tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 23, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT
them to be successful at work. everything you mentioned is a part of that. >> i would agree. one quick point is i think it often gets articulated as though they leave is something nice to have or even permission to have a sick day, that is something it is nice to have as a cushy benefit. your job is on the line if you miss a day of work, if you call in sick, if your kid is sick. that is what we mean when we say making choices between work and caregiving. it is not just about do i go to work today? oh maybe i will work from home, maybe i will take a sick day. you will lose your job, if you take care of your family. >> it is a cost. >> i am not saying it is not, way withy -- -- but we the cost is. >> what ideas does anyone on the panel have on what policies we can adopt to address poverty
that would i just poverty by increasing economic growth and wage growth and job creation? if you look at the data, we never recovered to normal since the last recession. we do not recover to normal levels of wage growth. what is the best way to address economic policy to get the economy growing again? what ideas does anyone have to adopt policy? >> why don't we run down -- anybody -- -- anybody? taxeed a reduction in the -- that is slowing a economic growth -- slowing economic growth. we may never return to levels of economic growth. we are not going to see the labor force increase significantly. right now it is on immigration
that is keeping our population even stable. i think we are not going to see increases. michael, you talked about that already. minorities have moved into the labor force, we are not considered again. automationng toward as of the tools for growth and productivity. i think we may not return to the the 4% to 5% growth of the past. to the degree that we can, i think it is going to require changes to tax and revelatory policies. in the middle. have welfare programs hurt through violating subsidiaries -- i think mr. -- have a violated the strength of the timely -- strength of the family by substituting for the role of the father or the extended
family? >> i think that was the believe that was what was going on. one of the things we do not have the answer to is thinking about what happened with canada is we kick the floor from other people. if you look at the issue that michael raised about people being out of the labor market. ,f you look at the opportunity 16 to 24 years old, disease our kids who grew up in a whole new world. they were not a part of the old welfare system. have we missed an opportunity by designing that right? sorry -- to help create better futures for our kids. i don't think we have the evidence. we may have evidence in the other direction. in. would love to jump i'm glad you asked that. often the core welfare state
gets described as the "hobby state." it is something that has been possibly for decades. i don't know if folks in this room are familiar with a book called all the single ladies by rebecca tracer. it is worth a read as we think about the trajectory that a single woman has seen over the course of the last few hundred years. she argues that for many centuries, husbands had a wife he state. my colleague, heather, would go further and argue that american business for a long time had a silent partner in the stay-at-home mom and wife. a lot has changed. we are no longer living in the mad men era. we need to be having a serious conversation about is updating our public policies so that we
recognize that we now have in many cases to parents working, or we have a single head of household who was working who is that mother. i would argue we need to think about that. >> i think it is an important question. there is no doubt that if we elevated the welfare state, if we eliminated the assistance to the poor, that we would see an increase in private charity. that would happen. we would see more men providing for the kids and taking in a more active role in the lives of the kids. but having said that, these programs did not just spring out of thin air. they were started for a reason. we started social security because the elderly were dying of hunger and were dying in tenement houses and disease. it was not that long ago in the
1960's that there was real starvation level harvey among children all throughout the -- poverty among children all throughout the united states. it is the case there is a sense in which men are being displaced within the family. churches and other charitable organizations are being displaced in society. we should take that seriously. we should design programs that encourage men to provide for the the and that encourage organizations of civil society to provide for the communities. that should never obscure the fact that the family and the church -- as a matter fact were not enough to create the kind of society that we want. >> let me respond to that. lot.r this a it is a problem of nonmarital
birth. my question is who are these women supposed to marry? a lot of the problem is the men available in these communities are not particularly attractive mates. they're unemployed, criminal records, criminal histories, there are a lot of issues like that. i remember the bush administration was good to do a lot of things putting up billboards saying "marriage is good." it is not that women don't want to get married, it is often that they lack suitable partners. that in theto put context of the discussion. >> what i was going to say is i think the point from the previous question is that it is important to keep in mind the evidence that rebecca showed. we have increasing evidence that providing the eit see, snap
benefits, not only has an immediate benefit of making sure there's actually income and there is food on the table, but it has long-term benefits that really extends into adulthood of people having better educational and comes -- educational outcomes. in 20 years, we are going to have a whole new set of evidence about the important of income and the importance of what happens in child's early years. it will shape our discussion about what we should be doing to make sure those basic needs are met. i think the positive will outweigh any negatives you think would happen. looks i wanted to speak to your question. -- >> i wanted to speak to your question. view of from the binary single versus merit as though those are permanent status is. or as though people are giving birth to sing a mom's. when you look at the -- to
single moms. there are more married parents living in poverty than there are never married karen's living in poverty -- married parents living in poverty. in the past, single versus merit and the billboard version is really important so we can be thinking about how to keep families who are together, get -- together, together. you find that rising inequality declining union membership and poverty, actually -- actual material deprivation are huge drivers of family dissolution. cohabiting isd or helping family stay together and to stay strong -- whether married or cohabitating is helping families stay together and to stay strong. >> nobody has mentioned birth
control. they have been some very promising experiments in colorado suggesting that much easier access to long acting reversible methods of contraception has a sanitary effect, a demand for welfare services and was certainly apply to married women as well as single women. what do you think about that as a matter of policy? >> it is an area that we need to do work on. i think it is a tricky issue. -- it is an issue of make sure that it is a choice for someone and not coercion. where wet is an area are at the early stages of figuring out what good it can do and what badly can do and we need to really think strategically. i think it is not that -- i
think we don't know about what is the right way to move forward and to do more with contraceptives and how you actually do that anyway that doesn't harm people. >> i agree with that. on some level, it should not be surprising that if you really encourage contraception that you will see a decline in out of wedlock birth. -- until the contraceptive device is removed and they can have children again. it is not surprising that if you temporarily sterilize people, they are going to have genetically fewer children. the concern is the one donna brought up is to what extent is it voluntary. what kind of agency should be realistically expect these targeted communities to exercise when thinking about this. do we want low income young
minority women having to make a doctors appointment for a procedure in order to render them fertile again. does that -- are there some issues with some normative issues their? at the same time, there is not a shortage of more regular contraception out there. it is easy to get condoms, birth control pill, much easier to get condoms than the birth control pill. condoms work pretty well. i knew that we have a clear understanding of what a unplanned pregnancy means. in a world where it is very easy to access condoms and knowing how to use a condom is pretty widely known. >> i want to call it -- bill
echo decibel? >> this good question ties to what michael says over the controversy over requirements on how people can spend government benefits, alcohol, seafood? -- beneath that is the unresolved question of whether how exactly welfare is or isn't a right. if it is a right, and that term is understood in the direct sense, then it means the government is wrong to be interfering with the exercise of that right. if i have a right to these benefits, then government should not be curtailing our conditioning that. after i moved to california, there were stories of people taking -- they provide some of the benefits on something like a
