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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 24, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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promise we'll made to the american public to change these programs as we have known them is to pass this bill overwhelmingly today. making fundamental changes to programs -- some of which are 60 years old -- will surely require adjustments and additional tuning as we begin to see how this legislation unfolds. but for those who seem frightened of this change, and for those who want to find the areas where they have concern, and that might need some repair in the future, i merely ask is it possible that this reform welfare program can be worse than what we have? i cannot believe it. i cannot believe it. >> yesterday after the president announced that he would sign this legislation, i said, and i quote, "the president has made
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his decision. let us hope that it is for the t."t/ hope forcontinue to the best even if i fear for the worst. as i have stated on this floor many times, this legislation does not reform aid to families with dependent children. it simply abolishes it. it terminates the basic federal commitment to support dependent children in hopes of altering the behavior of their mothers, and we are putting those with absolutely no evidence that this radical idea has even the slightest .hance of success in our haste to enact this bill -- any bill -- before the november elections, we have
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chosen to ignore what little we do know about the subject of poverty. on july 30,s ago, 11 of the nation's leading researchers in this field issued not to dot urging us 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 it has a distinguished history of nonpartisan, analytical research in this area. scholars of the stature of sheldon danziger of the
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university of michigan, irving garfinkel are of columbia university, eugene's galinsky of the university of california, edward gramlich at the -- i will of michigan ask all their names and their full statement be printed in the record. >> without objection, so ordered . >> they wrote, "as researchers who have dedicated years to the study of harvey, the labor assistance,public 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 .esponsibility real welfare reform would not impose deep foodstamp cuts on the working poor, the elderly,
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the disabled, the unemployed. it would not eliminate the safety net for most poor legal immigrants, including the very old and the infirmed. it would not place at risk poor children whose parents are willing to work but are unable work, findto find unsubsidized employment. it would back of work requirements with resources needed to make them effective -- workuld not back up requirements with resources needed to make them effective. we strongly support an overhaul of the nation's welfare system, but pending legislation that would make a troubled welfare work, -- depending what legislation would make a troubled welfare system worse. it is not meaningful wealth there reform and should not
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become law. tomr. president, i do want talk about this piece of legislation. i have heard some discussion about doing good. is ae start out with what very important framework to me as a senator from minnesota. it's a question. passed,s legislation if signed into law by the povertyt, create more and more hunger among children in america? and if the answer to that question is yes, then my vote is
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no. mr. president, we were discussing welfare reform saidal years ago, and we -- and i think there is unanimous consensus behind this proposition -- that we should , thatrom welfare to work that would include job training, , making sureining that jobs were available, that single parents -- most of the time mothers -- could support their children on. a commitment to childcare, and investment. just about every single scholar in the united states of america has made the argument that this is what reform is. you have to invest some additional resources, and then in the medium run and long-run,
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not only are the mothers and the children better off, but we are all better off. that is real welfare reform. to $60 billion in low income assistance is not .eform, colleagues it is punitive. it is harsh, and it is extreme. , we have been focusing in this congress on the budget deficit. i think today, what we see in the united states senate is a because, mr.icit president, i know some of my colleagues do not want to look at this. they turn their gaze away from unpleasant fact and an unpleasant reality. sometimes people do not want to know what they do not want to
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know, but mr. president, the evidence is irrefutable and irreducible -- this legislation, once enacted into law, will create more poverty and hunger among children in america, and that is not reform. >> let me now turn to talk about welfare because we are going to pass here in the senate tonight a welfare reform bill that has the promise of dramatically a system which has failed in america, and let me begin by talking about the failure. in the last 50 years, we have $5.2 trillion on means-tested programs -- that is, programs where we were .rying to help poor people nobody in america knows what $1
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trillion is, so let me try to put that number in perspective. first of all, i think the best way to define that number is to note that if you take the value of all buildings, all plants, and all productive tools in american industry and agriculture combined, they are billion.ut $5 if you want to know how much we have invested in the old welfare program, we have invested in the last 50 years roughly the equivalent of the value of all buildings, all plant and equipment, all tools of all the workers in the united states of america. no society in history has ever invested more money trying to help needy people than the united states of america has invested, and yet, if the years
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later, what has been the result of all those good intentions? what has been the result of that investment? well, the result of that investment 50 years later is that we have more poor people today than when we started the program. they are poorer today than when we started. they are more dependent on the government today than when we started the current welfare program, and why 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 two-parentgram, families were the norm in poor families in america. today, two-parent families are
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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 defendr conscience can the status quo and welfare. our current welfare program has failed. it has driven fathers out of the household. it has made mothers dependent. it has taken away people's dignity. it has bred child abuse and neglect and filled the streets of our cities with crime, and we are here today to change it. let me outline what our program does. i think if each of us looks back in our own family to a time
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where our first ancestors came familiesa or where our , looking back at those who have gone before us found themselves poor, that we will find that 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 that we have never applied to the welfare program of the united states of america. the bill before us asks people to work. it says that able-bodied men and women will be required to work in order to receive benefits. so thata time limit people cannot make welfare a way .f life
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it seeks to change the incentives within the welfare believe the time has come to change those incentives within the welfare , so what we have done in adopting this hill is make some very simple changes. one, we have said that unless that welfare is not a permanent program. it is a temporary program. we will help you for up to five years. we will train you, but at the end of five years, you are going to have to work. also in this program given the states the ability to run their own program. we believe that the enteral government does not have all the wisdom in the world and that states should run their program. what we have done is to give a -- we have taken a
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federally run program, we have taken the funds we have spent on that program, and we have given that money to the states so that rather than have one program, each state in the union can tailor its program to meet individual needs. i believe that we have put together a positive program. it is a program that asks people to work. it is a program that tries to make americans independent. it is a program that for the first time users work and family to try to help families escape welfare and to escape poverty in .merica >> the signing ceremony for the welfare law took lays 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 and from welfare to work.
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a reminder, if you would like to watch this event, go to and search the video library. [applause] from littlei'm rock, arkansas. i'm here today to tell you how much getting off assistance and getting a job that to me and my children and how proud i am of what my family has accomplished. in 1981, after being laid off my job, i spent two years on assistance. i had three children and had to $282 are of them with month. it was my son, carlton, who really pushed me to get back to work. i enrolled in project success, one of governor clinton's welfare programs in arkansas. the program taught me how to present myself to get a job i wanted. two months after training, i got my first job interview. . have been working ever since
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at my first job, i was head kitchen cook. went from there to manager. i was able to take 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 school and focus on a good education. when i got my job, my son was so proud of me, but i made a deal with him. i told him i'm going to work every day and take my work seriously. he needed to go to school every day and take school seriously, .nd he did just that today, he is married with two children. harbor, job in oak behington, and he's going to
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a doctor. my daughter graduated school with a 4.0. at university of arkansas pine bluff studying to be a computer engineer. my youngest is in the fourth grade, and she has been on on a her every year, just like big sister was. i am so proud of them, and now i int to introduce to everyone first met 10 years ago the man who started my success and beginning of my children's future, the president of the united states, bill clinton. [applause] president clinton: thank you very much.
