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  • Morning Bell: Media "Fact Checkers" Promote Obama's Gutting of Welfare Reform

    Since Heritage’s Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley broke the story on July 12 that the Obama Administration had gutted the work requirements from the 1996 welfare reform law, the Administration has denied it. In recent weeks, media “fact checks” have popped up all over declaring The Heritage Foundation’s scoop “False.”

    Major media—most recently, CNN—have carried water for President Obama’s defense of rewriting the welfare reform law. Since these supposed government watchdogs are playing the lapdog, Heritage will continue to provide the facts and do the investigative reporting.

    Rector has already debunked the Administration’s claims that it did not gut welfare reform and that Republican governors tried to do the same thing in 2005. Now, he is taking apart the Administration’s defense of its new waiver policy piece-by-piece in a new series of papers.

    The Claim: New Rules Will Still Increase Work

    CNN’s “fact checkers” claim that “In some small way, the waivers might change precisely how work is calculated but the essential goal of pushing welfare recipients to work—something both Democrats and Republicans agreed to in the 1990s—remains the same.”

    This is exactly Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s defense: that waiving welfare’s work requirements for states under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program will still require states to get welfare recipients into jobs. She maintains that the states will have to “commit that their proposals will move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work compared to the state’s past performance.”

    The Facts: Bogus Measures of Success

    Rector meets this claim head-on in his new paper, “Ending Work for Welfare: Bogus Measures of Success.”

    This standard is vague, first of all, since states do not actually need to fulfill it but merely “demonstrate clear progress toward that goal no later than one year” after they are exempted from the old TANF work standards. Nonetheless, at first glance, this goal looks fairly impressive.

    President Obama’s HHS will exempt states from the federal work requirements if they increase by 20 percent the number of TANF cases that lose eligibility due to increases in earnings, a measure called “employment exits.” There are four reasons why a 20 percent increase in the number of employment exits, although it sounds impressive, is a very weak or counterproductive measure of success in welfare reform.

    The four reasons this measure is weak, Rector says:

    1. Employment exits will increase automatically when the economy recovers. Virtually every state in the U.S. will experience an increase in its employment exits by 20 percent “compared to the state’s past performance” as the economy moves from recession toward higher employment.

    2. States could meet the target simply with better record keeping. A large number of TANF recipients leave the program each month for unknown or unspecified reasons. It seems likely that many states could meet the 20 percent increase target simply by collecting or reporting more accurate data on their current exits.

    3. A 20 percent increase in exits is insignificant. An increase in employment exits of 20 percent is actually a very small change. The average state has a monthly TANF caseload of around 40,000 families and an annual caseload of perhaps 80,000. Each state has around 600 employment exits from TANF each month, or 1.5 percent of monthly caseload. According to Obama’s new welfare system, the state can be fully exempt from the work standards written in the TANF law if it raises its employment exits from 600 per month to 720. Why is it reasonable, fair, or wise to exempt the remaining 39,000 welfare households from workfare participation just because an extra 120 have left the rolls?

    4. More employment exits indicate a larger caseload. The number of employment exits generally rises when the size of the welfare caseload rises, and it falls when the caseload falls. This is due to routine caseload turnover.

    Rector concludes that “The number of employment exits is thus meaningless as a method for assessing the TANF program. Employment exits is a sham measure of success that creates the impression that welfare dependence is being reduced when, in reality, the number of persons on welfare is constant or rising.”

    Under the Administration’s new measurement, the old welfare program would have been deemed a success, while the extremely successful 1996 reforms would have looked like a failure.

    With an Administration that routinely creates new laws by executive order—disregarding the people’s elected representatives—accountability is in short supply. Heritage legal experts Todd Gaziano, Robert Alt, and Andrew Grossman have detailed why the Administration’s actions are illegal. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has no authority to grant the type of waivers it is creating. Yet the media haven’t done a “legality check” on the Obama Administration.

    Stay tuned for the next installment in Rector’s continuing series next week.

    Read the first installment: Ending Work for Welfare: Bogus Measures of Success

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    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    55 Responses to Morning Bell: Media "Fact Checkers" Promote Obama's Gutting of Welfare Reform

    1. brian says:

      I love Republicans. They don't let facts get in the way of a good ad! As far as I can tell, you guys simply make stuff up when the political conversation doesn't go your way.

      • Tim McKee says:

        I just read the Heritage piece. I am interested what information you have to rebut the points in this piece. Please post. It’s worth discussing.