debit card. it turned out that among the readers of these debit cards, they were located in casinos and strip clubs. some people a panel he took this right to public assistance in a more literal way than the legislator -- then the legislature intended. over the years, the ambiguity about this question has been one of the defining features of american politics. the phrase often used is that welfare benefits public assistance and of various source should be given as a matter of right which is a brilliant sort of fudge. it says to people who disagree with the idea of a right, well it is not really a right and we are going to go through the motions of pretending. it's a to people who think it is a right, we agree. i don't think until we really grapple with that question that things like sections on spending, things like quite as i
voluntary long-term infertility can be addressed or result. >> there's a broader competition. concerns that have been raised are valid, but we also need to be thinking about how this reproductive access and rights fit into a broader conversation about an anti-poverty and a boosting opportunity agenda. until we are in a place where truly all women can choose if mothers, theye are not going to have control over the economic futures and much else. it is critical that you brought that up. we should be suspect when people who blame single mothers on the one hand all of society's ills, it seems on the other hand, want to ensure abstinence education only in schools and defund planned parenthood. it strikes me as talking out of both sides of your mouth. >> that is going to provoke a lot of discussion of lunch --
discussion at lunch. i don't want to stand between anybody in food. -- anybody and food. we have food being served upstairs. on to thank y'all for coming out. i am michael tanner. you can follow along this discussion. fare20th.l that conversation will continue. think you very much. -- thank you very much. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ journaln's wall street live with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning, joseph -- american enterprise institute and ron pollack, the executive director of family usa -- to reduce wear -- and how that impacts the affordable health care act. the executive rector of the national -- looks at the recent
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>> on august 22, 1996, bill clinton signed a law aimed at reducing the number of americans who depend on welfare benefits. temporary assistance or needy families replaced a welfare program called aid to families with dependent children which had been in place since 1935. 20 years later, c-span looks back at the 1996 debate over welfare and the laws impact on poor families. prior to the 19 and six will for law, how was elfare delivered in the u.s.? >> welfare was the kind of system that is think most people imagined when they think about welfare. it was a true entitlement, safety net. when people were poor, when they
found themselves in poverty, they could receive cash assistance from the federal system had and this some benefits but it was also very unpopular. 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 want to work and they began making more money, they would no longer be eligible for the benefits. >> bill clinton in his presidential campaign, campaigning on one of the themes, ending welfare as we know it. the bill is not signed until almost four years later. what accounts for that? rememberimportant to that when clinton took office, he did take action on the issue of poverty and he worked with congress to pass an expansion of the earned income tax credit. this is a popular and effective program that is often forgotten
about in discussions of welfare and the debate at the time in this country's history. the earned income tax credit is a credit that people with low incomes received as a kind of on this for working, the more they earn, the largest their tax credit up to a certain point. andr that, in 1994, clinton hillary clinton were engaged in a deeply divisive debate with congress and with the image and people about the future of the health care system. clinton's efforts to reform health care that time failed, and so the white house was occupied with health care. in 1995, a new congress was inaugurated and this congress was controlled by republicans. that led to a year have this year to have of haggling over what kind of welfare reforms
would ultimately be enacted. eventually in the summer of 1996, almost 20 years ago, clinton signed the welfare reform bill. in 1996.ill was signed what was some of the key changes that were made in the welfare system. >> the most important changes that welfare could no longer be taken for granted. people who are receiving federal cash assistance either had to be working, looking for a job or being -- so after the bill was enacted, it was impossible for anyone in the country to receive somethingthout doing related to work. either working or putting themselves in a position where they could find a job. in that sense, clinton did for fill his promise to end welfare as we know it. in the old system, people can receive cash benefits from the
federal government and the requirements for working were much less stringent. >> your yard 20 years later in 2016 -- here we are 20 years later in 26 team, what is the impact? >> that is a difficult question because 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 the filling the duties of motherhood. many women were going to work who had not worked before. also the economy was doing very well. this strong economy gave women an additional reason to go to work. the numberof women of women -- i should say the number of unmarried women who were participating in the labor force increased from about 53%
in 1991 to a most 76% in 2000. it was a dramatic and abrupt shift, and it was partly due to these changes in the economy and society, but it was also due to the changes in the law. the law required people to work if they wanted to receive federal cash assistance. another important effect that the law has had has been on different kinds of people who are living in poverty. for people who were able to find full-time work after the law was passed, the fact that the armed income tax credit had been expanded meant that their wages were supplemented with a tax credit from the federal government. they were much better off financially than similarly situated people were before clinton enacted his poverty policies, including the tax credit and the welfare reform bill. people who were not able to
fulfill the new requirements for work and training and searching for employment that the new law created, generally found themselves worse off. there is evidence that poverty became narrower as a result of clinton's reforms, but it also became deeper. those who remained in poverty were more in dire straits. >> max erin freund, reporter from washington post. >> president bill clinton's efforts to change welfare programs dated back to his days as arkansas governor. following the republican takeover of congress in 1994, president clinton delivered a state of the union address where he repeated his desire to, "and -- "end welfare as we know it or go." president clinton: nothing has
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. it undermines family values. 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 have worked on this problem for a long time -- nearly 15 years. as a governor, i had the honor of working with the reagan administration to write the last welfare reform bill back in 1988. in the last two years, we made a good start with continuing to work on welfare reform.
our administration gave two dozen states the right to slash through federal rules and regulations, to reform their own welfare systems and try to promote work and responsibility of their welfare dependency. last year, i introduced the most sweeping welfare reform plan ever presented by an administration. we have to make welfare what it was meant to me, a second -- was meant to be, a second chance, not a way of life. we have to help those on welfare moved to work as quickly as possible. provide childcare and teach them skills if that is what they need. after that, there ought to be a simple rule, anyone who can work must go to work. [applause] president clinton: if a parent isn't paying child support, they should be forced to pay. [applause]
president clinton: we should suspend drivers license, track them across state lines, make them work off what they own. -- what they oh. governments do not raise children, people do, and the parents must take responsibility for the children they bring into this world. [applause] president clinton: i want to president clinton: i want to president clinton: i want to work with you, with all of you, to pass welfare reform. our goal must be to liberate people and lift them up. from welfare to work. from your childbearing to
responsible parenting. our goal should not be to punish them because they happen to be poor. [applause] president clinton: we should not cut people off just because they're poor, young, or unmarried. we should promote responsibility by requiring young mothers to live at home with their parents or other supervised settings. by requiring them to finish school, but we should not put them and their children out on the street. [applause] president clinton: i know all the arguments, pro and con, and i have thought about this for a long time. i still do not think we can punish poor children for the mistakes of their parents. [applause]
president clinton: my fellow americans, every single survey shows that all the american people care about this. 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] president clinton: i may be the only president who has actually had the opportunity to sit in
the welfare office. who has actually spent hours talking to people on welfare. i am telling you, the people who are trapped on it know it does not work. they also want to get off. we can promote together education and work and good parenting. i have no problem with punishing bad behavior for the refusal to be a worker or student. i just don't want to punish poverty and past mistakes. all of us have made our mistakes. none of us can change our yesterdays, but everyone of us can change our tomorrows. [applause] >> you are watching c-span's special program marking the 20th anniversary of the 1996 welfare law. president clinton vetoed two welfare bills before signaling his support for a third piece of legislation in 1996. it passed the house with overwhelming support from republicans. 328-101.
