tv 20th Anniversary of the 1996 Welfare Law CSPAN August 22, 2016 9:00pm-11:41pm EDT
yes, i am not a welfare recipient. i don't get any government help. i have worked since i was 15. i am now 78 years old. in a month i will be 79. i watch very closely and i listen closely. there is a lot of anger out here. the people are right when they make those statements. are a group of people that have anger because they think that another group is getting over on the government. i am very upset by the fact that many people are given -- are not given the facts they are supposed to be given. they are not informed. most poor white people think that welfare is being taken
advantage of by blacks, and that most blacks are on welfare. they should go to the public library and look up the data. look up the facts. they don't know that we have three classes, just like everybody else. we have the wealthy, the middle class, and the poor. some very poor. we will not be angry with people if we know the facts. we would not be so bitter because we have something going on in our country now where there is a lot of animosity and resentment and hate, but by people that are not informed. >> gloria, i am going to thank you for your call. you can see a beautiful picture of our nation's capital there. it is 9:00 here in bc.
.- dc there will be plenty of time for your calls when we open up the phone lines again tomorrow morning at 7:00 on washington journal. on august 22, 1996, president of clinton signed a law aimed at reducing the number of americans who depend on welfare benefits. temporary assistance for needy families, or tanf replaced a welfare program called a to families with dependent children. c-span looks back at the 1996 debate over welfare, and the laws impact on poor families. prior to the 1996 welfare law , how was welfare delivered in the u.s.? >> welfare in the united states before 1996 was the kind of welfare system that i think most
people imagine when they think about welfare. it was a true entitlement. it was a true safety net. when people were poor for whatever reason, they could receive cash assistance from the federal government. this system obviously had some benefits, but it was very unpopular on both sides of the aisle. one thing, the assistance that people received was scarce and it was not really enough for people to survive on. if they went to work and began making more money, they would no longer be eligible for the benefits. bill clinton in 1992 in his presidential campaign, campaigned on ending welfare as we know it. it's important to remember that when clinton took office, he did immediately take action on the issue of poverty and he worked with congress to pass an
expansion of the earned income tax credit. this is a very popular and effective program that is often forgotten about in discussions of welfare and the debate at that time in this country's history. the earned income tax credit is a tax credit that people with low incomes receive as a bonus for working. the more they earn, the larger their tax credit up to a certain point. in 1994, clinton and then first lady hillary clinton were engaged in a deeply divisive debate with congress and the american people about the future of the health care system. clinton's efforts to reform health care at that time failed. the white house was occupied with health care at the time, and then in 1995, a new congress was inaugurated. this congress was controlled by republicans.
and a half ofyear haggling between republicans and congress and the white house over what kind of welfare reform would ultimately be enacted. ofntually in the summer 1996, almost 20 years ago to the day, clinton signed the welfare reform bill. was signed in 1996. what were some of the key changes it made in the welfare system? max: i think the most important change is that welfare can no longer be taken for granted. people who were receiving federal cash assistance either had to be working, looking for a job, or they had to be engaged in some vocational training program. enacted, itll was was impossible for anyone in the country to receive welfare without doing something related to work. either working, or putting themselves in the position where they could find a job.
in that sense, clinton did fulfill his hamas to and welfare as we know it. in the old system, people could receive cash benefits from the federal government, and the requirements for working were much less stringent. inhere we are 20 years later 2016. what has been the impact of those changes over time? max: that's a difficult question to answer because of course, during the clinton administration, american society was changing in other ways. for example, there was a changing perception around whether or not women should stay at home with their children, or whether or not they should go to work, as well as fulfilling the duty of motherhood. many women were going to work, who had not worked before. also, the economy was doing very well. this strong economy gave women an additional reason to go to work. the number of women -- i should
say the number of unmarried women who were participating in the labor force increased from 1991 to a most 76% in 2000. it was a dramatic and abrupt shift, and it was partly due to these changes in the economy and society, but it was also due to the changes in the law. the law required people to work if they wanted to receive federal cash assistance. another important effect that the law has had has been on different kinds of people who are living in poverty. four people who were able to the full-time work after law was passed, the fact that the armed income tax credit had been expanded meant that their wages were supplemented with a tax credit from the federal government. they were much better off
financially than similarly situated people were before clinton and acted his poverty policies, including the tax credit and the welfare reform bill. people who were not able to fulfill the new requirements for work and training and searching for employment that the new law created, generally found themselves worse off. there is evidence that poverty became narrower as a result of clinton's reforms, but it also became deeper. those who remained in poverty were more in dire straits. president bill clinton's efforts to change welfare programs dated back to his days as arkansas governor. following the republican takeover of congress in 1994, president clinton delivered a state of the union address where "andpeated his desire to, welfare as we know it or go."
president clinton: nothing has done more to undermine our sense of common responsibility than our fellow -- failed welfare system. this is one of the problems we have to face here in washington. . it undermines family values. it lets millions of parents get away without paying their child support. minority, but a significant minority of the people on welfare trapped on it for a very long time. problemorked on this for a long time -- nearly 15 years. as a governor, i had the honor of working with the reagan administration to write the last welfare reform bill back in
1988. we made at two years, good start with continuing to work on welfare reform. our administration gave two dozen states the right to slash through federal rules and regulations, to reform their own welfare systems and try to promote work and responsibility of their welfare dependency. last year, i introduced the most sweeping welfare reform plan ever presented by an administration. ithave to make welfare what was meant to me, a second chance, not a way of life. we have to help those on welfare moved to work as quickly as possible. teach themldcare and skills if that is what they need. after that, there ought to be a anyone who can work must go to work. [applause]
president clinton: if a parent isn't paying child support, they should be forced to pay. [applause] we shouldclinton: suspend drivers license, track them across state lines, make them work off what they own. governments do not raise children, people do, and the parents must take responsibility for the children they bring into this world. [applause] i want toclinton: work with you, with all of you, to pass welfare reform. our goal must be to liberate people and lift them up. from welfare to work. from your childbearing to responsible parenting. al gore should not be to punish them because they happen to be poor. [applause]
-- our goal should not be to punish them because they happen to be poor. [applause] notident clinton: we should cut people off just because they're poor, young, or unmarried. promote responsibility by requiring young mothers to live at home with their parents or other supervised settings. by requiring them to finish school, but we should not put them and their children out on the street. [applause] president clinton: i know all the arguments, pro and con, and i have thought about this for a long time. i still do not think we can punish poor children for the mistakes of their parents.
[applause] president clinton: my fellow americans, every single survey shows that all the american people care about this. we ends be the year welfare as we know it, but also let this be the year that we are all able to stop using this issue to divide america. no one is more eager to and welfare. [applause] president clinton: i may be the only president who has actually had the opportunity to sit in the welfare office.
who has actually spent hours talking to people on welfare. i am telling you, the people who are trapped on it know it does not work. they also want to get off. we can promote together education and work and good parenting. i have no problem with punishing for the refusal to be a worker or student. i just don't want to punish poverty and past mistakes. all of us have made our mistakes. us can change our yesterdays, but everyone of us can change our tomorrows. [applause] you are watching c-span's special program marking the 20th anniversary of the 1996 welfare law. president clinton vetoed two welfare bills before signaling his support for a third piece of legislation in 1996.
it passed the house with overwhelming support from republicans. 328-101. the senate vote was 78-21. here is a look at the debate that took place in the days leading up to the final passage. speaker, sadly it seems clear that the house will abdicate its moral duty and knowingly vote to allow children to go hungry in america. sadly, our president, a member of the democratic party will sign this bill. does this bill allocate sufficient funds to provide employment for people who want to work? no. does this bill provide adequate childcare so people can leave their parents -- children in a safe environment? no. does this insure that people with welfare can take their kids to a doctor? no.
to raise do anything wages so people can work hard and not see their children grow up in poverty? no. does this reduced the value of the stamps for children to push these children into poverty and hunger? yes. scapegoating poor children is politically popular this year, but it is not right. ourust stand up for country's children. i urge my colleagues to reject this immoral legislation. >> the gentleman from florida. i had two minutes to the gentleman from georgia. >> the gentleman from georgia is recognized for a. of two minutes. bell we areer, the considering today is a bad though. i will vote against it and i
urge all people of conscience to vote against it. it penalizes children for the action of their parents. this bill will put one million more children into poverty. how can any person of conscience vote for a bill to puts one million markets into poverty? where is the compassion? where is the heart of this congress? this bill is mean. it is downright low-down. , but to great nation -- man on the moon nation and as a people, as a government, we met our challenges, and we won. gives up.
it throws in the towel. we cannot run away from our challenges and our responsibility. this is not the character of a great nation. speaker, what does it cost a great nation to cover the world, only to lose its sole? this is an abandonment of arman hall a-day. -- of morality. the elderly, i agree with my colleague. what we're doing here today is wrong. i say to you, you have the capacity.
you have the power to stop this. >> the gentleman's time is expired. >> euro is your voice. raise is your race for the children. do what you think in your heart to be right. >> the gentleman will suspend. the gentleman from florida. >> mr. speaker, i come over here to do something i have never done before, and that is to trespass on the democrats side. i hope that you will give me your understanding in my doing so. i don't do this out of smartness or arrogance. i do it out of coming together. we have heard a lot of name-calling. a lot of soundbites that we have heard all through this debate. we have come down a long road together. theas inevitable that present welfare system was going -- be putfind us behind us.
