Checking Romney’s Claim that Obama Wants to ‘Gut Welfare Reform’

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In a new ad released Tuesday, Mitt Romney charges that the Obama Administration has returned to “plain old welfare” by dropping work requirements passed in 1996 under Bill Clinton. The ad focuses on a July 12 directive from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which informed states that it will issue waivers for those requirements if states can propose alternatives for helping poor Americans find jobs.  

As I’ve written before, Romney in 2005 signed a letter advocating for “increased waiver authority” and “allowable work activities” for the states. The ad doesn’t go into specifics about why Romney is now against similar waivers, but his official campaign website features an op-ed by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell from Monday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch, which provides more detail.

(PHOTOS: The Rich History of Mitt Romney)

McDonnell argues that welfare isn’t broken, and doesn’t need fixing. TANF has succeeded in three key ways, he writes: it has reduced caseloads, decreased the poverty rate among children, and increased the percentage of single mothers with jobs.  Let’s take a look at these three claims.

1. Caseloads have dramatically decreased, but mostly because TANF assistance programs serve a far smaller share of the poor than the previous program that President Clinton scrapped in 1996. The national TANF caseload declined 58% between 1995 and 2010, from 4.7 million to 2.0 million, but the number of families with children in poverty increased from 6.2 million to 7.3 million.

2. The U.S. child poverty rate has ranged between 15% and 23% over the past four decades.  It decreased markedly between1996 and 2000 (thanks as much to a booming economy as to TANF), but has since increased, reaching 21.6% by 2010, its highest point in 10 years. A May UNICEF study found that the U.S.’s child poverty rate is currently the second highest among 35 of the most economically advanced countries.

3. The percentage of single mothers with a job has increased, but this is largely a result of the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit under Clinton, not TANF.

So McDonnell is taking these numbers out of context.  One might expect Republicans to embrace changes to TANF, as the waivers make federal requirements more flexible–states being “laboratories of democracy” and all that.  But in an election year, the opportunity to criticize a political opponent is hard to pass up.

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, July 27 – Aug. 3)

26 comments
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TheGorf
TheGorf

What in the world is happening to the GOP?  They hven't nominated a viable candidate for a very long time.  (McCain eliminated himself when he picked Palin, I think.)  The recent group chasing the GOP nomination was really -- really, really -- pathetic.  Romney was by default the "winner" by virtue of being the lesser loser.  And now another whacko! I'm not entirely satisfied with Obama/Biden, but I certainly am entirely terrified of Romney/Ryan.

michael
michael

my friend's

sister-in-law makes $87 hourly on the laptop. She has been without work

for 5 months but last month her income was $13412 just working on the

laptop for a few hours. Here's the site to read more

http://LazyCash49.com

MACV
MACV

"This is a man without a core, a man without substance, a man that will say anything to become president of the United States." ~ Rudy Giuliani uttered these words about Romney

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

I think Romney was probably referring to Obama's plan to discontinue subsidies to big oil when he accused the president of trying to "gut welfare reform."

David Wimmer
David Wimmer

hey maybe as it would lead to immediate jumps in oil prices hurting low income and middle income families hardest

Samuel Dijk
Samuel Dijk

Time Mag, still "ho'ing for Obama.  Yes, Obama is getting rid of the work requirements, and it doing it in his usual extra-legal ways.  (I.e, waiving a requirement that under law cannot be waived.)

To see a more balanced description of what his administration is doing, read the following: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/...

Richard Giles
Richard Giles

This is an obvious and desperate appeal by Romney to the Tea Partiers and Red Necks who constantly complain, feeding their ego and their "more for me" mentality, that the government gives too much to the poor.  The reality is that the middle-class looses far more when the government, the "puppet" politicians, cater to "the money, feeding their insatiable "more" (never enough) appetite while taking the majority for granted (as current conditions substantiate).  Responsible aid programs that give the poor a "leg up" and help them to become productive and move up the economic ladder, benefits all of society ... while Bush-Cheney proved beyond any doubt that the "trickle down" theory is a total fraud aimed to just make the wealthy wealthier and solicit political support, while costing the country and the majority.  Obama and the Democrats are really not perfect but they also are not owned and controlled by "the money" and rather are dependent on the people for their support and power, which dictates they have to represent the people (not just "the money" who support and dictate to the Republicans).  

