tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 23, 2016 10:31am-12:32pm EDT
pardon of garby this is the right place at the right time we need to et is the historical record strag and correct this historical wrong. thank you very much. >> before we close we're going to take a paragraph of the panel right now and could you join us for this picture. if you would we'll do it right here. [inaudible]
[laughter] [inaudible] >> here's what's coming up today on c-span2 next a reu view of the 1996 well law signed into law by president clinton 20 years ago yesterday. you'll see senate debate, the presidential bill signing, and interviews with some of the key players as they talk about the impact of the law. after that, about 1:25 a portion a recent crunch conference and discussion about the tech
industry, and live at 2 p.m. a discussion about basin management who oversee the river basin in southeast asia as well as representative and special concerned with similar issues in the u.s. booktv is live beginning at 7 p.m. live for race in america. a panel with author and educator s examining relationship between police an african-american community. urban radio network washington bureau chief april ryan and author of the presidency in black and white moderates the discussion. other panelist include msnbc author a of practicer and princeton center for eddy junior author of democracy and black. julianne president of bennett
college for women and author of are we better off. race, bum and public policy. victoria author a of stand your ground, and university of baltimore, school of law interim dean f michael author of ghost of gym crowe ending racism in post racial america. watch live at 7 p.m. eastern at c-span2. throughout this month we're showing booktv programs during the week in prime time. incase you are not familiar with our weekend features booktv on c-span2 takes our public affairs programming focuses on latest nonfiction book releases through practices are in-depth a live look at one author look with questions from viewers, via phone, e-mail, and social media. in-depth airs the first sunday of every month at noon eastern. afterwards is a one-on-one conversation wean author of
newly released book and interviewer a journalist, public policymaker or journalist often airs 10 p.m. eastern and across the country visitingbook festival an authors talk about their latest works. booktv is only national network devoted exclusively to nonfiction books. booktv on c-span2 television for serious readers. >> the baton rouge advocate with this story, president obama will tour flood ravaged areas of louisiana today and meet with leaders in baton rouge to discuss what's expected to be a long recovery process. across louisiana has left at least 13 people dead it and thousands more displaced. more than 110,000 households a applied for federal recovery assistance through fema and 270
damaged with many perished after cleanup operations with state fema and local officials, the president will deliver a statement and c-span will have live coverage beginning about 1:55 p.m. eastern time. >> on august 22nd is, 1996 president bill clinton aim the reducing number of american who is depend on welfare benefits. temporary assistance for foody families or tnaf release a welfare program called aid to families with dependent children which have been in place since 1925, 20 years later c-span looks back at the welfare and law impact on poor families. >> max of the washington post prior to the 1996 welfare law, how was welfare delivered in the u.s.? >> well, before 1986 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 when they found themselves in poverty, they could receive cash assistance from the federal government. and this system, obviously, had some benefits but it was also very unpopular on both sides of the aisle because well for one thing, the assistance that people received was scarce and it wasn't really enough for people to survive on. at the same time, if they went to work and began making more money, they would no longer be eligible for the benefits. >> bill clinton in 19 92 in presidential campaign, of course, campaigning on one of his theisms ending welfare as we know it. what the bull is not signed until almost 40 years later. what accounts for that? >> well it is important to remember that when clinton took office in 1993, 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. and this is a very popular and effective program that is often forgotten about in discussions of welfare and debate at that time in this country's history, of course, the earned income tax credit is tax credit that people with low incomes receive as a kind of bonus for working the more they earn, larger their tax credit up it a certain point. and then after that, in 1994, of course, clinton and then first lady hillary clinton were engaged in a deeply divisive debate with congress and with the american people in general about the future of the health care system. clinton's efforts to reform health care at that time failed, and so the white house was occupied with health care at the time, and then in 1995, a new congress wases inaugurated in
this congress was controlled by republican. and that led to another year and a half or so of haggling between republicans in congress and the white house over what kind of welfare reform would ultimately be enacted. and eventually in the summer of 1996, almost 20 years ago to the day, clinton signed the welfare reform bill. >> so that ill be was signed in 1996, where were some of the key changes that it made in the welfare system? >> i think that most important change is that welfare could no longer be taken for granted people receiving federal cash assistance either had to be working, generally speaking looking for a job or they had to be engaged in some vocational training program and so after the bill was enacted it was really impossible for anyone in the country to receive welfare without doing something related to work either working or
putting themselves in a position where they could find a job, and thing that sense clinton did fulfill his promise to end welfare as we know it. because in the old system, people could receive cash benefits from the federal government and the requirements for working were much less stringent. >> 20 years later in 2016 what is impact of those changes over time? >> that's a difficult question to answer. because, of course, during the clinton administration american society was changing in other ways very quickly. 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 tax cut of motherhood so many women were going to work who hadn't worked before. and also the economy was doing very well in this strong economy
gave women an additional reason to go to work. so the number of women i should say the number of unmarried women who were participating in the labor force increased from about 53% over half in 1991 to almost -- to almost four and five, 76% in 2000. it was a really dramatic abrupt shift due to broader changes in economy and society and also due i think to the changes in the law and, of course, 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. for people who were able to find full-time work after the law was passed, the fact that earned income tax credit has been expanded meant that their
readers tax credited with a tax credit and much better off financially than similar situated people were before clinton enacted his poverty policies. including the tax credit are and also the well with fair reform bill. on the other hand, people who for whatever reason were not able to fulfill the new requirements for work and training and searching for employment that the new law created, generally it seems found themselves wore off. there's evidence that poverty became narrower as a result of clinton's reforms. but it also became deeper and those who remained in poverty were in more dier straights. >> max one plug reporter, for washington post. >> bill clinton 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 union address where he
repeated his desire to, quote, end welfare as we know it. outis lining his vision for reducing the number of american who is depend on welfare benefits. >> nothing is done more to undermine our sense of common responsibility. than our failed welfare system. this is one of the problems we have to face here in washington in our new covenant. it rewards welfare overwork an undermines family value and it lets millions of parents get away without paying their child support. it keeps a minority but a significant minority of the people on welfare trapped on it for a very long time. i worked on this problem for a long time -- 15 years now. as a governor, i had the honor of working with reagan
administration to write the last welfare reform bill back in 19 1958. in the last two years, we made a good start that continuing the work of welfare reform. our administration gave two dozen states the right to slash through federal rules and regulations to reform their own welfare systems into try to promote work and responsibility over welfare and dependency. last year i introduced the most weeping welfare reform plan ever represented by administration. we have to make welfare what it was meant to be, a second chance not a way of life. we have help to those on welfare move to work as quickly as possible. to provide child care and teach them skills if that's what they need for years. after that, there ought to be a simple hard rule. to work and go to work --
[applause] if a parent isn't paying child support, they should be forced to pay. [applause] we should suspend driver's license, pack them across statelines make them work off what they owe. that is what we should do. governments do not raise children people do and parents must take responsibility for the children they bring into this world. [applause] i want to work with you with all of you to pass welfare reform. but our goal must be to liberate people and lift them up and dependents to independents to welfare-to-work and child bear to responsible parenting. our goal should not be to punish them because they happen to be