98 democrats voted for the measure. the senate vote was 78-21. here is a look at the debate that took place in the days leading up to the final passage. >> mr. speaker, sadly it seems clear that the house will abdicate its moral duty and knowingly vote to allow children to go hungry in america. sadly, our president, a member of the democratic party will sign this bill. does this bill allocate sufficient funds to provide employment for people who want to work? no. does this bill provide adequate childcare so people can leave their children in a safe environment? no. does this insure that people with welfare can take their kids to a doctor? no. does this do anything to raise wages so people can work hard
to see theirve children grow up in poverty? no. does this reduced the value of the stamps for children to push these children into poverty and hunger? yes. i know that scapegoating poor children is politically 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. >> the gentleman from florida. >> the gentleman from florida. >> i yield two minutes to the gentleman from georgia. >> the gentleman from georgia is recognized for two minutes. >> mr. speaker, the bell we are considering today is a bad though. i will vote against it and i urge all people of conscience to vote against it. it penalizes children for the action of their parents. this bill will put one million
more children into poverty. how can any person of conscience vote for a bill to puts one kids into poverty? where is the compassion? where is the heart of this congress? this bill is mean. it is base. it is downright low-down. we are a great nation, but to the man on the moon -- as a nation and as a people, as 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 responsibility.
wrong. i say to you, you have the capacity. you have the power to stop this. >> the gentleman's time is expired. >> raise is your voice for the children. do what you think in your heart to be right. >> the gentleman will suspend. the gentleman from florida. >> mr. speaker, i come over here to do something i have never done before, and that is to trespass on the democrats side. i hope that you will give me your understanding in my doing so. i don't do this out of smartness or arrogance. i do it out of coming together. we have heard a lot of name-calling. a lot of soundbites that we have heard all through this debate. we have come down a long road together. it was inevitable that the present welfare system was going to be put behind us. today we need to put behind us an era of a failed welfare system. i know the democrats agree with the republicans. this is not a republican bill
that we are shoving down your throats. we are going to get a lot of democrats' support today. the larger the support, the more chance there is for this to work. the degree of the success that we are going to have is going to be a victory for the american people. it will not be a victory for one political party. it is time for us to put our hand out to one another, and to come together to solve the problems of the poor. without vision, the people will perish. unfortunately, we have not had vision in our welfare system now for many years. it has been allowed to sit stagnant. we have piled layer upon layer of humanity on top of each other. we paid people not to get married. we paid people to have children out of marriage.
we paid people not to work. this is self-destructive behavior. we know that. we all agree with that. we have heard many speakers. my friend john lewis saying we're going the wrong way. i also see some of my colleagues fought for different changes within the welfare bill, within the human resources subcommittee of the committee. where they do not believe this is a perfect bill, and i can stand here and say this is not a perfect bill, but it is as good as with congress can do, and it is as good as we can come together. we have included the governors in balancing out their interests
and see what they have been successful with, and how they feel they can be successful. we have talked to many members on the democrat side. to my republican colleagues, i say we are not through. we have a long road ahead of us. it was unexpected to hear that the president was going to endorse this bill and announce his signature of it, but let's now be patient with each other and let's work with each other era of's bring this systems toare closure. >> mr. speaker, i rise in opposition of the bill. if this passes today, it will be a victory for the political spin artists. we all agree the welfare system must be reformed, but we must make sure that reform reduces
poverty, not by bashing poor people, but by having real reform. the bill will diminish the quality of the life of children and poor families in america and will have a devastating impact on the economy of our city. food and attrition cuts will result in increased hunger. local government will be forced to pay. how can a country as great as america ignore the needs of america's 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. back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from florida. >> mr. speaker, i got the balance of my time to the distinguished german of the budget committee, mr. kasich. >> the gentleman from ohio is acknowledged. >> i would like to congratulate the gentleman from florida for his relentlessness in being able to pursue welfare reform.
he deserves the lions share of credit. archerith chairman bill the work.ne although i don't see him on the floor, a very able staff director who has lived with this for about a decade, feeling passionately about the need to reform welfare. it was pretty amazing to watch the president of the united states come on television and say he was going to sign this welfare bill. the reason why it is so amazing today is that because the american people, during all of my adult lifetime, have said that they wanted a system that will help people who can't help themselves, but they want a system that is going to ask the able-bodied to get out and begin to work themselves. this has been delayed and put off and a million excuses as to why we could not get it done.
i want to suggest to my friends who are in opposition -- i respect their opposition. many of them just didn't talk, many of them were not able to talk as they were beaten in the civil rights protest in this country. i respect their opposition. the simple fact of the matter is this program was losing public support. the cynicism connected to this program from the folks who get up and go to work every day for a living, and i don't mean the most fortunate, i mean those mothers and fathers who have had to struggle for an entire lifetime to make and meet. they have never asked for food stamps. they have never asked for welfare. they have never asked for housing. they are struggling. nickels.counting their they don't take the bus. transfert take the
because it costs money. they are walking. get ag so their kids can better education. these people are becoming cynical. they were being poisoned in regard to the system, and they were demanding change. we all know as we have watched the history of congress over the decades, that when the american people speak, we must deliver what they want. they said they wanted the vietnam war over. it took a decade, but they got it. public cynicism and lack of support was rising against this program. it was necessary to give the people a program they could support. the american people have never -- if i could be so bold as to represent a point of view -- have never said that those who can't help themselves should not be helped. that is judeo christianity, something that we all know has to be rekindled. our souls must once again become attached to one another. the people in this country said it is a sin not to help somebody who needs help.
it is equally a sin to help somebody who needs to learn how to help themselves. i say to my friends who oppose this bill, this is about the best of us. this is about having hopes and dreams. after 40 or 50 years of not trusting one another in our neighborhoods and having to vacate our power to the central government, this is now about reclaiming our power. it's about reclaiming our money. it's about rebuilding our communities. it's about rebuilding our families. it's about cementing our neighborhoods. it's about believing that all of us can march to that state capitol, but all of us can go into the community organizations, and we can demand excellence. we can demand compassion. we can do it better.