4:18 pm very .illie, thank you thank you, mr. vice president, members of the cabinet, all the members of congress who are here . thank you very much. say to like to congressman castle that i'm especially glad to see you here because eight years ago about this time when you were the delaware and governor carver was the congressman for delaware, you and i were together at a signing like this. thank you, senator long, for coming here. i would also like to thank penelope howard and janet ferrell for coming here. they, too, have worked their way from welfare to independence, and we are honored to have them here. i would like to thank all the people who have worked on this bill who have been introduced
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from our staff and cabinet, but i would especially like to thank bruce reed, who had a lot to do with working on the final compromises of this bill. i thank him. harden was up there talking, and i want to tell you how she happens to be here today. 10 years ago, governor castle and i were asked to cochair a governor's task force on welfare reform and we were asked to work together on it. when we met at hilton head in south carolina, we had a little panel, and 41 governors showed up to listen to people who were on welfare from several states, so i asked carol rasco to find our state whoom had been in one of our welfare reform programs and had gone to work, and she found lillie lillie showed up at
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the program. i committed a mistake they always tell lawyers never to do -- never ask a question you do not know the answer to. but she was doing so well talking about it, as you saw how well spoken she was today, and i asked her what is the best thing about being off welfare, and she looked me straight in the eye and said, "when my boy goes to school and they ask what your mama does for a living, he can answer." i have never forgotten that. [applause] president clinton: when i saw the success of all of her children and the success she has had the last 10 years, i can tell you you have had a bigger impact on me than i have had on you and i thank you for the ourr of your example for families and for america. thank you very much. what we are trying to do today is overcome the flaws of the
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welfare system for the people who are trapped on it. we all know 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 that there are a lot of good people on welfare who just get off of it in the ordinary course of business, but that a significant number of people are trapped on welfare for a very long time, exiling communitythe entire of work that gives structure to our lives. nearly 30 years ago, robert kennedy said work is the meaning of what this country is all about. need it as individuals. we need to since it in our fellow citizens, and we need it as a society. he was right then and is right now. from now on, our nation answers to the great challenge -- our
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nation's great challenge will be the never-ending cycle of welfare. today, we are taking an historic chance to make welfare what it was meant to be -- a second chance, not a way of life. , asbill i am about to sign i have said many times, is far from perfect, but it has come a very long way. congress sent me two previous bills i strongly believe failed to protect our children and did too little to move people from welfare to work. i've been told by the and this bill had broad bipartisan support and is 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 dollars in 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
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work. it requires states to maintain their own spending on welfare reform and gives them powerful welfare resentenced 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 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 guaranty of health care for poor children, the disabled, the elderly, and people on welfare, the most important preservation of all. it includes tough child-support enforcement measures that as far as i know every member of
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congress and everybody in the administration and every thinking person in the country has supported for more than two years now. it is the most sweeping crackdown on deadbeat parents in history. in increasingded child-support collection 40%, but over 30% of the cases involved with theirs delinquencies involve people crossing state lines. for a lot of women and children, the only reason they are on welfare today -- the only reason -- is that the father up and walked away when he could have made a contribution to the welfare of the children. that is wrong. every parent paid the child-support that he or she does legally today, we could move 800,000 women and children off welfare immediately. with this bill, we say if you do not pay the child-support you oh, we will garnish your wages, take you across state lines, if necessary make you work off what you oh.
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it is a good thing and will help dramatically to reduce welfare, increase independence and reinforce parental responsibility. [applause] president clinton: as the vice president said, we strongly disagree with a couple of provisions of this bill. we believe the nutritional cuts are too deep, especially as they affect low income working people and children. we should not be punishing people who are working for a living already. we should do everything we can to lift them up and keep them at work and do everything they can to support their children. we also believe that the congressional leadership insist on cuts and programs for legal immigrants that are far too deep. these cuts, however, have nothing to do with the fundamental purpose of welfare reform. i signed this bill because this is a historic chance where publicans and democrats got together and said we're going to take this historic chance to try to re-create the nations social bargain with the poor.
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we're going to try to change the parameters of the debate. we are going to make it all new again and see if we cannot create a system of incentives which reinforce work and family and independence. we can change what is wrong. we should not have passed this historic opportunity to do what is right, so i want to ask all of you without regard to party to think through the implications of these other non-welfare issues on the american people, and let's work together in good spirits and good faith to remedy what is wrong. we can balance the budget, but let's not skew the fundamental welfareof the legislation, which are good and solid and can give us the chance to end the terrible, almost physical isolation of huge numbers of four people and their children from the rest of mainstream america. we have to do that. [applause]
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let me also say that there is something really good about this legislation. when i sign it, we all have to start again. this becomes everybody's responsibility. after i sign my name to this bill, welfare will know longer be a political issue. the two parties can no longer attack each other over it. politicians cannot attack poor people over it. there are no encrusted habits, systems, and failures that can be laid at the foot of someone else. this is not the end of welfare reform. this is the beginning. we have to all assume the responsibility. [applause] president clinton: now that we are saying with this bill we expect work, we have to make
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sure people have a chance to go to work. if we really value work, everybody in this society -- businesses, nonprofits, religious institutions, individuals, those in government -- all have the responsibility to make sure those are there. almost everybody on welfare would like to have a story like that, and the rest of us now have a responsibility to give them that story. forannot blame the system the jobs they don't have any more. if it does not work now, it is everybody's all -- mine, yours, and everybody else. there is no longer a system in the way. i have worked hard over the past jobs and too create steer investment into places where there are large numbers of people on welfare because there has been no economic recovery. that is what the empowerment zone program was all about. that is what the community development bank initiative was all about. that's what our urban brownfield
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cleanup initiative was all about, trying to give people the means to make a living in areas that have been left behind. i think we have to do more here in washington to do that, and i will have more to say about that later, but let me say again we have to build a new work and isily system, and this everybody's responsibility now. the people on welfare are people honorike the people we here today and their families. they are human beings, and we all went to all of them to give them a chance to come back. thelked the other day when vice president and i went down to tennessee, and we were working on a church that had burned, and there was a pastor from a church in north carolina that rot a group of his people in to work, and he started asking me about welfare reform, and i started telling him about it. i said, "you know what you want to do? you want to go tell governor
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hunt that you would hire someone on welfare to work in your church. you keep them employed for a and double their wage if you got the welfare check. would you do that?" he said, "in a heartbeat." i think there are people all over america like that. [applause] notident clinton: this is over. this is just the beginning. congress deserves our thanks for creating a new reality, but we have to fill in the blanks. the governors asks for this responsibility. now they have to live up to it. there are mayors to have responsibilities. county officials that have responsibilities. every employer in this country that ever made a disparaging remark about the welfare system needs to think about if he or she should hire someone on welfare. go to the state and say, "you give me the check, i will use it
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in income subsidy, i will train gose people, and we will forward from here. every single person needs to be thinking -- every person in america who sees this report who has ever seen -- ever made a disparaging remark about the welfare system should say, "what is my responsibility to make it better?" [applause] two days ago, we signed a bill increasing the minimum wage here and making it easier for people in small businesses to get and keep pensions. billrday, we signed a which makes health care more available to a 225 million americans, many of them in lower income jobs where they are more vulnerable. the bill i'm signing today preserves the increases in the earned income tax credit for working families. it is now clearly better to go to work and to stay on welfare. clearly better because of actions taken by the congress in this session.
