12.4-12.6 - American Politics and Social Welfare Policy...

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American Politics and Social Welfare Policy 12.4-12.6 The 1990s Changes in politics – such as rise in interest groups and budget deficits – fashion 1990s environment for reform People on the left, like Wilson, didn’t like AFDC b/c policies tended to be divisive without drawing much support; also, they didn’t address key, underlying problems of unemployment PRWORA (1996): Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 welfare reform For the most part, PRWORA enacted things that welfare reformers had been advocating for years; in other words, there were not a lot of ‘new ideas’ in the bill - Devolution o AFDC (1962) TANF o Shift from matching funds to block grants AFDC had been in entitlement area b/c of automatic appropriation for whatever states spent; now, with block grants, the USFG gives states a fixed amount of money that it not linked to #s of welfare but is instead a general grant for welfare (“be careful how you spend it, b/c you aren’t getting any more [for the year]”) Under AFDC, states only bore a small cost for adding a welfare recipient, since the USFG would pick up some % of the cost; with TANF system, states have greater incentive to keep people off welfare Also, AFDC had a rule saying everyone who qualifies for welfare must receive benefits (recall that w/ Mother’s Pensions, if states had spent all money for welfare, they could tell people ‘Sorry, we don’t have any money and can’t pay you.’ This was not permitted under AFDC, and was removed under TANF Old AFDC replaced by system of ‘We’ll give you a chunk of money, and you can run programs as you want.’ - Work o States had to show that, over time, some % of welfare population was moving to work - Time limits (2 years/5 years) o five year lifetime limit on TANF receipt no one shall receive TANF for more than 5 years of life o two year continuous benefit limit
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can’t receive TANF for more than two years straight The only thing that’s really knew in PRWORA is time limits , considering vocational rehabilitation debate from 1960s Why, then, in 1996 did these ideas come to fruition? And why did these concepts form welfare reform? Why, above all was it Bill Clinton who presided over transformation of one of the core social policy programs of the New Deal? One plausible interpretation is that it comes out of same poor law/deserving-undeserving script from the past; is it really a transformation, or more of the same? Clinton Presidency
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course POLS American P taught by Professor Lieberman during the Spring '08 term at Columbia.

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12.4-12.6 - American Politics and Social Welfare Policy...

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