we marched 30, 40 years ago because we thought people weren't being treated fairly. we marched today for the very same reason. let me take it back and say many of my friends marched. i was too young, but i watched and i respect it. what i suggest that the end of the day is that we all are going to have to stand up for those who get neglected in reform. frankly, this system will provide far more benefits, far more hope, restore the confidence in the american people that we have a system that will help those that can't help themselves, and at the same time, demand something from able-bodied people who can. it will benefit their children. it will help the children of those who go to work. america is a winner in this. the president of the united states has recognized it. he has joined with this congress. i think we have a bipartisan
effort here to move america down the road towards reclaiming our neighborhoods and helping america. i would say to my friends, we will be bold enough and humble enough when we see mistakes are being made to be able to come back and fix them. let's not let these obstacles stand in the way of rebuilding this program based on fundamental american values. >> for those who say we're not going to provide for those in me that were here to four on welfare, let me repeat. the combined programs will go to 130 billion in six years. hardly a reduction in expenditures. let me repeat, the total republic -- program i described,
the blog 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 dollars over the next six years. nevertheless -- nevertheless, our taxpayers should know that about $55ve them billion. program in its reformed and more efficient mode would cost 55 billion dollars 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 going to come because we're going to do the programs better.
we are going to push people to do what we should have been doing all along. off the rolls and into work. off dependence into independence. looking to someone else for responsibility and looking to their own responsibility. in february to in this bill, there are provisions for those who just cannot do it. there are emergency set-asides. emergency allowances. provisions is where just cannot -- provisions where it just to provide some of what must be provided in addition to the basic program. so to one of our very distinguished senators, senator rick santorum for whom i extend my great appreciation for his help on the floor on many occasions during the foodstamp debate on this welfare need. he stood in my stead and he did a remarkable job. he came to the senate
well-informed on the subject. he at one point said, welfare reform has been in and will continue to be a contentious issue. this legislation is tough love, he said. i concur. but i do not believe there is anything wrong with that either. i have concerns about provisions in this legislation. other members will have their concerns and the president has expressed his. unfortunately or fortunately depending upon your philosophy of governance, it is possible and probable that even the president's signature we have not seen the last of welfare reform. when he has signed it, we will see a completed law and we will carry it out. but in due course, we will see there are areas that need some repair. some fixing. and i believe we should not under any circumstance take a bill that is as much on the right track as this but perhaps
imperfect in other areas, we should proceed. they should let the reform of a long. for today i believe that the best hope we have is to fulfill the promise we'll made to the american public to change these programs as we have known them. pass this bill overwhelmingly today. making fundamental changes to programs, some of which are 60 years old. it 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 clearly ask is it possible that this reform welfare program can be worse than what we have?
i cannot believe it. >> yesterday after the president announced that he was on his legislation, i said -- and i quote -- the president has made his decision let us hope it is for the best. today i continue to hope for the best even if i fear for the worst. as i have stated on this floor many times, this legislation does not reform aid for families with dependent children, it simply abolishes it. it terminates the basic federal commitment to support needy children in hopes of -- dependent children in hopes of altering the behavior of their mothers. we're putting those children at 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 nation's leading researchers in this field issued a statement urging us not to do what we are about to do. among them were seven current and former directors of the institute for research on poverty at the university of wisconsin. this was established in the aftermath of the economic opportunity act of 1964. it has a distinguished history
of nonpartisan analytical research in this area. scholars the stature of sheldon danziger of the university of michigan, irving garfinkel of columbia university, eugene solo -- of the university of california, edward -- of the university of michigan. i will ask that all of the names and the full statement be printed in the record. they wrote, as researchers who have dedicated years to the study of policy of the labor market and public assistance, we oppose the welfare reform legislation under consideration by the congress. the best available evidence is that this legislation would substantially increase poverty and destitution while doing too little to change the welfare system to one that provides
greater opportunity for families in return for demanding greater responsibility. real welfare reform would not impose deep foodstamp cuts on poor families with children, the working poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the unemployed. it would not eliminate the safety net for most poor legal immigrants including the very old and infirm. it would not place at-risk, poor children whose parents are willing to work but unable to work -- to find work -- defined -- to find unsubsidized employment. it would backup requirements with resources needed to make them effective. it would not back up work
requirements with resources needed to make them affect it. we strongly effect an overhaul of the nation's welfare system but passing legislation that would make a troubled welfare system work -- worse. it is not meaningful welfare reform. it should not become law. >> mr. president, i do want to talk about this piece of legislation. i have heard some discussion about doing good. let me start out with what is a very important framework to for me as a senator from minnesota. it is a question. will this legislation if passed and 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 time mothers -- could support their children on. a commitment to childcare. just about every single scholar
in the united states of america has made the argument that this is what reform is. you have to invest additional resources and then in the medium run, long run, not only the children arethe better off, but we are all better off. slashing is not reform. 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 do not want to look at this. they turn their gaze away from unpleasant facts. and an unpleasant reality. sometimes people do not want to know what they do not want to know. but mr. president, the evidence is irrefutable and irreducible. this legislation, once enacted into law, will create more poverty and hunger for children of america and that is not reform! >> let me now turn to talk about welfare because we are going to pass here in the senate tonight a welfare reform bill that cap -- 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 in perspective. first of all, i think the best way to define that number is to know 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 that if you want to know how much we have invested in the old where for program -- 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 workers in the united
states of america. no society in history has ever invested more money trying to help needy people billion the united states of america has invested. and yet, 50 years later, what has been the result of all of those good intentions? what has been the result of that investment? well, the result of that investment 50 years later is that we have more poor people today then -- more poor people today than when we started that program. they are more poor today than they were when we started. they are more dependent on the government today the end when we started the current welfare program, and by any definition of quality of life, fulfillment 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 illegitimacy rate was roughly one quarter of what it is today. i know that we have colleagues on the other side of the aisle who are going to lament the passage of this new welfare reform bill. but i do not see how anybody with a straight face or clear conscience can defend the status quo in welfare. our current welfare program has failed. it has driven fathers out of the
household. it has made mothers depended. it has taken away people's dignity. it has bred child abuse and neglect. it has filled the streets of our cities with crime. we are here today to change that. let me outline what our program does. i think if each of us looks back in our own families, looking to a time when our first ancestors came to america or where our families looking back at those who have gone before us found themselves poor, that we are going to find there are two things that get individuals and that get nations out of poverty. those two things are work and family. and i think it is instructive to note that in the last 50 years, those are the two things 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 if people cannot make welfare -- so that people cannot make welfare a way of life. it seeks to change the incentive s -- change the incentives within the welfare of -- within the welfare system. i believe the time has come to change those incentives within the welfare system. so what we have done in adopting this bill is to make some very simple changes. we have said that unless you are disabled, welfare is not a permanent program. it is a temporary program. we are going to help you for up to five years. we are going to train you, but at the end of five years you are going to have to work. we have also in this program given the state the ability to run their own program.