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it is clearly better. what we have to do now is to make that work a reality. i have said this many times, but thatamerican family's fine 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 challenge that most americans in the work place face. thankfully, that is the harden has hadie to face for the last 10 years. that is what we want for everybody. we won at least the chance to strike the right balance for everybody. today, we are ending welfare as we know it, but i hope this day will be remembered not for what it ended, but for what it began -- a new day that offers hope, onerous responsibility, rewards ofk, and changes the terms the debate so that no one in america ever feels again the need to criticize people who are poor on welfare but instead feels a responsibility to reach
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out to men and women and are isolated, who need opportunity, and who are willing to assume responsibility and give the opportunity and the terms of responsibility. [applause] president clinton: now, i would like to ask penelope howard, en,et farrell, lillie hard the governors and members of both parties who are here to come up and join me as i sign the welfare reform bill. >> [inaudible] president clinton: i will have to wait until the omb makes a recommendation to me. i cannot say more than that right now.
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>> these signing ceremonies in the cold weather of got to end. >> [inaudible] >> mitchum president, this takes place on my 36th wedding anniversary.
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president clinton: you're kidding. >> so i've got to get back quickly. president clinton: that's quite an achievement. >> she puts up with a lot. >> [inaudible] [applause]
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newly 10 years after the 1996
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welfare law passed, author and journalist jason deparle wrote the book "american dream: three women, 10 kids, and the nations drive to end welfare." he tells the story of families trying to comply with the law's work requirements. this portion is about 25 minutes. the book is called "american dream," and takes its title from an of secure line from clinton's speech. he said, "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 looks at why that is and if this landmark change in or nations safety net helped hurt in the 1990's. it starts in october 1991 with two coincidental and ultimately colliding events. the first is that clinton in 1991 gave his first welfare
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speech, the first time he used the words "end welfare as we know it." is that two women got on a bus in chicago and went to milwaukee in order to get on welfare. is the microphone working out there? >> mark turned it down too much. we think it is getting too much feedback because you are too close to it. mr. deparle: is that better? these women go to mill walkie just as bill clinton is promising to end mill walkie and becomesie -- milwaukee sort of the welfare capital of the country. eventually, the stories come together and angela and jewel both become full-time study workers. they brought up a third friend from chicago, a woman named opal , so the story is about three
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women, their lives, and what happened to them. angie and jewel became full-time workers. the third woman, opal, was addicted to crack cocaine, although i did not know when i first met her, and she has a sadder story than i probably would have guessed as possible when i started writing the book. there's a bunch of elements in the book we will not have time to talk about, but i will mention them briefly. the three women are cousins, and i got versed in their family history. it began when jewel's mother, the matriarch of the family, came to visit her in milwaukee and i asked what i thought was a perfunctory question. "ms. crenshaw, tell me where you are from." she looked at me with kind of a pregnant, and she said she was born on a plantation in 1937, and that was back when black people were just beginning to come out of slavery.
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i mean, what do you say to that? eastland's name will mean a lot you and probably nothing too many of you. he was one of the last great segregationists of the south. he had a pocket in his best where all the civil rights bills went to die. one of the things i was wondering was if james is glenn was just a name she had heard or if she knew him. in fact, it was true. she was born and raised on the eastland plantation. it was still in the family, and i went there and met her great uncle who was there the day bought his father and install them as sharecroppers on the plantation. it's not just an interesting traced- eventually, i their family history back to slavery through sharecropping on the eastland plantation.
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it's not just an interesting yarn. it is, i think, a vital context for understanding what happened to them under welfare and what happened to them off of welfare, which is that much of the behavior that was blamed on nonmarital, out of wedlock childbearing, poverty, the concept of dependency, black on black violence, even instance abuse, trading illegal substances -- all these things were going on on the eastland plantation during sharecropping long before there was a welfare system. newt gingrich, when he was promising to end welfare, used to talk about how we could not sustain civilization with 12-year-olds having babies, which always seemed like a piece of gingrich hyperbole. had he may is the only person i have ever met who got pregnant at 12 and had her first baby at 12, long before -- had her first baby and 13, long before it
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could be blamed on welfare because welfare did not exist -- hattie may. largelyit was a context left out of the welfare debate in washington. there is also 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 left on welfare of the treo. she was pregnant and living in a crack house at one point. her caseworkers had no idea she was either pregnant or living in the crack house. they actually did a home visit and did not figure out it was a crack house, but they did spend several million dollars on corporate advertising. they bought maximus golf balls -- the name of the company was maximus. it's a private company that actually trades on the new york stock exchange. they had the contract to provide
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the services and took several million dollars and diverted it into corporate promotions. there were caseworkers in the office who were soliciting sex from the clients. there were caseworkers demanding kickbacks in exchange for providing the benefits, so it was not the most --fidence-expiring confidence-inspiring example of privatization, but it did win an award from harvard as the best welfare program in the country. [laughter] mr. deparle: let me say to do things about why i wrote the book. probably the first reason was to satisfy my own curiosity, which is probably why reporters take on any subject. i was very interested in knowing what would happen with this gamble with so many millions of people's lives. the public purpose was i was hoping to build a new constituency for people who would care about the issue, sort of bring more issue into the welfare -- bring more people into the issue of welfare conversation. i felt like it was very skewed
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by a polemical tone. most of policy conversation in washington these days is overly polemical, and there's probably few that are more polemical than welfare. i do say at the beginning of the skeptical about the abolition of welfare and the substitution of this new system, i made us concerted and effort as i could to try to put my biases aside when i went to report on it in the hopes that i would be pleasantly supplies, and -- pleasantly surprised, and in some ways, i was. i tried to challenge my own biases in the reporting and the writing. mostly, i want to talk about angie, who is the main character of the book. let me as a way of introducing you to her read a little passage about her. "the month bill clinton announced he was running for president, she stepped off a greyhound bus in milwaukee to start a new life. she was 25 years old and arrived
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from chicago towing two large duffel bags and three young kids. angie had a pretty melt chocolate face and a fire plug built. carried 150 pounds and accommodation could make her tender or tough. she pronounced yourself unimpressed. the reference is angie's religion. she arrived in milwaukee as she moved through the world, a short, stout fountain of!, half capping sentences that would peel the paint off the wall. her excitable swearing came off as something akin to charm. "i just express myself accurately," she laughed. a cascade of off-color commentary flowing off the late-night cans of cold 45 could make angie seemed like a jaded veteran of life here in certainly, she had plenty to feel jaded about. she grew up on the orders of
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chicago's gang live. her father was a drunk. she had her first baby is 17, dropped out of high school, and had two more in quick succession. by the time she arrived in milwaukee, she had been on welfare for nearly eight years. her hard face was real but also amassed. her mother worked enough jobs to send her to parochial school, and though she tried to hide it, she still bore traces of the english school from aquinas high. lots of women came looking for welfare checks. not many then felt the need to write a polymer about their efforts to discern god's will. "i'm trying to understand what god wants of me." were that was too irreverent, she substituted the words "the world" for "god." "don't you know i like looking mean?" she said one day.