need to put behind us an era of a failed welfare system. i know the democrats agree with the republicans. this is not a republican bill that we are shoving down your throats. get a lot of democrats support today. the larger the support, the more chance there is for this to work. the degree of the success that we are going to have is going to be a victory for the american people. it will not be a victory for one political party. it is time for us to put our hand out to one another, and to come together to solve the problems of the poor. without vision, the people will perish. we have not had vision in our welfare system now for many years. it has been allowed to sit stagnant.
we have piled layer upon layer of humanity on top of each other. we paid people not to get married. we paid people to have children out of marriage. we paid people not to work. this is self-destructive behavior. we all agree with that. we have heard many speakers. my friend john lewis saying we're going the wrong way. i also see some of my colleagues for differenthts changes within the welfare bill, within the human resources subcommittee of the committee. where they do not believe this , and i cant bill stand here and say this is not a perfect bill, but it is as good as with congress can do, and it is as good as we can come together. we have included the governors in balancing out there interests and see what they have been successful with, and how they
feel they can be successful. we have talked to many members on the democrat side. to my republican colleagues, i say we are not through. we have a long road ahead of us. it was unexpected to hear that the president was going to endorse this bill and announce his signature of it, but let's now be patient with each other bring the air of a felt -- a failed welfare system to closure. mr. speaker, i rise in opposition of the bill. if this passes today, it will be a victory for the political spin artists. --all agreed that welfare the welfare system must be reformed, but we must make sure that reform reduces poverty, not
by bashing poor people, but by having real reform. the bill will diminish the quality of the life of children and poor families in america and will have a devastating impact on the economy of our city. food and attrition cuts will result in increased hunger. forcedovernment will be to pay. how can a country as great as america ignored the needs of america's children who are born into poverty? that toe tells us minister to the needs of god's children is an act of worship. to ignore those needs is to dishonor the god who made them. mr. speaker, let's not go down that path today. thank you, mr. speaker. >> the gentleman from florida. >> mr. speaker, i got the balance of my time to the distinguished german of the budget committee, mr. kasich. ohio isentleman from acknowledged. >> i would like to congratulate
the gentleman from florida for his relentlessness in being able to pursue welfare reform. he do it -- he deserves the lions share of credit. him on thedon't see floor, a very able staff director who has lived with this bill -- he has lived with this for about a decade, feeling passionately about the need to reform welfare. pretty amazing to watch the president of the united states come on television and say he was going to sign this welfare bill. the reason why it is so amazing today is that because the american people, during all of my adult lifetime, have said that they wanted a system that will help people who can't help themselves, but they want a system that is going to ask the able-bodied to get out and begin
to work themselves. this has been delayed and put off and a million excuses as to why we could not get it done. friendso suggest to my who are in opposition -- i respect their opposition. talk,f them just didn't many of them were not able to talk as they were beaten in the civil rights protest in this country. i respect their opposition. the simple fact of the matter is this program was losing public support. the cynicism connected to this program from the folks who get up and go to work every day for a living, and i don't mean the most fortunate, i mean those mothers and fathers who have had to struggle for an entire lifetime to make and meet. they have never asked for food stamps. they have never asked for welfare. they have never asked for housing. they are struggling. they don't take the bus. they don't take the transparent
-- the transfer because it costs money. these people are becoming cynical. they were being poisoned in regard to the system, and they were demanding change. we all know as we have watched the history of congress over the decades, that when the american people speak, we must deliver what they want. they said they wanted the vietnam war over. it took a decade, but they got it. public cynicism and lack of support was rising against this program. it was necessary to give the people a program they could support. the american people have never -- if i could be so bold as to represent a point of view -- have never said that those who can't help themselves should not be helped. is judeo christianity, something that we all know has to be rekindled. our souls must once again become attached to one another.
saideople in this country it is a sin not to help somebody who needs help. it is equally is said to help somebody who needs not to learn how to help themselves. i say to my friends who oppose this bill, this is about the best of us. this is about having hopes and dreams. after 40 or 50 years of not trusting one another in our neighborhoods and having to vacate our power to the central government, this is now about reclaiming our power. it's about reclaiming our money. it's about rebuilding our communities. it's about rebuilding our families. it's about cementing our neighborhoods. it's about believing that all of us can march to that state capital, but all of us can go into the community organizations, and we can demand
excellence. we can demand compassion. we can do it better. we marched 40 years ago because we thought people weren't being treated fairly. we marched today for the very same reason. and say manyt back of my friends marched. i was too young, but i watched and i respect it. what i suggest that the end of the day is that we all are going to have to stand up for those who get neglected in reform. frankly, this system will provide far more benefits, far more hope, restore the confidence in the american people that we have a system that will help those that can't help themselves, and at the same time, demand something from able-bodied people who can. it will benefit their children. it will help the children of those who go to work. america is a winner in this.
the president of the united states has recognized it. he has joined with this congress. i think we have a bipartisan effort here to move america down the road towards reclaiming our neighborhoodsneighborhoods and g america. i would say to my friends, we will be bold enough and humble enough when we see mistakes are being made to be able to come back and fix them. let's not let these obstacles stand in the way of rebuilding this program based on fundamental american values. >> for those who say -- let me repeat, the combined programs will increase to 130 billion in six years. hardly a reduction in
expenditures. let me repeat, the total described --st print stamps, ssi, nutrition, foster care, block grants for childcare, taking place of afdc which we will call temporary systems for needy families, all of those programs will seek from the taxpayers of america $700 billion over the next six years. nevertheless, our taxpayers should know that we will save. about $55ve them in its for this program reformed in and more efficient mode. it will cost $55 billion less and it was assumed -- if we had left everything alone and kept
entitlements wherever they were -- i believe much of those savings will come because we are that to do the programs turf. we are going to push people to do what we should have been doing all along. it off the rolls and into work. get off dependence into independence. not looking to someone else for responsibility and look to their own responsibility and everywhere we turn in this deal, there are provisions for those it.just cannot do there are emergency set-asides. emergency allowances. provisions is where just cannot be done to provide some of what must be provided in addition to the basic program. is one of our very distinguished senators, senator rick santorum for whom i extend my great appreciation for his help on the floor on many occasions during the foodstamp debate on this welfare need. he did a remarkable job.
he came to the senate well-informed on the subject. he at one point said, welfare reform has been in and will continue to be a contentious issue. this legislation is tough love, he said. i concur. but i do not believe there is anything wrong with that either. have concerns about provisions in this legislation. other members will have their concerns and the president has expressed his. unfortunately or fortunately depending upon your philosophy of governance, it is possible and probable that even the president's signature we have not seen the last of welfare reform. when he has signed it, we will see a completed lot and we will carry it out but probably in due course we will see where there are some areas that need some repair. some fixing. but i believe we should not
under any circumstance take a bill that is as much on the right track as this but perhaps -- but perhaps imperfect in other areas, we should proceed. let the reform of a long. for today i believe that the best hope we have is to fulfill the promise we'll made to the american public to change these have known them. pass this bill overwhelmingly today. making fundamental changes to programs, some of which are 60 years old. requiresurely adjustments and additional tuning as we begin to see how this legislation unfolds. who seemhose frightened of this change, and for those who want to find the areas where they have concern, and that might need some repair in the future, i clearly ask is
it possible that this reform welfare program can be worse than what we have? i cannot believe it. yesterday after the president -- unced that he would sign >> yesterday after the president announced that he was on his legislation, i said -- and i quote -- the president has made his decision let us hope it is for the best. today i continue to hope for the best even if i fear for the worst. on this floored many times, this legislation aid for families with dependent children, it simply abolishes it. it terminates the basic federal commitment to support needy children in hopes of -- dependent children in hopes of
altering the behavior of their mothers. we're putting those children at no evidencesolutely that this radical idea has even the slightest chance of success. bill, haste to enact this any bill, before the november elections, we have chosen to ignore what little we do know about the subject of poverty. on july 30, 11go of the nation's leading researchers in this field issued a statement urging us not to do what we are about to do. among them were seven current and former directors of the institute for research on poverty at the university of wisconsin. this was established in the economic of the
opportunity act of 1964. a distinguished -- it has a distinguished history of nonpartisan analytical research in this area. scholars the stature of sheldon danziger of the university of michigan, irving garfinkel of columbia university, eugene solo in skin of the university of california, edward -- of the university of michigan. ask that all of the names and the full statement be printed. >> no objection. >> they wrote, as researchers who have dedicated years to the policy of the-- labor market and public assistance, we oppose the welfare reform legislation under consideration by the congress. the best available evidence is that this legislation would substantially increase poverty
and destitution while doing too little to change the welfare system to one that provides greater opportunity for families in return for demanding greater responsibility. not welfare reform would impose deep foodstamp cuts on poor families with children, the working poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the unemployed. it would not eliminate the safety net for most poor legal immigrants including the very old and infirm. at-risk, poorlace children whose parents are willing to work but unable to -- definedfind work on subsidized employment. it would backup requirements with resources needed to make them effective. it would not back up work requirements with resources needed to make them affect it.
