tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 22, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT
between hillary clinton and donald trump taking place at the university of nevada las vegas on october 19. live coverage of the presidential and five presidential debates on c-span. listen live on the free c-span radio app. watch anytime on-demand at c-span.org. >> marking the 20th anniversary of the 1996 welfare law passed by a republican congress and signed by democrat president bill clinton. coming up, a couple of republican former governors talk about the effect the law had on their states. after that, we will open up the phone lines to find out what you think about the welfare law. in one hour, we will look at the welfare of today from 20 years ago. also see the august 22, 1996 bill signing and the impact of the law has had on poor families. a look at a couple of tweets
while congress stays out in the district. yorks a tweet from new congresswoman louise slaughter. i had a wonderful time meeting with medical students at the university of rochester to talk about health issues facing congress. michigan senator gary peters " jumping into lake here on to view some of the wrecked ships. " we will play the video. there he goes. aving into lake huron in wetsuit. a couple had led from politico. state department's order to review 15,000 clinton e-mails for potential release. the article says the federal judge today ordered the state department to review for potential release of nearly 15,000 previously undisclosed documents related to hillary clinton's use of a personal e-mail server. preaching another headache for
the democratic nominee. creating another headache for the democratic nominee. another headline, donald trump flip-flopping on immigration. his surrogates pushed back against the idea that the republican presidential nominee is softening his hard-line positions on immigration with trump himself insisting there has been no. and on his part. you can read more -- no flip-flopping on his part. you can read more at politico. and the former governors talk about the 1996 welfare law. mr. thompson also served as the secretary of health and human services. hosted by at an event the american enterprise institute. >> we are just about ready to get started. what i think is a historic event. i'm going to tell a short anecdote. story,om, according to a
was built with republicans posted gingrich. -- post-gingrich. they were going to vote on the way talent merged welfare reform bill. representative mike castle had come in with a centrist bill. at the last minute. it was quite upsetting. thatules committee decided castle could present his version first. it would be voted on and if it lost, he would support the ways and means bill. wns is veryive to agitated. he is in the back corner over there in the closet pacing back and forth with the door open. he sees castle conferring with two or three other people.
he says, that is out of protocol. you can't be dealing like that. you have to be on the up and up. he goes over to check it out. he comes back to the representative in the closet and says, don't worry about it, they are talking about something else. the representative says, i am such a suspicious person. i am a flawed individual. he concludes by saying god is not finished with me yet. i would love to work with a guy that has that kind of humility and it doesn't happen often. [laughter] we are cosponsored by the secretaries innovation group which is an organization about which i am the executive director that has members that are human services secretary -- secretaries from 19 states making up 46% of the country. and we deal with policy issues and programmatic issues and
management issues. i have three colleagues here that i would like to have come up. the first is from the university of maryland. he will welcome you here as well. decided, but we don't need to do it. [laughter] >> all right. glad you're here. you were a lot nicer when you used to work for me. [laughter] ok. i'm going to go through in three minutes what happened between 1984 and 2001. in 1981, president reagan made modest changes to the eligibility in the first budget
bill. and three years later, 1984, charles murray published losing ground which created a lively debate and no introduction to this group is necessary. professor larry mead who is with us today from new york university, just two years later, wrote beyond entitlement. arguingre doing for -- for a basis for welfare reform. as a group of important thinkers convened by aei, they published the new consensus on family and welfare in which a bipartisan group, one of our cosponsors, was a primary author. and suggested both sides of the left and right could coalesce around the idea of mutual obligation. again, in 1986, governor mario cuomo of new york brought together five future members of
the clinton administration, he concluded that society should require work in exchange for public support. 1986, one of our panelists here today at wrote a -- wrote a long and influential article that became a book. he said a public job at a wage slightly below minimum is the only way to promote work as a condition. in 1988, harvard professor in future clinton official david a proposed a two year time limit after which work is required for some sort of job guarantee. then in 1987, president reagan created the interagency low income advisory board that was intended to be a one-stop shop for those states that wanted to