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if people think you're too nice, they will take your kindness for weakness. that's a side of me i do not want many people to see. she did not want me to see it, either. for many years, i did not find the poem. journal.kept a secret we actually write an entire chapter about her childhood. i had asked her a dozen times when 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 sort of unthinking. how can you get pregnant in high school you could i really was struggling because my experience on the page was not my experience of her in person. finally, she showed me the journal and what she wrote in the journal was, "i'm going to have to change my life. i have a life within me." sheas the opposite of what had said about not thinking, not caring, not having it left of consciousness about this life
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altering event. i will fast-forward. i thought the bulk of the book would be the process of somebody getting off welfare, that it would be a huge back and forth between the caseworker and the recipient. angie had been on welfare for 12 years by the time she got off. she had to go to a work site order to get her job. she said why would she work for welfare when she could work and get a regular paycheck? she was just off the rolls. what i thought would be the bulk of the book was kind of a nonevent event. it is significant, but it does not take too long to explain it in the book. much of the book became then about her post welfare experience on a number of levels. the economics of it, what it meant to her personally, what it meant to her kids. what it meant to her personally a surprisingly positive
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story. angie became a nursing aide. i don't know if anybody here understands -- i did not know much about what nursing aide to do. she works in a nursing home. it's really a dangerous, rough job. nursing aides get injured more often than coal miners. back theep calling bureau of labor statistics and asking if they were sure it was really true. they earn about half the pay. when in four of them have no health insurance, though they work in the health-care industry, and one in five lives in poverty. there's lots of scatological humor about it in welfare offices, the bedpans and that kind of thing. of people leave welfare to become these nursing agents. angie loved the work, love everything about it. she loved the cleanliness of the nursing home compare to her house, like the teamwork of the patient care. she loved the patients, particularly the nursing home rebels, i think, who reminded her sort of of herself. she loved the uniform pride of thinking of herself as a nurse.
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thinking she had more ts thate for her patien she did for her kids. it brought out an empathetic streak in her, which was lovely to see, really. one of my favorite doors i like to tell about angie is angie is african-american and worked in a nursing home where the patients were mostly old, white, polish ladies from an ethnic onking-class neighborhood the south side of the walkie. one day, angie was cleaning up a woman who looked up at her and snapped, "get your hands off me, what]"u know on the street, that would have brought a knife out or something, but she just laughed it off. i asked her about it and she said that old people are not responsible for what they say. it brought out this wonderful human connectedness.
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when clinton talked about the welfare bill, he talked about work establishes meaning and dignity in life, and it's one of the building blocks of our society in the way we connect with each other. i had to, in angie's case at least, see some truth in it. , who workedewel just as successfully as angie, but it did not mean as much to her. on the meaning level, i would take angie's experience was a large success. on the money level, less so. it was sort of a wash. her earnings went way up. her welfare went way down. she might have been 10% better off after welfare than she was when she was on welfare, but there were so many other things going on in her life. the way i describe it in the book is her progress got lost in the noise of living. one year, she might have then a little bit off. the next year, her car might have broken down and it would not have then different. that did not surprise me so
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much, knowing what i knew about people leaving welfare. what did surprise me is how much economic hardship she suffered as a successful worker. angie ranked in about the top 20% of women leaving the rolls in wisconsin. times inher like three as many years, was out of food more times than i can really count. this was really hard to get at as a reporter -- if you asked her if who does a problem in her house, "ain't nobody going hungry around here," but you discover that a lot of the fights in her house would be ultimately about food. 9:00 at night, nobody would have eaten, and people would be having an argument, and a fight would break out. i found the food problem actually widespread, far beyond angie. jewel, the second successful -- both lost their health insurance. jewel was hospitalized with
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bleeding ulcers and had her wages garnished. jewel did not bring it up. why found out was she was ,eating the house with an oven and i asked why, and it was because the wages were -- she had lost her heat because her wages were being garnished to pay her medical bill, but the saddest part to me was i looked at her with probably a look of astonishment, and she says everybody owes a hospital bill, everybody who works is going to get their wages garnished. she looked at me as astonished as i was looking at her that she was getting her wages garnished. and i talk about the book, i try tosay something based on -- a conservative audience, that they want to hear and don't want to hear, and the same to a liberal audience. when i'm talking to conservatives, i try to say i think you are right that people could work more than liberals understood, but i think you have not fully grappled with the thin
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rewards of work at the bottom of the wage scale and just how much economic hardship persists. the third part of angie's life that i talk about in the book and probably the most important is what it that her work has on .he kids because some people would say by the time angie is 30 years old and has been on welfare all these years and does not have a high school degree, yes, she is going to have a difficult life under any circumstance, but what we really want out of her experience is to have her become a role model for her kids. we want to put the kids on a different trajectory. this was the place where i thought the script -- where the reality most departed from the script of the washington conversation. there was so much talk in washington about working mothers being role models for their kids. just by taking a single mother and putting her in the workforce, it would somehow change the trajectory of working life. it is an idea with intuitive
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appeal. i want to believe it. many people here want to believe it. it just did not hold true for most of the single mothers i in theseing kids economically deprived conditions and dangerous neighborhoods. in angie's house, they give you a little of the feel for it. angie takes an opel, the woman with a drug problem, and her four kids. angie has a four-bedroom house with one bathroom. angie has four kids, opel has four kids, and opel is dating a .rug dealer so he is in and out of the house. another one of angie has friends moves in, and she takes in her, too, and she has four kids. there were 17 people living in the house at one time with one bathroom. clinton used to talk about work brings social order. it did not at angie's house. she had a boyfriend living with her, marcus, who the kids really despise.