poor. [applause] we should, we should require work and mutual responsibility, but we shouldn't cut people off just because their poor, young or because they're unmarried. we should promote responsibility by requiring young mothers to live at home with their parent or in other supervised setting by requiring them to finish school. but we shouldn't put them and their children out on the street. [applause] and i know all a of the arguments pro and con and i
don't think we can punish poor children bit mistakes of their parents. [applause] now -- my fellow americans, every single survey shows that all of the american people care about this without regard to party or race or region. so let this be the year we end 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 end welfare. [applause] i may be the only president who is actually had the opportunity
to sit in the welfare office. who has actually spent hours and hours talking to people on welfare. and i am telling you that people who are trapped on it know it doesn't work. they also want to get off. so we can promote together education, and work, and good parenting. i have no problem with punishing bad behavior. other than refusal to be a worker or student or responsible parent. i just don't want to punish poverty and pass the stakes. all of us have made our mistakes. and none of us can change our yesterdays. but every one of us can change our tomorrows. [applause] >> you're watching c-span special program marking 20th anniversary of the 19 67 welfare u law. president clinton vetoed two
welfare vetoes before signaling support for third piece of legislation in 1996. it passed the house with overwhelming support from republicans 328 to 101. 98 democrats voted for the measure. the senate vote was 78 to 21 with 25 democrats voting in favor. here's a look at the floor debate that took place in the days leading up to the final passage. mr. speaker sadly it seems that house will advocate its moral duty and knowingly vote to allow children to go hungry in america. sadly, our president a member of the democratic party, the party of franklin roosevelt and john kennedy and lyndon johnson will sign this bill. does this bill allocate sufficient funds to people who want to employ for work? does this provide adequate child care so parents can leave their children in living? , does this ensure those living
with welfare can take their kids it a doctor when they're sick, no. does this bill do anything to raise wages so those who play by rules will not have to see their children grow up in poverty? no. does this bill reduce the value of food stamps for children of the poorest working people to push these children into poverty and hunger? yes. mr. speaker, i know that scapegoating children is popular this year, but it is not right. we must stand up for our country's children. i urge my colleagues to reject this immoral legislation. thank you mr. speaker. >> yes man from florida. gentleman from florida -- >> gentleman from georgia, mr. lewis. gentleman from georgia is recognized for two minutes and the gentleman may proceed. >> mr. speaker, the bill we considered today is a bad bill.
i will vote against it and i urge people all to vote against that. it is a bad deal because it penalize children for the action of their parents. this bill mr. speaker, will put one million more children into poverty. how can any person of at this time or conscience vote for a bill that would put a million more kids into poverty? where is the compassion? where is the sense of decency? where is the heart of this congress? this bill is mean. it is based. it is down right low-down. we are a great nation. but to the man on the moon, fly u through the air like a bird and swim like a fish in the sea, we have superpower we did this not by running away. by giving up. of a nation and as a people, of a government we met our
challenges, and we won. this bill gives up. it throws in the towel. we cannot run away from our challenges and our responsibilities. and lead them to this state. this is not the character of a great nation. i ask you, mr. speaker, what does it profit a great nation conquer to world only to lose their soul. mr. speaker, this bill over advocation of responsible and abandonment of our morality it is lone, it is wrong. humphrey said over the dawn -- our children it is quite a life. the elderly and those in the shadow of life to sicken and disable. i agree humphrey, my colleague what today is wrong.
i sent to you and my colleagues you have the ability. you have the capacity. you have the power to stop this to prevent justice -- >> has expired. >> your vote is your voice for the gentleman, do what you know in your heart to be right. vote no. >> gentleman will suspend. gentleman from florida. >> mr. speaker, i come over here to do something i've never done before, and that is to trespass on the -- democrat side and i hope that you will give me your understanding in my doing so. because i don't do out of smugness but out of coming together. we've heard a lot of names calling, a lot of rhetoric, a lot of soundbites that we have hard all through this debate. we've come down a long road together. it was inevitable that the president welfare system was going to be put behind us.
and today we need to bring to closure an era of a failed welfare smg and i say that, and i say that from this side of the aisle because democrats agree with republicans. this is not a republican bill that we're shoving down your throats. we're going to get a lot of democrat support today. and i think the larger the support the more chance there is for this to really work and work well. to the degree of the success that we are going to have is going to be a victory for the american people. for the poor -- it's not going to be a vicialght victory for one political party but time for us to hand out, put our hand out to one another and to come together to solve the problems of the poor. you know, without vision, the people will perish. unfortunately, we have not had vision in our welfare system now for many, many years.
it's been allowed to sit snag assistant we have piled layer, layer upon layer on top of each other and paid people not to get married and paid people to have children out of marriage. we have paid people not to work. this is self-destructive behavior. we know with that. we all agree with with that. now wn we've heard it and many spirits many speakers, my friend john lewis thinking that we are going the wrong way. my friend charlie wrangle saying we're going the wrong way but some of my colleagues have fought for different changes within welfare bill, within the human resources sub committee of the ways and means committee. now coming to closure -- and where they do not believe this is a perfect bill and i can say and stand here and say it is not a perfect bill, but it is as good as this congress can do, and it is god as we can come together. we have included the governors and balancing out their interest
and seeing what they have been successful with and how they feel that they can be successful. we have talked to many of the members on the democrat side and to my republican colleagues i say, we are not through. we have another long road ahead of us. we need to get to a corrections bill as we see problems arise within this built that we are -- that we are going to be passing today. it was unexpected to hear that the president was going to endorse this bill and announce this signature of it. but let's now with patient with each other and work with each other and bring this awful era of failed welfare system to closure. >> thank you, mr. speaker, thank you for yielding mr. gibbons i rise in on ceilings opposition to the bill and be a victory for the political skin artist and defeat for children of america. we all agree that welfare, welfare system must be reformed, but we must make sure that that
reform reduces poverty but by bashing poor people but having real reform. cuts will diminish quality of life of children in poor families in america, and will have a devastating impact on the economy of u our cities. food an nutrition cuts reduced hunger. local government forced to pay for the federal governments advocation of responsibility and greatest america ignore needs of infants and children who are born into poverty. the bible tells us that to 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, i yield back the balance of my time. ...
feeling passionately about the need to reform welfare. you know it was pretty amazing to watch the president of the united states come on television and say that he was going to sign, in fact, this welfare bill and the reason why it is so amazing today is because the american people during all of my adult lifetime have said that they want a system that will
help people who can't help themselves but they want a system that's going to ask the abled body to get out and work themselves and this has been delayed and put off and a million excuses as to why we couldn't get it done and i just want to suggest to my friends that are in opposition, and i respect their opposition, many of them just didn't talk, many of them were able to talk as they were beat nn the civil rights protest in this country. i respect their opposition but the simple fact of the matter is that this program was this program was losing public support. the cynicism connected with this program from the folks that go to work every day for a living. i mean those mothers and fathers who have had a struggle their entire lifetime to make ends meat.
