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  • The Obama Budget: Expanding the Welfare state and Undermining Marriage

    President Obama’s budget outlines a plan to pay states to grow their welfare roles and eliminate efforts to fight family breakdown in low-income communities. Despite the fact that low work hours and fatherlessness are two of the greatest contributors to poverty in the United States, the newly released budget provides incentives for states to increase the size of their caseloads and also wipes out funding for healthy marriage programs that aim to decrease the number of children growing up in single-parent homes.

    Prior to 1996, the federal government increased a state’s welfare money as that state increased its caseload. Not surprisingly, this provided little motivation to help welfare recipients move into the workforce. The 1996 welfare reforms did away with this negative incentive and created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, leading to dramatic caseload declines and a decrease in the child poverty rate.

    Unfortunately, these successful reforms were undercut in a variety of policy moves and all but wiped out by last year’s stimulus bill that created the $5 billion TANF Emergency Fund. Once again, states are being paid to increase their caseload (80 cents on the dollar for every new case they receive beyond their numbers for 2007 or 2008).

    Now President Obama is proposing $2.5 billion more to extend this supposedly temporary emergency fund. Although the President links the need for this emergency money to the current recession, the truth is that the 1996 welfare reform includes a $2 billion nest egg for tough economic times such as this. (And lest it be forgotten, the government already increased welfare spending for FY 2010 by $174.6 billion.) Moreover, the new funding would not even be dispensed to states based on their unemployment rates but merely doled out based on the size of their caseload.

    Unfortunately, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) has jumped on the bandwagon, proposing an even greater expansion to the welfare system. His legislation would allow states to collect as much federal money as needed to support their growing caseload (provided that the state does not receive more than 50 percent of its annual TANF dollars). The cost of this would dwarf the President’s $2.5 billion request. Both Obama and McDermott are sending a clear message to states: increase your welfare rolls and you will be rewarded handsomely by the federal taxpayer.

    Not only does the President plan to expand welfare, but he has also eliminated a program that aims to reduce the prevalence of single motherhood, one of the greatest contributors to poverty in the United States. The Healthy Marriage grant program provides help to those from low-income communities to learn skills for building strong marriages. To replace this program, President Obama has introduced his “Fatherhood, Marriage, and Families Innovation Fund.” While this sounds similar in name, it is in fact just another jobs program, focused very little on fatherhood, marriage, or families.

    The 1996 welfare reform encouraged individual liberty, promoting work and freedom from government dependence. Now, the current administration is moving backwards and pulling its most vulnerable citizens with it. True welfare should help everyone: the taxpayer, who is allowed to keep more of his or her paycheck, and the welfare recipient, who is lifted off the dole and up to independence.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to The Obama Budget: Expanding the Welfare state and Undermining Marriage

    1. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      Someone needs to get an independent audit under FOI to see just where all this money is. BHO promised a line by line audit of all Gov't. branches, it's been 15 mos and still they all hide behind closed doors and keep spending.

    2. Drew Page, IL says:

      Of course Obama and his Democrat stooges want to increase the welfare state, that's where all their votes come from. They will continue taking our tax money to do this as long as we allow it.

      Madam Pelosi has stated that passing health care reform is only the beginning. The Hispanic caucus of the Democrat party has been holding off their support of passing the Senate HC bill waiting for Mr. Obama's promise of Immigration Reform, which in simple terms means blanket amnesty. This will allow Mr. Obama to say "the health care reform bill will not cover illegal aliens because with a stroke of his pen, all 12 to 20 million illegals will be legal and therefore covered under government health plans, the cost of which you can be sure was not included in the cost estimates submitted by the white House or the CBO.

    3. Dennis Social Circle says:

      Welfare, entitlemants,handouts, these are the way of the dems.They are also the way of a socialist or marxist style "guvernment" which is what pelosi, reid, and obama want.

    4. Matt Piccolo, UT says:

      Nice post, Rachel.

      One question: is your definition of "true welfare" an accurate one? Is there a "false welfare"?