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there were times when angie was away at work were either the kids would be in a big fight with marcus or at other times, marcus was smoking dope with the kids. rather than setting a role model for her kids by being at work, sometimes she was just away, leaving them exposed to more hardships. clinton, as president, used to tell a story about role model mothers. he told a story of a woman named lillie harden. told the story 20 times as president. the story is when he was governor, a woman named lillie harden in arkansas left welfare through his welfare to work program. when he asked her what was the best thing about leaving welfare, she said, "now when my son goes to school and they ask him what is your dad do, he can give an answer." more than anything, the idealistic hope for changing the welfare system.
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between the time clinton told that story as governor and the time he repeated it 20 times as president, that son went to jail for a shooting. he's now about 30 years old and has been arrested 20 times in the last 10 years. called down the north little rock police stations to try to get his police records, said we wanted to track down carlton harden's police records. he -- if they needed his date of birth, "oh, no, we know him. do you have enough fax paper?" infamous in north little rock, even with clinton's story about how his mother had saved his life. what i came away from that was thinking about fathers because the people talked about it so often at every level,
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every generation. of becominga story by talking about her relationship with her father. he was an out the holick, and she saw him for the first time right before she moved to no walkie. she had not seen him for several years and did not know how much he had declined. he died, like, a month later. she said she felt terribly guilty about not taking care of him, and that was what made her go into this nursing home to take care of other people. this actually f-number of the's of nursing home workers that say they are primarily motivated by non-economic rewards, which might not be a surprise, given how little it pays, but people who are targeted -- drawn toward being caretakers, that's the target. when i floated my fear he is on angie, she would look at me and it looked like she was sucking a lemon and would tell me what a thisulous idea it was, but when she volunteered.
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"it was because of my daddy. that's why i became a nursing aide." her daughter chooses a crosstown high school with a lock program because her father is in jail and she wants to get him out. she's a terrible student and has asthma, and taking a bus across town was probably the last thing she needed to do. it just exacerbated her 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
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make room mouse. he has small pointed ears and a bit roundabout. 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
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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 we fought a war on poverty and poverty one. the entire field was dispirited. everyone felt beaten down.
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policy -- 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.
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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. stuck in a swamp of excessive demands, legal prerogatives. there was a culture of entitlement but it was scarcely concentrated at the bottom ascos anyone following the ways of corporate scandals knows. what stands out about angie and jewell is how little they felt they were owed. they went through life acting
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ending welfare, the country took away their source of income. they did not lobby or sue. they did not march or right. -- right -- 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. can't find this entire event in our video library at last year, the nine cents spent $587 billion on -- the united
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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. -- outrageous 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
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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
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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.
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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. something like 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 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
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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 the difference between those two groups. you will get the people that are looking for the handout coming into the office with far less frequency. that enables you to focus your energies on those in need of aid.
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it also means there is less abuse of the taxpayer. there we go. in welfare reform, we basically had two goals. the first was to establish work requirements, not just to a game -- not just to aid to families with dependent children, but also work requirements for food stamps. secondly, and most importantly, to deal with the problem of out of wedlock childbearing and increase the number of children born inside marriage.
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those were important. i think we made some modest progress on both of those fronts. certainly not everything we could have done. this is going to be a very familiar chart. you saw one version of this. this is the temporary assistance with needy family caseload. this goes back to the time of the korean war. this is essentially the same data he was presenting. what we can see is that for a 55 year period, that redline did two things. it went flat or went up. the black bars are periods of economic recession. the white bars are periods of economic booms. we have 10 periods of boom on the chart.
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you notice how may times the red line goes downward? over and over and over again. in fact, although we have 10 periods of economic boom, this caseload went down in how many periods? one. it goes down right here. what happens here? we have some waivers in this. we are calling welfare recipients into the office and making them do things, thereby reducing the economic utility of
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being on welfare. [indiscernible] there is this large symbolic affect. i would say that welfare reform started the first time bill clinton said he planned to end welfare as we know it. that message got out there. he's talking about two years and you are off. he did not mean that. or anything remotely like that. but it sounded like he meant it. if you were a welfare recipient, you would say, whoa! and along comes these republican guys, and newt gingrich is talking about putting kids in orphanages. it sounds scary. what i think you see here is all across the country a behavioral response to the value messages of welfare. the clear messages, potential welfare recipients will not sit down there and see the participation rate or what the sanction system is in kentucky
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compared to new york, but they did hear the message that welfare would be limited. there would be an expectation that you were supposed to work rather than spend a lifetime on welfare. you seem to see across-the-board behavioral response. one anecdote to that was that pretty early on in the system we got feedback -- this was probably 1997, about four months after the act was passed. we got feedback from nebraska, and the welfare director was saying, our caseload is going through the floor. we haven't done anything. we have implemented no program whatsoever yet. you know why this is happening? because all these left-wing activist groups are out in are telling people those horrible publicans have passed welfare reform. they will throw you off in two years.