they're struggling. they don't take the bus, they don't take the transfer because it costs a little extra money they were being poisoned in regard to this system and they were demanding change and we all know here as we've watch it had congress, the history of congress over the decades that when the american people speak, we must deliver to them what they want. they said they we wanted to vietnam over, it took a decade and they got it but public cynicism and support was rising against program. the american people have never, if i can be so bold as to represent a point of view, have never said that those who can't help themselves shouldn't be helped. that is judeo christianity,
something that we all know has to be rekindled. our souls once again have to be attach today one another and the people in this country and jude oh, christianity says it is a sin not to help everybody but also somebody that needs not to learn how to help themselves. 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 vacate power, it's not about reclaiming our power, it's about reclaiming our money, it's reclaiming our authority, it's about rebuilding our families, it's about
cementing our neighborhoods and we can demand excellence. we can demand compassion and that we can do it better. we march 30, 40 years ago because we thought people weren't being treated fairly and we march today for the very same reason. and what i would say, maybe let me take it back and say many of my friends marched. i was too young and i watched and i respect it and what i would suggest at the end of the day, however, is that we all are going to have to stand those for those who get neglected but this system is going to provide far more benefits, far more hope, restore the confidence in the american people that we have a system that will help those who can't help themselves and at the same time demand something from abled body people who can.
it will benefit their children and benefit the children who goes to work. america is a winner in this. the president of the united states has recognized that he has joined with this congress and i think we have a bipartisan effort here to move america down the road towards reclaiming our neighborhoods and helping america. and i would say to my friends, we will be bold enough and humble enough when we see the mistakes are being able to be able to come back and fix them but let not let these obstacles stay in the way of rebuilding this program based on fundamental american values. >> the time has expired. [applause] >> for those who say we are not going to provide for those in need that were here before on welfare, let me repeat, the combined programs will increase from nearly $100 billion this
year to 130 billion in six years . hardly a reduction in expenditures. and let me repeat, the total programs that i have just described, food stamps, ssi, child nutrition, foster care, the grant program for child care, the new block grant to take the place of afdc which we will call temporary assistance 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, we will save them about $55 billion for this program in its reformed and more efficient mode, will cost $55 billion less than it was assumed if we had
left everything alone and kept the entitlements wherever they were. i believe much of those savings are giepg -- going to come because we are going to do programs better. we are going to be pushing people to do what they should have been doing all along. off the roads, into work. off the dependence into independence. off looking to more somebody else for responsibility and looking into their own responsibility and everywhere we turn in this bill there are provisions for those who just can't do it. there are emergency allowances, provisions where it just can't be done to provide some of what must be provided in addition to the basic program. so as one of our distinguished senators, senator rick santorum for whom i extend appreciation
on the floor on many occasions on the food stamp debate, on the welfare debate he stood and did a remarkable job, he came to the senate well-informed on the subject. he at one point said welfare reform has been and will continue to be a contentious issue. this legislation is tough love, he said. i iconcur. other members will have their particular concerns and the president has expressed his unfortunately or fortunately, depending on 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 probably see a completed law 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 and i believe we should not under any circumstances take a bill that is as much on the right track as this but perhaps imperfect in certain areas, we should proceed, we should let the reform move along. for today, i believe, that the best hope we have to fulfill the promise, we all made to the american public to change these programs as we have known them is to pass the bill overwhelmingly today. making fundamental changes to programs, some of which are 60 year's old, will surely require adjustments and additional tuning as we begin to see how this legislation unfolds. but for those who seem 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 merely ask is it possible that this reform welfare program would be worse than what we have, i cannot belief it. >> yesterday after the president announced that he would sign this legislation, i said and i quote, the president has made his decision, let us hope that it is for the best. today i continue to hope for the best even if i fear for the worst. as i have stated on this floor many times, this legislation does not reform aid to families with dependent children, it simply abolishes it. it terminates the basic federal
commitment to support dependent children in forms of altering the behaviors of their mothers and we are putting those children at risk with absolutely no evidence that this radical idea has even the slightest chance of success. in our haste to enact this bill, any bill, before the november elections, we have chosen to ignore what little we do know about the subject of poverty. just two days ago on july 30, 11 of the nations 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 aftermath of the economic opportunity act of 1964. it has had distinguished history of nonpartisan research in this area. scholars of the university of michigan, eugene at the university of california, edward at the university of michigan. i will ask that all of those names be printed in the record. >> without objection, so ruled. >> researchers who have dedicated years to study we oppose legislation under consideration by the congress.
the best available evidence is that this legislation would substantially increase poverty and desdye -- destitit deep welfare reform would not support, working for the elderly, disabled and the employed. it would not place at risk poor children whose parents are willing to work but are unable to work to find work, find unsubsidized employment. it would back up work requirements with resources needed to make them effective.
it would not back up work requirements with resources need today make them effective. we strongly support an overall of the nation's welfare system but pending legislation that would make a troubled welfare system work is fending on what legislation would make a troubled legislation worse. t not meaningful welfare reform. it should not become law. >> mr. president, i do want to talk about this piece of legislation. i've heard some discussion about doing good. let me -- let me start out with what is a very important framework to me as a senator from minnesota. it's a question, will this
legislation, if passed, signed into law by the president, create more poverty and more hunger among children in america ? and if the answer to that question is yes, then my vote is no. mr. president, we were discussing welfare reform several 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 times mothers could support their children on, commitment to child care and investment. 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 some additional resources and then in the medium run and long run, not only are the mothers better off but we are all better off. this is real welfare reform. slashing close to $60 billion in low income assistance is not reform, colleagues. it is punitive, it is harsh and it is extreme. mr. president, we have been
focusing in this congress on the budget deficit. i think today what we see in the united states senate is a spiritual deficit because, mr. president, i know some of my colleagues don't want to look at this. they turn their gaze away from unpleasant facts and unpleasant reality. sometimes people don't want to know what they don't want to know, but, mr. president, the evidence is irrefutable and irreducible. this legislation once enacted into law will create more poverty and hunger among children in 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 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 spent $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 put that number in perspective. first of all, i think the best way to define that number is to note that if you take the value of all buildings, all plants, and all productive tools in american industry and agriculture combined, they are worth about $5 billion. so if you want to know how much
we have invested in the old welfare program, we have invested in the last 50 years roughly the equivalent of the value of all buildings, all plant and equipment, all tools of all the workers in the united states of america. no society in history has ever invested more money trying to help needy people than the united states of america has invested. and yet 50 years later, what has been the result of all 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 than when we started that program. they are poorer today than when we started, they are more dependent on the government today than when we started the current welfare program and by
any definition of quality of life, fulfillment or happiness, 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 rate was one quarter of what it is today, i know that we have colleagues on the other side of the aisle who are going lament the passage of this new welfare reform bill but i don't see how anybody with a straight face or clear conscious can defend the status quo in welfare.