effect an overhaul of the nation's welfare system but passing legislation that would make a troubled welfare -- worse.k it is not meaningful welfare reform. it should not become law. >> mr. president, i do want to talk about this piece of legislation. i have heard some discussion about doing good. with what is at very important to framework to me at the -- as a senator from minnesota. it is a question. passedis legislation if
and signed into law by the povertyt create more and more hunger among children in america? and if the answer to that , then my boat is no false -- that my vote is no. mr. president, we were discussing welfare reform --eral years ago and we said and i think there is unanimous consensus behind this proposition -- that we should move from welfare to work, that that would include job-training, education training, making sure that jobs were available, that single parents -- most of the time others -- could support
their children on. a commitment to childcare. just about every single scholar in the united states of america has made the argument that this is what reform is. you have to invest additional resources and then in the medium run, long run, not only the mothers of the children -- we are all better off. it is real welfare reform. $60 billion in low income assistance is not reform my colleagues. harsh, andive, it is it is extreme. we have been, focusing in this congress on the budget deficit. i think today what we see in the
united states senate is a serious deficit. because mr. president, i know some of my colleagues do not want to look at this. they turn their gaze away from unpleasant facts. in an unpleasant reality. sometimes people do not want to know what they do not want to know. but mr. president, the evidence is irrefutable and here reducible. enactedislation, once into law, will create more poverty and hunger for children of america and that is not reform! let me now turn to talk about welfare because we are going to pass here in the senate tonight a welfare reform bill that cap has the promise -- that has the promise of dramatically changing a system which has failed in america and let me begin by
talking about the failure. in the last 50 years, we have $5.2 trillion on means-tested programs. that is programs where we were trying to help poor people. now, nobody in america knows what a trillion dollars is. so let me try to that in perspective. first of all, i think the best way to define that number is to valuehat if you take the all plants,ings, and all productive tools in american industry and agriculture combined, they are worth about $5 billion. so that if you want to know how much we have invested in the welfare -- old welfare program, we have invested in the last 50 ofrs roughly the equivalent
the value of all buildings, all plant and equipment, all tools of all workers in the united states of america. in history has ever invested more money trying to help needy people billion the united states of america has invested. and yet, 50 years later, what has been the result of all of those good intentions? what has been the result of that investment? well, the result of that investment 50 years later is that we have more poor people today the en when we started that program. thanare more poor today they were when we started. they are more dependent on the government today the end when we started the current welfare program, and by any definition of quality of life, fulfillment people are worse
off today than they were when we started the current welfare system. when we started the current welfare program, two-parent families were the norm in poor families in america. today, two-parent families are the exception. when we started the current welfare program, the illegitimacy rate was roughly one quarter of what it is today. i know that we have colleagues on the other side of the aisle who are going to lament the passage of this new welfare reform bill. but i do not see how anybody with a straight face or clear conscience can defend the status quo in welfare. our current welfare program has failed. fathers out of the household. it has made mothers depended.
it has taken away people's dignity. it has bred child abuse and neglect. streets of ourhe cities with crime. we are here today to change that. our programne what does. i think if each of us looks back in our own families, looking to a time when our first ancestors came to america or where our families looking back at those who have gone before us found , that we arer going to find there are two individuals and that get nations out of poverty. those two things are work and family. and i think it is instructive to years,at in the last 50 those are the two things we have never applied to the welfare
program of the united states of america. asks peopleore us to work. it says that able-bodied men and women will be required to work in order to receive benefits. so ifs a time limit people cannot make welfare -- so that people cannot make welfare it with life. it seeks to change the incentive within the welfare system. i believe the time has come to change those incentives within the welfare system. so what we have done in adopting this bill is to make some very simple changes. we have said that unless you are disabled, welfare is not a permanent program. it is a temporary program. we are going to help you for up to five years. we are going to train you, but at the end of five years you were going to have to work.
we have also in this program given the state the ability to run their own program. we believe that the federal government does not have all of that the states should run their program. a federally run program and we have taken the funding we have spent on that given thatd we have money to the state so that rather than having one program, each state in the union can tailor its program to meet its individual need. i believe we have put together a positive program. it is a program that asks people to work. it is a program that tries to make a americans independent. it is a program that for the first time uses work and family to try to help families as kate
welfare and to escape haverty in america. the signing ceremony for the welfare law took place on august 22 in the white house rose arden. speakers included little rock arkansas resident lili hardin who was invited to the white house to tell her story about moving from welfare to work. reminder, if you would like to watch this entire event go to c-span.org and search the video library. [applause] >> hello. i live in arkansas. i am here to tell you about how much getting off assistance and getting a job meant to me and my children and how proud i am of my family. compass.amily has a in 1981, after being laid off my job, i spent two years on assistance. i had three children. had to take care of them with $282 a month.
pushed to really get back to work. i enrolled in a project. clinton'sernor programs in arkansas. the program taught me how to present myself to get the job i wanted. two months later after training, i got my first job interview. since.been working ever i was a cook, i went from there to manager. i took good care of my children to make sure there was always food on the table and a roof over their heads. having a job gave me a chance to get involved in schools and focus on a good education. when i got my job, my son was so proud of me but i made a deal with him. i told him, i am going to work every day and take my work seriously. he needs to go to school every
day and take school seriously. in t did just that. -- and he did each of dust and he did just that. today he has a job in a hospital in oak harbor, washington. another goes to the university of arkansas and he is going to be a doctor. my daughter's graduated school a 4.0. she is at the university of akansas studying to be computer system engineer. my youngest daughter is in the fourth grade and she has been on the honorable every year just like her big sister was. i am so proud of them and now i want to introduce everyone the man who started my success and the beginning of my children's future. the president of the united states bill clinton.
[applause] president clinton: thank you very much. thank you very much. literally, thank you. literally, -- lilly, thank you. thank you mr. vice president, thank you congress, i would like to say i am glad to see you here because a years ago about this time you were the governor of delaware and you and i were together at a signing like this. thank you senator long before coming here.
to other governors and i would also like to thank the attorney general for coming here. work their way from love for to independence, we're happy and honored to have them here. i would like to thank all of the people who worked on the bill who have been introduced from our staff and cabinet but i would also like to especially thank bruce reed who did a lot signing tog on the not compromise this bill. i thank him. hardin was up here talking and i want to tell you how she happens to be here today. 10 years ago governor kassel and i were asked to cosell -- cochair a governors task force on welfare reform and we were asked to work together on an and we met at hilton head in south carolina and had a panel.
41 governors showed up to listen to people who were on welfare from several states. so i asked carol rasco to find me somebody from our state who had been in one of our welfare reform programs and who had gone to work. andhe found lily hardin lily showed up at the program. i would was at this program and a mistake lawyers tell you never do ask. never ask a question they tell you not -- you do not know the answer to. but she was doing so well and i asked her the question, what is the best thing. and she said, when my boy goes to school and someone says what is your mother do for a living, what is your answer? an he is able to give answer. i have never forgotten that and when i saw the success of all of
her children and the success she is had in the last 10 years, i had all you that you bigger impact on me than i have on you and i thank you for the power of your example and for all of america. [applause] president clinton: what we are trying to do today is to overcome the flaws of the welfare system for the people who are trapped on it. the typical family on welfare today is very different from the one that welfare was designed to deal with 60 years ago. lot ofknow there are a good people on welfare who just get off of it in the ordinary course of business but a significant number of people are trapped on welfare for a very long time. exile and them from the entire community of work that give structure to our lives. nearly 30 years ago, robert kennedy said, work is the
meaning of what this country is all about. we need it as individuals. we need to sense it in our fellow citizens and we needed as a people. it is right then and right now. from now on, our nations in answer to this great social challenge will not be a never-ending cycle of welfare. it will be the dignity, the power, into the ethic of work. today we are taking an historic chance to make welfare what it was meant to be -- a second chance. not a way of life. the bill i am about to sign, as i have said many times, is far from perfect but it has come a very long way. congress sent me to previous bills that i strongly believe failed to protect our children and did too little to move people from welfare to work. i vetoed both of them. this bill had broad bipartisan
support and is much, much better on both counts. the new bill restores america's of providing opportunity into demanding and return responsibility. it provides $14 billion for child care. $4 billion more than the present law does. it is good because without the assurance of childcare, it is all but impossible for a mother with young children to go to to work. it requires states to maintain their on spending on welfare reform and give some powerful performance incentives to place more people on welfare in jobs. creates the capacity to jobs by taking money now used for welfare checks and giving it to employers as subsidies as incentives to hire people. this bill will help people to go to work so they can stop drawing a welfare check and start drawing a paycheck. also better for children. it prefers the national safety
net of food stamps and school lunches. a jobs the deep cuts and devastating changes in child protection, adoption, and help for disabled children. it preserves the national guarantee of health care for poor children, the disabled, the elderly, and people on welfare. the most important preservation of all. and improves child support measures. as far as i know, every member of congress and every one in the administration and every thinking person in the country is supported for more the into years now. it is the most sweeping back down on deadbeat parents in history. we have succeeded in increasing child care collection 40%. but where there are delinquencies, and involves people who cross state lines. for a lot of women and children, the only reason they are on welfare today, the only reason, is because the father walked away when he could've made a contribution to the welfare of the children. that is wrong. if every parent paid the child
support that he or she owes legally today, we could move a hundred thousand women and children off welfare immediately. with this bill we say if you do supportthe child eurocom a we will garnish your wages, take away your drivers license, crush you -- tracking across state lines, make you pay what you well. it is a good thing and it will help to medically reduce -- and, increase increase parental responsibility. with angly disagree couple provisions of this bill. we believe that the nutritional cuts are too deep, especially as they affect low income working people and children. we should not be punishing people working for a living, we should be doing everything we can to lift them up, keep them aware, help them to support their children. we also believe that the cook
national leader -- the congressional leadership insisted on cuts for immigrants that are far too deep. these cuts of nothing to do with the fundamental purpose of welfare reform. i signed this bill because this is a historic change where republicans and democrats got together and said, we are going to take this historic chance to try to re-create the nation's social bargain with the poor. we're going to change the parameters of the debate. we are going to make an all-new again and see if we can't create a system of incentive which reinforces work and family and independence. we can't change what is wrong. we should not have passed this extort opportunity to do what is historicthis opportunity to do what is right. so i am going to ask all of you to think through the applications of these other non-welfare issues on the american people. let us work together in good spirit and good faith to eliminate what is wrong. we can balance the budget notout this that but let's
obscure the fundamental purpose of the welfare provisions of this legislation which are good and solid and will give us at least a chance to end the terrible, almost physical we have to do that. [applause] something really good about this legislation. when i find it, we all have to start again. -- sign it, we ought to start again. this becomes everyone's responsibility. , welfareign my name will no longer be a political issue. the two parties cannot attack each other. politicians cannot attack poor people over. entrusted habits,
systems and failures that can be laid at the foot of someone else. we have to begin again. this is not the end of well formed -- welfare reform, this is the beginning. [applause] now that we are saying with this book that we expect work, we have to make sure the people have a chance to go to work. if we value work, everyone in , individuals, those in government, all have a responsibility to make sure jobs out there. these three women have great stories. almost everybody on welfare would like to have a story like that. the rest of us now have a responsibility to give them that story. we cannot blame the system for the jobs they don't have anymore. if it does not work now, it is everybody's ball. mine, yours, everybody else. there is no longer a system in the way. [applause]
hard over the past four years to create jobs and steer investment into places where there are large numbers of people on welfare because there has been no economic recovery. that is what the community development commission was all about. that is why the urban brown to cleanup initiative was about. try to give people the means to make a living -- trying to give people the means to make a living in areas that have been left behind. again, we have to build a new work and family system. this is everybody's responsibility now. the people on welfare are people just like these three people we honor here today and their families. they are human beings. we only to all of them to give them a chance -- owe it to all of them to give them a chance to get back.