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it is going to be terrible. it is going to be awful. the welfare recipients said, holy toledo. i need to get my act together. we need to get off welfare. they are not going to support me forever. the caseload begins to go down rapidly in response to the symbolic messages. the symbolic message was unrelated to any actual policy. to a considerable degree, a lot of the caseload decline can be attributed to these types of symbolic messages that are taken very seriously than to any action programs. i will say that as you look at the line going down, you do find consistently throughout the period that the states that are the most rigorous insisting that the individual must engage in instructive behavior, it will
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have much more rapid caseload decline then states that are more lenient about that. and are leaving a larger part of the caseload untouched. all in all, what we have here is what i would call a a great philosophical victory. if you go back to right here, 1965 up to the present time, in homes all across america we have the thanksgiving dinner debate. in which we are talking about welfare and uncle joe says, you know, if they just made these welfare recipients go out and take a job, they would not be sitting there collecting all that welfare. charles and i have been in this field for a very long time. if you polled all the liberal experts, they would all say how ridiculous. what a idiotic notion when we
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know there are no jobs to be had. that there are barriers. the caseload is impossible. at the time he passed this in 1993, the prevailing wisdom was that you could reduce the caseload by perhaps 5% over three years. while we were doing this, it was dropping 5% a month. it violated all of the prevailing liberal wisdom about what you could do. what you have here is a very strong philosophical victory for the idea that incentives matter. if you reduce the utility of being on welfare, you get a very large behavioral response. as the caseload goes down starting in 1993, we had 5 million families on the program. at the present time it is down
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to 2 million families. all of those families on welfare were by definition automatically poor. welfare never pays enough to bring an income above poverty. as they go off of welfare or never enter it at all, they never come into the office and first place, employment of single mothers surgers up. a large number of mothers are off welfare and are working. you get a poverty effect. what we have here is the poverty status of black children going back to 1970 and what you can see is that for 25 years, prior to welfare reform, the black child poverty rate is flat. it hovers but never gets below
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the mid-40's. by 1995, it is actually slightly higher than it was in 1970. 25 years under the conventional war on poverty and black child poverty, the primary liberal goal for these policies, no net change. along comes the mean-spirited republicans who are going to throw children out to the street. what happens? this goes down. in the late 1990's, black child poverty was reaching a new low. for reasons i cannot imagine, this was never covered in the new york times or washington post. by 2000, we are down to 30%. if this had been the result of a liberal initiative, oh my
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goodness. we are talking nobel prize for some members of congress. this happened because we got tough, and we were mean-spirited. not really mean-spirited. it was the result of a conservative policy. we have not heard very much about that. we clearly shifted the baseline of what poverty is. if you look at the poverty among single mothers, the chart is similar. this is the illegitimacy ratio. charles murray and i believe this is actually much more significant and one which we struggled very hard to get into welfare reform without a considerable amount of success. this goes back to 1940. the yellow line is the percentage of all births outside of marriage. the beginning of the war on poverty, it is around 7%.
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by the mid-1990's it is about 34%. one of the things i worked on in welfare reform was simply to create policies that would force a discussion of this issue. this is the underlying cause of welfare dependence. as well as child poverty in the underclass. it was difficult to get members of congress to talk about this. we owe a great deal of gratitude to senator faircloth who worked for years to try to even put this in public discussion with a considerable amount of the republican party saying the topic is undiscussable. what i would say is i think there has been a substantial shift. this is the illegitimacy ratio. senator moynahan often described
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that blue line as something drawn with a ruler going up 1% each year. i think that is right. around the time this reform begins symbolically, when we talk about ending welfare as a lifetime entitlement, the line does move over. if we had gone forward at the prior rate of increase marked with the red dotted line, we would have over 40% of all children being born out of wedlock today. it is only 34%. isn't that a magnificent triumph. i think it is about one and a half million fewer children being born out of wedlock. that is a considerable thing. this is not the result of any specific policy. the states were supposed to address this issue, but steered away from it because it is politically incorrect. i think the general symbolic
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effect of saying that welfare is time-limited, and you are expected to support yourself has caused an alteration in the behavior as well. the challenge for the future is to actually begin to move the blue line down. i will leave that with that. pros and cons. what are the pros of welfare reform? if you are liberal favoring the massive expansion of the conventional welfare system, you have been put on the intellectual defensive. we have not seen expansion. not that spending has not gone up but in terms of new programs, new initiatives for the poor, they are very much on the initiative because the welfare reform is focused on the behavioral roots of poverty and dependence rather than throwing additional money at the problem. second, we demonstrated the effectiveness of core conservative ideas concerning reciprocal obligation. thirdly, we have had a rather
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dramatic declines independence in one program and declines in poverty. fourthly, around the time of welfare reform, we had a significant increase in the debate of out of wedlock childbearing. we got the reduction as a principal goal of the act. it was not carried out. in the last six months, we have passed new provisions under the act that i think will begin to produce a fairly interesting pioneering programs to deal with the key issue in the future. what are the limits or the cons? we have over 50 means tested welfare programs. families with dependent children, we also have food stamps, medicaid, earned income tax credits. on and on and on. we reformed only one of those programs. the others are sitting there completely untouched.
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they are in their pristine war on poverty forms. second, related to that, if you look at parallel programs such as food stamps and public housing, they serve the same people but no work requirements. the reform is much more limited than anyone imagines. we did not reform the welfare state, simply we reformed the one most visible program. third, a great deal of energy about reforming welfare in the 1990's. that has passed. people are bored with it. we have lost the momentum. as a dimension, the state did not act on the goal of reducing illegitimacy as i mentioned, the state did not act on the goal of reducing this. in the summer of 1994, when the contract for america was passed,
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the republicans were about to assume the majority in the house of representatives, i can remember clearly meeting newt gingrich, talking about the welfare provisions. i said, the one thing you did not get in there that is the most important of all, work for welfare recipients is ok but it will not cure the underclass, what you need is a major school choice provision that would allow underclass children to go to religious schools if that is what the parents want. i said that will do far more for the underclass than all of this will. he said, i couldn't get that through the party. we will have to do that in the future. 10 years later, we are still waiting on those issues. we are still waiting for the massive values transformation
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that is going to be necessary to deal with these issues. >> up next, and our special presentation on the 1996 welfare law, sociology professor sharon hays discusses her book. this portion of the event from 2003 is about half an hour. >> the cultural logic of welfare laws has always been connected to family and work life. when it was first established as part of the new deal legislation in 1935, the idea was that you would follow the model of family life. imagining a proper breadwinning husband and caregiving wife. if the husband was absent, then the state would step in to take the place of the father for
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caring for the mother and children. that law basically remained in place in some sense until the 1996 personal responsibility act. the most widely recognized message was that women should work. it doesn't matter they are mothers or if they have kids to care for, like most working women in society today, they should be able to manage both work and the care of their children. these work requirements as you know are given real teeth by the federal time limit. after five years it is expected that all poor mothers will become self-sufficient. even if they aren't, they will be left without any form of government support. in thinking about this, is the law saying that breadwinners are simply a thing of the past and we should think of women as
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perfectly capable of caring for not only themselves but also their children without the help of a breadwinner? this is where i started and it seems funny to me. as it might to some of you. since this pronouncement occurs at the same time cap politicians, the public, scholars are still expressing a tremendous amount of ambivalence about mothers in the paid labor force and the problems of childcare and the time crunch at home and conservatives and their concern about the decline of family values. how does the law deal with these problems? how does the law deal with these problems? in fact, the message that mother should work is not the only message that you find. as it turns out, the personal responsibly act begins, marriage is the foundation of a successful society.