pursue welfare reform waivers. in 1988, led by senate finance member patrick moynihan the , family support act was passed based on an education and training model. unfortunately, the caseload went up by about one third in the four years it was implemented. then, 1981, the results came in that seemed to confirm, from california, a workforce deployment force yields better results from education and -- then education and training. in 1992, arkansas governor bill clinton ran on the promise to end welfare as we know it. the phrase the invention of bruce reed, one of our panelists today with thought leadership emanating from the aggressive policy institute. two years later, the task force on welfare had three cochairs
and published work and responsibility act in the month of june, 1994. after the first two clinton years in 1994, newt gingrich decided to nationalize the election with 10 promises made, one of which featured welfare reform, and in the 1994 election, republicans took the house and senate and increased their statehouses from 19 to 30. and the contract bill was introduced in january of 1995. after that, there were several republican iterations of the bill. --er having beta two bills, vetoed two bills, on the third try, president clinton signed a modified bill. including former deputy assistant who is with us today. immediately after the implementation of the bill, the
big three indicators which are employment, dependency, and poverty all simultaneously moved strongly in the right direction. the fourth, out of wedlock birth increased. no social legislation has been as studied and as debated as the welfare reform legislation, which is one reason why 20 years later, we're still debating it. in this room, we cap the people who helped and designed and implement it and the original coalition. represented by larry mead and a -- the maryland school of public policy. we have the two for most governors at the forefront of that push and we have secretaries represented here. and with that, i will jump right
in. governor thompson, i have a question for you. you were elected to start serving in january of 1987. you were a long serving governor through 2001. in your election, you featured welfare reform as a major policy platform that may have played a large role in defeating an incumbent. my question for you, where did you get the idea that welfare reform is a major issue that would be worthy of featuring in your campaign? >> first off, thank you, jason, for inviting the governor and myself. it is good to see my good friend, john. he and i competed against each other in michigan, wisconsin. i would come up with a gate --
an idea and he would steal it. he would refine it and make it better and i would steal it back. we had a tremendous contest going on who could do the best job possible and welfare reform. it was like michigan state versus wisconsin put all season. -- football season. it was a labor of love between both of us. understand the situation i remembered. a conservative republican that nobody thought had a chance to win. a popular democrat governor running for reelection, and i was the only governor that year to defeat an incumbent governor in the united states. one of the big reasons was that we had a terrible problem in wisconsin. money to increase welfare payments without any kind of causal relationship or response whatsoever. people from all over the midwest
were coming to wisconsin to get on welfare reform. the new york times was following several of those individuals and wrote stories about them. it got so bad that the greyhound bus people in chicago, there were signs put up that says, if you want more money, all you have to do is pay $25 and get a round-trip ticket to madison and get on welfare, cash your check and come back and live in chicago. it was a huge story. everybody in wisconsin was upset. i had a debate with tony ural. elected thompson is governor, everybody from wisconsin will go to mississippi. the truth of the matter is that everybody from mississippi is already here in wisconsin
because of the welfare payments. he thought he was going to put me down. it was a line that got me a great deal of publicity throughout the state of wisconsin and we started welfare reform after i got elected. people were misusing and taking advantage of the system that became a huge issue in wisconsin. there were several reasons i won that year, mostly economic. but the welfare reform ideas were starting to take hold in wisconsin before any place else because other people were abusing the system. the people in wisconsin were fed up of paying higher taxes to attract more people from other states that come and get on the welfare rolls. . >> you jumped in with five demonstrations. it became well-known throughout the country. where did it come from? most of the audience knows that
it exempted teenagers and families including parents must attend school regularly in order to receive the full check. where did that come from? >> i was sick and tired of building prisons in milwaukee. i wanted young individuals to go to school and get an education. what i did is i invited welfare mothers to come to the executive residence and have lunch with me. just welfare mothers. i got my best ideas from welfare mothers. welfare mothers came and had lunch with me. surprised that a republican government -- governor would invite them to the residents and talk about welfare reform. a lot of them said we've got to , do something about keeping our children in school. learn-fare.ed
