereotype. I’m not defending Hudson, but if you think about it, competitive swimming doesn’t have as balanced an ethnic mix as some of the other sports.

I’m not saying what he said was cool, but it can’t be justly compared to George Allens’ Macaca debacle.

Posted by: DOC at August 18, 2006 3:46 PM
Comment #176350

Excellent article Jack.

A couple reinforcing notes:

1- Welfare states are good for no one. Help the unhelpable & encourage the able. It’s just not that hard.

2- This was part of the Contract With America, thank goodness for that. I’m glad to see no Dems trying to overturn that success.

3- What’s the average poor person have in the USA? An apartment, a TV, and air conditioning? There will always be a “below average”, hell, even Socialist states have classes of people even though that’s what the system was supposed to prevent. Here’s hoping for improvement but I’ll take our “below average” over any other country for sure!

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 18, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #176351

Jack,

The article you linked to just reminded me once again how damn complicated everything is. I’ve read it once, but it’s something that requires study. I’m sure we’ve all had this experience: public debate turns to something you happen to have really studied, and we’re appalled by the misunderstandings and distortions that get thrown around by both “sides.” It’s so much easier to have a strong opinion about something you know little about. Thus we hear standard mantras from both sides that essentially don’t do anything except express core beliefs and unrecognized ignorance. I sometimes feel no one should be allowed to express an opinion until after thorough study.

This is not a criticism of anyone here, just a general observation about debate and debators in general, myself included. And yet, somehow, we have to make good decisions about the politicians we elect.

Socrates is floating around in my head right now.

Posted by: Trent at August 18, 2006 5:27 PM
Comment #176352

Lynne

It hits a nerve because it is so silly. I have trouble understanding why anyone thinks it is more than a convenient abstraction. The real world affect of the blue/red is the Electoral College. That’s very important, but you cannot extrapolate beyond that.

If you would take the time to look at the county map and income figure, you would understand.

It is a typical misunderstanding to look at groups instead of people, but in this case you are not even looking at groups. How much did you pay in taxes last year? How many people on welfare would that support. That is the extent of it. There is no us there.

If you believe Dems in general are richer than Republicans, you may have to reassess your ideas about who is ripping off whom.

Trent

I think the big problem I have is that I have my obervations tell me that most people are better off now than when I was growing up. Yet some statistics say it is not true. I see fewer homeless. Poor people seem to have cars. Houses are bigger. I don’t know.

Posted by: Jack at August 18, 2006 5:54 PM
Comment #176354

Clinton was a great president because he could bring both sides together to solve big issues. He was a centrist. Too bad our current leader couldn’t have taken a few lessons from his predessesor.

Posted by: Shelly at August 18, 2006 6:16 PM
Comment #176360

Jack,

“I see fewer homeless. Poor people seem to have cars. Houses are bigger. I don’t know.”

There were fewer homeless when you and I grew up because they were in institutions, and were released via fiat by Mr. Reagan. Many of the homeless truly don’t belong on the streets, they aren’t just out there taking advantage of the system.

Houses may be bigger where you are. I grew up in a 3000sqft house with a brother and two sisters, I now live in a 1100sqft house that is worth (in today’s market) about 5 times as much as my parents paid for theirs.

As far as cars are concerned, you can still buy a junker for a few hundred bucks, and fix it yourself, parts for old cars are still made and are reasonably inexpensive. Gas, on the other hand, is much less affordable now.

Posted by: Rocky at August 18, 2006 6:47 PM
Comment #176376

Poverty is a relative figure. $10,000 a year in a lot of countries wouldn’t be called poverty.

Some people will squander any amount of money you give them, and the definition of poverty keeps changing to keep people in the category.

I agree with the programs to help children and I know some people who are using those programs. The programs aren’t just a handout, but are designed to encourage the parents to work. One for instance works 20 hours a week to continue receiving assistance, so her not having a job outright isn’t because she isn’t willing to work, since she is working.

Family and friends help them too.

The poor in the United States always have places they can go for food. They don’t all know that though. Larger cities have homeless shelters.

Some of the homeless would spend their excess money on drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. Once they are in that trap it’s difficult to get them out until they are ready to work at it. Even then some of their addictions may be more than they can handle.