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marriage is an essential institution of a successful society which promote the interest of children. promotes fatherhood and motherhood for the well-being of children. the legislation and goes on to condemn single parenting, deadbeat dads, women who live on the dole. the preamble to the personal is -- responsibility act is in fact a restatement of newt gingrich's contract with america. so, in fact, built into welfare reform are actually two visions. publicly i call these the work plan and the family plan. privately i will call them as i do, bills plan and newt's plan. in bill's plan we give women childcare subsidies, help with
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transportation and then they can work their way up to full independent womanhood. in newt's plan, we make sure that we jail all the deadbeat dads, train people in abstinence education and by forcing women to work at low-wage jobs and realizing that they cannot afford to raise children on such jobs, they will ultimately learn if not this generation and by the next that the property chores [captions copyright -- the proper choice for women is to get married and stay married. what do these visions look like? what are the possibilities are realizing that? the group most directly targeted by the law -- there were 12
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million of them at the inception of welfare reform. there are approximately 5 million today. these people are desperately poor. they live under half under half of the federal standards for and you will of the federal standards for poverty and most have no income at all. the adults in this group are overwhelmingly women. 90%. this is no accident. it is no mere historical footnote. they are single parents and they are disproportionately nonwhite. these linkages are not coincidental. most single-parent families today are headed by women.
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single-parent families are disproportionately poor. nonwhite families are at greater risk for both poverty and single parenthood. now, what we see then in welfare reform is what has otherwise been called the feminization of poverty. poverty.cialization of the juvenilization of poverty. as sociologists, we know that this group of people are desperately poor not simply because of individual choices, but rather as a result of systematic structured inequalities. that make the poor women, children and disproportionally nonwhite.
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when we think about the structure of welfare, we can't think about it as the result of four largest factors. continuing discrimination of inequality as referenced to race. rising income inequalities. the widest gap between the rich and poor. then, significantly from my point of view, you can look at this population as the result of revolutionary changes in work and family life. what you see in work life is a dramatic decline in the number of people who are able to earn what was once called a breadwinning wage.
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a wage that is high enough to support a family. in family life, what you see is the number of women going out to work. that means the number of families where you must seek outside help for caregiving. this has also been connected to a rise in single parenting. that is the background. how am i doing? ok. as noted, the single-parent households are the walking representatives of not just inequality but massive change in work and family life. they are the poorest of all american citizens. when we think about the possibilities for these families, you should recognize that all women who are signal
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parents have a hard time managing. but this group also tends to be poorly educated, poorly trained, with employment backgrounds in only low skilled jobs. they are much more likely than the rest of the population to suffer from physical and mental health problems and many are the victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. all these factors combine to make it unlikely that these mothers will be able to raise their family out of poverty. 40% do not have high school diplomas. sunbelt city, 60% do not test above the eighth grade level. the educational testing institute, something with which most of you are familiar with, have reported that 70% of the
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people on the welfare role do not have the skill levels necessary to get the kinds of jobs that would support a family of three. what happens inside the welfare office? the single clearest message of the welfare office is the message of work. almost all of the efforts appear to be directed towards this. the first thing you see when you enter the waiting room is a large red banner. 12 feet long, three feet high reading, how many months do you have left? under the banner is a list of the jobs available in the area. waitress, data entry personnel, childcare, forklift operator.
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most cases, the wage rates are not listed. the message is clear. you must get a job. get it soon and accept whatever wages you get. this is not just encouragement to work. it is backed up by a series of stringent requirements. it is also backed up by a series of supportive services. all created by welfare reform. these include help with childcare, transportation, clothing and supplies, sometimes for rent and utility payments. all of this designed to help welfare mothers get head start against future hardship. all of the work requirements of welfare reform backed up by a set of rigid rules.
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clients have to sign a oath of personal responsibly for self-sufficiency. the first meeting with employment worker, they are given an intelligence test and are told to begin a job search that must commence immediately. they must also attend a series of job readiness and light skill classes where they are taught how to dress for interviews, how to appropriately refer to their employers, how to handle stress, managed childcare, how to speak proper english rather than street slang, and what kind of job would be best for them. they must also continue to meet with their employment counselor continuously. then, depending upon their situation, it will either go to a training program or a work placement. many of you are aware of this.
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the training programs looks like ged, computer skills, nursing assistant, helper, childcare and even a training course for aspiring guest room attendant. hotel maid. if the training programs did not get mothers into work fast enough, they were placed in a work care placement. sweeping streets, picking up trash. sorting trash. childcare work. bus drivers. kitchen help. you have a sense of the nature of these jobs. in all cases, they are unpaid, you are simply working for your welfare check. if you should fail, you will receive a sanction. this is important.
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about 20-30% of welfare clients are sanctioned at any given time. this is the primary way of punishing poor mothers for their failure to live up to the rules of welfare reform. the sanction rate is twice as high as it was prior to reform and being sanctioned as the harshest status of all. you lose your welfare benefits and at the same time you continue to lose your month towards your lifetime benefit amount. most of the welfare mothers i met came to fear being sanctioned. a very effective form of keeping them in line. overall, the message is a very powerful message. has it created self-sufficiency?
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i think many of you also know the answer to this. if you don't know, some examples clearly demonstrate the problems of low-wage work and the additional cost that comes with low-wage work often means that although you look like you have a higher level of income, in fact, you end up with more material hardship than when on welfare. this means inside the welfare office, often those women that are considered the success stories of welfare reform, women who are now off the rolls. how many of you are readers of the new york times? the primary way that way -- welfare success has been defined as the decline of the welfare
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roll. in many cases, the success stories of welfare reform would look little different than the failures. andrea makes $5.75 an hour. she has $50 a month to cover clothes, transportation, medical, childcare, laundry, appliances and cleaning supplies. this does not count cable-television and cigarettes. her kids don't have the proper shoes. her oldest wants a new outfit for the school year. they turned off her phone last
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month. she knows he cannot pay her rent this month. andrea is one of the success stories. she has continued to ask for the so-called traditional support that is offered by the welfare office in terms of transportation and childcare because she would otherwise need to leave for children at home alone. that support is time-limited. she is already greatly in debt. maria has five jobs. she keeps changing them in hopes of finding something better. something that will raise her above the poverty line. she has a housekeeping for a large corporation, she worked at burger king, talk about, giant food as a clerk, housekeeping in a local hotel.