that was one of many ideas that came out of my lunches. >> governor, i have a question for you. you were the governor of michigan from 1991 to 2003. when you took office, you inherited a budget deficit. endy on you decided to general assistance, which was highly controversial at the time. what was your thinking? >> thank you to you and the innovation chiefs for having us all here today. happy anniversary everyone. 20 years ago, it was signed by 20 -- bill clinton. quite a historic day. going back like tommy, he was the only one in 86 to be the
incumbent and i was the only one to beat an incumbent in 1990. he was from a larger town than me. there were no traffic lights. when i came into office we were $2 billion in the hole and we were worried that one of the problems, michigan had been losing a lot of jobs. we didn't have much capacity to be raising revenue. our problem is that we are spending too little and we are not spending it very well. looking at all the problems, it was a program for a single 35 other adults -- states did not have the program. it would not have been in most of the country controversial. it was embedded in the michigan
program for some time. when we eliminated it, it was controversial. we kept pointing out that we did maintain safety nets there in terms of food stamps and help -- health benefits. there was also the safety net called work. and it was about 20 hours a week at minimum wage that would more than replace the general assistance. the philosophy we started with that supports be temporary as we move people from needing assistance to more independence and you can start that by going to work. the first money you earn gets you that much closer to the day. when you become independent. that was the decision, that was just the beginning. one of the interesting things. this also became something i , know that members of the
switched in 94 and focused on the ability to create different kinds of partnerships. we were being criticized that it would lead to a dramatic rise. and homelessness. -- in homelessness. it was clearly in an acceptable -- on acceptable risk. -- unacceptable risk. one fellow that couldn't be here today is dr. jerry miller. he was very much involved, the counterpart to jessen -- jason. jerry had been the budget director for michigan. he had been down here with the state budget. back, theme department was bigger than the state budget when he left.
this is actually a bigger department. jerry figured out with the leadership of the salvation army, we could enter into a contract to work with us on homelessness. they only had 100 plus years of experience there. that contract was stunningly successful because what we would do, we had these toll-free numbers. homeless,saw anyone call the army. we saw the tv camera going out and taking a shot of someone in the street and saying what is going to happen to this person. they would ask the press secretary and the governor. look, you saw this. call the salvation army. did you lend a hand? michigan has tough winters. we did not have an issue because of the fine work the salvation army did. it was a massive public-private
partnership. the army had to do with that a little bit internally. they hadn't been in that level of interconnectedness with the governor. rather the state build shelters, why not go to these people and do it. and what is interesting, the biggest pushback we got from some of the people who needed help, i don't want to go to the salvation army because you have to get up to the morning, there are chores to do. there are no alcohol -- drugs and alcohol. there are restrictions on my freedom here. the public support quickly evaporated. that got us started. like tommy said, there was a tremendous competition in the early 90's. back-and-forth. >> let me ask governor thompson about something that led to that competition. governor thompson, the reagan white house had an official,
chuck hobbs, whose job it was to help states think of and submit waivers to the federal government for welfare. he told me when he started, he didn't know if any governors were going to meet with him or pay attention to him. he said i got off the prop plane in harrisburg, pennsylvania, and the governor met with me. no one had a better relationship with the symbiotic relationship with the white house then you beginning in the late 80's. can you tell us what you're thinking was at the time? at the end, there's 45 states. he started in the late 1980's. did you know it would be a tsunami? or were you just doing one thing at a time? >> i was doing one thing at a time but i was hoping for a tsunami. chuck hobbs is a great american.
andame and talked to me also president reagan came and campaigned for me. when i first ran for governor. i had a chance to talk to president reagan. he said, i tried welfare reform in california. i was unsuccessful. i'm counting on you and other governors to come forward with good ideas. he said, i am going to set it up to make it easy for you. i remember the conversation on a thursday afternoon in waukesha. he said, i'm counting on you to come up with new and innovative ideas. i will help you. hobbs, every time i called him, he was there. i was very successful getting waivers. i think i'm the only governor that ever got waivers from three presidents on welfare reform.
