Welfare Warfare, Fought in Shallow Waters

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Republican National Committee / YouTube

Stills from the Romney campaign's ad on welfare reform

This morning the Republican National Committee held a conference call with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum to continue the GOP assault on Barack Obama over welfare. Republicans and the Romney campaign are driving their charge that the Obama Administration is gutting the strict work requirements imposed by the 1996 welfare reform law, passed by the Gingrich-Dole Congress and signed by Bill Clinton.

The Romney campaign’s ad on this subject is—are you sitting down?—quite misleading. “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check,” the ad asserts. But there is no Obama “plan,” just a willingness to entertain requests from states looking for some leeway to tinker with their federally funded welfare programs. Washington sends welfare money to states, giving them freedom to design their own programs so long as they meet certain specific requirements, including what welfare recipients need to do to demonstrate their efforts to get a job and limits on how long they can stay on the dole. A couple of states recently asked the Obama Administration for waivers from the law’s requirements, and the Administration said it would consider their proposals. That’s the “plan,” although many viewers of the ad will likely imagine that Obama has taken a red pen to the ’96 law and rewritten it to blast taxpayer money into every housing project in the country.

Are there plenty of Democrats who hated the original reform, blame it for contributing to–or at least failing to blunt–a spike in poverty, and who would love to gut what they consider to be punitive the work requirements? Yes. I doubt that Barack Obama is one of them, however—not least because he surely understands how dangerous the politics of welfare can be for his party. Welfare, which many white voters unfortunately hear as “handouts for lazy inner city blacks,” goes straight to the alienation of the white working class that runs back to the 1960s, desegregation, forced school busing, crime, and so on.

Still, welfare does involve some basic and crucial principles, including the inherent value of work, how to break a tragic cycle of poverty and dependency, and how to reduce that notorious driver of poverty and dysfunction, low-income single motherhood.

To his credit, Santorum–a prime author of the ’96 law–emphasized those cultural-behavioral questions, not the crude budget math and redistribution demagoguery that some welfare critics harp on. Still, he mostly repeated the ad’s exaggerations and talked almost as though Obama had invalidated the law. Santorum also refused to address a burning question for Obama’s critics, namely whether work requirements crafted in the tranquil mid-1990s make sense at the height of an epic employment crisis.

National media tends to focus on the Great Recession’s impact on white middle-class workers: Steel Belt assembly line grunts, office park middle managers, paralegals. That’s just a slice of the picture. The crisis is far more severe among low-educated black and Hispanic workers, who in some urban areas face unemployment rates approaching a stunning 25%. The principle of pushing people into work isn’t necessarily callous or spiteful. But work requirements get harder to defend when work is nearly impossible to find. Santorum simply wouldn’t address that conundrum. Neither has Romney—nor, really, has Obama. A meaningful campaign ought to.

62 comments
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carolerae
carolerae

The GOP is running out of White people amp; hate Browns of any kind.  Up a Creek with a person running for Pres. who as a Mormon because of their History should stay away from White Resentment Politics.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

I would be happy to support Rick Santorum if he took all his kids off the education dole, moved to a low rent apartment, and signed up for a welfare Cadillac.  Go for it Rick.  Just STFU.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

You've got it. He was on the dole since he was my Senator and we are so glad to have him gone.

Luca
Luca

change the mindset set for Monday. :)))

Luca
Luca

the drug addicts have a lot of hate inside them ,make them break things . 

the prisoners have a lot of anger inside, make them make electricity.

normal people are feeling left aside and week, make them look for something , reword when they find.

people are sick and tired of playin` the same game. thay have reached another level.change! make money out of something else instead of oil, gas ,drugs and prostitution. it is hard but it can be done. 

laziness is over. stimulate! 

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

This effort to create an image on some Black welfare queen and tie it to Obama is outrageous. Campaigning and demonizing the poor is even worse.

Despite the fact that there are MILLIONS more white folks on welfare, for some reason, the image of the welfare queen as some Black single woman still feverishly lingers in the minds of many folks.