As to President Bush reaching oujt and compromising, he has. He kept Democrat appointees in several positions. In my opinion it was the Democrats in those positions and those in Conrgess who were extremely partisan and even broke the law in revealing classified information in order to further their party. For instance, the piece from the NY Times that told about secret US plans to do things in Iran. It was written in the article that the plan was secret.

Just because people hate President Bush doesn’t give them the right to commit treason.

There are many who bear false witness against President Bush. What he said before going into Iraq is on record. Lying is a deliberate untruth. Accusing him of stealing an election is accusing him of breaking the law. People should be willing to back up their allegations.

Posted by: Steve S at August 18, 2006 9:39 PM
Comment #176377

Just because people hate President Bush doesn’t give them the right to commit treason.

There are many who bear false witness against President Bush. What he said before going into Iraq is on record. Lying is a deliberate untruth. Accusing him of stealing an election is accusing him of breaking the law. People should be willing to back up their allegations.

Posted by: Steve S at August 18, 2006 09:39 PM


How about a ten year investigation into his sweetheart deal with the Rangers? If no wrong doing is found, start digging into his personal life and his financial dealings as governor and president. Surely we could come up with something. Ken Starr may be available.

Posted by: LibRick at August 18, 2006 10:05 PM
Comment #176382

Lynne,

Please post the number of “poor” people you support.
Tell us how many of the so called “poor” you have helped with a hand up, not a hand out. The “poor” here are considered rich anywhere else in the world.
When is the last time you traveled out of the country and saw a “poor” person in another country with 2 cars an air conditioned house, cable tv, internet access, etc? Please be specific. thanks for your time.

I have seen people living in a dirt floor hut with animals sharing the floor. (It wasn’t in the U.S.)

Posted by: Libertarian3 at August 18, 2006 10:35 PM
Comment #176383

Sorry if someone already addressed this but this is my first time reading this post.

Brian B,

Social Security does have a death benefit! It also has disability as well. Look at your SS statement next time. If you die early, your beneficiaries will definitely be getting more than you put in. That is exactly what SS is all about, providing a social safety net. It’s the opposite of every man, woman, and child for themselves.

Posted by: Chris2x at August 18, 2006 10:50 PM
Comment #176385

JayJay
Please don’t take this as jumping all over you, but technically speaking, people who are born in America are American Natives, not Native Americans.

Just a matter of semantics.
And yes I’m serious. True Conservative WILL jump all over someone using racial slurs. Republicans ARENOT Conservatives.


Posted by: Ron Brown at August 18, 2006 11:48 PM
Comment #176393

Hummmm…welfare reform worked? You mean all those single and divorced women with kids who are suffering in misery because they barely survive on your skin-flint, Dickensonian wages with no time to teach their children values, moral, ethical, and social? Kids who are latch-key kids watching the antics of corrupt politicians teaching them to ‘do as they say, and not do as I do’, on T.V.? At least they are being more educated in the politics of politics than many adults. On the other hand many of the older kids are busy in their ‘gangs’ for the support and approval they COULD have gotten from their parent.I can understand the greed, but people who claim to be the masters of ‘family values’, put on a pious face and preach their personal brand of ‘morality’ while sticking their hands in the cookie jar right in front of you…
But on the other hand, if you keep them broke and starving, you can get’em to join your corporation’s army. What a bunch of hypocrites.
But maybe someday these children will become adults who will say to you all, thanks alot for keeping my mom (and in some cases, dad) from me.
They MIGHT…but I doubt it.

Posted by: Zena V. Princess at August 19, 2006 12:37 AM
Comment #176417

Maybe the rich stay rich because of habits they have that make them rich. Same for the poor.

Re: Competition It certainly is about competition from the day you are born. As a child you compete for the biggest cookie or the right to control the games you play. To get ahead you MUST compete in life and the better you can do so, the better your life will be.

Posted by: tomd at August 19, 2006 8:35 AM
Comment #176418

Maybe the rich stay rich because of habits they have that make them rich. Same for the poor.

Re: Competition It certainly is about competition from the day you are born. As a child you compete for the biggest cookie or the right to control the games you play. To get ahead you MUST compete in life and the better you can do so, the better your life will be.

Posted by: tomd at August 19, 2006 8:37 AM
Comment #176429

Lots of talk about competition here. Sometimes it borders on social darwinism. If we truly believed in competition, we wouldn’t allow wealthy dynasties. We’d say that each child starts with at the same place — instead of some starting with skateboards and some starting with Dodge Vipers, we’d all start on foot. Repeating the competition mantra serves to justify the status quo, but we should realize the notion that we mean it only when it serves our specific purpose, and we disregard it otherwise. This is not a slam on anything except commonplaces.