we believe that the federal government does not have all of the wisdom and that the states should run their program. what we have done is give a program -- we have taken a federally run program and we have taken the funding we have spent on that program, and we have given that money to the states, so that rather than having one program, each state in the union can tailor its program to meet its individual need. i believe we have put together a positive program. it is a program that asks people to work. it is a program that tries to make a americans independent. it is a program that for the first time uses work and family to try to help families as kate -- escape welfare and poverty in america. >> the signing ceremony for the welfare law took place on august 22 in the white house rose
garden. speakers included little rock , arkansas, resident lili hardin who was invited to the white house to tell her story about moving from welfare to work. reminder, if you would like to watch this entire event go to c-span.org and search the video library. [applause] >> hello. i live in arkansas. i am here to tell you about how much getting off assistance and getting a job meant to me and my children and how proud i am of my family. what my family has a compass. -- what my family has accomplished. in 1981, after being laid off my job, i spent two years on assistance. i had three children. had to take care of them with $282 a month. i was pushed to really get back to work. i enrolled in a project. one of governor clinton's programs in arkansas.
the program taught me how to present myself to get the job i wanted. two months later after training, i got my first job interview. i have been working ever since. at my first job i was a cook, i went from there to manager. i took good care of my children to make sure there was always food on the table and a roof over their heads. having a job gave me a chance to get involved in schools and focus on a good education. when i got my job, my son was so proud of me but i made a deal with him. i told him, i am going to work every day and take my work seriously. he needs to go to school every day and take school seriously. and he did just that.
today he is married with two children. he has a job in a hospital in oak harbor, washington. another goes to the university of arkansas and he is going to be a doctor. my daughter graduated school with a 4.0. she is at the university of arkansas pine bluff studying to be a computer system engineer. my youngest is in the fourth grade and she has been on the honor roll every year just like her big sister was. i am so proud of them and now i want to introduce everyone the man who started my success and the beginning of my children's future. the president of the united states, bill clinton. [applause]
president clinton: thank you very much. [applause] clinton: thank you very much. lillie, thank you. thank you mr. vice president, thank you congress, i would like to say i am glad to see you here because eight years ago about this time, when you are the governor of delaware and you and i were together at a signing like this. thank you senator long before -- senator long for coming here. thank you to other governors and i would also like to thank the penelope howard and janet
pharrell for coming here. those who of work their way from love for to independence, we're happy and honored to have them here. i would like to thank all of the people who worked on the bill who have been introduced from our staff and cabinet but i would also like to especially thank bruce reed who did a lot with working on the signing to -- working on the final compromises of this bill. i thank him. lillie harden was up here talking and i want to tell you how she happens to be here today. 10 years ago governor kassel and i were asked to cochair a governors task force on welfare reform and we were asked to work together on an and we met at hilton head in south carolina and had a panel. 41 governors showed up to listen to people who were on welfare
from several states. so i asked carol rasco to find me somebody from our state who had been in one of our welfare reform programs and who had gone to work. andshe found lillie harden lillie showed up at the program. i would was at this program and i committed a mistake lawyers tell you never do ask. never ask a question they tell you not -- you do not know the answer to. but she was doing so well and i asked her the question, what is the best thing. and she said, when my boy goes to school and someone says what is your mother do for a living, what is your answer? i have never forgotten that. [applause] clinton: and when i saw the success of all of her children and the success she is had in the last 10 years, i can tell you that you had a bigger impact on me than i have on you and i thank you for the power of your example and for all of
america. [applause] president clinton: what we are trying to do today is to overcome the flaws of the welfare system for the people who are trapped on it. we almost the typical family on welfare today is very different from the one that welfare was designed to deal with 60 years ago. we all know there are a lot of good people on welfare who just get off of it in the ordinary course of business but a significant number of people are trapped on welfare for a very long time. exiling them from the entire community of work that give structure to our lives. nearly 30 years ago, robert kennedy said, work is the meaning of what this country is all about. we need it as individuals. we need to sense it in our fellow citizens and we needed as
a people. he was right then and it is right now. from now on, our nations in answer to this great social challenge will not be a never-ending cycle of welfare. it will be the dignity, the power, into the ethic of work. today we are taking an historic chance to make welfare what it was meant to be -- a second chance. not a way of life. the bill i am about to sign, as i have said many times, is far from perfect but it has come a very long way. congress sent me two previous bills that i strongly believe failed to protect our children and did too little to move people from welfare to work. i vetoed both of them. this bill had broad bipartisan support and is much, much better on both counts. the new bill restores america's basic bargain of providing opportunity and demanding and
return responsibility. it provides $14 billion for child care. $4 billion more than the present law does. it is good because without the assurance of childcare, it is all but impossible for a mother with young children to go to to work. it requires states to maintain their on spending on welfare reform and give some powerful -- and gives them powerful performance incentives to place more people on welfare in jobs. it gives states the capacity to create jobs by taking money now used for welfare checks and giving it to employers as subsidies, as incentives to hire people. this bill will help people to go to work so they can stop drawing a welfare check and start drawing a paycheck. it is also better for children. it preserves the national safety net of food stamps and school lunches. it drops the deep cuts and devastating changes in child protection, adoption, and help for disabled children. it preserves the national guarantee of health care for
poor children, the disabled, the elderly, and people on welfare. the most important preservation of all. it includes the child support enforcement measures that as far as i know, every member of congress and every one in the administration and every thinking person in the country has supported for more the into years now. it is the most sweeping back down on deadbeat parents in history. we have succeeded in increasing child support collection 40%. but over a third of the cases involved where there are involve people -- there are the link when sees involve people who cross state lines. for a lot of women and children, the only reason they are on welfare today, the only reason, is because the father walked away when he could've made a contribution to the welfare of the children. that is wrong. if every parent paid the child
support that he or she owes legally today, we could move a hundred thousand women and children off welfare immediately. with this bill we say if you do not pay the child support , we will garnish your wages take away your drivers license, , tracking across state lines, make you pay what you well. it is a good thing and it will help to medically reduce welfare, increase -- and increase parental responsibility. [applause] president clinton: as the vice president said, we strongly disagree with a couple provisions of this bill. we believe that the nutritional cuts are too deep, especially as they affect low income working people and children. we should not be punishing people working for a living, we should be doing everything we can to lift them up, keep them at work and help them to support their children. we also believe that the cook -- the congressional leadership insisted on cuts for immigrants that are far too deep. these cuts of nothing to do with the fundamental purpose of welfare reform.