everybody really wanted to help and do something because they saw the problem like john and me and other governors that wanted to do something to change it. >> you set the dynamic because you had proposed one or two every year. if you were opposed to welfare reform, you didn't get any rest in the state legislature. i think that was another factor. what do you think about that? >> there is no question. tommy is right. when i walked in, i bumped into susan and she gave me memoirs as part of the reagan revolution. it is interesting, because we got started with president bush 41 was in office. bruce will get into this, i'm sure. it was pretty stunning in 1992 to have a democratic candidate for president. and he was talking about ending
welfare as we know it. but that was a pretty decisive moment. because of that, there was no slacking off on waivers once president clinton took office. it does continue. -- just continued. in one sense, it validated what we had been doing. here is president clinton talking about it. if you look from wisconsin and the northern industrial states, let's say the generosity of the welfare programs were somewhat less than what we had been dealing with in the northern states. if they are talking about welfare reform, we sure as heck got to be talking about welfare
reform because the disparity is pretty significant. >> you were in 1995 and 1996, the critical year before the passage, you were chair of the republican governors association. what a team that was, one heck of a powerhouse. >> we call it the glory years. [laughter] it really was. >> you were looking for the maximum amount of flexibility. you said conservative micromanagement is no better than liberal micromanagement. that is not exactly what happened. what is your current thinking about the relative balance between having strong work requirements while you also have a block grant as opposed to an unfettered block grant entirely.
what is your thinking? >> i believe the nations governors were in no way interested in some race to the bottom. i don't think that was ever a fair criticism. we heard that from one part of the debate. on the other hand, we had people that were supposed to be allies who wanted to give us a lot more help and direction. they had forgotten this concept that we were pretty keen on. the idea of federalism. let the states work on this and let us try to solve some of these problems. that competition among the states will give you some pretty good results. we didn't need conservative micromanagement as a replacement for liberal micromanagement. micromanagement was the problem. give us the flexibility and let us try to solve the problems. that is what you saw. even what emerged -- the fight, obviously, in 1995, you have a
republican house for the first time in 40 years. speaker gingrich who had incorporated welfare reform and it was part of the contract to america. credit, he is probably the single most unsung hero. he is navigating between the president running for reelection , the leader of the senate who was to be the candidate in 1996. you have different agendas at play. you did have the leadership of the house committee to welfare reform and doing policy and big things. probably the most bodacious think he did was he invited governors to sit at the table and say, what do we need? , and a few other
bill weld was very much in reform mode and there were others out there. but we were able to bring some of the top staff people to the states. they set around and worked with guys. medicaid was in the region of the first two bills that got vetoed. and finally in august, the medicaid came out 20 years ago. we did not get all we wanted. we got the program gone. panic replaced it -- taniff replaced it. we got taken to the cleaners on maintenance and effort. it was insurance against the race to the bottom and i thought an overly restrictive maintenance of effort cause. it deprived us of flexibility to put moneys where we needed it. didne of the things you
with the flexibility you had which was quite extraordinary, you created a welfare program in >> wisconsin works had no exemptions. you were in one of four were tears, including people who had health problems. governor engler, you put out project zero, it in which the goal was that you put out zero people who were doing nothing. in both of those cases, there is a form of universal engagement. it was unusual because at that time, you put people in categories of can work or can't work, that was the thinking. you both overrode that thinking that the universal engagement. >> i would say people put themselves in the category of never work. they did not think that was something we did.
it was 1995 that we change the name of the agency to the family independence agency. we want to communicate to everyone that support is expected to be transitional. we actually got some waivers on this -- i'm not sure who got first on this -- it used to be the federal rules were ridiculous. the first dollar you earn, you immediately got cut benefits. i am no more money ahead -- so, we ended up in a situation -- in michigan, the first $200 you aren't, you had $200 more. that was a big deal. >> but there was tension because president clinton said if i don't get the bill i want to reform welfare, i will reform welfare one waiver at a time. governor thompson, you took him up on that. you presented and handed a personal copy of your waiver
request, which he then referenced on the subsequent saturday talk and said we are going to do this. correctlyry serves me , jason turner had something to do with that. it was actually quite unusual. jason, iwas one point, talk you about having welfare mothers come in. building on what john engler just said, i brought these welfare mothers and and i gave this speech on the floor of the house in one of the committees -- the congressman from florida. clay shaw. i said welfare mothers really want to work. the vast majority really want to work. you have to give them the tools to do it.