Kevin Groenhagen
Kevin Groenhagen

The Obama Myrmidons at Time are working overtime today.

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

Kevin,

It doesn't take much.  Mitt Romney is the candidate who keeps giving and giving.  He lied about Santorum.  He lied about Gingich.  So it is normal for Mitt to take what others do out of context and run with it.

Steve0T
Steve0T

 Someone's a little nervous... It's only August, sport.

filmnoia
filmnoia

Willard and his campaign are in panic mode, with 3 months to go. Their internal polling must really be bad.

They are cynically backing on the stupidity of the electorate combined with voter suppression to pull it out.

As of now , this isn't a campaign of confidence.

cin
cin

Your tirades are old and weak. Provide sources to refute the (well-sourced) claims in the article or STFU already.

pc1397
pc1397

He's got nothing. Nothing.

Austinite
Austinite

Why provide actual facts, when you can just insult? 

That'd be... that'd be... rational!!  I mean, do you really expect Kevin to be rational?!?!???

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

If your candidate would stop lying on a daily basis, the coverage wouldn't end up seeming so skewed.

pneogy
pneogy

The Republican campaign to obfuscate, mislead, and deprive votes to minorities and the poor is born of necessity.  How else can you cater to the 1% and still claim more than 50% of the vote?

filmnoia
filmnoia

If my lifetime , there has never been a more cynical,  over the top liar as Willard running for POTUS. The last two days, with the welfare and Ohio voting stories ,only underscores something the press knows and the American voting public daily is figuring out. This is one loathsome specimen of  humanity.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

Of the 46 million people living in poverty in America in

2010, the U.S. census revealed that 31 million were white. Ten million

were black. Of the 49 million people without health insurance coverage,

37 million were white; 8 million were African American. Latinos of every

race and Asian Americans represented the remaining largest ethnic

groups.White Americans, poor and middle-class alike, receive the

vast majority of tax-funded government assistance programs, from monthly

assistance to Social Security to food stamps.One last fact: In December 2009, the New York Times published a series of

related articles showing that poor whites across Appalachia and the

Mississippi Delta and through the Midwest, Deep South and Texas

borderlands were the highest percentage of Americans relying on the SNAP

(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), or food stamp, program.

Despite this new line of attack from the Romney camp, the most glaring issue is Romney's tax returns, and his lack f provision of returns for multiple years .

 I think every patriot should demand that Romney adhere to the moral mandate created for all candidates running for the office of President of the United States of America, and release multiple tax returns. He should release at least as many as Obama has released. 

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

Kevin Groenhagen
Kevin Groenhagen

 Of course, if you're not that bright, you might just buy these two dishonest articles by Time.

Now how about that Obama PAC ad that blames Romney for the death of a woman? I'm sure that you and other pea brains on the left believe every word of that one.

jsfox
jsfox

Problem Kevin they aren't dishonest. And they fact that you think they are speaks more to your epistemic closure than anything else.

filmnoia
filmnoia

Listen we know that you hate Willard like  everyone else - no one likes the guy , except for probably a senile turkey like Sununu - you just have a case of Obama derangement syndrome.

It will be another rough 4 years for little Mr. Tough Guy.

pollardty
pollardty

It would save time if you just used "Republicans Dishonest Again" for every headline.

Chas Holman
Chas Holman

Leave it to the Governor to not be able to distinguish 'culture of dependency' from 'making sure our own are taken care of in bad economic times'.

People want jobs, where are the jobs? We gave a 'temporary' tax break to the top 5% that has cost us over a trillion dollars in since these 'temporary' tax cuts were enacted. At the time President Bush said we needed to stimulate a flailing economy and these temporary measures would be in our best interests because they would create JOBS. The rich only create jobs if we give them more money they told us. Where are the jobs?

Congress, not the President has the power to actually influence such things legislatively, where is Congress?

WELFARE REFORM should be the LAST THING on Governor Romneys mind right now, we have far more serious issues.. this President didn't  create some entire culture in his 3 and a half years.. what a bunch of hogwash.

--

The GOP CAN'T continue to go around giddy about low jobs/employment reports, then complaining about a culture of dependency.. that is kid stuff.. where are the jobs, what is the plan for the jobs Mr Romney.. stop picking on the down and out to make yourself seem bigger.