Dissolving Welfare Reform Via Policy Directive

With the media’s attention turned elsewhere this past week, a major policy revision by the Obama Administration.

Welfare reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children with a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The Heritage Foundation played a pivotal role in building bipartisan consensus for the reform and providing many of the recommendations that became part of the law. The whole point was that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid.

This reform was very successful. TANF became the only welfare program (out of more than 70) that promoted greater self-reliance. It moved 2.8 million families off the welfare rolls and into jobs so that they were providing for themselves. Child poverty fell, and single-parent employment rose. Recipients were required to perform at least 20–30 hours per week of work or job preparation activities in exchange for the cash benefit.

Now, Obama’s HHS is claiming that it can waive those work requirements that are at the heart of the law, and without Congress’s consent.

When it established TANF, Congress deliberately exempted or shielded nearly all of the TANF program from waiver authority. They explicitly did not want the law to be rewritten at the whim of HHS bureaucrats. In a December 2001, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service clarified that there was no authority to override work and other major requirements: “Effectively, there are no TANF waivers,” it reported.

But that did not stop the Obama Administration, which has been increasing welfare spending at an alarming rate already. President Obama has added millions to the welfare rolls, and his Administration has come under fire lately for its efforts to expand and add more Americans to the food stamp program.

Source: Morning Bell: Obama’s Imperial Presidency Dissolves Welfare Reform.

The end result? Likely increasing dependency on government with no way to pay for the increased government spending that will result.  At the expense of economic growth.

$100 billion is a good start

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner and his new tea-party fueled colleagues are laying the groundwork for what would be, in absolute terms, the largest reduction ever in federal discretionary spending.

During the recent midterm elections campaign, Republican leaders pledged to reduce non-entitlement spending by a whopping $100 billion.

Doing so would effectively roll back the federal government’s non-entitlement spending to 2008 levels, budget experts tell Newsmax.

“I’m here tonight to tell you that our new majority will be prepared to do things differently,” Boehner declared after the elections, “to take a new approach that hasn’t been tried before in Washington by either party. It starts with cutting spending instead of increasing it . . . Reducing the size of government instead of expanding it.”

Democratic leaders, keenly aware that budget cutting will draw bitter opposition from special-interest groups, seem almost amused by the “rollback to 2008” mantra that Boehner and the freshman GOP members of Congress have enthusiastically embraced. The newly re-elected leader of House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, said Wednesday she welcomes Republican proposals.

But Pelosi’s openness figures to change once the 112th Congress gets down to business. Experts on the federal budgeting process tell Newsmax there is little doubt that Republicans will move quickly to trim federal spending.

“The Republican leadership has committed to this $100 billion cut,” says Brian Riedl, lead budget analyst for the Heritage Foundation. “I expect them to do everything in their power to enact it. They’re on the record, they ran on this, and if it’s brushed aside there would be harsh political consequences.” (Source: NewsMax)

The big question is will all the talk become actual action once the 112th Congress starts in January.

The fact is this type of boldness is needed to avoid going over the cliff when it comes to uncontrolled spending.

Whether the special interests like it or not, government needs to tighten its belt.

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The Rich CAN’T be Taxed Enough …

to close the deficit.

President Obama has driven spending and deficits to historic levels in just two years since taking office. Not content to stop there, his budget for the next 10 years keeps spending at record levels and piles up unprecedented amounts of debt in the process. To partially offset his massive overspending, the President wants to raise taxes on “the rich.” His class warfare plan can take him only so far, however, since the rich don’t earn enough to make up the difference for all the spending he plans.

Obama’s current tax hike plan would raise the top two income tax rates from 33 and 35 percent to 36 and 39.6 percent, respectively. This tax hike will take effect on January 1, 2011, if he has his way and will slow the already badly struggling economy. This will keep unemployed Americans out of work longer and suppress the wages of those fortunate enough to retain their jobs. In fact, the higher tax rates Obama calls for will destroy an average of 800,000 jobs per year by the end of the decade and lower incomes by $720 billion over that same period.

Over the next 10 years, the Obama tax hikes will take almost $700 billion from taxpayers. That is only 8 percent of the nearly $9 trillion President Obama’s budget adds in debt over that same period. Low tax revenues are not the cause of the debt explosion; spending is. The Obama budget raises spending to almost 25 percent of GDP—well above its historical average of 20 percent. Tax revenue will soon exceed its historical average of 18 percent of GDP. (Source: The Foundry)

Go to the source to read the rest.  Perhaps President Obama and his buddies in Washington should start paying attention to things like this from the Heritage Foundation.  But that would require having some common sense.

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Welfare can & must be reformed

A five-point plan that reforms welfare while protecting the vulnerable.

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