they said, governor, if we go to work, we use our welfare for our children. i said that stupid. i said if you had health care for your children, would you go to work. who will take care because of we go to work? what about we provide you with daycare. they said yes, but i got pregnant when i was 14 or 15 and i have a kid and i jumped out of school. i don't have any skills. what if i provide vocational job?tion for you to get a they said that will be great. they said most of the jobs and on the neighborhoods where i live. story -- a fact that welfare mothers actually wanted to go to work if they had the tools, they said don't take the money away from them, put it back in. we asked the federal government to give us a waiver, but the
money we would save to put it back into daycare, health care, and transportation, and education, and that is really the key to making it. you have to realize that if you withwomen the opportunity tools to get out they will do it. that is exactly what we did, and that is exactly what a lot of governors did. >> the other group that gets engaged here, interestingly enough, are the caseworkers themselves. a lot of people go into this work wanting to help people. what they were doing in the past was keeping track of statistics. they were sitting in front of a computer screen or doing data. suddenly, when we were doing project zero, different families have different needs. somebody might have had grandpa to do the childcare, but did not have the transportation.
transportatione and the childcare, but they did not have the right clothes. you had all kinds of things going on, but the caseworkers had to get to know the case and the family and the situation. ottawa county was the first county in michigan where everybody who was on public and still getting public assistance -- now everybody either had outside income or were in a position where they were training to work , but they were all out of the home. we knew exactly what it was going to take to help move that family to the next step. >> let me ask you this question which relates to both of that, and then i will call for questions. the biggest consistent criticism today is that it is, "a funding stream, it is not a program." funds are going to other things. a lot of it is being used for
child welfare, for example. can each of you comment on that criticize him -- criticism? >> let me start by picking on one of my good friends, john kasich, saying welfare reform in 1996 did not work. it absolutely did work. the numbers are very clear. by 2000, the poverty rate is the lowest it has ever been. that is ron's writing, but there are all kinds of other statistical evidence that it worked. is there more to be done? sure. i would argue that the governors maintain the flexibility. had we been able to block that i don't with the american health care system of the gleick -- would look like.
hours -- we sat and was hours, the six of us. they cameremember, back, bruce and his gang of these came back and said we can buy it without medicaid. we had romer a couple of times on medicaid. had we done that, i think we had a lot. i would say that where we are work to -- yes, there's be done. you have had a hostile administration. this is not a priority of the current group. this is not somebody who thinks like the president did who came from arkansas. i don't know what will be in the
future, but if you get the environment we had back then, which was largely bipartisan. , sort people on both ends of like washington today, on the right and left. andy and i made the case, our colleagues in both parties said look, there is one difference between us and the people in the think tanks. we are running programs. we are out in the states where families are, by the are, and like tommy said, we are talking to people. if the men and women who are the governors a chance. let's try it because the other alternative is not very good. >> let's open it up to a couple of questions. yes, go ahead. >> it did work. caseloadsin, we had a
of over 100,000. we were down below 10,000 of when we werec really on top of it. you've got to manage it and it. we could have changed health care and made the system even better. the problem is, if you are going to make any program work, you've got to have people like john engler and jason turner that are going to be involved and make the changes necessary to keep it going. what has happened? it up has really picked like us governors back in the 90's really did. we wanted it to work. we made sure it was going to work because we were very skeptical and we were very upset all johnle saying engler and tommy thompson want to do is race to the bottom and get it spent on something else. we wanted the best program possible.
that is the attitude and ideas you have to have to make it work. >> absolutely. go ahead, right here. identify yourself, please. there is a microphone coming down the aisle. high, -- hi, i have my own consulting group. i appreciatedr, your comment about the salvation army. impactndering what the of charitable choice as an amendment to the 96 welfare reform -- what you saw as the impact of that? >> i'm not sure i'm able to give you a good analysis. i put it under the category of whatever flexibility can be created, and it can be done. i am all for it.