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housekeeping still pays the best. she is making seven dollars an hour but she hates it. it is hard and dirty word. it is hard on her back. her coworkers slack off and she has to pick up the extra. she doesn't make enough to make ends meet but she can't quit because of the other jobs will pay as well. sandy, our last success story. had a good job. working at the salvation army. she was especially happy to be working at the salvation army because it gave her a sense that she was helping disadvantaged people like us out. she worked the night shift. her neighbor was taking care of her kids. she wasn't making enough to make it without continued help from the welfare office. she thought maybe she could get a raise. one of her brothers shot and
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killed the other brother. that meant one brother was dead and the other was on his way to prison. she fell apart emotionally. she lost her job. and disappeared. no one at the welfare office knows where she is, but she is off the welfare roll. the problem and is not getting a job, it is finding a job that pays enough to bring the family out of poverty and that is flexible enough to manage the contingencies of raising kids. the odds of finding that job and keeping it if you are a woman with low skills and two kids to care for is not good. if this does not work out so well, maybe you could hope that welfare mothers will find themselves a good man who will pay the bills and help with the childcare. life could be better. it turns out that statistically
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speaking, finding a good man and marrying him is a really good way to get off welfare. what is the welfare office doing to promote this? you see little with family values at the welfare office. children are constant presence. caseworkers often play with them. try to calm those who are unhappy. the welfare office often look to me like a big family reunion without the men. where is the message of family in welfare reform? are you staying awake? ok.
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it is in the antiabortion bonus, the abstinence education program. the prosecution of statutory rapists. the provision of childcare funding and above all, the paternity and child support enforcement system meant to go after deadbeat dads. just briefly, the law offers a $10 million illegitimacy antiabortion bonus to the states that can bring down the number of children born without raising the abortion rate. you know that. it did not work out quite the way they hoped. nowhere in the law as did the slightest hint of funding for birth control. there is $50 million for the support of abstinence education
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programs across the nation to target those populations who are most at risk. it is meant to teach the social and psychological benefits of abstinence. the law offers funding for programs that enforce and promote the enforcement of statutory rape laws. it refers to the problem of young women that need to be protected against predatory older men. then the law brings with it some good news. what looks like good news. a massive influx of child care dollars. this is good news. there is no question that women
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who are trying to manage on low-wage jobs need the help in childcare funding. the problem is that less than one third of welfare families nationwide actually get help and less than 1/7 of the low income families were technically eligible for federal childcare subsidies are actually receiving them. this is because the federal government keeps running out of money. in fact, as it turns out, this is not a big surprise because it is about twice as expensive to subsidize the childcare for welfare mothers as it is to simply give them their welfare check. hence, most welfare mothers don't get the subsidies. i would love to tell you about the family cap but we don't have time for that.
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the paternity requirements of the child support system. here is the one place on the surface that we see men in the law. the personal responsibility act. it seemed sensible on the surface that those fathers failing to pay child support for their children and their children end up definitely poor, makes some sense they should be helping. they are themselves poor men. large numbers of poor fathers are now in jail in prison for their -- many low income men now owe 10-40,000 dollars in child support and the annual incomes are $6,000 a year.
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they are paid to pay that back -- their failure to pay that means they are in prison. the child support enforcement system for many low income people has meant that more and more men simply going to hiding to escape the child enforcement authorities. this is not because they are bad men, it is because they can make no income if they are jailed. so, for many low income women, they recognize this and are reluctant to follow through on child support enforcement. according to the personal responsibility act, if they do not, they will be sanctioned off the welfare rolls. and there are women afraid to comply. we will leave that aside.
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the attempt to create a sustainable life through the rules and regulations of the welfare office so far have not been highly successful. actually, just a couple of days ago, there was a debate on npr with a conservative from the family relations council who believed that the real solution was the continued marriage promotion effort that are now working their way through the u.s. senate. the idea that marriage would be more systematically promoted within the welfare office is a solution that you can think about yourself. overall, the result of welfare reform thus far has been discouraging for those of us who
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were hoping that it might actually help low income families. what we have seen with the decline of the welfare rolls is that two thirds of mothers no longer on welfare are nonetheless still living in poverty with their children. large numbers of former welfare recipients have simply this disappeared off the radar screen. no one can track their fate. they really end up in those national statistical renderings. they do seem to show up in national studies on cities and states across the nation that are now going to the federal government begging for more money because their homeless populations and their hungry populations continue to grow at an alarming rate.
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so, if you look at the reality of welfare reform, over time i suggest that although it will creep up on us slowly, we will see in the long run is increasing rates of homelessness, poverty, hunger, and ever greater -- an ever grading strain -- greater strain on the working poor, increased children in foster care, on the streets or living in substandard living conditions. higher crime rates. drug abuse. more prostitution. rising numbers of people in mental hospitals and prisons. all of this will be trackable over the next 10 years.
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arbordale caseworkers already noted the rise of foster care children. mothers not able to support their children simply give them to the foster care system. in sunbelt city, the clients report to make rising rates of hunger, drug abuse, prostitution and crime among former welfare mothers. what does this tell us about the possibilities for creating real solutions to problems in work and family life today? to the extent that well for -- welfare reform offers a vision of full gender equality for the promise of women independent from both men and miserly employers has been a dismal failure.
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i think of the promise of women independent and women citizenship that my mother who i grew up with, that middle-class women had seen in a lifetime that young college women now expect. the real possibilities of women independence for middle-class women have in some ways come with the cost of the difficulties of women independence for the poor. in thinking about what real solutions -- to think about what welfare mothers themselves told me, on the one hand the welfare
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recipients i met longed to be full-fledged members of the public sphere. they want to work, they want to achieve self-sufficiency. they want to achieve what ph marshall called social citizenship. they regularly interpret the cultural message of welfare reform as the possibility that women could be independent and self-sufficient. it is a message that includes women independence not just from a welfare check it also from women independence from men. at the same time though, most of them also offer a second side to their dreams of a future. they long to be in two parent
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middle-class families. many of them have children to create the families of the dreams. the notion of being independent from them is not the same as being separated. it means that they want to be able to survive -- it simply means they want to be able to survive on their own terms. the kind of struggle that is embedded in these two visions is a struggle that is faced by many americans today. >> now the final portion of our program marketing 20 anniversary of the iq 96 welfare law. -- of the 1996 welfare law. the speaker is ron haskins a brookings institution. he worked on the law as a congressional staffer. he discussed efforts to reduce poverty at a senate finance committee hearing.
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if you missed any portion of this program, you can watch it in its entirety on our website >> i included a figure in my testimony. it has two surprises. we made no progress is 1975. the poverty rate among the elderly is the most likely to be poor and is lower than for children. those are two exceptionally important facts. we need to buckle down and figure out what to do about poverty and concentrate on children. issue two, spending. between the state and federal government, we spend about a trillion dollars on these programs. this number has increased almost every year since 1965. the idea that we are not spending enough money is probably incorrect. we should be spending it -- it may not be focused on the poor.


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