our current welfare program has failed and it has driven fathers out of the household and made mothers dependent, it has taken away people's dignity, it has bred child abuse and negligent and filled the streets of our cities with crime. and we are here today to change it. now, let me outline what our program does. if i think each of us look at our own family to a period where our ancestors came to america or where our families looking back at those who have gone before us found themselves poor, that we are going to find that there are two things that get individuals and that get nations out of poverty. those two things are work and family.
i think it's instruct i have to note that in the last 50 years, those are the two things that we have never applied to the welfare program of the united states of america. the bill before us asks people to work. it says that able-bodied men and women will be required to work in order to receive benefits. it sets a time limit so that people cannot make welfare a way of life. it seeks to change the incentives within the welfare system and i believe the time has come to change those incentives within the welfare system. so what we have done in adopting this bill is make some very simple changes. number one, we have said that unless you're disabled that 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 are going to have to work. we have also in this program given the states the ability to run their own program. we believe that the federal government does not have all the wisdom in the world and that states should run their program and what we have done is to give a program -- we have taken a federally-run program and taken the funds that we have spent on that program and we have given that money to the states so that rather than have one program, each state in the union can tailor its program to meet its individual need. i believe that we have put together a positive program. it's a program that asks people to work, it's a program that tries to make americans
independent. it's a program that for the first time uses work and family to try to help families escape welfare and to escape poverty in america. >> the siding ceremony for the welfare law took place on august 22nd in the white house rose garden, speakers included lily harden who was invited to the white house to tell her story about moving from welfare to work. a reminder if you want to watch the entire event go to c-span.org and search the video library. [applause] >> hello, my name is lilly and i'm from little rock, arkansas. i'm here to tell you how much getting a job meant to me and my children. in 1981 after being laid off my
job i spent two years on the system. i had three children and had to take care of him with 282 a month. i enrolled in project assist. the program taught me how to prevent myself to get a job i wanted, two months later after training i got my first job interview. i've been working ever since. at my first job i was head kitchen cook, from there to manager, going to work gave me independence to take care of my children to make sure there was always food on the table and roof over their heads. having a job gave me a chance to get involved in school 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'm going
to work every day and take my work seriously. he needed to go to school every day and take school seriously and he did just that. so did each other followed. today married with two children, he has a job at the hospital in harbor washington, he's going to be a doctor. sherana graduated school with a 4.0. sophomore at the university of arkansas studying to be a computer engineer. my youngest, she's been on honor roll every year just like her big sister was. i'm so proud of them and i want to introduce to everyone, i
first met the man who started my success, the president of the united states bill clinton. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you very much. lili, thank you. thank you, vice president, members of the cabinet, all the members of congress who are here, thank you very much. i would like to say to congressman castle, i'm specially glad to see you here because eight years about this time when you were the governor of delaware and governor carper
you and i were at a signing like this. thank you senator long for coming here. i would also like to thank penelope, they too have worked their way from welfare to independence and we are honored to have them here. i would like to thank all the people who worked on this bill who have been introduced from our staff and cabinet but i would also like to specially thank bruce read who had a lot to do with this bill. i want to tell how you she happens to be here today. ten years ago governor kassel and i were asked to cochair on welfare reform and we were asked
to work together on it and when we met at hilton head in south carolina we had a panel and 41 governors showed up to listen to people who were on welfare from several states. so i asked carl rasco to find me somebody from our state who had been in one of our welfare reform programs and had gone to work. and she found lillie harden and she showed up at the program and i was conducted this meeting and i committed a mistake that they always tell lawyers to do, never ask a question you do not know the answer to. [laughter] >> but she was doing so well talking about it as you saw how well spoken he was today and i said, lili, what's the best thing being off welfare and she looked me straight in the eye and said, when my boy goes to school and they say what does your moma do for a living, he can give an answer. i have never forgotten that. [applause]
>> and when i saw the success of all of her children and the success that she's had in the past ten years, i can tell you you've had a bigger impact on me than i had on you. thank you very much. [applause] >> what we are trying to do today is to overcome the flaws of the welfare system for the people who are trapped on it. we all know it's a typical family welfare is very different than the one it was design today deal with 60 years ago. we all know that there are a lot of good people on welfare who just get off of it in the ordinary course of business busying níficant number of people are trapped in welfare for a very long time. exiling them from the entire community of work that gives
structure to our lives. nearly 30 years ago, robert kennedy said, work is the meaning of what this country is all about. we needed this as individuals and sense it in our fellow citizens and we need it as a society and as people. from now own our nation's answer it will no longer be ending cycle of welfare, it would be the dignity and power and the ethic of work. today we are taking a historic chance to make welfare what it was meant to be, second chance, not a way of life. the bill i'm about to sign as i have said many times is far from perfect but it has come a very long way. congress sent me two previous bills that i strongly believed fail to protect our children and did too lit toll move people
from welfare to work. ivetteoed both -- i vetoed both of them. the new bill restores america's basic bargain of providing opportunity and demanding in 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 child care it's all but impossible for a mother with young children to go to work. it requires state to maintain their own spending on welfare reform and gives them powerful performance incentives to place more people on welfare in jobs. it gives the capacity to create jobs by taking money not used for welfare checks an 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.