i believe some of the faith-based organizations -- much of charity only was faith-based in the beginning, so i have no problem going back to some of the people who were the most experienced to call upon their help. >> question? yes. >> in recent years, when there was some discussion, there was a discussion draft that was going to create more flexibility for education in training. there were disputes over that and it did not happen. you both talked about education and training. balance?some kind of i think it is absolutely vital. if you are going to really help youle get out of poverty,
have got to be able to put the resources and education in flaming -- in framing. don't train them. people are too smart. part ofo be a very key any changes. i am fully in favor of it, especially vocational training .rea especially in the health care feared. i cannot a lot of welfare mothers get out of welfare and out of assistance, into the workplace. >> one of the stunning things to me by is a mystery to people who care about poverty do not care about public education in urban areas. how in the world can use it that debate out?
scoresoit, the reading said 5% of children in detroit could read proficiently at the end of the grade. is 36% for the nation's population. i believe america can teach all of its children to read by the time they are third -- they are done with their grade. we are teaching one in three today. how can any of us except that? in a digital society, everybody has to be literate. how, if you can't read, are you going to be able to succeed? millions of dollars on that. i think it is in everybody's interest to get that to make dividends for us. one of the myths is that everybody needs to go to college. everybody does not need to go to college. everybody needs to have a skill.
it's america, anybody can go to college. as we raised graduation rates, if you look at remediation rates in college, they have gone in tandem. today, half the people that go to college do not graduate. it is not about who did not get admitted to college, it is the fact that we do not graduate half what we do enroll. john and i were leading the effort that welfare reform, but we were also leading the same efforts on education. we had several retreats in new york, that we invited all the governors. john and i were the co-conveners of that. the governors back then realized education -- you just cannot do welfare reform on the cheap. do a complete job.
that is why education is so important. thank you for your question. in wisconsins during w-2, late 1990's. i saw it more than i wanted to. i am interested in the fact that wisconsin has done so much welfare reform, and now speaker ryan is interested in poverty as well. how do you think the experiences in wisconsin translate? i think they are related. paul was very much involved with jack kemp, and he really is passionate about it, just like i was, on trying to change welfare for the better. not to save money, but to actually give poor people an opportunity to get out of poverty and get into a meaningful job. paul is passionate about it because wisconsin was leading the effort back then when he was
starting to run for congress. he definitely kerry. to washington, and will continue to carry it to washington. it is one of his driving forces right now. governor engler: one of the important things is that you have a lot of governors who bring things to the congress and say i want to do that. if we don't have the man from the bottom, then we don't have anything to work within the congress. elizabethngler: labored in the minority in the legislature, and we had to stomach a lot of things we did not like, so by the time we finally got to the governor's office, we had a few ideas. >> yes, go ahead. stand up and announce, and she will bring it to you. >> many of these initiatives got
started because states were not able to deliver. do you have an update that most states are led by tommy thompson's and john engler's to deliver? >> no. that's why we are coming back. [laughter] >> we're as good once as we ever were. let me be very: honest. i think most governors and most congressmen and women run for the right reasons. going tohink you are find exceptions. i think most governors, republicans and democrats are dedicated to do what is right and what is best for their state and their people. we have room for one, at most two. the governors have a hard stop at 3:45. yes, in the back.
start talking, and we will get it to you. my question is in the context of the economy. they are unable to support very poor people. somehow, it is more important for me to have items, but i should not be responsible about paying my bills, and anything else? thanks. should pay their bills. it is fascinating to me that people will pay phone bill, but a detroit they were not paying the water bill because the state did not collect the water bill. people are smart. people will make rational, economic decisions.