i signed this bill because this is a historic change where republicans and democrats got together and said, we are going to take this historic chance to try to re-create the nation's social bargain with the poor. we're going to change the parameters of the debate. we are going to make an all-new again and see if we can't create a system of incentive which reinforces work and family and independence. we can't change what is wrong. -- we can change what is wrong. we should not have passed this extort opportunity to do what is right -- this historic opportunity to do what is right. so i am going to ask all of you to think through the implications of these other non-welfare issues on the american people. let us work together in good spirit and good faith to remedy what is wrong. we can balance the budget without this that but let's not obscure the fundamental purpose of the welfare provisions of this legislation which are good and solid and will give us at least a chance to end the terrible, almost physical
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 something really good about this legislation. when i signed it, we all have to start again. this becomes everyone's responsibility. after i sign my name, welfare will no longer be a political issue. the two parties cannot attack each other. politicians cannot attack poor people over. there are no entrusted habits, systems and failures that can be laid at the foot of someone else. we have to begin again. this is not the end of welfare
reform, this is the beginning. we all have to assume responsibility. [applause] president clinton: now that we are saying with this book that we expect work, we have to make sure the people have a chance to go to work. if we value work, everyone in the society, individuals, those in government, all have a responsibility to make sure jobs out there. -- the jobs are there. these three women have great stories. almost everybody on welfare would like to have a story like that. the rest of us now have a responsibility to give them that story. we cannot blame the system for the jobs they don't have anymore. if it does not work now, it is everybody's ball. -- it is everybody's fault. mine, yours, everybody else. there is no longer a system in the way. [applause] president clinton: i worked hard over the past four years to
create jobs and steer investment create jobs and steer investment into places where there are large numbers of people on welfare because there has been no economic recovery. that is what the community development bank initiative was all about. that is why the urban brown to cleanup initiative was about. try to give people the means to make a living in areas that were left behind. let me say again, we have to build a new work and family system. this is everybody's responsibility now. the people on welfare are people just like these three people we honor here today and their families. they are human beings. we only to all of them -- we all it to all of them -- we owe it to all of them to give them a chance to get back. we were working with congressman -- -- the congressman on a church that had burned.
it was a pastor there from the church of north carolina that brought a group of his people in to work. he started asking me about welfare reform. i started telling him about it. i said, you should go tell governor hunt that you would hire someone on welfare to work on your church if he gives you a welfare check as a way to supplement and you double the pay. keep them employed for a year or so and see if you can train them and help the family and see if the kids are all right. would you do that? he said, in a heartbeat. [applause] president clinton: i think there are people all over america like that. that is what i want you all to think about it. what are we going to do now? this is not over. this is just the beginning. congress deserves our thanks for creating a new reality. we have to fill in the blank. the governors asked for this responsibility. now they have to live up to it. county officials have responsibilities. every employer in this country
that ever made a disparaging remark about the welfare system needs to think about whether he or she should now hire someone from welfare and go to work. go to the state and say, ok, give me the check and i will use it as an income supplement. i will train these people and help them to start their lives. every person who has ever said a disparaging word about the law -- about the welfare system should say, it is gone, what is my responsibility to make it better? [applause] two days agonton: we signed a bill increase in the minimum wage and making it easier for people and small businesses to get pensions. we signed a bill yesterday which makes health care more available to up to 25 million americans. many of them in lower income jobs. the bill i signed today preserve
-- preserves the increase in the earned tax income credit. it is not clearly better to go to work meant to stay on welfare. what we have to do now is make network reality -- make that work a reality. most working families find that the greatest challenge of their lives is how to do a good job raising their kids and do a good job at work. trying to balance work and family is the talent that most -- is the challenge that most americans in the workplace base. thankfully, that is the challenge that lillie harden has had to face. that is what we want for everyone. we want at least a chance to strike the right balance for everybody. today, we are ending welfare as we know it. but i hope this day will be remembered not for what it ended, but for what it began. and you day that offers hope, on
-- offers hope, honors responsibility, rewards work and changes the kind of debate so that no one ever feels the need to criticize people for -- poor on welfare but instead feels a responsibility to reach out to men and women and children who were isolated. who need opportunity to give them the opportunity. [applause] president clinton: i would like to ask penelope howard, janet pharrell, lillie harden, donors and members of congress from both parties who are here to come up and join me as i signed the welfare reform bill -- i sign the welfare reform bill. >> mr. president, before you sign the bill -- [indiscernible]
>> white house press office? high-class photographer there. >> nearly 10 years after the 1996 ultra law was passed, author and journalist jason deparle wrote the book "american dream." at this event from politics and prose bookstore, washington, dc, he tells the story of families trying to comply with the law's work requirements. this portion of the event is 25 minutes. >> the book is called "american dream." it takes the title from an insecure line in this an obscure line in -- an insecure line in-- and obscure
clinton's first welfare speech in 1993. i think we all know in our heart of hearts that too many people grow up and never get a shot at the american dream. the book tries to look at why that is and whether this landmark change in the nation's safety net help to her help -- helped or hurt. the first is that clinton in 1991 gave his first welfare speech. the first time he used the word "end welfare as we know it." the second team that happened is that two women got on a bus in chicago and went to milwaukee in order to get on welfare. is the microphone working? >> mark turned it down too much. better? t ok. they get on the bus and go to milwaukee. milwaukee becomes a place in a country that becomes the first place where it becomes the end welfare capital in the country. the two stories come together.
they leave the rolls. they both become full-time study -- full-time study workers. they brought a paper -- steady workers. the story is about three women. their lives on welfare and what happened to them after the new law passed. two of them become full-time steady workers and a third woman was addicted to crack cocaine. i did not know when i met her. she had a sadder story. they're a bunch of elements that we will not have time to talk about the woman to them briefly. one is the -- the three women are cousins. i got interested in the family history. it began when jewel's mother visited her in milwaukee. i asked what i thought was a perfunctory question. tell me where you are from? she looked at me and said, well, jason, i was born on the
senators plantation. back when black people were coming out of slavery. i was born in connecticut. what do you say to that? the name will mean a lot to a few and not much to some of you. he was one of the last segregationists of the south. he had a pocket and is best for all the civil rights bills and where they want to die. is james e glenn just a name she heard or did she know him? it is all true. there are still people in her family living on the east land plantation. i went down there and met her 85-year-old girl uncle ---year-old uncle. they were sharecroppers on the plantation.
it is not just an interesting story. i traced the family history back to slavery. up to chicago where they moved and in milwaukee. i think it is a vital context for understanding what happened to them under welfare and off of welfare. much of the behavior that was blamed on welfare, out of wedlock childbearing, poverty, the concept of dependency, black on black violence, substance abuse, all the things were going on on the plantation. newt gingrich, when he was promising to end welfare for talk about how we cannot sustain civilization with 12-year-olds having babies. it seemed like it piece of gingrich hyperbole.