it's also better for children. it preserves the national safety net of food stamps and school lunches, it drops the deep cuts in child protection, adoption and disabled children and preserves national guaranty of poor children, disabled, elderly and people on welfare, the most important preservation of all. it includes the child support enforcement measures as far as i know every member of congress and everybody in the administration and every thinking person in the country has supported for more than two years now. it's the most sweeping crack-down on dead-beat parents in american history. we have succeeded in increasing child support 40%. for a lot of women and children the only reason they're on welfare, the only reason is that the father walked away when he
could have made a contribution to the welfare of the children. that is wrong. if every participant paid the child support that he or she owes legally today we can move 800,000 women and children immediately. with this bill will say if you do not pay child support, we will track you across state lines, it is a good thing and it will help dramatically to reduce welfare, increase independence and reinforce parental responsibility. [applause] >> we strongly disagreed with a couple of provisions with the bill, we believe that nutritional cuts are too deep specially as they affect low-income people and children, we should not be punishing people who are working for a living already. we should do anything we can do
to lift them up and help them to support their children. we also believe that the congressional leadership insisted on cuts and programs for illegal immigrant that are far too deep. these cuts, however, have nothing to do with welfare reform. i signed this bill because this is a historic chance where republicans and democrats got together and said, we are going to take this historic chance to try to recreate the nation's social bargain with the poor. we are going try to change the parameters of the debate. we are going to make it all new again and see if we can't create a system of incentives which reinforce work and family and independence. we can change what is wrong. we should not have passed this historic opportunity to do what is right. and so i want to ask all of you without regard to party to think through implications of the other nonwelfare issues and work
in good spirit to remedy what is wrong. let's not obscure the fundamental purpose of the welfare provisions of this legislation which are good and solid and which can give us at least the chance to end the terrible almost physical isolation of huge numbers of poor people and their children from the rest of mainstream america. we have to do that. [applause] >> let me also say that there's something really good about this legislation. when i sign it, we all have to start again and this becomes everybody's responsibility. after i sign my name to this bill, welfare will no longer be a political issue. the two parties cannot attack each other over it. politicians cannot attack poor
people over it. there are no encrusted habit, systems and failures that can be laid at the foot of someone else. we have to begin again. this is not the end of the welfare reform. this is the beginning and we have to all assume responsibility. [applause] >> now that we are saying with this bill we expect work, we have to make sure the people have a chance to go to work. if we really value work, everybody in this society, businesses, nonprofits, religious institutions, individuals, those in government, all have a responsibility to make sure the jobs are there. these three women have great stories. almost everybody on welfare would like to have a story like that and 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 doesn't work now, it's
everybody's fault, mine, yours and everybody else. there is no longer a system in the way. [applause] >> i worked hard over the past four years to create jobs and to steer investment into places where there are large numbers of people on welfare because there's been no economic recovery. that's what the empowerment zone program was all about. that's what the community bank initiative was all about, that's what our urban brown field initiative was all about, trying to give people the means to make a living in areas that had been left behind. i think we have to do more here in washington to do that and i will have more to say about that later, but let me say again, we have to build a new working family system and 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 and we owe it to all of them to give them a
chance to come back. i talked the other day when the vice president and i went to tennessee and we were working with congressman, we were working on a church that had burned and there was a pastor there from a church of north carolina that brought a group of his people in to work. and he started asking me about welfare reform and i started telling him about it and i said, you know what you ought to do, you ought to go tell governor hunt that you hired somebody on welfare to work in your church if he would give you the welfare check and you double pay and you keep them employed for a year or so and see if you couldn't train them and help their families and see if their kids were all right, i said, would you do that, he said in a heart beat. i think there are people all over america like that. [applause] >> i think there are people all over like that. that's what i want all of you to be thinking about today, what are we going to do now, this is not over, this is just the beginning.
congress deserves our thanks for creating a new reality but we have to fill in the blanks, the governors asked for this responsibility, now they have to live up to it. every employer in this country that ever made a disparaging remark about welfare system needs to think about whether he or she should not hire somebody from welfare and go to work, go to the state and say, okay, you give me the check, i will use it as income supplement and i will train these people and help them start their lives and we will go forward from here. every single person -- every person in america tonight who see it is report of this whoever said a disparaging word about the welfare reform, okay, that's gone, what is my responsibility to make it better. [applause]
>> two days ago we signed a bill increasing minimum wage. yesterday we signed the bill which makes health care more available to up to 25 million americans, many of them in lower-income jobs where they're more vulnerable. the bill i'm signing today preserves the increases and earned income tax credit for working families. it is now clearly better to go to work than to stay on welfare. clearly better because of actions taken, it is clearly better and what we have to do now is to make that work a reality. i've said this many times, but you know, most american families find that the greatest challenge of their job is to do a great job raising their kids and to do a good job at work, trying to balance work and family is the challenge that most americans in the workplace face. thankfully that's the challenge lili has had to face for the last ten years, that's just what we want for everybody.
we want at least the 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 for what it began. a new day that offers hope, honors responsibility, rewards work and changes the terms of the debate so that no unin america ever feels again the need to criticize the people that are poor and welfare but instead feels the responsibility to reach out to men, women and children who are isolated and need opportunity and willing to assume responsibility and give them the opportunity and the terms of responsibility. [applause] >> now, i would like to ask penelope howard, janet, lili hardin, members of congress that are here to come up and join me
>> good job. [laughter] [inaudible conversations] >> nearly ten years after the 1996 welfare law passed author and journalists jason wrote the book american dream, at this event from politics and prose bookstore, he tells the stories of families trying to comply with the law's work requirements. this portion of the event is about 25 minutes. >> the book is called american dream and it takes its title from an obscure line in clinton
welfare speech in 1993 when he first became president i think he all said 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 landmark change in the nation's safety net helped or hurt in the 1990's. it starts in october 1991 with two coincidental and ultimately colliding events. the first is that clinton in 1991 first -- gave first welfare speech, the first time that he used end welfare as we know it. the second thing that happened in october 1991 that two women angela and jule got on the bus in chicago and went to milwaukee in order to get on welfare. is the mic working okay? >> mark turned it down too much. >> okay. is that better? okay. so angela got on the bus and
goes to milwaukee. milwaukee become it is place -- first place where the end-welfare capital of the country so eventually the two stories come together and angela and jule leave the roles and become full-time steady workers. when they got up in milwaukee, they brought up a third friend from chicago, a woman name opal. their lives on welfare and what happened to them after the new law passed and they got off. angie and jewel became steady workers and the third woman was addicted to crack cocaine although i didn't know when i first met her and she had a sadder story than i probably would have guess is possible before i started writing the book. there's a bunch of elements in the book that we won't have time to talk about tonight but i will mention them briefly. one -- the three women are cousins and i got into family
history, it begans with jewe lexer's mother came to visit her in milwaukee and i asked what i thought was a question, well, jason i was born on senator's plantation in 1977, when black people were beginning to come out of slavery. that was -- i was born in bridge port, connecticut, what do you say to that? the name will mean to a lot of you and not much to some of you. he use today walk around with -- he had a pocket in his vest where all the civil rights bills went to die and so one of the things i was wondering is james eastland a name she had heard,
in fact, it was true she was born and raised in the eastland plantation and there were still people living in the plantation. i went and met her 85-year-old uncle, drove them across mississippi and put them -- installed as sharecroppers on the plantation. it's not just an interesting story. eventually i traced their family history back through slavery up to chicago where they moved and then to milwaukee. it's not just an interesting yarn, i think a vital context for understanding what happened to them under welfare and what happened to them off of welfare, much of the behavior that was blamed on welfare not marital, wedlock, black on black violence, substance abuse, trading illegal substances, all
of these things were going on in the eastland plantation long before there was a welfare system. newt gingrich talked about he couldn't sustain civilization with 12-year-olds having babies, haddy may the person i met, she got pregnant at 13. i'm not by the way the first person to come to that insight, nicholas wrote about it in the atlantic in the wonderful book the promise land. i think it was the context largely left out of welfare debate in washington. there's also a part of the book about the privatized social welfare system in milwaukee. they took the city and divided into six districts with five different private providers in there, opal was the last one left on welfare of the trio, she was pregnant and living in a
crack house at one point. her case workers had no idea that she was either pregnant or in the crack house, they were sending the money to buy the crack. they did a home visit but they did spend several million dollars and bought golf balls, it's a private company, trades in the new york stock exchanging. they took several million dollars and diverted into corporate promotions. there were case workers in the office who were soliciting sex from the clients, sex workers who were demanding kickbacks in exchanging to providing benefits, so it wasn't the most confidence inspiring example of privatization but it did win award from harvard and ford foundation as the best welfare system in the country. [laughter] >> i know. let me just say two short things
about why i wrote the book, one -- well, probably the first reason is so satisfy my own curiosity. i was just very interested in knowing what would happen with this gamble with so many millions of people's lives. the public purpose was i was hope to build a new constituency for people who cared about the issues, bring more people to the conversation and within the conversation itself i felt that it was very skewed by a tone, most of politic conversation in washington these days is overly polemical. i do say at the beginning of the book, as carla mentioned that i was skeptical about the abolition of welfare and the substitution of this new system, but i made as concerted an effort as i could to put my biases aside when i went to report on it to the times and in hopes that i would be pleasantly surprised and in some ways i was.