Even without racial undertones, this effort to demonize poor folks is absurd and should be discouraged.  Poor people should not be used as fodder for electoral politicking and misinformation. 

Here are the facts. Fifty Seven percent (57%)  of rural poor children are white and 44 percent of all urban poor children are white.  Rural white poverty is more systemic than urban

poverty. Poor whites are more likely to lack basic education levels and

remain in poverty for generations.

In the U.S census in 2010 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. 

TANF  (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), the program

that provides aid to single mothers, is the most well-known welfare

program, but the truth is that Social Security and Medicare are also

social welfare services, funded by tax dollars. To that end, nearly SEVENTY PERCENT of all benefits of these programs go to poor White people.  In addition, 

because African Americans have lower life expectancy, many work and pay

into the Social Security and Medicare programs through their tax

dollars, only to have white Americans, who have a longer life

expectancy, benefit from the income they’ve left behind.

In December 2009, the New York Times published a series of related articles showing that 36 million Americans relied on food stamps. More than 24

million of them were White, 8 million were African American and 6

million were Hispanic of any race.,

It is sad that many people see poverty as a Black problem, and in stoking that racial misinformation, and encouraging the anti-help sentiment against the poor, the people that suffer are Millions and Millions of poor Whites and their children.

Elections should not be run on demonizing the most vulnerable in our society. Romney ought to be ashamed of himself because the taxes he would have paid if he did not use all the one gazillion tax shelters that he did, could have been used to help the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

 It is immoral to run an election on how much you can destroy poor folks lives through a campaign of misinformation and fear.

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

So Republicans are now against states' rights? And they now believe that a "one size fits all" solution is the best? And that the federal government is a better arbiter of what works and what doesn't than state governments?

Good to know.

Pnnto
Pnnto

Any reports of whether the republican governors of Nevada and Utah feel they are offering cushy welfare benefits?

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

Well, gosh, obviously they're just a bunch of socialists over there!

HighCheef
HighCheef

Hate to be the one to bring up the race issue but Crowley addresses it here:

Welfare, which many white voters unfortunately hear as “handouts for lazy inner city blacks,”

I think thats the real purpose of this ad. Have you watched it? It shows many hard -working whites, toiling at their jobs, wiping sweat of their brows, etc...but not a single minority. Hmm, I wonder who wouldn't have to work and who the first Blk President wants to have sitting around collecting gov't checks. So not only do we have a dishonest attack ad but one that also allows Romney to be shown as looking out for hard working white people (Palin's "Real Americans" as it were). Heck everyone that he praises in the ad from Pres Clinton, to the Congressional leadership that passed TANF is white.

Guess that whole "Mark of Cain" thing is pretty deep seated for Willard. Shameful...

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

Romney has had tax-cut welfare from the govt. his whole life.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Of course it was better to be on welfare in MA when Mitt was gov, just as it was better to get sick.

One of several responses Obama's campaign issued throughout the day came from spokeswoman Lis Smith:

"Mitt Romney continues to make statements that he knows are both untrue and hypocritical. The Obama administration, working with the Republican governors of states like Nevada and Utah, is giving states additional flexibility only if they move more people from welfare to work — not fewer. But as governor, Mitt Romney petitioned the federal government for waivers that would have let people stay on welfare for an indefinite period, ending welfare reform as we know it, and even created a program that handed out free cars to welfare recipients. These false and extremely hypocritical attacks demonstrate how Mitt Romney lacks the core strength and principles the nation needs in a President."

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsal...

Pnnto
Pnnto

The amusing part is that Willard thinks this puts BHO on the defensive, all it does is add ammo to the "He'll say anything to get elected" meme that continues to grow.

As was mentioned yetserday-Taking every position on every topic has its drawbacks.

ARTraveler
ARTraveler

The obvious answer is for HHS to recind the letters in a formal letter that states that apparently there is an issue in the Republican Party over states rights and until the party decides what it's position is, they must fall the existing rules to the letter and to assure that, they will be audited next week.  If they would like to re-apply, the letter must be signed by Mittens and whoever is the GOTP spokesperson that hour since they can't seen to find a position and stay with it (like Mittens).

