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  • Washington Post Gives Bill Clinton Two "Pinocchios" in Welfare Fact Check

    When Bill Clinton is awarded two out of four “Pinocchios” for legitimatizing President Obama’s gutting of welfare’s work requirements as a pro-work move, maybe there’s hope yet for the occasional fact-based assessment of a policy debate from the mainstream media.

    The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler finds that the former President stretched the truth in defending the Obama Administration’s move to waive work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients during his stem-winder in Charlotte.

    Kessler reached this conclusion after speaking again with Heritage’s Robert Rector, who first blew the whistle on Obama’s administrative undoing—through previously disallowed waivers—of the 1996 welfare reform law. In his rather thorough “Fact Checker” column last week, Kessler writes:

    [T]here is enough uncertainty about how the administration will implement these waivers that it is a stretch for Clinton to declare for certain that a 20 percent threshold [of increased employment] must be met—and to claim that more people will end up working under this new system.

    It was helpful that the Post had published an op-ed piece by Rector, headlined “How Obama Has Gutted Welfare Reform,” in the wake of Clinton’s misleading remarks on the “workfare” waivers in his speech.

    To recap: On July 12, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a directive gutting the very work requirements in the largest cash-assistance program that had spurred unprecedented reductions in the welfare rolls as millions left the dole for jobs. Under the Obama policy, states could receive waivers inconsistent with the 1996 law’s performance measures. The policy not only undermines the success of those standards, as Rector has written, but violates the letter and intent of the reform law.

    Kessler writes:

    As soon as the HHS memo was issued, Rector raised the clarion call that Obama, through stealth, was gutting the law because, [Rector] says, he recognized that ideas—what he labels “loopholes”—that Democrats had been unable to slip into legislation had suddenly been offered to states in the form of waivers.

    For states seeking waivers, Kessler agrees with Rector that “the numbers needed to meet the 20-percent target do not appear to be large.” For example, state agencies could win waivers through better record-keeping rather than actual movement of welfare recipients into jobs.

    Kessler pointedly notes that the public knows some details only because HHS “came under fire” as Rector was joined by key lawmakers—prominent among them Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Dave Camp (R-MI)—in demanding an explanation. The original HHS memo, Kessler writes, was “significantly weaker” in addressing employment requirements, time limits, and other bothersome particulars:

    Given the long history of the two sides battling over the implementation of the 1996 law, critics certainly have a right to be wary about why the administration acted in the way it did.… We wavered on the number of Pinocchios in this instance. But we finally settled on two, mainly because Clinton, in his facile way, made this intense debate appear as if it is mainly a dispute about moving “folks from welfare to work.” It is not quite so simple as that, and neither is it clear yet that the net result is that more people on welfare will end up working.

    Almost every other fact-checker of today’s run-and-gun media has refused to take a hard look at how the Obama Administration—like a recidivist bank robber caught in the vault, to use Rector’s memorable analogy—is poised to pillage welfare reform. They decline to interview Rector, who helped make the work requirements waiver-proof.

    So hats off to Kessler for his willingness to go where the facts take him. Others interested in pursuing the facts where they lead will be interested in an event held at Heritage today called “Checking the Facts on the Obama Administration’s Welfare Reform Waivers.” It featured remarks by Hatch, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, as well as Rector and two other authorities on welfare reform: author/blogger Mickey Kaus and Manhattan Institute scholar Kay Hymowitz. Watch the video of the panel here.

    Speaking of the facts, perhaps Friday’s rebuttal by Heritage’s Andrew Grossman of the Congressional Research Service’s “bungling” analysis of the legality of the Administration’s edict will prove to be helpful reading for the fact-checkers. Among them is Ezra Klein, Kessler’s colleague at the Post who has yet to give that flawed document the clear-eyed scrutiny it deserves.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Washington Post Gives Bill Clinton Two "Pinocchios" in Welfare Fact Check

    1. Thanks for shining the light of truth on the Washington lies.

    2. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Does Ken McIntyre not remember who Bill Clinton is? Does he not remember the statement like "I did not have sex with that woman" or "depends on the meaning of the word is". Does he not remember Bill Clinton was impeached? It's amazing that any consideration for the truth could be expected from a man
      that wagged his finger in the face of America and lied through his teeth.

    3. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      He wasn't called "Slick Willie" for nothing.

    4. Will says:

      Some of these fact checkers routinely assign Pinocchios to politicians from the left. This is one of those situations where they would give Romney four Pinocchios and Obama, or his minions, only two. It happens all the time. I'm not even sure if it's subconscious or not. They certainly have been trained to think of the right as liars and the left as liars, but not so much.

    5. This was not the only fact that Clinton was loose with in that speech. He said that the $816 billion being cut from Medicare would not cost seniors. Maybe financially it would not hurt them; however, over 50% of doctors surveyed would limit accepting new patients, over 30% would add restrictions on existing patients and over 50% would limit charitible cases. This hurts all patients ability to receive adequate medical care.

      Clinton failed to mention that the ending the tax cuts for the rich would cost up to 700,000 working class jobs and if out spite Obama let all tax cuts expire, that 2.1 million jobs would be lost.

      He failed to mention that 4.2 million jobs created did not bring the level of employment back to where it was when Obama took office or that companies are sitting on $2 trillion that could be invested due to uncertainty of what will happen with the tax laws.

    6. Roy S. Mallmann II says:

      Bill Clinton is twice as truthful as Barack Obama but if there is a political gain to be had he will lie. The problem that I have with this whole deal is this. A law was duly passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by then President Bill Clinton, making it the law. That bill was originated in the Senate not in the House as the Constitution requires which could be an issue but that is not relevant here. Any duly passed law that becomes an enforceable law in the U.S. Code is the law as it is written. You CANNOT enforce a part of it without enforceing the whole law. You cannot not just not enforce a law because that is actually breaking that law. That is one reason so much effort is made by both parties to get the line item veto to allow the President to change a law omitting a part because otherwise a law is enacted AS WRITTEN. It is a foundation of our country. I cannot understand how these alleged "legal scholars" and politicians cannot comprehend that. That is why we have an illegal immigration problem.

    7. Rigger Morgan says:

      Let's face it! Bill Clinton does what Hillary says. End of story. Remember, she has a huge club over his head because of his impeachment, Monica Lewinsky……and on and on. Unless someone who is capable gets control of the presidency, and if Obama is re-elected, it's all over for our nation as we know it.
      I predict there will be a planned national emergency, Obama will declare Martial Law, and we will be back the same as it was in 1917 in Russia. God help us!

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