      I think the best kind of welfare for the taxpayer would be the non-existent kind that doesn't cost any money unless he or she chooses to help someone out of their own volition. But if government is going to get involved, then I suppose the most effective form of welfare would help those who are dependent become self-reliant and also minimize the cost to taxpayers.

    5. Barbara, Louisiana says:

      just a comment about welfare and marriage…. my husband and I separated for 2 1/2 yrs and I received welfare/food stamps for about a yr. We reconciled and I called the county that I would no longer need welfare. Would you believe, the state sent us a bill for the year that I received welfare. I would have thought the state would be happy that one was off welfare but instead was penalized for getting back together. Being billed for the welfare I received would deter more people from reconciling because they would not want to be hit with a bill to repay any funds received in the past. This needs to be rectified but I'm just not sure how to go about it. Any suggestions?

    6. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      But isn't all of this the social agenda of radicals. Breakdown the family unit to create a dependant society. I live near Detroit and I can tell you the outcomes of this agenda and it is not good. Sooner or later those in Detroit who think the Democratic party is for the little person will look around and realize that the past thirty years has resulted in an abysmal situation. If the Democratic party is so good why do they live in a war zone? You want this social agenda – visit Detroit.

    7. Pingback: Will High Gasoline Prices Mean Unskilled Americans Can’t Afford to Live far from Jobs? | Live In Jobs

    8. Kevin, Dallas, TX says:

      I am really trying to understand the thinking of the president. It is truly amazing that he wants everyone standing in a line with their hand out. When the money runs out, what will the people with their hand out do. I am a proud AMERICAN, who happens to be black. And what Obama is trying to do to our great country is disgusting.

    9. Susan, New York says:

      In trying to understand what the president is thinking and why he is encouraging a greater number of Americans to become dependent on government…

      Research Cloward-Pivens, this theory coincides with a lot of what is being implemented by our current administration.

    10. Jan Bussler, Silver says:

      I work as a nurse in Labor and Delivery in Washington DC and this is how the system works—when an unwed teen gets pregnant, she now qualifies for her own food stamps, WIC, medicaid, public housing and TANF check. We are in our 4th generation of welfare, it is a lifestyle and the illegitimacy rate is over 70% in Washington DC. For an immigrant, a pregnant woman gets automatic medicaid, the infant is an automatic US citizen and infant gets free care. We reward the wrong behavior here. I have worked as a hospital nurse for over 30 years, extra shifts to put my children through school, and they never received one penny assistance. When I "retire" I won't have health insurance (even though I worked with people receiving free services for almost 3 decades) and in 4 years I'll be "fined" if I don't purchase health insurance. Whatever happened to rewarding the people who actually paid into the system for years?? The welfare system encourages uneducated girls to have babies out of wedlock. It has been literally years since I've seen one of these girls who didn't have a cell phone,,,now this is just wrong. I feel like I should be the poster child for all that is backwards with the entitlements in our great country.

    11. Pingback: Texas Rainmaker » Representation Without Taxation

    12. John Bigler/Salt Lak says:

      To reduce the size of the welfare state, maybe the federal government should pass sweeping child-income laws, where if you are in poverty you would be restricted to no children, since you can barely afford yourself. And if you are in near-poverty you would be allowed 1 child. Anyone with incomes above near-poverty would have no restrictions, since the average American only has about 2.1 children, but they could have more if they wanted. Anyone in violation of these laws would on their own.

      If Americans and particularly immigrants did something even close to this on their own (if they had any common sense) it would drastically reduce poverty, welfare spending and high school dropouts. Doubt that will ever happen, though.

    13. Ashlee Guier/ Spring says:

      I am a teen mom and. I get 448.00 every month on TANF. That's not enough money to live on. I keep hearing from a lot of people that Obama is making it to where welfare has to pay you to go to school? I was just wondering if anyone knows anything about that? If so could you please email me at ashleemargera@hotmail.com please and, thank you so much!

    14. Elaine Stout, Vienna says:

      The following link off your article leads to a 404.
      http://www.heritage.org/research/family/upload/cd
      Please correct at your convenience.

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