congressmaning with -- the congressman on a church that had burned. it was a pastor there from the church of north carolina that brought a group of his people in to work. he started asking me about welfare reform. i started telling him about it. i said, you should go tell governor hunt that you would hire someone on welfare to work on your church if he gives you a welfare check as a way to supplement and you double the pay. for a year oroyed so and see if you can train them and help the family and see if the kids are all right. would you do that? he said, in a heartbeat. [applause] i think there are people all over america like that. that is what i want you all to think about it. what are we going to do now? this is just the beginning. congress deserves our thanks for creating a new reality. we have to fill in the blank.
the governors asked for this responsibility, how they have to live up to it. county officials have responsibilities. every employer in this country that ever made a disparaging remark about the welfare system needs to think about whether he or she should now hire someone from welfare and go to work. go to the state and say, ok, give me the check and i will use it as an income supplement. i will try and these people and help them to start their lives. -- train these people and help them to start their lives. has ever said a disparaging word about the law for system should say, it is gone, what is my responsibility to make it better? [applause] two days ago we signed a bill increase in the minimum wage and making it easier for people and small businesses to get pensions. we signed a bill yesterday which
makes health care more available to up to 25 million americans. many of them in lower income jobs. the bill i signed today preserve the increase in the earned tax income credit. it is not clearly better to go to work meant to stay on welfare. areow clearly to state that -- clearly better to go to work them to stay on welfare. stay on welfare. most working families find that the greatest challenge of their lives is how to do a good job raising their kids and do a good job at work. trying to balance work and family is the talent that most americans in the workplace base. thankfully, that is the challenge -- that is what we want for everyone. we want at least a chance to strike the right balance for everybody. today, we are ending welfare as we know it.
but i hope this day will be remembered not for what it ended, but wha for what it began. and you day that offers hope, on is responsibility, rewards work and changes the kind of debate so that no one ever feels the need to criticize people for -- but insteadare feels a responsibility to reach out to men and women and children who were isolated. to feel the responsibility to give them the opportunity. [applause] ask penelopeto howard, janet carroll, lily hardin, donors and members of congress from both parties who are here to come up and join me as i signed the welfare reform aregn the welf
a dictionary of you. -- picture of you. high photographer there -- high-class photographer there. theearly 10 years after 1996 ultra law was passed, author and journalist jason deparle wrote the book "american dream." at this event from politics and dc,e bookstore, washington, he tells the story of families srying to comply with the law' work requirements. this portion of the event is 25 minutes. >> the book is called "american dream." it takes the title from clinton's first welfare speech in 1993. i think we all know in our heart
of hearts that too many people grow up and never get a shot at the american dream. the book tries to look at why that is and whether this the nation'sge in safety net help to her help -- helped or hurt. in first is that clinton 1991 gave his first welfare speech. the first time he used the word end welfare as we know it. the second team that happened is that two women got on a bus in chicago and went to milwaukee in order to get on welfare. is the microphone working? >> we are getting too much feedback as you are to close. -- because you are too close. >> ok. they get on the bus and go to milwaukee. milwaukee becomes a place in a country that becomes the first
ende where it becomes the welfare capital in the country. the two stories come together. .hey leave the rolls they both become full-time study workers. -- steady workers. .he story is about three women their lives on welfare and what happened to them after the new law passed. two of them become full-time steady workers and a third woman was addicted to crack cocaine. i did not know when i met her. she had a sadder story. they're a bunch of elements that we will not have time to talk about the woman to them briefly. the three women are cousins. i got interested in the family history. jewel's mother
visited her in milwaukee. i asked what i thought was a perfunctory question. tell me where you are from? well,oked at me and said, jason, i was born on the senators plantation. back when black people were coming out of slavery. i was born in connecticut. what do you say to that? the name will mean a lot to a few and not much to some of you. lasts one of the segregationists of the south. he had a pocket and is best for all the civil rights bills and where they want to die. just a name she heard or did she know him? it is all true. there are still people in her family living on the east land plantation.
i went down there and met her 85-year-old girl uncle -- -year-old uncle. they were sharecroppers on the plantation. it is not just an interesting story. i traced the family history back to slavery. chicago where they moved and in milwaukee. i think it is a vital context for understanding what happened to them under welfare and off of welfare. much of the behavior that was blamed on welfare, out of wedlock childbearing, poverty, the concept of dependency, black on black violence, substance abuse, all the things were going plantation.
newt gingrich, when he was promising to end welfare for talk about how we cannot sustain civilization with 12-year-olds having babies. it seemed like it piece of gingrich hyperbole. it cannot be blank on welfare because welfare cannot exist when she had her baby when she was 13. africa was a context that was left out of the upper debate -- welfare debate in washington. also a part of the book about the privatized social welfare system in milwaukee. they took the city and divided it into six districts with five different private providers. left.as the last one she was pregnant and living in a crack house. her caseworkers had no idea she was pregnant or living and eight -- in a crack house.
spent several million dollars on corporate advertising out of welfare funds. they bought golf balls. the company was maximus. they were traded on the new york stock exchange. they took several nine dollars and diverted it into corporate promotions. dollars and diverted it into corporate promotions. most confidence inspiring example of privatization. it did when an award from harvard and the ford foundation as the best welfare program in the country. [laughter] let me say to short things about way with the book. why i short things about wrote the book. to satisfy my curiosity.
