Wednesday, August 30, 2006

On welfare reform

Via SDA, this needs to be repeated often and forcefully.

Crude initial reaction: The purpose of welfare reform wasn't to lower the poverty rate. It was to move people from welfare to work--out of an isolated, non-working subculture that had all sorts of bad social effects (fatherless families, crime, segregation, etc.). If welfare reform could have done that with a small increase in the poverty rate, that would have been a price worth paying. If reform had accomplished this goal--a near-60% reduction in the families getting welfare**--with no increase in the poverty rate, that would be a victory. That the poverty rate has actually fallen a full point from 1996 (13.7% then to 12.6% now--an 8% reduction) is a significant success. ... P.S.: The black poverty rate has fallen from 28.4% in 1996 to 24.9% in 2005, a 12% drop. In 1993, when Clinton took office, it was 33.1%. Since then it has dropped by almost 25%.
*** ... P.P.S.: And think what the poverty numbers might have looked like without the arrival of millions of hard-working, unskilled illegal immigrants bidding down the wages of those $7 and $8 an hour jobs....

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