it cannot be blank on welfare because welfare cannot exist when she had her baby when she was 13. africa was a context that was left out of the welfare debate in washington. also a part of the book about the privatized social welfare system in milwaukee. they took the city and divided it into six districts with five different private providers. opal was the last one left. she was pregnant and living in a crack house. her caseworkers had no idea she was pregnant or living and eight -- in a crack house. they did spent several million dollars on corporate advertising out of welfare funds. they bought golf balls.
the company was maximus. they were traded on the new york stock exchange. they took several nine dollars and diverted it into corporate promotions. -- million dollars and diverted it into corporate promotions. it wasn't the most confidence inspiring example of privatization. it did when an award from harvard and the ford foundation as the best welfare program in the country. [laughter] let me say two short things about why i wrote the book. to satisfy my curiosity. i was very interested in knowing what would happen with this gamble with so many millions of people's lives. and i was hoping to build a
constituency with people by bringing them into the conversation. most policy conversation in washington these days is controversial. there are few subjects more polemical than welfare. i was skeptical about the abolition of welfare in the substitution of this new system. i made a concerted effort to try to put my biases aside. in the hopes that i would be pleasantly surprised. i was. in some ways. i tried to challenge my biases in the reporting and writing. i want to talk about angie, the main character of the book. i will read a passage.
the month bill clinton announced he was running for president, she stepped off the greyhound bus in milwaukee. she was 25 years old. arrived from chicago. two large duffel bags. she had a pretty chocolate milk face. the combination could make her look tender or tough. depending of her mood. she had never seen milwaukee before. why do they have all these old houses? where is the brick at? she arrived in milwaukee as she moved her the world. a short fountain of exclamation points. up close, her habit of excitable swearing came off as charm. i just express myself so accurately. the cascade of off-color commentary alongside the
late-night candle of pulp 45 could make her seem like a dated jaded veteran of ghetto life. her father was a drunk. she had her first baby at 17. dropped out of high school and had two more. she did not have a diploma. by the time she arrived in milwaukee, she had been on welfare for nearly eight years. her mother had worked two jobs. though she tried to hide it, she still for traces -- bore traces. not many came to milwaukee felt the need to start a tome about their efforts to discern god's will. i'm tired of trying to understand what god wants of me. worried that was to a reverent, she substituted the words world for god. stories of street fights she was happy to share, but the bag was
so private that hardly anyone knew it existed. don't you know i like looking mean? if people think you are nice, they will take your kindness for weakness. that is a side of me i don't want anyone to see. she did not want me to see it you there for many years. i did not find the bag. she also kept a secret journal. eventually, she opened it up to share it. it made me write an entire chapter of her childhood. i had after a dozen times what it was like to get pregnant as a teenager and she repeatedly said it was no big deal. i wrote out a passage that made her seem unthinking. how could you get pregnant in high school? i was struggling with it. my experience on the page and my spirits in person -- she showed me in the journal. i'm going to have to change my life.
i have a life within me. just the opposite of not having a reflective consciousness of this event. i will fast-forward. i thought the bulk of the book would be the process of somebody getting off welfare. the back-and-forth between the caseworker in the recipient. angie had been on welfare for 12 years by the time she got off. she had to go to a worksite in order to get a job. she said, why would i work for welfare if i have to work to get a regular paycheck? 12 years on welfare. no high school education. she was a long-term case. what i thought would be the bulk of the book was actually a nonevent event. it is significant is not -- but does not take too long to explain. much of the book became her post welfare experience.
the economics of it. what it meant to her personally and her kids. what it meant to hurt her story is that -- to her personally is a positive story. she became a nursing aide. i do not know much about what they do. it is a nursing home. they get injured more often than coal miners. i had to keep calling the bls, is this really true? they earn about half the pay. one in four of them have no health insurance. one in five live in poverty. a lot of scatological humor about the bedpans. angie loved the work. she loved everything about it. she loved the cleanliness of the nursing home compare to her house. she liked the teamwork.
she loved the patient. particularly the nursing home rebels who reminded her of herself. she loved the uniformed pride of thinking of herself as a nurse. i ended up taking she had more patience for her patients and she did for kids -- her kids. it brought out an empathetic streak for her. when my favorite stories, she worked in a nursing home where the patients were mostly old white polish ladies. one day, angie was cleaning up a woman who looked up at her and snap and said, get your hands off me. on the street, she would have pulled out a knife or something. in this context, she just laughed. she said, well i'm cleaning because you can't do it yourself.
laughed it off because old people are not responsible for what they say. it brought out the wonderful human connectedness. when clinton thought -- talked about the welfare bill, he said work establishes meaning and dignity and life, one of the building blocks of our society. in angie's case, i see some truth in that. less so in jewel. she works at successfully and it did not mean as much to her. on the meaning level, i would say angie's experience was a large success. her earnings went up and her welfare went down. she may have been 10% better off after welfare than she was when she was on welfare. it were some other things going on her life. her progress got lost in the noise of living.
one year she may have been off, the next year her car may have broken down and it would not be any different. one thing that did -- that did not surprise me so much. what did surprise me is just how much economic hardship she suffered as a successful worker. angie ranked in about the top 20% of women leaving the roles. -- rolls. was out of food or times than i can cap. she was too proud to say this. this is hard to get out of her. yesterday problem --is food a problem? aint nobody going hungry. it would be not a clock at night and nobody would have eaten. -- 9:00 at night and nobody would have eaten. i found the the problem to be widespread. jewel, who earns about as much as angie, both of them lost
their health insurance. jewel was hospitalized with ulcers and had her wages garnished. jewel did not bring it up. she was heating the house with an open. -- oven. it was because the wages were being garnished to pay the medical bill. she lost her heat. the saddest part of the story, i looked at her and she said everybody who works is going to get there wages garnished. she was looking at me astonished at my surprise. i tried to say something based on -- to a conservative audience that they both want to hear and
don't want to hear and a liberal audience. when i say -- to conservatives, i think you are right that people work more than you understood. but you have not fully grappled with the thin rewards of work at the bottom of the wage scale and how much economic hardship persists. the third part of angie's life that i talk about, and probably the most important, what affect her work has on the kids. some people would say, by the time she is 30 years old and has been on welfare and does not have a high school degree, she's going to have a difficult life under any circumstance. what we want out of her experience is to set a role model example. put the kids on a different trajectory. this was the place where i thought the script -- where the reality most imported from the script. there is so much talk in
washington about working mothers being role models for the kids. by taking a sick of mother and putting her into the workforce, it will change the trajectory of the family life. that is an idea with appeal. lots of people here want to believe it. but it did not hold true for most of the single mothers i knew raising kids in the economically deprived conditions in dangerous neighborhoods. angie takes opal and her four kids -- and she has a four bedroom house with one bathroom. angie has four kids. opel is gauging -- taking a drug dealer. all the kids know he is selling drugs. another one of angie's friends moves in. there were 17 people living in the house at one time with one bathroom. clinton used to talk about work