knowingry interested in what would happen with this cable with semi millions of people's lives. many millions so of people's lives. and i was hoping to build a constituency with people by bringing them into the conversation. most policy conversation in washington these days is controversial. there are few subjects more polemical been welfare. -- than welfare. i was skeptical about the abolition of welfare in the substitution of this new system. i made a concerted effort to try to put my biases aside. in the hopes that i would be pleasantly surprised. i was. in some ways. biases to challenge my
in the reporting and writing. i want to talk about and you the main care to the book. character of main the book. i will read a passage. >> the month bill clinton announced he was running for president, she stepped off the greyhound bus in milwaukee. she was 25 years old. arrived from chicago. two large duffel belloc's -- backs. she had a pretty milk face -- chocolate milk face. the combination could make her look tender or tough. the pending of her mood. she had never seen milwaukee before. why do they have all these old houses? where is the brick at? she arrived in milwaukee as she moved her the world. a short fountain of! points.ion up close, her habit of excitable
swearing came off as charm. i just express myself so accurately. the cascade of off-color commentary alongside the late-night candle of pulp 45 could make her seem like a dated version of get a life -- jaded life. her father was a drunk. she had her first baby at 17. dropped out of high school and had two more. she did not have beea diploma. by the time she arrived in milwaukee, she had been on welfare for nearly eight years. her mother had worked two jobs. though she tried to hide it, she bore traces.ces -- not many came to milwaukee felt the need to start a tome about their efforts to discern god's will. i'm tired of trying to understand what god wants of me. worried that was to a reverent,
she substituted the words world for god. stories of street fights she was happy to share, but the bag was so private that hardly anyone knew it existed. don't you know i like looking mean? if people think you are nice, they will take your kindness for weakness. that is a side of me i don't want anyone to see. not want me to see it you there for many years. i did not find the bag. she also kept a secret journal. eventually, she opened it up to share it. it made me write an entire chapter of her childhood. i had after a dozen times what it was like to get pregnant as a teenager and she repeatedly said it was no big deal. i wrote out a passage that made her seem unthinking. how could you get pregnant in high school? i was struggling with it. my experience on the page and my
spirits in person -- she showed me in the journal. i'm going to have to change my life. have a life within me. -- i have a life within me. of not havingite a reflective consciousness of this event. i will fast-forward. i thought the bulk of the book would be the process of somebody getting off welfare. the back-and-forth between the caseworker in the recipient. angie had been on welfare for 12 years by the time she got off. she had to go to a worksite in order to get a job. she said, why would i work for welfare if i have to work to get a regular paycheck? 12 years on welfare. no high school education. she was a long-term case. what i thought would be the bulk of the book was actually a
nonevent event. it is significant is not -- but does not take too long to explain. much of the book became her post welfare experience. the economics of it. what it meant to her personally and her kids. what it meant to hurt her story personally isher a positive story. she became a nursing aide. i do not know much about what they do. it is a nursing home. they get injured more often than coal miners. bls, to keep calling the is this really true? they earn about half the pay. one in four of them have no health insurance. one in five live in poverty. a lot of scatological humor bedpans.t deadpans --
angie loved the work. she loved everything about it. she loved the cleanliness of the nursing home compare to her house. she liked the teamwork. she loved the patient. particularly the nursing home rebels who reminded her of herself. she loved the uniformed pride of thinking of herself as a nurse. i ended up taking she had more patience for her patients and she did for kids -- her kids. it brought out an empathetic street for her. -- streak for her. she my favorite stories, worked in a nursing home where the patients were mostly old white polish ladies. one day, angie was cleaning up a woman who looked up at her and snap and said, get your hands off me.
on the street, she would have pulled out a knife or something. in this context, she just laughed. cleaning well i'm because you can't do it yourself. it off because old people are not responsible for what they say. it brought out the wonderful human connectedness. when clinton thought -- talked about the welfare bill, he said work establishes meaning and dignity and life, one of the building blocks of our society. in angie's case, i see some truth in that. less so in jewel. she works at successfully and it did not mean as much to her. on the meaning level, i would say angie spirits was a large success. -- angie's experience was a large success. her earnings went up and her welfare went down. she may have been 10% better off
after welfare than she was when she was on welfare. it were some other things going on her life. her progress got lost in the noise of living. one year she may have been off, the next year her car may have broken down and it would not be any different. one thing that did -- that did not surprise me so much. what did surprise me is just how much economic hardship she suffered as a successful worker. about the topn 20% of women leaving the roles. -- rolls. was out of food or times than i can cap. she was too proud to say this. this is hard to get out of her. is food a problem -- problem? aint nobody going hungry. it would be not a clock at night and nobody would have eaten.
and nobodynight would have eaten. i found the the problem to be widespread. -- food problem to be widespread. jewel, who earns about as much both of them lost their health insurance. jewel was hospitalized with ulcers and had her wages garnished. jewel did not bring it up. she was heating the house with an open. -- oven. weres because the wages being garnished to pay the medical bill. she lost her heat. the saddest part of the story, i looked at her and she said everybody who works is going to get there wages garnished. she was looking at me astonished at my surprise.
something based on -- to a conservative audience that they both want to hear and don't want to hear and a liberal audience. when i say -- to conservatives, i think you are right that people work more than you understood. but you have not fully grappled with the thin rewards of work at the bottom of the wage scale and how much economic hardship persists. the third part of angie's life that i talk about, and probably the most important, what affect her work has on the kids. some people would say, by the time she is 30 years old and has been on welfare and does not have a high school degree, she's going to have a difficult life under any circumstance. what we want out of her experience is to set a role model example. put the kids on a different trajectory.
this was the place where i thought the script -- where the reality most imported from the script. there is so much talk in washington about working mothers being role models for the kids. by taking a sick of mother and putting her into the workforce, it will change the trajectory of the family life. that is an idea with appeal. lots of people here want to believe it. but it did not hold true for most of the single mothers i knew raising kids in the economically deprived conditions and interest -- dangerous neighborhoods. opal and her four and she has a four bedroom house with one bathroom. angie has four kids. taking a drugg -- dealer. all the kids know he is selling drugs.
friendsone of angie's moves in. inre were 17 people living the house at one time with one bathroom. clinton used to talk about work bringing social order. it did not at angie's house. that the boyfriend kids despised. there were times when angie was away and the kids would be a way hymns and other times he would be smoking dope with the kids. rather than setting a role model, sometimes she was just a way leaving them exposed to more hardships. clinton as president used to tell a story about role model mothers. he told the story of a woman named lily hardin. you must have told the story 20 times as president. the story is that when he was governor, a woman named lily and when hewelfare
, what was the best thing about leaving welfare, she said, now when my son goes to school and they ask what his dad does, he can give an answer. that is the idealistic hope for changing the welfare system. between the time he told that story and the time he repeated it 20 times as president, that son went to jail for a shooting. old andw about 30 years has been arrested for two times -- 20 times for the last 10 years. we are tried to get his police record -- trying to get his police record. know him. he has a long record. do you have enough paper?
arrestee.infamous even as clinton is telling the story about how his mother is a shining example. what i came away from that social disarray thinking about what the importance of fathers. -- was the importance of fathers. it was because the people talk about it so often at every level. story of becoming a nursing aide by talking about her relationship with her father. he was an alcoholic. she saw him for the last time before she moved to milwaukee. she did not know how much he had declined. he died a month later. the last time she saw him. she felt guilty about not taking care of him. that is what made her go into this nursing home to take care of other people. they are primarily motivated by non-economical rewards.
people are drawn to wanting to be caretakers. angie -- i had that theory. when i floated in my theories, she would look at me and it would look like she was sucking a lemon. she volunteered, because of my daddy. went to a crosstown high school with a prelaw program because her father was in jail and she wants to get her father out. she's a terrible student. she has asthma. taking a bus across town was probably the last thing she needs to do. just exacerbated her problems. she was telling herself she would become a lawyer and get her debt out of jail. son has all oldest kinds of problems. and they relate to his father. i will read a short passage.
this is a great. >as the years progressed, so did his problem. he cut school, smoked a lot of wheat. -- weed. and you weren't with his streetwise error, he was trying to emulate greg. she also worried he did not have the mental to post it all. he is sweet as pie but wants to be bad. bread is a baby. baby.ng -- red is a a ticking time bomb. praising his sense of humor. among the papers that survived in the bottom of his closet is a middle school essay. years and a big round body. i found him in the woods crying in a box. day andcross that one asked him why it had been crying. because it was left out there by himself. beebody was supposed to feeding him and watching him and
was not doing it. why not? probably because they did not have money. how did that make them feel? he was crying because he was sad. up and did not realize he had been rising -- writing about himself. everything in the house seemed to be about the missing father. red's grandmother also talk to me about her own yearning for a father. i was asking whether this was a hopeful story in the accident. -- and i actually do. i came of age at a time about 20 years ago when things were bad and getting worse. poverty was up. wages were down. drug use was up. crime was up.
a kind of futility in the air. reagan said, we thought they were on poverty and poverty one. -- fought a war on poverty and poverty won. the entire field was dispirited. everyone felt beaten down. policy -- that changed in the mid-90's. i think the welfare bill was part of the change. there were other things going on. the official poverty rate went down. people flooded into the workplace in record numbers. policy made some progress. erdogan tax credit group. -- earned income tax credit gre w. the rudiments of some health care for low-wage workers.
there are reasons to feel much more confident now than when i first started writing about poverty. things as whate a diplomat would call confidence building measure. a first step. help dissipate any reason for cheap cynicism with what we can and can't a comp was -- accomplished. . no excuse to say we can't help low income and the way we help low income women. helped low income women. i want to conclude with the notion of entitlement. it was at the center of the welfare debate eight years ago. revolution grew from the fear that it came from entitlement. there was a culture of
entitlement but it was scarcely concentrated at the bottom as anyone following the ways of corporate scandals knows. what stands out about angie and dual is how little they felt they were owed. they went through life acting entitled to nothing. not medical care, not even three daily meals. they scarcely compete -- complaint. when welfare was there for the taking, i got on the bus and took it. ending welfare, the country took away their source of income. they did not lobby or sue. they did not march or right. -- right -- riot. they went and got jobs. that entitled them to something. a shot at the american dream. [applause] >> robert rector is a heritage foundation research fellow who
work closely with members of congress on the 1996 welfare law. he examined its impact 10 years later at an event hosted by the cato institute. you can buy this entire event in our video library at c-span.org. centst year, the nine -- the587 billion on united states spent $587 billion on aid. i have a considerable amount of ambivalence about this reform. in order for me to get enthused about it, i have to go up and testify in front of congressman mcdermott or someone of that lk and haven't attacked the form of the most racist way possible. then i can start to get excited about this thing again.