so i tried to -- i tried to both challenge my own biases in the report and writing. mostly i want to talk about angie who is the main character of the book. and let me as a way of introducing you to her read a little passage about her. the month bill clinton announced he was running for president she stepped out a greyhound bus in milwaukee to start a new life. she was 25 year's old and arrived from chicago with three young kids. angie had a milk chocolate face and the combination could look tender or tough depending on the mood. she had never seen milwaukee before and pronounced herself unimpressed. why they have all the old-assouses, where the brick at? he references angie's religion. half of them capping sentences
from bus station walls. absent her humor the transcript may sound off-putting. i just express myself so accurately, she laughed. [laughter] >> the cascade of off-color commentary flowing along side the late-night candle could make her dated version of a life. she grew up on the borders of chicago, her father was drunk, she had a baby at 17 and dropped out. she didn't have a diploma or a job and the man she loved was in jail. her hard face was real but a mask. her mother had worked two jobs to send her to school and though angie try today hide it she still had traces. lots of women came looking for welfare checks.
i'm tired of trying to understand what god wants of me. worried that was too reverent angie substituted 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 she said one day, if people think you're nice they will take your kindness for weakness. that's a side of me i don't want anybody to see. she didn't want me to see it either for many years. i didn't find the bag or she also kept a secret journal that eventually she opened up to sharing, made me actually rewrite an entire chapter about her childhood in which i had asked her a dozen times what it was like to get pregnant as a teenager and she said it was no big deal and i wrote out a passage that made her seem
unthinking. how could you get pregnant in high school? i really was struggling with it because my experience with her on the page wasn't my experience in person. finally she showed me the journal and what she wrote in the journal, i have -- i'm going to have to change my life. i have a life within me. so just the opposite of what she had said about not thinking or not caring, not having a reflective consciousness about this life attarring -- altering event. a huge back and forth between the case worker and recipient. angie had been on 12 years by the time she got off, she got off once they passed the new rules. she left in four months. why would i work for welfare when i have to work and get a regular paycheck. she had 12 years on welfare, no high school education, by
anybody's definition she was a long-term hard to serve case. it's significant but doesn't take too long to explain it in the book. much of the book became of her post welfare experience. on a number of level it is economics of it, what it meant to her personally, what it meant to her kids, what it meant to her personally is a positive -- surprisingly story. she became a nursing aid and i don't know if anybody here understanding what nursing -- i didn't know what nursing aides do. it's really a dangerous rough job. nursing aides get injured more often than coal miners. i had to keep calling back bls, the bureau of labor statistics, are you sure this is really true ? one in four of them have no health insurance, they work in the health care industry and one in five lives in poverty and
there's lots of humor about it in welfare offices about the bedpans and that kind of thing. lots of people leave welfare to become nursing aides. angie love it had work. she loved everything about it. she loved the cleanliness and team work of the patient ware. she loved the patients, particularly the nursing home rebels i think who reminded her of herself. she loved the uniform, the pride of thinking of herself as a nurse. i think -- i ended up thinking she had more patience for her patients than her kids. ..
in this context she just laughed at the woman and said you know what it is because you can't do this up and you might as well let me. all people, they're not responsible for what they say. it brought out this wonderful human connection. when clinton talked about the welfare bill he talked about work and establish of meaning and dignity in life and it's one of the building blocks of the way, how we connect with each other. in angie's case at least, see some truth in. less so in the other woman who works just as accessible as angie but didn't mean as much to her. oon theon the many level i was t angie's experience with a large success. on the money level, less so,
sort of a wash. earnings that way up, or welfare went way down. she might have been 10% better off after welfare than she was when she was on welfare. there were some other things going on in her life, her progress got lost in the it was a good one should give my but off, the next year her car might've broken down anyway it wouldn't be any different. one thing, that didn't surprise me so much knowing what he knew about people who live in welfare. what did surprise me is how much economic hardship she suffered as a successful worker. angie ranked in about the top 20% of women living in the roles the wisconsin. she was out of food more times than i can count the she was too proud to say, this is hard to get out, if you asked her is the problem, and nobody going hungry around here. but you discover allah of the
fights in the house would be about food come 9:00 and nobody would've beaten and people would be having an argument a fight would break out. i found the food problem to be more widespread. the second successful worker who earns about as much as angie, similarly in the top fifth of the people on the welfare rolls, lost both, they both lost their health insurance. jewel was hospitalized with bleeding ulcers and had her wages garnished. the way i found him a jewel hardly, you will do to bring the web and that was she receiving the house with an oven so i said what are you keeping the house with an oven? the wages, she lost her heat because her wages were being garnished to pay the medical bill. the saddest part to me was i looked at her with a look of astonishment and she said everybody who works owes the hospital bill.
everybody who works gets their wages garnished. she was looking at me, astonished at me. i tried to say something when i talk about the book i try to say something based on, to a conservative audience what they wanted and what they wanted the same deliver audience. when talking to conservatives i try to say i think you're right that people could work more than liberals understood. but i think you haven't fully grappled with seeing the rewards of work at the bottom of the weight scale. how much economic hardship persists at the third part of angie's life i talk about in the book and probably the most important is what affects our workouts on the kids. some people would say okay by the time and is 30, she's been in welfare and she does have a high school degree. yes, she will have a difficult life under any circumstance but
what we want out of our experience is to set a role model, have her become a role model for kids. want to put a kid on a different trajectory. this was the place where thought the script, wetherell the most departed from the script of the washington conversation. there was so much talk in washington about working mothers been role models for the kids. to for taking a single mother and putting on workforce with some a change the trajectory of family life. that's an idea with intuitive appeal. i want to believe it on probably lots of people, working parents want to believe it. it just didn't hold true for most of the single mothers i knew raising kids in these economically deprived conditions in dangerous neighborhoods. in angie's house, to give you a little of the field, angie takes opal, the woman with a drug problem, opal and her four kids, so angie has a four bedroom house with one bathroom. and just for kids.
opal is for kids dating a drug dealer. there's a drug dealer selling drugs out of after all of the kids know the selling drugs. another one of angie's friends moves back, takes her in, she is for kids. there were 17 living in the house with one bathroom. clinton used to talk about worker brings social order. it didn't at angie's house. her boyfriend, she had a boyfriend lived with her who the kids despise. will angie, times and was away at work for either the kids would be a big fight with marcus our other times marcus was smoking dope with the kids. rather than sending a role model for kids, sometimes choose just the way leaving them exposed to more hardships. clinton as president, he used to tell a story about role model mothers. he told the story of a mother, he must've told the story 20 times as president.