      • Brad says:

        that's especially true when the discussion turns to the Affordable Care Act. One of Heritage's writers first proposed the mandate 20 years ago and it was embraced by Heritage. Of course, they never acknowledge it now and just hope no one remembers.

      • annie says:

        And of course CNN would never "make up stuff"? They, along with most of the "media" out there are so in the tank for Obama it is sickening. Thank God for sites such as Heritage, who do the research and get the facts to us. Why do most liberals think it is OK for Obama to go around the laws on the books? He is NOT King Obama.

      • Bill Payne says:

        Brian, I fully agree with what you have to say.

      • Clearhead says:

        We love you too, 'brian' in the same way that any mature American loves a little kindergartner who hasn't acquired the art of deductive reasoning yet. Here's hoping that sometime in the future, through study and diligence, you may be able to reverse the third and fourth letters of your name.

      • Crystal says:

        Apparently you dont like research Brian…the facts are out there, you just have to research.

      • Roy S. Mallmann says:

        I think that you should pay more attention to the law and how it was passed. No president can do what Obama does with executive orders in that he thinks he can gut a law or change it to fit his latest campaign goal. If you read the U.S. Constitution closely you will find that we do not have a monarchy or dictatorship, but a Republican form of government with three separate but equal branches of government. If we had a legitimate press other than the Obama Propaganda Ministry, they would point that out instead of going along with it "making it legal" to uniformed people like you.

      • Boogalie says:

        Bryan…..your response is EXACTLY why many liberals are referred to as 'drones'. You never let the facts confuse you. Did you not read the explanation of the impact of POTUS 'waiver'. My bet: You didn't ….and won't read Robert Rector's informaiton. Finally, the intrusion of government in trying to micromanage so so many facets of our lives has grown exponentially. It's growth is to a point where it intrudes on all of our activities. Had enough. Semper Fi.

      • Donald says:

        Brian, You don't realize it but your blind inability to recognize what is staring you in the face on a daily basis, is pathetic. But, not to worry, you've got lots of company.

      • Deusexmachina says:

        I see that you didn't let any facts get in the way, when you made this comment…

        and thank you for the love…

      • Hank_Scorpio says:

        Uh yeah, except that you're completely wrong. I believe the term is "projection". Now run along, don;t you have a cop car to poop on or something?

      • Bobbie says:

        Very good, brian. That's right. Narrow thinking serves you well by choice. Don't let anything else get in there, it would widen your thought process and we wouldn't want you to hurt yourself…

      • Josepm McKennan says:

        The Fact oif the matter is that every time I see an Obama campaign ad he is attributing to Romney what he – himself is doing. Another Fact is that Obama got elected by people like you who do not have the substance to think for yourselves but FOLLOW leaders who promise them something for nothing.

      • Justone says:

        Brian, exactly what are you talking about? The welfare work requirement article or something else? How are we supposed to take you seriously when you don't even tell us the target of your ire, much less provide any facts to support your statement.

      • RBC says:

        And we love your, too, Brian! You provide us with insight on how the liberal mind works; concoct accusations on how corrupt the messaging is by the Republicans with no specifics or factual corrections contributed by you because facts don't back you up. We call you a drive-by head-in-the-sand; be presented with factual information that reveals corruption in the current administration and the knee-jerk partisan in you compels you to automatically pronounce it as untrue. Then you make your fast exit so you can further deny yourself the disappointment of the failures of the democrats to problem solve in any arena with any true positive reform.

      • Leslie says:

        Now that's an example of the pot calling the kettle black…

      • Jemima says:

        43 thumbs down but no responses, eh? We call that a "Republican rebuttal."

      • edgeofthecliff says:

        Amusing. Too bad you are referring to the claims from one of the most disingenuous administrations with a history of obsfucation, corruption, misstatements, confusing and contradictory "facts", and ramming a bill they had to pass to know what was in it through their Democratically controlled congress and senate. Further, you have an interesting opinion for an administration which gladly supports the most useless Senate in the history of the country. I wonder what you thought about Obama taking the CBO administrator to the woodshed when he told the truth?

    2. I love you Dems. You refuse to deal with specific statements and / or facts, then accuse the Republicans of not using facts. This article is chock full of facts, yet, without identifying a single one, you say the author is making stuff up. Deal with the facts, stupid! Stay on the subject. What, exactly, do you disagree with?