i think the first thing we look ato, if we are talking about the success or failure of welfare reform, we have to talk about what are our goals. before a libertarian audience, i would say that one of the goals of welfare reform would be that you would reduce the cost and size of the welfare state thereby reducing the amount of lyney that you involuntari extract from the taxpayers to pay for a function which may have no constitutional basis whatsoever. in that sense, i would say that this reform was modestly successful in terms of changing but not al trends three-ring circus to write home about. from a conservative perspective, i'm more concerned about the well-being of the recipients
themselves and about future generations. in that sense, i think the a positivepossibly harbinger telling us -- showing us things we could do in the future. in particular, showing us that we can in fact change certain trendlines by altering government policy. that it is not necessarily true that every government program and every reform of government must always be unsuccessful. what was welfare reform? else, it represented a change in the philosophy of government welfare. that from the time of franklin roosevelt and certainly from the time of lyndon johnson, the welfare system in the u.s. which comprises over 70 different programs was a system of permissive entitlement. a system of one-way handouts in
n individual in need of aid would receive aid in the form of cash or medical services or housing or food. a one-way handout. welfareral idea of reform was that that was a bad idea. an insult -- harmful to the taxpayer and society and recipient. try to replace that with a system of reciprocal obligation. in which we would not terminate say, we wouldld give you assistance that we expect certain things back from return for that assistance. in particular, we are going to expect that if you want to get cash under what used to be aid for families with dependent children, we expect you to undertake a supervised job search or get some training or community service work or something like that. or take a job.
that as a condition for getting aid. once you do that, you get some fairly remarkable results. one of which is sitting in welfare intake centers, i have seen on more than one occasion, was that type of demand is put as a precondition for getting the aid, the applicant for the aid say things like, if i have to do all that, i might as well just get a job. low and behold, they do that. it is remarkable. you can see that affect. one of the things you get from this type of reciprocity is a .ind of gatekeeping device when you look at the overall pre-reform welfare population, there is a group there that in't truly need -- is truly need of assistance. and there is a larger group willing to take every handout if you shove it in their face.
one of the things you get when you say we will give you assistance but we expect you to do something substantial in weed outr that is you the difference between those two groups. you will get the people that are looking for the handout coming into the office with far less piquancy. that enables you to focus your energies on those in need of aid. also means there is less abuse of the taxpayer. there we go. basically reform we had two goals. the first was to establish work
requirements. not just to a game is with dependent children, but also work requirements for food stamps. at least tentatively opposed proposed. -- proposed. importantly, most to deal with the problem of out of wedlock childbearing and increase the number of children born inside marriage. those were important. i think we made some modest progress on both of those fronts. certainly not everything we could have done. this is going to be a very familiar chart. you saw one to version of this -- one version of this. assistance with needy family caseload. going back to the time of the korean war. this is essentially the same data he is today. what we can see is that for a 55
redline did that two things. it went flat or went up. the black bars are periods of economic recession. the white bars are periods of economic booms. 10 periods of boom on the chart. you notice how may times the red line goes downward? over and over and over again. in fact, although we have 10 periods of economic boom, this caseload went down and how many in how many periods? one. what happens here? welfare reform. the caseload starts going down a little bit more. why is that?
what drove that caseload down are two fx. effects. [indiscernible] get welfare into the office and making them do things , thereby reducing the economic futility of being on welfare. there is this large symbolic affect. i would say that welfare reform started the first time bill clinton said he planned to end welfare as we know. that message got out there. he's talking about two years and you are off. he did not mean that. or anything remotely like that. but it sounded like he meant it. if you were a welfare recipient, he would say -- you would say, whoa! and newt gingrich is talking about putting kids in
orphanages. it sounds scary. what i think you see here is all across the country a behavioral messagesto the value of welfare. the clear messages, potential welfare recipients will not sit down there and see the participation rate or what the kentuckysystem is in compared to new york, but they did hear the message that welfare would be limited. expectationbe an that you were supposed to work rather than spend a lifetime on welfare. you seem to see across-the-board behavioral response. one anecdote to that was that pretty early on in the system we got feedback -- this was probably 1997, about four months after the act was passed. nebraskaedback from and the welfare director was
saying, our caseload is going through the floor. we haven't done anything. we have implement a no program whatsoever yet. you know why this is happening? because all these left-wing activist group's are out in are telling people those horrible publicans have passed welfare reform. they will turn you off in two years. it is going to be terrible. it is going to be awful. welfare recipient said, holy toledo -- recipients said, holy toledo. we need to get off welfare. go download begins to rapidly in response to the symbolic messages. the symbolic message was unrelated to any actual policy. decline the caseload
can be attributed to these types of messages taken very seriously than to any action programs. i will say that as you look at the line going down, you do find consistently throughout the period that the states that are the most rigorous insisting that the individual must engage in , it willve behavior have much more rapid caseload declined that states that are more lenient about that. all in all, what we have here is what i would call a a great philosophical victory. back to write here, 1965 up to the present time, in homes all across america we have the thanksgiving dinner debate. which we are talking about
welfare and uncle joe says, you know, if they just made these welfare recipients go out and take a job they would not be sitting there collecting all that welfare. in thisand i have been field for a very long time. experts wouldl say how ridiculous. notion when we know there are no jobs to be had. that there are barriers. the caseload is impossible. this inime he passed 1993, the prevailing wisdom was that you could reduce the caseload by perhaps 5% over three years. while we were doing in this -- doing this, it was dropping 5% a month. it violated all of the prevailing liberal wisdom about what you could do.
what you have here is a very strong. the cold victory for the idea that incentives matter. you get a very large behavioral response. as the caseload goes down starting in 1993, we had 59 families on the program -- 5 the program.ies on although the families on welfare for by definition automatically poor. welfare never pays enough to n income above poverty. they never came into the office in the first place. employment of single mothers surgers up.
a large number of mothers are off welfare and are working. you get a poverty affect. what we have here is the poverty status of black children going back to 1970 and what you can see is that for 25 years, prior to welfare reform, the black cap poverty rate is black. -- the blackween poverty rate is flat. it hovers but never gets below the mid-40's. years under the conventional war on poverty and black child poverty is no change. along comes the mean-spirited republicans were going to throw children out to the street --
who are going to throw children out in the street. what happens? this goes down. in the late 1990's, black child poverty was reaching a new low. this was never covered in the new york times or washington post. by 2000, 30%. if this had been the result of a liberal initiative, of my goodness. nobel prize for some members of congress. this happened because we got tough and we were mean-spirited. not really mean-spirited. it was the result of a conservative policy. you clearly shifted the baseline -- we clearly shifted the baseline of what poverty is. this is the illegitimacy ratio.
charles murray and i believe this is actually much more significant and one which we struggled very hard to get into welfare reform without a considerable amount of success. this goes back to the 19 -- -- back to 1940. the beginning of the war on poverty. it is around 7%. by the mid-1990's it is about 34%. one of the things i worked on in welfare reform was simply to create policies that would force a discussion of this issue. this is the underlying cause of welfare dependence. as well as child poverty in the underclass. difficult to get members of congress to talk about this. owe a great deal of gratitude
to congressman who worked for years to try to even put this in public discussion with a considerable amount of the republican party saying the topic is undiscussed double. discussable. i think there has been a substantial shift. this is the legitimacy -- illegitimacy ratio. the blue one is something like something drawn with a ru ler going up 1% each year. around the time this reform against symbolic weight when we talk about ending welfare as a lifetime entitlement, the line does move over. if we had gone forward at the priory to increase marked with the red dotted line, we would have over 40% of all children being born out of wedlock today. it is only 30% -- 34%.
athink it is about one and half million your children being fewer children being born out of wedlock. the states were supposed to address this issue, but steered away from it because it is politically incorrect. i think the general symbolic effect of saying that welfare is time-limited and you are expected to support yourself has caused an alteration in the behavior as well. the challenge for the future is to actually begin to move the blue line down. pros and cons. what are the pros of welfare reform? theou are liberal favoring massive expansion of conventional welfare system, you have been put on the intellectual defensive. we have not seen expansion. not that spending has not gone up but in terms of new programs,
a are very much on the initiative because the welfare reform is focused on the behavioral roots of poverty and independence rather than throwing additional money at the problem. second, we demonstrated the effectiveness of core conservative ideas concerning reciprocal obligation. decline ofamatic programs and in poverty. around the time of welfare reform, we had a significant increase in the debate of out of wedlock childbearing. we got the reduction as a principal goal of the act. in the last six months, we have passed new provisions under the act that i think will begin to produce a fairly interesting pioneering programs to deal with the key issue in the future.
