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Morning Bell: How Many Trillions Must We Waste on the War on Poverty?
Posted By Conn Carroll On March 17, 2011 @ 9:01 am In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled
Which American politician said the following? “The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fibre. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.” Had to be a mean-spirited  Tea Party conservative, right? Wrong. President Franklin Roosevelt included these words in his 1935 State of the Union Address .
Twenty-nine years later, the American welfare state was still relatively small, consuming only 1.2 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). The American family was also still intact, with 93 percent of children born into stable families. But then President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty happened. Forty-five years and $16 trillion later, thanks to big government, poverty is winning. Thanks to over $900 billion a year (over 5 percent of GDP) of spending on over 70 means-tested welfare programs spread over 13 government agencies, more than 40 million Americans currently receive food stamps , poverty is higher today than it was in the 1970s , and 40 percent of all children are born outside of marriage .
Since he moved into the White House, President Barack Obama has only doubled down on the War on Poverty’s failure. His fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget would have increased spending on programs for the poor 42 percent above FY 2008 levels . Looking past the current recession, President Obama’s budget would spend over $10.3 trillion on means-tested welfare programs over the next 10 years .
But didn’t we already “end welfare as we know it”  in the ’90s? No. As successful as the 1996 welfare reform law was (and it did decrease welfare rolls and child poverty rates ), it reformed only one of the more than 70 federal anti-poverty programs. Worse, President Obama’s failed economic stimulus bill completely gutted the 1996 welfare reforms . If conservatives are serious about reducing federal spending in a way that protects families and encourages self-reliance, it is high time they turned their attention back to welfare reform. A common-sense approach to reform would include:
Today the chairman of the Republican Study Committee Representative Jim Jordan (R–OH) will introduce a bill  that incorporates many of these principles. Among other items, it would require disclosure of total means-tested welfare spending, place an aggregate cap on welfare spending, and extend work requirements to the Food Stamps program. If we want to avoid becoming a European-style welfare state, we must abandon President Obama’s War on Poverty surge and return to the type of common-sense welfare reform that proved so successful in the ’90s.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/03/17/morning-bell-how-many-trillions-must-we-waste-on-the-war-on-poverty/
URLs in this post:
 mean-spirited: http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/08/harry-reid-blasts-mean-spirited-republicans-who-want-to-cut-taxpayer-funded-poetry-festival/
 1935 State of the Union Address: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=14890#axzz1Gr4wcrhs
 more than 40 million Americans currently receive food stamps: http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/05/07/us-food-usa-stamps-idUSTRE6465E220100507
 poverty is higher today than it was in the 1970s: http://www.familyfacts.org/charts/320/the-official-poverty-rate-has-declined-minimally-since-the-late-1960s
 40 percent of all children are born outside of marriage: http://www.familyfacts.org/charts/205/more-than-four-in-10-children-are-born-to-unwed-mothers
 increased spending on programs for the poor 42 percent above FY 2008 levels: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/06/Confronting-the-Unsustainable-Growth-of-Welfare-Entitlements-Principles-of-Reform-and-the-Next-Steps
 President Obama’s budget would spend over $10.3 trillion on means-tested welfare programs over the next 10 years: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2009/09/Obama-to-Spend-103-Trillion-on-Welfare-Uncovering-the-Full-Cost-of-Means-Tested-Welfare-or-Aid-to-the-Poor
 “end welfare as we know it”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Responsibility_and_Work_Opportunity_Act
 it did decrease welfare rolls and child poverty rates: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2006/08/Welfare-Reform-Turns-Ten-Evidence-Shows-Reduced-Dependence-Poverty
 President Obama’s failed economic stimulus bill completely gutted the 1996 welfare reforms: http://www.foundry.org/2009/02/11/stimulus-bill-abolishes-welfare-reform/
 introduce a bill: http://rsc.jordan.house.gov/Solutions/wra.htm
 TARP: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/story/print?guid=c3a0021e-4fd6-11e0-9855-012128040cf6
 paid out nearly $9 billion: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704396504576204752754667840.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection
 terminate $1 billion in slush funds: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/150281-house-votes-to-end-third-federal-housing-program
 Union thugs: http://blog.eyeblast.tv/2011/03/union-thugs-destroy-recall-petitions/
 Republican National Committee was shot up: http://dcist.com/2011/03/dc_republican_party_hq_windows_shot.php#photo-1
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