There is also the notion in competition that one can only “win” if others lose. Now, let me say that I love competition. I’ve played competitive chess (not very well, alas; I started much too late). I play poker every week, etc. But competition is also a trap as well as a source of pleasure and gratification. Let me ask, what is the good life? Well, certain economic necessities must be met, of course. It’s hard to imagine you are living the good life if you are starving or waiting out a thunderstorm in a cardboard box. It appears to me, though, that what people often mean by the good life is … stuff. Bigger cars, bigger houses, more gadgets than your neighbor, more status symbols, etc., etc. This is what consumerism teaches us. It is hard to escape it unless you shut yourself off from the world.

The good life for me? Well, it involves lots of time. Time to read literature and history, time to reflect, time to talk with my friends, time to try to understand myself and the world around me. Competition can be fun, and of course some degree of it is necessary (we all must try to take care of ourselves and not be a burden on others), but it is not, for me, what makes my life good. You know, I express regert often on these threads about rhetorical abuses — usually they involve distortions in one way or another, usually they are about winning a point, etc., etc. But they do not contribute to understanding. Good and open-minded discussion, fair debate (in which fallacies are a no-no and good will is a plus), thoughtful study — these are productive because they allow us to modify our own understandings and lead to intellectual growth. Talking points, mantras, commonplaces are much much easier, but when we engage in those we are not really thinking.

Posted by: Trent at August 19, 2006 9:34 AM
Comment #176528

Now if we could just reform corporate welfare, we might have a chance.

Posted by: gergle at August 19, 2006 7:22 PM
Comment #176554

Can anyone say, “LIPSTICK ON A HOOKER”?

Courageously faced down liberals?
As I remember it, Clinton initially VETOED welfare reform…and only let it slide when he realized the GOP had enough votes to override a veto. Seems pretty obvious to me that he simply figured he might as well share the credit.

As for the GOP, why stop there? Welfare, in its many forms is rampant, and not only does the GOP seem content to let it ride, but even seems intent on expanding it…free drugs for old people…steel tariffs…anyone?

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at August 19, 2006 10:52 PM
Comment #195277

I am currently writing a paper on Welfare reform and it is amazing to me how touchy this subject is. I am all for welfare reform…….But, I don’t think that Bush or anyone else is looking at the real problem here and I am speaking form experience. I have been on welfare not for long, and only applied for it when all the other doors were slammed in my face. I stayed on for about six months due to an injury to my hands. I found being on what I would call public assistants degarding in more than one way, but I got back on my feet and moved on. Now here is my problem with Welfare reform, when a woman goes in and apply for benefits they are requires to give information as to the location of the childs father, some give false information and some tell the true, such as myself. I give social security number, address, mother’s name and anything else they needed to track this man down and believe it or not he lived in back of the building and they couldn’t find him. I have a problem with this and question if they even looked for him. I even went to court and filed a child support case against him and haven’t received a dime as of today, but him he is currently getting food stamps and section eight. Isn’t that a _ithc. Now lack get back to the big issue with welfare reform. I work at a health care clinic and I watch this young girls come into the clinic with baby and when that child reach the age where the benefits are about to stop. they go out and have another baby. I live in a three family house were I rent an apartment and the woman above is beating the system in so many way, her daughter has dropped out of college and quite working because she is preganant. And when asked how she is going to support her baby the first thing that comes out of her mouth is Welfare. I personally think that this situation was provoked by her mother, because she wanted to keep her section eight and using her daughter as a means to do so. When informed this woman of the fact that her rent share would go up because there is more money coming in. She informed me that she has a way around that, her daughter is claiming to live at another address. This pisses me the _uck off. I get up and go to work every day and pay my taxes. I don’t make alot of money and have to pay out of packet for my sons ashma meds., which runs me about $200 monthly, on top of the co-pay. I look at my check ever week and see that they are taking out for medicare and other care. I say reform, reform, reform, Bush must realize that reform goes beyound the guide lines that he put in place and that most of the some of the people that he thinks are reform just found a way to beat the system. some even at the cost of their childern’s future. Welfare was put in place to help the childern, but in some cases it is taking away their future.

Posted by: Theresa Watson at November 15, 2006 10:09 PM
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