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  • Obama Admin on Welfare: "Who's to Say What is Enough?"

    Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support held a hearing on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and its role in providing assistance to struggling families.

    The Obama Administration’s witness, Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, Carmen Nazario, included in her testimony a request to extend for a year the TANF Emergency Fund at a cost of $2.5 billion. This would extend a $5 billion program created in the Stimulus package last year that severely undermines the success of welfare reform. It essentially pays states for every new TANF case added to the caseload creating a perverse incentive to grow the size of the welfare state.

    Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, testified at the same hearing that federal and state welfare spending under the Obama Administration is already on a trajectory to spend $953 billion in 2011 on means-tested programs for the poor. This prompted the Ranking Republican on the Committee, Congressman John Linder, to ask Ms. Nazario, “Is it your testimony that $953 billion is not enough?” See her response in the video above.

    Rector’s testimony went on further to say:

    President Obama’s increase in federal means-tested welfare spending during his first two years in office is two and a half times greater than any previous increase in federal welfare spending in U.S. history, after adjusting for inflation.

    According to the long-term spending plans set forth in Obama’s FY 2010 budget, combined federal and state spending will not drop significantly after the recession ends. In fact, by 2014, welfare spending is likely to equal $1 trillion per year…..$10.3 trillion over the next 10 years. This spending will equal over $100,000 for each taxpaying household in the U.S.

    It’s clear from the President’s 2011 budget as well as those testifying on behalf of the Administration that continuing to increase welfare spending at historic levels is a priority despite the record level deficit. In these tough economic times, President Obama is intent on keeping his promise to “spread the wealth” while at the same time bankrupting America.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Obama Admin on Welfare: "Who's to Say What is Enough?"

    1. John, Rhode Island says:

      When did giving someone a hand up become giving someone a hand out? Spreading the wealth may be a nice sound bite, but it's not realistic. What does Mr. President think is going to happen when there is no more wealth to spread? People deserve an equal opportunity to make something of themselves, but not an equal outcome. We should be celebrating exceptionalism, not punishing it with extortion of property. I guess that's the difference between capitalism and socialism

      • Lewis says:

        Hey A-Hole. They have this incentive called TANF because there is economic segregation and income inequality. Which has been growing over the last thirty years.

    2. randy, sa tx says:

      the U S is way behind other countries in welfare.just one example women who are expecting or pregnant and have kids are forced to the labor market. rather than the mother or father spending time with their new baby. i would rather have the state help me out when i dont have a job so that me and my family arent thrown to the street. rather than give big biz greater subsidies.

    3. Matt, DC says:

      Your argument that increasing federal funding for TANF creates a perverse incentive to grow the welfare state is highly off-base. You neglect to mention that states have to contribute to TANF too. In the current fiscal climate, that's very difficult.

      In other words, the states have a strong incentive NOT to access this federal money. And so TANF caseloads remain at surprisingly low rates. Mr. Rector and others at Heritage surely know this, and the fact that this is left out doesn't speak well to the honesty of their analysis.

      [It should be noted that this in turn missed an opportunity to boost economic demand. Benefits to the poor are usually spent on necessities quite quickly, benefitting the (often small) businesses where they shop.]

    4. Aaron, Ohio says:

      "the U S is way behind other countries in welfare.just one example women who are expecting or pregnant and have kids are forced to the labor market. rather than the mother or father spending time with their new baby."

      So let's be clear here. You are saying that it it is not reasonable to expect the parents of a child to get jobs to support that child.

      "rather than give big biz greater subsidies."

      How about we do neither?

      "Your argument that increasing federal funding for TANF creates a perverse incentive to grow the welfare state is highly off-base. You neglect to mention that states have to contribute to TANF too. In the current fiscal climate, that’s very difficult.

      In other words, the states have a strong incentive NOT to access this federal money. And so TANF caseloads remain at surprisingly low rates. Mr. Rector and others at Heritage surely know this, and the fact that this is left out doesn’t speak well to the honesty of their analysis."

      The problem here is that you are confusing TANF (what you are referring to) with the ‘Emergency Contingency Fund for State Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs’ (what Heritage is referring to). Increasing funding to TANF and increasing funding to the ‘Emergency Contingency Fund for State Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs’ are two very different things.

    5. Matt, DC says:

      Actually, Aaron, the two are closely related. The Emergency Contingency Fund, authorized under ARRA, is a fund to pay for TANF (both direct benefits and other programming). And under it, states still must put up some funds and demonstrate maintenance of effort. What is it that you feel makes them "two very different things"?

    6. Helen C. Hafen, Neva says:

      H.R. 1 will not bankrupt the economy, Obama's health care will do that more than H.R. 1: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Google WashingtonWatch.com-H.R. 1277, The Welfare Restoration Act of 2009. Then Google Helen Hafen and click on everything especially barnes and noble comments on economy books published recently, then Google Nevadans Acting For Welfare Reform, then google you tube broadcast yourself and watch, 'the truth of 1996 welfare reform' then its theme song, then 'How to appeal the 1996 welfare reform act denials." Thank you, and have a nice day.

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