      • Pete Archer says:

        Hey David, Arguing with the mentally ill is useless! Liberals are ascending into a deep state of denial and frustration. All they can do is rebuke anything that is factual then twist it against others, aka blame! Sadly the country has suffered severely from their anti-American approach and we can only hope that enough people bang their heads against the wall so the garbage falls out that had them vote for Obama.

      • Vote for Pedro says:

        Yes, let us look at all of the facts used by Mr. Rector. For instance, "[B]ut an even larger number leave the caseload for unknown or unspecified reasons . . . It seems likely that many states could meet this target simply by collecting or reporting more accurate data on their current exits from caseload." Yes, an "unknown cause" is as concrete as you get for facts, and "[i]t seems likely" is the type of conclusion that cannot be refuted.

        And of course, Mr. Rector's statement that "states will become permanently exempt from the TANF work standards for doing nothing at all" squares with the HHS statement that "the length of an approved project will not exceed five years." As we all know, just as "seems likely' is a concrete conclusion, a 5 year period is "permanent."

    3. jlb says:

      Where do the Republicans go to hide? If this stuff is illegal then do something. If the President can ignore laws then let's all go and do likewise. Is Congress without any authority? Can I chose which laws to obey? Why not just campaign and never write another law or maybe just have endless hearings-yah, thats what we should do, have another meeting. How about writing some articles and another dumb book on how terrible it all was. Another 4 years and the Republican Party will fade or maybe they have already left the room. Jumping all over Akin was a good indicator party cowards-nice job at aborting your own. I will be sending my dollar in right after the convension. Radical is balancing a budget in 28 years-you jest.

    4. Mark says:

      Brian: I love how you make a general statement with no supporting facts whatsoever. So who is being more misleading. It sounds a whole lot like "the pot calling the kettle black" to me.

    5. Dave says:

      Keep up the good work, Heritage! Expose this inept and corrupt administration for what it is.

    6. Obama and the democrats are combining the poor and middle class to form the "dependent" class. Dependent on the handouts from a big government.

    7. toledofan says:

      It's more obvious, by each day, that Obamas attempt in remaking America is succeeding to a small degree, rather than a larger one, because of the alternate media like Heritage, Fox, the internet, and talk radio. Sooner or later the main stream media will be held to account either by losing more viewers or advertising because of their bias and their almost unending support of Obama and the things his administration is trying to do to weaken America. Covering for Obama's mistakes will be their downfall.

    8. MALCOLMx says:

      everything this regime does is meaningless and insignificant when comes to a recovery/employment increase;; it has always been a corrupt numbers game from day one;;;;;;;there is no such thing as 8.3% unemployment;; it is between 10.8 and 11.3% ;if you use the same size potential labor pool as O'poinnochio inherited.

    9. Stirling says:

      The current liberal media has so discredited themselves its laughable.. at some point their lies will catch up to them and the people will say "no more." When this happens Liberals will realize they caused their own downfall with the propaganda push of the past 3+ years. HF keep showing what the liberal media refuses to acknolege as reality.

    10. jesse says:

      Hey Brian, did you read the entire Heritage article. The devil is always in the details and there are any number of ways to 'game the system' using directives and vague standards. But perhaps the real travesty here is that HHS does not have the authority to grant waivers on standards built into laws passed by the Congress. But not to worry for me Brian for I am a Senior Citizen and retired Engineer. Your generation will wind up paying for increases in Welfare, Obamacare, Medicare, Social Security, Student Aid, Food Stamps as well as the pay for state and federal workers. Oh and by the way, the OMB guys say this is unsustainable, so I am sure your generation can figure out ways to pay for all of this. Last, good luck in your quest for employment and a rewarding career path in a situation where the government consumes 24 percent of the GDP.

    11. Fredo says:

      If the Admisistrations and HHS actions are illegal, then where is the challenge from the Judicial or Legislative branch to stop the illegal action of the Administration. It seems that we point out illegal and treasonous acts but there is only talk and no action. How can we save this country from collapse if no one takes action to protect the law and Constitution. Where are our elected representatives? Where is the justice? Do we have to resort to another revolution to stop the tyrony?

    12. Donald says:

      America's representative republic takes great pride in the system of "checks and balances" inherent in its three pillars of governance, the executive (the President and his inner circle), legislative (Congress) and Judicial, the latter ideally an apolitical, impartial branch dedicated to interpretation and enforcement of the law. Obama is creating havoc with executive orders designed to circumvent the Congress, the Judicial, and that are in violation of the Constitution. So where is the effort to apply and enforce the desperately needed "checks" on this deliberate, radical reformer in disguise?