this story is when he was governor and woman in lily -- named lily left welfare and when he asked them with a welfare program from left welfare. when asked what was the best thing about leaving, she said now the son goes to school and ask them what this is dead too, he can give them into. more than anything the idealistic hope for changing the welfare system. between the time clinton told the story as governor and the time he repeated it 20 times as president, that son went to jail for a shooting. esl about 30 and he's been arrested 20 times in the last 10 years. we called down to the north little rock police station, trying to get his police record and said what to talk down his police records. beneath his date of birth? know, we got him. there might be one -- we know
carlton. he's got a long record. are you sure you've got enough fax paper? he was an infamous arrestee in north little rock rather than can even as clinton is still telling the story. when i came from that social this rethinking that was the importance of fathers. it wasn't because i thought it was because the people talked about it so often at every level, every generation. angie tells the story of becoming, of becoming a nursing aide by talking about her relationship with her father. he was an alcoholic. she's on for the last time before she moved to milwaukee and she had not seen in several years and she didn't know how much he had declined. he died like a month later. she said she is so terribly guilty about not taking care of him. that was what medical into this
nursing home to take up other people. people are drawn to want to be caretakers, that's the target, that's it becomes. angie, i have a theory in my mind usually flow my tears on aging she would look at me and scrunched up her face like she was sucking a lemon and tell me what a religious idea was that this was she just volunteered. it was because of my daddy, that's what i became a nursing a. her teenage daughter, chooses a crosstown high school with a prelaw program because her father essential and she wants to get her father out. she's a terrible student and she has asthma, and taking a bus across town was probably the last thing she needed to do. just exacerbated her absenteeism problems bush is telling her so she's going to become a lawyer to get her down out of jail. read who is angie's oldest son
has all kind of problems. they relate to his father. let me read a short passage. this is red in eighth grade. he kept school, he smoked a lot of weed, he found so three years older to date. angie word with a streetwise airs his kind in the greg, his dad, she also working didn't have the mettle to pull it off. red is this weakness by but one of the bad, she said. red is a kitten, a baby. he's a ticking timebomb. most of the teachers shared her fears and some gave up on. at least once also promise calling them artistic, through when you want to be, increasing his sense of humor. among the papers that survive in the bottom of this closet as a middle school essay called a grimmer mouse. be has small pointed ears and a big round body, i found it in the woods crying in a box. i came across it one day and
asked him why the mouse had been crying. because he was just left out there by himself, red sikkim somebody who sows be bathing and feeding him and watching him with us posted do. probably because they didn't have no money to begin. how did that make you feel? he was crying because he was at. red suddenly stopped and looked up. until then he said he had not realized that he had been writing about it so. that's about my daddy, he said. he wasn't here. everything in the house seemed to be about the missing father. when it came down to it. red grandmother talked to me about her own yearning for a father. i was asking the other day whether i thought this was a hopeful story and i do. for all the hardship involved in it. i came of age on the poverty be at a time about 20 years ago when things were bad and getting worse every indication.
poverty was up, wages were down, drug use was up, crime is up. worst, the situation on the ground was a constant futility in the air. remember ronald reagan's quip, we fought a war on poverty and poverty one. the message it was just it's hopeless to even bother. go rob a bookstore. the entire field was dispirited. everybody in welfare, everybody just felt beaten down, not just welfare but policy more broadly. that changed in the mid '90s. welfare was part of the change but there were other things going on. the official poverty rate went down. people flooded into the workplace to record demos, including angie. even a policy story make some progress. the earned income tax credit group a program of wage grew to
the point where it provided angie with for $5000 a year. does the regiments of some health care for low wage workers, there's reason i think to be, to feel much more confident now than when i first started writing about poverty. i think of these things all the hardship that the angie's life as what a diplomat would call a confidence building measure but it's a first in its help dissipate any reason for cheap cynicism about we can or can't publish, particularly in an election season. there's just no excuse not to deal like we can get out and do something to help low-income in the way we help low-income women over the past 20 years. i want to conclude with just a thought from the book about the notion of entitlement, which was at the center of the welfare debate eight years ago. the welfare revolution grew from the fear that the poor were
mired in a culture of entitlement. stuck in a swamp of demands and legal prerogatives, social do. there was a culture of entitlement in american life but it was scarcely concentrator at the bottom as anyone following the ways of corporate scandals now knows. what really stands out about angie and jewell is how little they felt they were owed. they went through life acting entitled to nothing, not heat or light, not medical care, not even three daily meals. they scarcely complained. when welfare was there for the taking they got on the bus and took it. when it wasn't they made other plans. in indigo for the country took away the single largest source of income. they didn't lobby for sue. they didn't march or riot. they made their ways against the odds and that entitles them to something. to a shot at the american dream more promising than the one they received. [applause]
>> robert rector is a research fellow who worked 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 in washington. you can find this entire event in our video library at c-span.org. >> last year the united states spent $587 billion on means tested aid, and i was a it's a pretty darn good thing we ended welfare or we would be spending some real money. as the summer came towards this 10th anniversary, those of seeing at heritage at seeing eye because of the 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 ilk and have them attack the reform and the most idiotic and
outrageously possible and then i could actually start to get excited about this thing again. i think the first thing we had this is at cato ever talk about the successor fruit of welfare reform, we first have to talk about what are our goals. i guess before 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 money that you involuntarily extract from the taxpayers to pay for a function which may have no constitutional basis whatsoever. and in that sense i would say that this reform was modestly successful in terms of changing fundamental trends but certainly not any great three ring circus to write home about.
i would say from a conservative perspective that i am more concerned about the well being of the recipients themselves and about future generations. and in that sense i think the reform was possibly a positive harbinger showing us things that we could do in the future, in particular showing us that we can, in fact, change certain trendlines by altering government policy, that it's not necessarily true that every government program and every reform of government must always be unsuccessful. what was welfare reform? what i would say is that welfare reform above all else represented a change in the philosophy of government welfare. that from the time of franklin roosevelt and certainly, time of lyndon johnson, the welfare system in the u.s., which
comprises over 70 different programs, was a system of permissive entitlement to it was a system of one way handouts and which individuals who was in need of aid would receive aid in the form of cash or medical services or housing, or food or something like that, as anyone would hinder. the central idea of welfare reform was that was a bad idea, harmful to the taxpayer, harmful to society, and harmful to the recipient as well, and we try to replace that with a system of reciprocal obligation in which we would not terminate aid but which we would say we will give you assistance but we expect certain things back from you in return from that, for that assistant. in particular we are going to expect that if you want to get cash under what used to be a defense with dependent children,
and we're going to expect you to undertake a supervised job-search or to do some training, to do some community service work or something like this, or take a job. something like that his condition for getting a. once you do that you get some fairly remarkable results, one of which is sitting in welfare intake centers in long island. i have seen on more than one occasion once that type of demand is a precondition for getting the aid, the applicant for the aid say things like well, if i have to do all that, i might as well just go out and take a job. lo and behold they do that. it's quite remarkable. at the coast of the data you can could see that effect. one of the things that you get from this type of reciprocity or condition aid is you get a kind of gatekeeping device because i'm so when you look at the overall pre-reform welfare population, there's a group that is truly in need of assistance
because they cannot support the family. but there's an even larger group that is willing to take a free handout if you're bothering to 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 return for that, is you weed out the difference between those two groups. you're going to get the people that are looking for a handout, coming into the office with far less frequency. and that enables you hopefully to focus your energies more on those that are truly in need of aid. it also means there's less abuse of the taxpayer. >> just push this.