part of what we tried to do, you are helping people try to move from poverty to independence. i was on that board for a number of years -- how do you manage money? how do you do these kinds of things? we realize you have to pay electric ills. today, because the cable runs off the electricity, detroit were paying electricity, they just were not pay water bills. >> last question. right there. for context, i worked in policy for welfare reform from 1985 to 1995. governor thompson, when you talk reducing the welfare rolls from 100,000 to 10,000. >> less than 10,000. >> are there any studies
documenting what happened to the 90,000? the family stability increase? did the children have better outcomes? that the parents get employment to earn a living wage? boarded most or all of them simply drop out of the system? either such studies? >> there have been studies of what took place during that time. the state, two years or four years after the of limitation of wisconsin works, the state went on to its computer system and tracked down everybody to find out what happened, how many got employed, and how many were still employed.
an extraordinarily high number who found employment in the 60's or 70's, and we will get you that when you see me afterwards. with that -- >> i need to say one thing. we had a stronger economy. i am at the business roundtable. no commercials. no commercial. i'm just telling you. what difference does the economy make? the difference. we at 3.5% gdp growth. are 5 million or 6 million unfilled jobs in this country. ifre would be more jobs there was a more robust economy. don't forget the overall economy because that is what does
>> coming up, about seven minutes away from the top of the hour. 9:00 here in washington. 6:00 on the west coast. we will look back of the welfare debate that took place 20 years ago on august 22, 1996, the ball hit -- the white house is signing ceremony took place. we want to get more of your phone calls. tonight.phone numbers online for republicans. 2- crats, your line, -2-748-8920.
we also set up line for welfare recipients. 202-748-8922., we want you to weigh in on twitter and facebook. let's take a look at speaker of the house paul ryan talking todaywelfare as it exists in a short video he released this morning. ryan: it is a system that discourages work and penalizes work. as a result, people don't work. this wound poverty approach is to treat the symptoms of poverty to make it tolerable, but more persistent, instead of going at the root causes of poverty. the reason many people are in poverty is because they are not working or getting an opportunity to make the lives they want for themselves. sore changing the incentives
that work always pays. it always makes sense to take a job. you will not be severely penalized if you take that risk. you will be encouraged. that is the core principle of our welfare reform plan. >> let's start out just outside of detroit and southfield, michigan with bernice. what's on your mind? the comments from paul ryan, with the incentives they are putting in place to help people want to go to work without being penalized is positive. i do a lot of work in the community with people who are disenfranchised, and are victims of the system. c-span and i was listening to former governor engler talk about the welfare reform that he did back in the
90's and early 2000's and how successful he believed it to be. when you are out there in the streets firsthand, seeing what the impact of these changes are doing to people, and you hear someone claim it was successful, it is really disheartening. i can personally say i know families that were turned -- were torn apart by these rules. i know families who believed they would have the opportunity to get jobs, and education, and it did not happen. the increase i have personally seen with families torn apart, families who had homes, could not pay their rent. they were moving back into overcrowded homes. i see such an increase of women and children squatting in homes. and talke these things about a numbers decrease because people were off of the system,
at what extent were they off? i think when i look at that, if you took a poll and asked the women and families that were impacted during that time, the effect it had on their families, they were able to clearly say whether or not it was successful. >> i got your point. we appreciate your call. we will try to squeeze a couple more in. lucy, arlen for republicans. go ahead. i would like to say with regards to that, that of people that abuse the system were withhed and not let go just a thought on the wrist, we would stop a lot because other people would not do it. they see people that get away and they abuse the system. that is my thoughts on it. fromarles, calling
florida. you say you are a recipient of welfare benefits. 20thdo you think about the anniversary of the reforms to the law? >> i think it has some good things in it. i am in one of the poorest counties in florida. now.e three children one is 18, 1 is 21, and one is 22. we have been on food stamps. we don't receive money. trying to get them down there to register for the program -- in january, they changed it where you have to go in and sit through orientation and these things on how to get a better job.
how to write a resume and all that. these are good things, but the problem is they cut us off cold turkey, so now i am trying to , and theyr adults me $105 because of my disability and one vehicle to do this with. how can you do this without hurting the ones that actually need it? these kids are old enough to work, but the problem is we -- dollar jobs here general, they apply for -- we understand your point, and we do have to squeeze in one more call. we're coming up to the top of the hour. gloria from chicago, you get the last word. you are on c-span. 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