what are the limits are the cons? 50 tested welfare programs. families with dependent children, we also have food income medicaid, earned tax credits. we reformed only one of those programs. the others are sitting there completely untouched. second, related to that, if you look at her low programs such as food stamps and public housing, -- parallel programs such as food stamps and public housing, they serve the same people but no work requirements. we do not reform the welfare state, recently reformed the one most visible program. third, a great deal of energy about reforming welfare in the
90's. that has passed. people are bored with it. they think we ended welfare. we lost sort of the momentum. as a dimension, the state did not act on the goal of -- as i mentioned, the state did not act on the goal of reducing this. in the summer of 1994, when the contract for america was passed, the republicans were about to assume the majority in the house of representatives, i can remember clearly meeting newt gingrich talking about the welfare provisions. i said, the one thing you did not get in there that is the work forrtant of all, welfare recipients will not cure the underclass, what you need is a major school choice provision that would allow underclass religiouso go to
schools if that is what the parents want. i said that will do far more for the underclass in all of this will. he said, i couldn't get that through the party. we will have to do that in the future. 10 years later, we are still waiting on those issues. we are still waiting for the method guys transformation that is going to be necessary -- massive values transformation that going to be necessary to deal with these issues. >> next, sociology professor sharon hays discusses her book. this portion of the event from 2003 is about half an hour. been connecteds to family and work life. when it was first established as part of the new deal
legislation in 1935, the idea was that you would follow the life.of family imagining a proper breadwinning husband and caregiving white. absent, thend was the state would step in to cape the place -- take the place of the father for caring for the mother and children. that law basically remained in place in some sense until the 1996 personal responsibility act. the most widely recognized messages that women should work. it doesn't matter they are mothers or if they have kids to care for, like most working women in society today, they should be able to manage both work and the care of their children. these work requirements as you
know are given real key by the federal time limit. after five years it is expected that all poor mothers will become self-sufficient. if they aren't, they will be left without any form of government support. this, is thebout law saying that breadwinners are simply a thing of the past and we should think of women as perfectly capable of caring for calling themselves that also their children without the help of a breadwinner? this is where i started and it seems funny to me. pronouncement occurs at the same time cap politicians, the public, scholars are still expressing a tremendous amount of ambivalence about women mothers in the paid labor force and the problems of childcare and the time crunch at home and
and their concern about the decline of family values. how does the law deal with these problems? in fact, the message that mother should work is not the only message that you find. out, the personal responsibly act begins, marriage is the foundation of a successful society. essentials an institution of a successful society which promote the interest of children. promotes fatherhood and motherhood for the well-being of children. the legislation and goes on to condemn single parenting, deadbeat dads, women who live on the dole. the preamble to the personal is possibly act is in fact a restatement of newt gingrich's contract with america.
so, in fact, built into welfare visions.e actually two publicly i call these the work plan and the family plan. privately i will call them as i plan.lls plan and newt's we give women childcare subsidies, help with transportation and then they can work their way up to full independent womanhood. plan, we make sure jail all the deadbeat dads, train people in abstinence education and by forcing women to work at low-wage jobs and realizing that they cannot afford to raise children on such jobs, they will ultimately learn
if not this generation and by the next that the property chores [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] proper choice ---- proper choice for women is to get married and stay married. what do these patients look like --visions look like? one of the possibilities for realizing that -- what are the possibilities are realizing that? the group most direct we targeted by the law -- directly -- thereby the law were 12 million of them at the inception of welfare reform. there are proximately 5 million today. these people are desperately poor. half under half of the federal standards for poverty and most have no income at all. the adults in this group are overwhelmingly women.
90%. this is no accident. it is no mere historical footnote. parents and they are disproportionately nonwhite. note linkages are coincidental. most single-parent families today are headed by women. single-parent families are disproportionately poor. nonwhite families are at greater risk for both poverty and single parenthood. now, what we see then in welfare reform is what has otherwise been called the feminization of poverty. the racial is asian of poverty. the juvenile is asian of poverty. racialization of poverty. tion of poverty.
as sociologists, we know that this group of people are desperately poor not simply because of individual choices, but rather as a result of systematic structured inequalities. women,ke the poor children and disproportionally nonwhite. when we think about the structure of welfare, we can't think about it as the result of four largest factors. continuing discrimination of inequality as referenced to race. rising" -- rising income inequalities. the nation of all -- the widest gap between the rich and poor.
then, significantly from my point of view, you can look at this population as the result of revolutionary changes in work and family life. work life is a dramatic decline in the number of people who are able to earn what was once called a breadwinning wage. a wage that is high enough to support a family. see isly life, what you the number of women going out to work. that means the number of families where you must seek outside help for caregiving. connected to been a rise in single parenting. that is the background. how am i doing?
ok. as noted, the single-parent households are the walking representatives of not just inequality but massive change in work and family life. they are the poorest of all american citizens. when we think about the familiesties for these , you should recognize that all women who are signal parents have a hard time managing. but this group also tends to be ,oorly educated, poorly trained with employment backgrounds in only low skilled jobs. they are much more likely than the rest of the apostle -- population to suffer from physical and mental health problems and many are the victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. all these factors combine to make it unlikely that these
mothers will be able to raise their family out of poverty. 40% do not have high school diplomas. not testity, 60% do above the eighth grade level. the educational testing institute, something equipment -- with which most of you are familiar with, have reported that 70% of the people on the welfare role do not have the skill levels necessary to get the kinds of jobs that would support a family of three. what happens inside the welfare office? of single clearest message the welfare office is the message of work. almost all of the efforts appear to be directed towards this. the first thing you see when you enter the waiting room is a
large red banner. 12 feet long, three feet high reading, how many months do you have left? under the banner is a list of the jobs available in the area. catcher, waitress, data entry personnel, childcare, forklift operator. most cases, the wage rates are not miss it -- listed. the message is clear. you must get a job. get it soon and accept whatever wages you get. this is not just encouragement to work. it is backed up by a series of stringent requirements. it is also backed up by a series of supportive services. all created by welfare reform. these include help with childcare, transportation, clothing and supplies, sometimes
for rent and utility payments. all of this designed to help welfare mothers get head start against future hardship. all of the work requirements of welfare reform backed up by a set of rigid rules. our clients have decided -- sign responsiblyrsonal for self-sufficiency. the first meeting with employment worker, they are given an intelligence test and are told to begin a job search that must commence immediately. they must also attend a series of job readiness and light skill classes where they are taught how to dress for interviews, how to appropriately refer to their employers, how to handle stress, managed childcare, how to speak
proper english rather than and what kind of job would be best for them. they must also continue to meet with their employment counselor continuously. upon theirding situation, it will either go to a training program or a work placement. many of you are aware of this. looks likeg programs ged, computer skills, nursing assistant, helper, childcare and even a training course for aspiring guest room attendant. id.el ma if the training programs did not get mothers into work fast aough, they were placed in work care placement. sweeping streets, picking up trash. sorting trash.
childcare work. bus drivers. kitchen help. you have a sense of the nature of these jobs. in all cases, they are unplayed, -- unpaid, you are simply working for your welfare check. , you willuld fail receive a sanction. this important -- is important. about 20-30% of welfare clients are sanctioned at any given time. this is the primary way of punishing poor mothers for their failure to live up to the rules of welfare reform. the section rate is twice as high as it was prior to reform and being sanctioned as the harshest status of all. you lose your welfare benefits and at the same time you continue to lose your month towards your lifetime benefit amount.
most of the welfare mothers i met came to fear being sanctioned. a very effective form of keeping them in line. overall, the message is a very powerful message. self-sufficiency -- has it printed self-sufficiency? i think many of you also know the answer to this. know, some examples clearly demonstrate the problems of low-wage work and the additional cost that comes with low-wage work often means that although you look like you have a higher level of income, in fact, you end up with more onerial hardship than when
welfare. this means inside the welfare office, often those women that are considered the success stories of welfare reform, women who are now off the rolls. how many of you are readers of the new york times? way --mary way that welfare success has been the kind -- defined as the decline of the welfare roll. in many cases, the success stories of welfare reform would little different than the failures. look little different than the failures. andrea makes 5.7 five cents an hour. -- $5.75 an hour. covers $50 a month to
close, transportation, medical, childcare, laundry, appliances and cleaning supplies. this does not count cable-television and secrets. -- cigarettes. her kids don't have the proper shoes. her oldest once a new outfit for the school year. they turned off her phone last month. she knows he cannot pay her rent this month. andrea is one of the success stories. continued to ask for the so-called traditional support that is offered by the welfare office in terms of transportation and childcare because she would otherwise need to leave for children at home alone. that support is time-limited. indebted.eady greatly -- and that -- indebt.
maria has five jobs. hopeseps changing them in of finding something better. something that will raise her above the poverty line. for as a housekeeping large corporation, she worked at burger king, talk about, giant housekeeping in a local hotel. housekeeping still pays the best. is making seven dollars an hour but she hates it. it is hard and dirty word. it is hard on her back. her coworkers slack off and she has to pick up the extra. she doesn't make enough to make she can't quit because of the other jobs will pay as well. sandy, our last success story. had a good job. working at the salvation army. especially happy to be
working at the salvation army because it gave her a sense that she was helping disadvantaged people like us out. she worked the night shift. her neighbor was taking care of her kids. to make't making enough it without continued help from the welfare office. she thought maybe she could get a raise. one of her brothers shot and killed the other brother. that meant one brother was dead and the other was on his way to present. she fell apart emotionally. she lost her job. and disappeared. no one at the welfare office knows where she is, but she is off the welfare roll. the problem and is not getting a job, it is finding a job that pays enough to bring the family out of poverty and that is flexible enough to manage the contingencies of raising kids.