      If Obama should succeed in his devious and determined effort to avoid accountability for willfully ignored thuggish, amateurish, ineptitude and get reelected in November, America's representative republic will become a self inflicted, socialist dictatorship. Expect an executive order cancedlling the two term limit that might be the only, slim hope and change needed for America to survive and perhaps recover from the debacle of his tenure.

    13. sdfultz says:

      You know what they say about that tangled web you weave when you start lying.
      They know the human condition soaks this stuff up when repeated enough.
      Don't worry and don't listen to too much of this stuff, it's contagious and they're relying on its effects, just like a date rape drug, it only lasts until the next LIE is ready for distribution.

      • Bobbie says:

        your rhetoric has lost the ability to grasp the difference between truth and lie. You seem only able to absorb the lesser standard and refuse to hold the rightful accountable. You favor a man who's countless mistakes are destroying the greatness of this country this man says is working you won't acknowledge but some rarity of another you'll hold against them as long as you deprive yourself all considerations. You may be suffering from bi-polar that you yourself can break from without manufactured drugs!?

    14. Chan Brown says:

      Just how much work do corporations like the big oil companies have to do to get the welfare subsidies?….

    15. JohnL2 says:

      Okay, so We The People have opposing AND conflicting reports! To ANY question, there is but ONE truth although there may well be thousands of "opinions". So regardless of how closely We The People watch, listen, read, investigate (as best we can), and keep abreast of what is goiong on, "someone" is lying and someone is telling THE truth! How the heck are We The People to know factually what the ONLY truth is? A lie is a lie, is a lie, and the "spinning" or omission of the TRUTH is also a lie! So is the new American passtime LYING? If so, we no longer have a Republic, but a "believe it or not" propoganda society in which this great Republic cannot stand!
      GIVE WE THE PEOPLE THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH so We The People are not required to vote the entire system out of office!!

    16. Jon-Paul says:

      @Brian: With the greatest of respect to you sir, I would like to know if you have read the original offering by Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley? Now again, did you really read it? Critically? There can be no doubt whatsoever that Barack Obama has and is in the process of instituting significant changes in Welfare reform. Personally, I have saved Obama's original papers whereby he commands Sebelius of HHS to complete things by which she has no authority.

      Obama seems to have little respect or regard for the US Constitution and therefore does his level best to side step it by using others to carry out his ridiculous orders. Much the same has happened with his notion of back door amnesty; he issued a Memorandum to Napolitano of DHS and she's given the task of breaking the law.

      Just as an aside, my suggestion is that you read carefully what has been reported — gauge your commentary on the reactions of say Bill Clinton and the numerous democrats who have "cut bait" with Obama.

    17. will says:

      Thanks for sticking with this one. I'm afraid that the settled Public Opinion is that the Romney camp lied about HHS gutting the work requirements in TANF. Your research is excellent… but your case depends on proving a negative, that the states will not or can not properly measure the results of the approved waivers. And since any useful measurement can't take place for years, it might be best to ramp up the "legality check" effort. The fact that waivers may be granted for measurements that are "In lieu of participation rate requirements" is prima facie evidence of the illegality of the HHS Memo.

    18. Lisa Lineweaver says:

      Once again, incentives to work are stripped from the Welfare system. Welfare was intended to be a temporary program. Regarding "more employment exits indicate a larger (Welfare) caseload", this line of reasoning is limited. There are still some people who will do anything not to rely on government assistance. They will scrape by or even move in with family until they get back on their feet. Just because someone exits the workforce does not necessarily mean that they will collect welfare.

    19. Lisa Lineweaver says:

      Also, the population is growing; Are we accounting for everyone who is applicable in these statistics? Furthermore, my question is the following: Besides incomplete bookkeeping, What other factors are causing the discrepancy between workers exiting the workforce and those signing up for welfare? I know that there has been much talk about unaccounted immigrants taping into healthcare welfare. Regardless, due to the difference in these figures, it seems that employment exits are a poor indicator of a social worker's caseload. We should clearly continue to measure the actual number of people on welfare instead and come up with longterm solutions (ie; incentives for small businesses to grow in the form of tax breaks etcs.). When our governmental policies both encourage employment and support the free market place, we as a nation pave the way for a future nation with flourishing businesses. Therefore, more jobs becoming available would simultaneously decrease the number of unemployed workers and particularly if they had the incentive to work in the first place.

