Welfare on the Rise for First Time in 12 Years

Monday, February 02, 2009

Back in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed an historic welfare reform bill that was meant to limit the length of time a person could receive welfare payments and to encourage people to get jobs instead of relying on government handouts. The bill replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children and other programs with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). For many Democrats and Republicans, at the time, it seemed like a good idea, and the number of Americans receiving welfare did drop dramatically. But in the current economic climate, telling poor people to go out and get a job is sending them on a task that is often easier said than done. This is particularly true as more and more people, many skilled and long-employed, join the ranks of the unemployed. Sure enough, the third quarter of 2008 saw the first quarterly rise in TANF recipients since the program began.

Welfare Rolls in First Upward Spike Since 1996 (by Philip N. Cohen, Huffington Post)
Welfare Aid Not Growing as Economy Drops Off (by Jason Deparle, New York Times)
Welfare Rolls See First Climb in Years (by Amy Goldstein, Washington Post)
The Worst Thing Bill Clinton Has Done (by Peter Edelman, Atlantic Monthly)
About TANF (Department of Health and Human Services)


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