December 6, 2012 |
IT'S TIME TO CHANGE the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, and it starts with something simple - its name. Welfare does not describe what it does or whom it serves. In fact, we are the only state in the country that still has a department called "Public Welfare. " This is why I have introduced a bill that would change the name from the Department of Public Welfare to a name that far better describes what this wing of our state government does: the Department of Human Services.
September 18, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Congress will meet for only a few final days this week to enable lawmakers to campaign full time in the battle for control of Congress, leaving much business undone until after the election. The House convenes for three days to wrap up its work, while the Senate, where Democrats have the majority, is considering a similar truncated schedule. Lawmakers had initially been scheduled to work through the first week of October. The one must-pass piece of legislation - a bill to keep the government funded once the new fiscal year begins, Oct. 1 - is set for final approval this week in the Senate after having already cleared the House.
September 6, 2012 |
ADEL, Iowa - Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan heaped praise on Bill Clinton Wednesday, holding him up as a model of reform and Barack Obama as his opposite just hours before the former president's speech to the Democratic National Convention. Campaigning in Iowa, Ryan lauded Clinton administration action on welfare reform and spending reductions - areas where the GOP ticket has aimed some of its sharpest critiques of Obama, the incumbent Democrat. Clinton, once an Obama critic, has become one of his biggest assets as the president scraps with GOP nominee Mitt Romney for reelection.
August 11, 2012 |
Lying is endemic to politics, but Mitt Romney may have pioneered a new low this week. His TV ad attacking President Obama's welfare policy collides with empirical fact, but that's not the worst of it. Aimed at working-class whites, it also implicitly traffics in toxic racial stereotypes. Romney tried doggedly to campaign on the economy in the belief that the recession would catapult him into the White House. But that strategy clearly isn't working; Obama has proved resilient in swing-state polls, most notably in Ohio.
August 10, 2012 |
IN 1996, around the time that President Clinton signed the law that ended welfare as we knew it, then-U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., warned it would be a disaster. "You're talking about children on grates," he said. It didn't happen, of course — not then, in a booming economy, when the welfare rolls plummeted and the law was declared a bipartisan success. And not now, five years into the worst economy since the Great Depression. The fact that we aren't tripping over homeless children begging for food is probably because their mothers are doing everything they can to feed and shelter them.
August 9, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Welfare is causing a ruckus in the presidential campaign. But the program is a shadow of its old self from the 1970s, when Ronald Reagan used the image of "welfare queens" to assail government poverty programs promoted by liberals. Nowadays government cash assistance to the poor is mainly conditioned on work. And the Obama administration waivers excoriated by Mitt Romney as gutting welfare reform are unlikely to reverse that basic policy, as even some architects of work requirements acknowledge.
April 24, 2012 |
In the decade after President Clinton signed the 1996 welfare-reform law, the story line was set: With welfare rolls down by two-thirds, it was a great, bipartisan success. And those who had warned of the dangers of a weakened safety net on the lives and health of poor children had been indulging in apocalyptic fear-mongering. Many low-income single moms did indeed find work in the early years following welfare reform, which also coincided with a roaring economy and an increase in supports like the earned-income-tax Ccedit.
March 1, 2012 |
The primary campaign has intensified a justified concern about inequality in America. Even poor Americans consider relatively high inequality acceptable if they have a decent opportunity to improve their condition. But because they may work fewer hours and at stagnant wages, their gains are very limited. Among the poor, surprisingly, never-married mothers have gained the most in recent decades. Their story shows the best way to reduce poverty and inequality: encouraging individuals to work more and supplementing their earnings with tax credits, child-care subsidies, and other benefits.
January 11, 2012 |
JUST WHEN the Republican primaries couldn't get any more interesting, the candidates upped the ante by approaching the third rail of race. In the most recent wave of debates and stump speeches, two Republican contenders have made extremely controversial comments regarding blacks and poverty. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told a group of supporters that he didn't want to "make black people's lives better giving them other people's money. " Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was quoted telling a New Hampshire crowd that "the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.