    20. Jon-Paul says:

      @Brian: With the greatest of respect to you sir, I would like to know if you have read the original offering by Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley? Now again, did you really read it? Critically? There can be no doubt whatsoever that Barack Obama has and is in the process of instituting significant changes in Welfare reform. Personally, I have saved Obama's original papers whereby he commands Sebelius of HHS to complete things by which she has no authority.

    21. timpclimber says:

      brian, Like DNC Chair Debbie Schultz Wasserman you mean. She even admits it on CNN last night.

    22. KHM says:

      Brian posted (9 hrs ago) "I love Republicans. They don't let facts get in the way of a good ad! As far as I (Brian) can tell, you guys simply make stuff up when the political conversation doesn't go your way."
      Interesting isn't it? Brian seems to be projecting on to the Republicans, or more accurately, Conservatives, what the Dems and the so-called'main-stream media ' do which is completely ignore true facts that are inconvenient. They also make up "facts" that have no connection to reality, like the number of jobs created. I could go on for pages. The reality is that this regime did just gut the welfare reform of the 90s which was a bipartisan law.

    23. Curt says:

      Brian, how about leaving the tired Democratic Party "Koolaid" responses behind and try refuting the points presented here with some factual information based on sound academic principles the way this was presented. The way to debate is tor prove that the other guy's information is either incorrect or the assumptions are false and, most importantly, why. Quote sources and document. Name calling is getting really tired and serves no purpose.

    24. @Brian; as far as facts are talk to Debbie Wasserman Schultz – Democrats do not know facts – don't care to – Speak the "truth". See Debbie Wasserman Schultz called out by CNN's Anderson Cooper

      Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012

    25. Jjj says:

      No Brian. You're thinking of liberals. Face up to the fact that Obama is a liar.

    26. lolajmay says:

      It is so amazing BRIAN. Do some research, read more than the "blogs", use search online. It really is good to listen to "their own words". This is the ugliest campaign ever in my life (75 yrs.). Don't know your age, but I was a life long Democrat until this year, changing because of Obama policies. He is taking our country down, and it will be worse if he is re-elected. If you do a search on the "people he surrounds himself with", you might see what is about to happen. The people who think they have nothing now will be the first to go. He is already working on the middle class, the wealthy could be taken down a little more slowly..RESEARCH!

      • lolajmay says:

        Brian, have you heard Obama speak one day about whatever subject, then very soon (after much critcism), tries to back out of the statement or speech? Are you not listening to him? Campaign promises he says he kept, but it is proven he has not done so. IN HIS OWN WORDS–cannot be denied. Call them evolving—-they are still flip-flops. He says whatever he must to get re-elected. Notice the way he speaks to different groups? Uses their vernacular, is particularlly "chummy" to certain groups (we would call that "buttering up"). LISTEN UP before it's too late!

      • Bobbie says:

        sorry lolajmay. I accidentally gave you a thumbs down, not by choice! Thank you for the good read!!

    27. Bryn says:

      Great opinion, Brian, but generalizations without any evidence to back up your claims won't win you any support here.

    28. BrianKB says:

      No, you've just got your head buried in the sand. Then again you would probably agree with ANYTHING Obama said and did, just like the mainstream media.

    29. Hans Bader says:

      The Obama Administration gutted welfare reform, according to experts across the political spectrum.

      Here is a compendium with links and quotations:

    30. Hans Bader says:

      The conclusion that the Obama Administration gutted welfare reform through its July 12 HHS memo is confirmed by multiple experts across the political spectrum.

      See the August 11 item at the Examiner entitled "Obama guts welfare reform, independent experts say; work requirement weakened."

    31. william says:

      What.. data and facts too much to process for ya? I tutor part-time I can walk ya through the data..

    32. someonewhothinks says:

      Look at Rectors two graphs titled: Welfare caseloads and welfare employment exits before the 1996 reform and after. Initially, I wasn't sure what I was looking at but after a few minutes of studying the graphs it became obvious that the 20% employment exit requirement is NOT a measurement that is valid in demonstrating success of welfare to work. It only measures one end of the stick and it can be gamed because the system is dynamic. Thus if the administration dictates that states can try innovative methods to get people to transition from welfare to work, the TRUE metric is a decrease in the total caseload NOT the 'employment exit' numbers. That's the problem of working with dynamic systems. :(

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