bringing social order. it did not at angie's house. she had a boyfriend that the kids despised. there were times when angie was away and the kids would be a way -- fighting with hymns and other times he would be smoking dope with the kids. rather than setting a role model, sometimes she was just a way leaving them exposed to more hardships. clinton as president used to tell a story about role model mothers. he told the story of a woman named lily hardin. you must have told the story 20 times as president. the story is that when he was governor, a woman named lily hardin left welfare and when he asked her, what was the best thing about leaving welfare, she said, now when my son goes to school and they ask what his dad
does, he can give an answer. that is the idealistic hope for changing the welfare system. between the time he told that story and the time he repeated it 20 times as president, that son went to jail for a shooting. he is now about 30 years old and has been arrested for two times -- 20 times for the last 10 years. we are tried to get his police record -- trying to get his police record. we know him. he has a long record. do you have enough paper? he was an infamous arrestee. even as clinton is telling the story about how his mother is a shining example. what i came away from that
social disarray thinking about what the importance of fathers. -- was the importance of fathers. it was because the people talk about it so often at every level. angie tells a story of becoming a nursing aide by talking about her relationship with her father. he was an alcoholic. she saw him for the last time before she moved to milwaukee. she did not know how much he had declined. he died a month later. the last time she saw him. she felt guilty about not taking care of him. that is what made her go into this nursing home to take care of other people. they are primarily motivated by non-economical rewards. people are drawn to wanting to be caretakers. angie -- i had that theory. when i floated in my theories, she would look at me and it would look like she was sucking
a lemon. she volunteered, because of my daddy. her daughter went to a crosstown high school with a prelaw program because her father was in jail and she wants to get her father out. she's a terrible student. she has asthma. taking a bus across town was probably the last thing she needs to do. just exacerbated her problems. she was telling herself she would become a lawyer and get her debt out of jail. red, angie's oldest son has all kinds of problems. and they relate to his father. i will read a short passage. this is a great. as the years progressed, so did his problem. he cut school, smoked a lot of weed. and you weren't with his
streetwise error, he was trying to emulate greg. she also worried he did not have the mental to post it all. he is sweet as pie but wants to be bad. bread is a baby. -- red is a baby. a ticking time bomb. praising his sense of humor. among the papers that survived in the bottom of his closet is a middle school essay. small pointed years and a big round body. i found him in the woods crying in a box. i came across that one day and asked him why it had been crying. because it was left out there by himself. somebody was supposed to be feeding him and watching him and was not doing it. why not? probably because they did not have money. how did that make them feel? he was crying because he was sad. red looked up and did not
realize he had been rising -- writing about himself. everything in the house seemed to be about the missing father. red's grandmother also talk to me about her own yearning for a father. i was asking whether this was a hopeful story in the accident. -- and i actually do. i came of age at a time about 20 years ago when things were bad and getting worse. poverty was up. wages were down. drug use was up. crime was up. a kind of futility in the air. ronald reagan said, we thought they were on poverty and poverty one. -- fought a war on poverty and poverty won.
the entire field was dispirited. everyone felt beaten down. that changed in the mid-90's. i think the welfare bill was part of the change. there were other things going on. the official poverty rate went down. people flooded into the workplace in record numbers. even the policy made some progress. earned income tax credit grew. the rudiments of some health care for low-wage workers. there are reasons to feel much more confident now than when i first started writing about poverty. i think of these things as what
a diplomat would call confidence building measure. a first step. help dissipate any reason for cheap cynicism with what we can and can't a comp was -- accomplish. no excuse to say we can't help low income and the way we help low income women. -- helped low income women. i want to conclude with the notion of entitlement. it was at the center of the welfare debate eight years ago. the welfare revolution grew from the fear that it came from entitlement. there was a culture of entitlement but it was scarcely concentrated at the bottom as anyone following the ways of corporate scandals knows. what stands out about angie and dual is how little they felt they were owed.
they went through life acting entitled to nothing. not medical care, not even three daily meals. when welfare was there for the taking, i got on the bus and took it. ending welfare, the country took away their source of income. they did not lobby or sue. they did not march or riot. they went and got jobs. that entitled them to something. a shot at the american dream. [applause] >> robert rector is a heritage foundation research fellow who work closely with members of congress on the 1996 welfare law. he examined its impact 10 years later at an event hosted by the cato institute.
you can buy this entire event in our video library at c-span.org. >> last year, the nine cents spent $587 billion on -- the united states spent $587 billion on aid. i have a considerable amount of ambivalence about this reform. in order for me to get enthused about it, i have to go up and testify in front of congressman mcdermott or someone of that ilk and haven't attacked the form of the most racist way possible. then i can start to get excited about this thing again. i think the first thing we look to say at cato, if we are talking about the success or failure of welfare reform, we have to talk about what are our goals.
before a libertarian audience, i would say that one of the goals of welfare reform would be that you would reduce the cost and size of the welfare state thereby reducing the amount of money that you involuntarily extract from the taxpayers to pay for a function which may have no constitutional basis whatsoever. in that sense, i would say that this reform was modestly successful in terms of changing fundamental trends but not a three-ring circus to write home about. from a conservative perspective, i'm more concerned about the well-being of the recipients themselves and about future generations. in that sense, i think the reform was possibly a positive
harbinger telling us -- showing us things we could do in the future. in particular, showing us that we can in fact change certain trendlines by altering government policy. that it is not necessarily true that every government program and every reform of government must always be unsuccessful. what was welfare reform? above all else, it represented a change in the philosophy of government welfare. that from the time of franklin roosevelt and certainly from the time of lyndon johnson, the welfare system in the u.s. which comprises over 70 different programs was a system of permissive entitlement. a system of one-way handouts in which an individual in need of aid would receive aid in the form of cash or medical services or housing or food.
a one-way handout. the central idea of welfare reform was that that was a bad idea. an insult -- harmful to the taxpayer and society and recipient. try to replace that with a system of reciprocal obligation. in which we would not terminate aid but we would say, we would give you assistance that we expect certain things back from you in return for that assistance. in particular, we are going to expect that if you want to get cash under what used to be aid for families with dependent children, we expect you to undertake a supervised job search or get some training or community service work or something like that. or take a job. that as a condition for getting aid. once you do that, you get some fairly remarkable results. one of which is sitting in
welfare intake centers, i have one of which is sitting in welfare intake centers, i have seen on more than one occasion, once that type of demand is put as a precondition for getting the aid, the applicant for the aid say things like, if i have to do all that, i might as well just get a job. lo and behold, they do that. it is remarkable. you can see that effect. one of the things you get from this type of reciprocity is a kind of gatekeeping device. when you look at the overall pre-reform welfare population, there is a group there that is truly in need of assistance. and there is a larger group willing to take every handout if you shove it in their face. one of the things you get when you say we will give you assistance but we expect you to do something substantial in return for that is you weed out