>> so in welfare reform, we basically had two goals in 1996. the first was to establish work requirements not just in aid to families with dependent children we don't general remember, but we also have work requirements in food stamps at least tentatively proposed and even in public housing to a degree. secondly, and i was at most importantly was to do with the problem about out of wedlock childbearing and the number of children born inside marriage. those are very important and i think that we made some modest progress on both of those fronts but certainly not everything that we could have done. this is going to be a very similar chart. you already saw one version of this. the red line here, this is the afdc and later on temporary assistance to needy families caseload going back to the time of the korean war and charles
murray is already a center presented this, such as the same date he was presenting. what we can see is for a 55 year period, that red line did two things. it even remained flat or it went up. the black bars on the line are great the economic recession. and the light bars are pics of economic boom. so we have 10 periods of boom on that chart, and we can ask, notice them at times that redline comes plummeting downward during economic booms, right? over and over again. in fact, we've got 10 periods of economic boom, this caseload went down and how many periods? one. it goes down right here. what happened right here next we have welfare reform.
as the caseload starts come down a little bit before the act is passed. why is that? i would say what does that caseload that are actually to affect. one i call the programmatic effect, which is resource have some waivers in this period which causes some stuff you write your we're starting to really get, polling welfare recipients in the office and make them do things, thereby reducing the economic utility of being on welfare because it's going down. but also in this whole period there's this large symbolic effect. i would say that welfare reform actually started, the first time bill clinton said he planned to end welfare as we know it, that message got out there. it hit the street and just talking about two years and you're off. he absolutely did not mean that or anything even remotely like that but it sounded like he meant it. if you were a welfare recipient on the street you would say woe
and a longtime republican ties and newt gingrich is talking about putting kids in orphanages and all kinds, it sounds pretty scary. what i think you clearly see is all across the country a behavioral response to the value messages of welfare. the very clear messages, although potential welfare recipients are not going to sit down and try to figure what the can of participation rate is a what this a consistent is in kentucky as opposed in europe and so forth but they did have a message that welfare would be time-limited, there was an expectation that you were supposed to work rather than spent a lifetime on welfare, and you seem to see across the board behavior response. one anecdote to that was that pretty early on in this system we got feedback, this was probably 97 or something, maybe the spring of 97, about four
months after the act is passed. we got feedback back from one of the plane state, i think nebraska. the welfare manager, the director was saying our caseload is going through the floor and we haven't had anything. we've implemented no program whatsoever yet. but he said, do you know why this is happening ?-que?-que x is because all the left wing activist groups are out in the community and the italian people those horrible republicans have passed welfare reform. they will throw you off into years. it's going to be terrible. it's going to be awful. all the welfare recipients said, holy toledo, i better get my act together. i better get off of this thing because it is time-limited. i can waste all this time. it will not support me forever. so to actually begin, the caseload begins to go down very rapidly in response to the symbolic messages. in that case the symbolic message was unrelated to any
actual policy that was going on. to a considerable degree of out of the caseload decline can affect the attribute more to these types of symbolic messages that are taken very seriously than to any actual program for although i will say that also if you look at this line going down, that you defined consistently throughout the period that the states that are most rigorous in insisting the individual must engage in constructive behavior, must be in the office, must be supervised, they will have much more rapid caseload decline in states that are more lenient about that in the leaking a large part of the caseload untouched. all in all what we have is what i would call a great philosophical victory. if you do go back probably all the way from about right here, 1965, right up to the present
time, in homes all across america we would have what i call the thanksgiving dinner debate, in which we are talking about welfare and uncle joe says you know, if you just make these recipients go and take a job, they wouldn't be sitting collecting all that welfare. if charles and i have been is still very, very long time, if you polled all the liberal welfare experts, they would all say how ridiculous. what an idiotic, what a primitive notion when we know that, in fact, there are no jobs to be had, there are barriers, to this caseload is utterly inflexible. at the time we passed this in 93, the prevailing wisdom was that you could reduce the afdc caseload i perhaps 5% over three years.
actually while we were doing this, wisconsin was droppin stot at 5% a month but it violated all of the prevailing liberal wisdom about what you could do. what we have is a very strong philosophical victory for the idea that incentives matter, that if you change the incentives, in this case by reducing the utility of being on welfare, you get a very large behavioral response. now, as that caseload goes down start in 93, we have 5 million families on afdc, by 2000 or by the present that it is down to 2 million families, all those families that were on welfare were by definition automatically poor. they have income below the poverty level because welfare never pays enough to bring in, above the poverty level in any state, at least not cash income. as those families of welfare or more important they did not it at all, which is a huge effect,
they never came into office in the first place, employment of single mothers searches up in an unprecedented way. a large number of mothers are off welfare, they are working, you get a poverty effect. what we have is the poverty status of black children going back to 1970. which you can see is that for 25 years prior to welfare reform, effectively supply child poverty rate is flat. it hovers between 41% in the recession, takes up a bit but it never really gets below mid '40s, and at the end by 1995 it's actually slightly higher than it was in 1970. 25 years under the conventional war on poverty, and black child poverty what i think it's it is the primary liberal goal for these policies, his no change,
ever. alone, the mean-spirited republicans who are going to throw children out into the street, who are going to have kids starving in the snow and what happens this thing goes down and out and down. in the late 1990s every single year black child poverty was hitting a new record low. surprisingly for reasons i can't imagine this was never covered in the "new york times" or the "washington post." but by 2000 we are down, black child poverty rate of 30%. it is the been the result of a little initiative, oh, my goodness, i think we're probably talking nobel prize to some members of congress. but is, in fact, happened because we got tough and we were mean-spirited, not really mean-spirited i think but that was the result of a concerted policy. we haven't heard very much about that.
we have clearly shifted sort of the baseline of what poverty is that if you look at poverty amongst single mothers, the chart looks very similar to that. charles talked about, this is the illegitimate ratio, and both charles murray and i believe this is actually a much less significant variable and one which we struggled very hard to get into welfare reform without a considerable amount of success. this was back in 1940. they don't like is the percentage of all births that are outside marriage. the beginning of the war on poverty, it's around 7%. by the mid 1990s it has risen to about 34%. one of the things i worked on very strongly in welfare reform was simply too great policies that would force a discussion of this issue. this is the underlying cause in my mind of welfare dependence, of child poverty, and of the