Tuesday, July 17, 2012

US welfare reform loopholes

From The Washington Post and tagged "Big Government" (wouldn't it be great if we had a mainstream newspaper tagging stuff similarly?)

 [The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families bill] incentivized states to create welfare-to-work programs, trying to transition Americans from government dependency to financial solvency.

But states quickly acted to poke holes in that legislation, calling the following activities “work” for purposes of the statute: bed rest, personal care activities, massage, exercise, journaling, motivational reading, smoking cessation, weight loss promotion, participation in parent-teacher meetings, or helping friends or family with household tasks and errands.

This was idiotic. So in 2005, Congress closed the loophole, over the objections of then-Senator Obama.

Now, Obama has walked back the 2005 legislation, using his Department of Health and Human Services to unilaterally waive those work requirements.


S.Beast said...

And one of our biggest loopholes IMHO is accommodation supplement which was already spinning out of control when they increased the rates (2006??).

Now they are finally picking up on what is a mistake in the billions originally brought in to allow low income earners more freedom of choice in location (which sort of seemed like a good idea at the time but clearly it was lost in the implementation which included and still does include supplementing mortgages - why even start doing this??) http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7292687/Landlords-picking-on-the-poor

Can't see any easy way out of this now apart from throwing more money in to compete with the housing already subsidised. Whatever it is they decide to do it will have to be an equally hair brained idea involving millions of dollars each year.

JC said...

"A lesson in irony
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has stated it is actually proud of the fact it is distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever in its history.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." The Park Service has stated that the reason for the policy is because the animals will grow increasingly dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."

S. Beast said...

Nice find JC

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Federal goal to get people dependent is open. Dreadful.

"One in seven Americans are on food stamps, but the government is pushing to enroll more — in many instances working to overcome Americans’ “pride,” self-reliance or failure to see a need."