the odds of finding that job and keeping it if you are a woman with low skills and two kids to care for is not good. if this does not work out so you could hope that welfare mothers will find themselves a good man who will pay the bills and help with the childcare. life could be better. it turns out that statistically speaking, finding a good man and married him is a really good way to get off welfare. ying him is a really good way to get off welfare. what is the welfare office doing to promote this? you see little with daily values at the welfare office. values at the welfare office. children are constant presence. caseworkers often play with them. try to calm those who are unhappy.
office often look to me like a big family reunion without the men. familys the message of and welfare reform -- in welfare reform? are you staying awake? ok. the antiabortion bonus, the abstinence education program. the prosecution of statutory rapists. the provision of childcare funding and above all, the paternity and child support enforcement system meant to go after deadbeat dads. ast briefly, the law offers $10 million illegitimacy antiabortion bonus to the states that can bring down the number of children born without raising the abortion rate.
you know that. it did not work out quite the way they hope. -- hoped. nowhere in the law as did the slightest hint of funding for birth control. $50 million for the support of abstinence education programs across the nation to target those populations were most at risk. -- who are most at risk. it is meant to teach the social and psychological methods of abstinence. -- benefits of abstinence. the law offers funding for programs that enforce and promote the enforcement of statutory rape laws. it refers to the problem of
young women that need to be protected against predatory older men. then the law brings with it some good news. what looks like good news. a massive influx of child care dollars. this is good news. there is no question that women who are trying to manage on in-wage jobs need the help childcare funding. the problem is that less than one third of welfare families nationwide actually get help and less than 1/7 of the low income families were technically childcareor federal subsidies are actually receiving them. this is because the federal government keeps running out of money. in fact, as it turns out, this is not a big surprise because it
is about twice as expensive to subsidize the childcare for welfare mothers as it is to simply give them their welfare check. hence, most welfare mothers don't get the subsidies. i would love to tell you about the family cap but we don't have time for that. of paternity requirements the child support system. here is the one place on the men in thet we see law. the personal responsibility act. it seemed sensible on the surface that those fathers failing to pay child support for their children and their children end up definitely poor, make some sense they should be helping. -- makes some sense they should
be helping. they are themselves poor men. large numbers of poor fathers are now in jail and prison for men now many low income owe 10-40,000 dollars in child and the annual incomes are $6,000 a year. they are paid to pay that back -- their failure to pay that means they are in prison. the child support enforcement system for many low income people has meant that more and more men simply going to hiding to escape the child enforcement authorities. this is not because they are bad men, it is because they can make no income if they are jailed.
women, many low income they recognize this and are reluctant to follow through on child support enforcement. according to the personal responsibility act, if they do not, they will be sanctioned off the welfare rolls. and there are women afraid to comply. we will leave that aside. the attempt to create a theainable life through rules and regulations of the welfare office so far have not been highly successful. actually, just a couple of days npr there was a debate on with a conservative from the family relations council who believed that the real solution was the continued marriage promotion effort that are now
working their way through the u.s. senate. marriage would be more systematically promoted within the welfare office is a solution that you can think about yourself. overall, the result of welfare reform thus far has been discouraging for those of us who were hoping that it might actually help low income families. what we have seen with the decline of the welfare rolls is that two thirds of mothers no longer on welfare are nonetheless still living in poverty with their children. large numbers of former welfare recipients have simply this .ppeared off the radar screen no one can track their fate. thoseeally end up in
national statistical renderings. they do seem to show up in studies on cities and states across the nation that are now going to the federal government begging for more money because their homeless populations and their hungry populations continue to grow at an alarming rate. so, if you look at the reality , over time iform although it will creep up on us slowly, we will see in the long run is increasing rates of homelessness, poverty, hunger, and ever greater -- an ever grading strain -- greater strain poor, increased
children in foster care, on the streets or living in substandard living conditions. higher crime rates. hybrids of drug abuse. more prostitution. rising numbers of people in mental hospitals and prisons. all of this will be trackable over the next 10 years. armadale caseworkers already noted the rise of foster care children. mother is not able to support their children simply give them to the foster care system. sunbelt city, the clients report to make rising rates of hunger, drug abuse, prostitution and crime among former welfare mothers. what does this tell us about the possibilities for creating real solutions to problems in work
and family life today? to the extent that well for -- welfare reform offers a vision of full gender equality for the promise of women independent from both men and miserly employers has been a dismal failure. womenk of the promise of independent and women that my mother who i grew up with, that middle-class women had seen in a lifetime that young college women now expect. the real possibilities of women independent rum middle-class come have in some ways with the cost of the
difficulties of women independence for the poor. in thinking about what real -- to think about what mo -- welfare mothers themselves told me, on the one hand the welfare recipients i met longed to be full-fledged members of the public sphere. they want to work, they want to achieve self-sufficiency. they want to achieve what ph marshall called social citizenship. regularly interpret the cultural message of welfare reform as the possibility that women could be independent and self-sufficient. it is a message that includes
women independence not just from a welfare check it also from women independence from men. , most ofme time though them also offer a second side to their dreams of a future. parentng to be in two middle-class families. many of them have children to create the families of the dreams. notion of of being -- being independent from them is not the same as being separated. instantly means that they want to be able to survive -- it simply means they want to be able to survive on their own terms. the kind of struggle that is embedded in these two visions is
a struggle that is faced by many americans today. now the final portion of our program marketing 20 anniversary of the iq 96 welfare law. ae speaker is ron haskins brookings institution. he worked on the law as a congressional staffer. he discussed efforts to reduce poverty at a senate finance committee hearing. if you missed any portion of this program, you can watch it in its entirety on our website c-span.org. i included a figure in my testimony. it has to be surprises. progress is 1975. the poverty rate among the elderly is the most likely to be poor and is lower than for children. those are two exceptionally important facts.
we need to buckle down and figure out what to do about poverty and concentrate on children. between the state and federal government, we spend about a trillion dollars on these programs. this number has increased almost every year since 1965. the idea that we are not spending enough money is probably incorrect. we should be spending it -- it may not be focused on the poor. some of the programs may be unsuccessful. we're spending a lot of money. a lot of that is on health care. 45% of it. that is where august decided to spend the money. -- congress decided to spend the money. the nation has made a great commitment to helping the poor. it increases every year. third issue, the causes. for our -- the first is work rates. the long-term decline of work among males. the work rate among young black
, wes, before the rescission have a real problem with male employment. for reasons that are not clear. females, the opposite. they work more. theied women had joined labor force. never married mothers. the poorest group of mothers have had a spectacular increase in employment and even today, the likelihood that they have a job is greater, about 20% and it was before welfare reform. that group is working a lot. wages. these are astounding. the wages at the 10th percentile and blow our where they were 30 years ago. it is hard to make progress against poverty as we are always going to have temper sent of people below the 10%.
don'tg as wages there increase, no matter what we do, .t is a real problem if they work full-time as a minimum wage, they will not be out of poverty. family composition is the fifth horseman of the apocalypse. it is the biggest cause of poverty. we have had a huge increase with poverty rates for five times the rate they married couple families. 70% of black children, 45% of white children, born outside of marriage. the probability of being poverty is very high. education is a very big issue. i would say that our educational system at the preschool level, k-12 and post secondary needs a lot of work. i would not say it is a joy. i think the most promising is
fiscal. a key strategies to fight property. -- poverty. issonal response ability key. -- responsibility is key. we are still going to have a brake problem if people don't make choices. we have to do something about people's decisions to drop out of school, decisions to work, decisions to get married. strategy is give them money. that is what we did with the elderly. we have a low elderly poverty rate as a result of social security. that strategy will not work for young able-bodied americans because americans don't think able-bodied people to get welfare. the second strategy is to do everything possible to encourage and force people to work and subsidize their income.
this is a highly bipartisan solution. work requirements and very generous work support. medicaid, income tax credit, childcare. of -- weeast 40 pieces have passed at least 40 pieces of legislation to make our system more friendly to working families. the two other strategies -- we need to emphasize work and maintain the work support system. the child tax credit. the two other things i mentioned, education. we should focus on preschool. thatve instructed to high-quality preschool can make a big difference. think our childcare l.a. spend spend, were that we
can improve the quality. we have lots of strategies. we can reduced teen pregnancy. -- reduce teen pregnancy. we have strategies. we have a number of programs including more coverage of comprehensive family-planning services and mass advertising pregnancyand teen programs. if we spend more money, we would reduce nonmarital birth rates. thank you, mr. chairman. wrap up this look at the 1996 welfare laws, 20 years later, we're joined again by matt from the washington post. it is reported that hillary 1996on support for the welfare hurt her relationship;a.
what might we see from the president hillary clinton on the welfare issue? >> it was very controversial at the time she signed it. he resigned from his position in the clinton administration and protest. there was some acrimony between the first lady and her mentor at the time. as to what the clintons policies would be if she were elected -- hillary clinton's policies would be if you were elected, it is difficult to say. she has said she would like to increase the federal minimum wage which could improve wages for people who are working by not making their much money. she has also said she would like s onimit expense childcare to about 10% of any family's income. , people with very little in the way of