COfoEVA
COfoEVA

Logic and facts are a detriment to the republican/TP agenda.  Reality is bad, lies are good.  The people pulling the strings know the reality; that they can set up a system to hold the poor down with no possibilities of advancement while they claim all power and permanently assert their places as the upper ruling class.

This is not the first time in US history this has happened, and each time the poor and middle class rise up to meet the rich lords and blood is shed.  This has not happened since the 19th century.  Do the republicans realize what they are leading the nation up to?  Do they want people to die?

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Charlie Pierce outlines what has happened since the DLC welfare reform triumph.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/p...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

The triumph of DLC neoliberalism was not an entirely good thing. It won some elections, but it also, arguably, was the ultimate source of the paralysis that overtook the party in the face of the depredations of the Bush Administration, and that persists today in the notion that we should "look forward and not back" at those depredations, many of which are ongoing.

Too mild from Pierce: the triumph of DLC neoliberalism has been the death of the Democratic party as an alternative to Reaganism.  In other words, while we sit here and type back and forth about the upcoming election, the plutocrats who run this country don't have a thing to worry about.  They're going to win either way.  Again.  And the rest of us will lose, again.

~

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

True, but until there is a safe liberal majority on the Supreme Court, I can't vote for anyone other than a Democrat for President and must vote. Any President is gone in eight years at the most. A court appointment could affect the country for thirty years. Mitt said he favors someone in the mold of Robert Bork.

The real problem with the corporatist SCOTUS decisions on elections is that while they made view Romney as cannon fodder, they are spending a lot of money on down ticket races so the congress will be even more rightist.

Pnnto
Pnnto

"It's not enough for me"

Which leaves you where come November? Sitting the election out? 

Not asking in a snarky way, just curious if given the reality that either corportist BHO with a republican House and perhaps Senate or Willard with the same would have the same effect in your estimation. 

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Obama hasn't appointed anyone that will fall into the Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alieto gang. If Romney is elected, that cabal will rule for the next thirty years.

I think Obama was utterly wrong by agreeing to not prosecute the Bush-Cheney gang, but just look at the Fast and Furious drama. Do you really think that he could have gotten anything at all done in his first term if he had said he was going after those criminals.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

Something like a Democratic President successfully leading the fight to cut Social Security has lasting effects, too. 

(As well as adopting the radical Bush-Cheney USA PATRIOT Act, protecting both the banksters and the Bush-Cheney criminals from prosecution, etc.)

The Supreme Court is the last arrow in the quiver for arguing to vote for the cynical Dem corporatists.  It's not enough for me: 1) We're losing most of these decisions 5-4 anyways, and 2) it's not like Obama is appointing liberals anyways.

~

apr2563
apr2563

The Republicans are at the point in their campaign that is inevitable since the days of Richard Nixon.

1.  Racial dog whistles:  welfare queens, lazy, unwilling to work

2.  Trickle down economics:  never works

3.  Weak foriegn policy:  led by the chickenhawk, war promoters, he neo-cons

4.  Destroy the military infrastructure:  led by the "miliary-industrial complex"

5.  Unions must be denied influence:  influence is only legitimate if used by the wealthy

6.  Voter fraud:   thanks to John Fund and Rep Governors the myth is strengthened

7.  Godlessness:  brought to us by the most corrupt evangelicals and their hypocritical supporters

8.  Unpatriotic:  only right wingers are patriotic

9.  The Other:  The Dems and followers not like us

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.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.

According to the New York Times,

36 million Americans relied on food stamps. More than 24 million of

them were white, 8 million were African American and 6 million were

Hispanic of any race.

While we wait for Romney to explain his reason for ignoring the moral mandate that compels him to release multiple tax returns. We might as well get some facts out there. 

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

Rafael Kafka
Rafael Kafka

The proportion of african-americans on welfare is far bigger. That's what matters and they should be protected with work requirements that can make them independent.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

The U.S. census and other scholarly studies and reports show that in 2009-10, Fifty seven percent of rural poor children were white and 44 percent of all urban poor children were white. High poverty rates for poor and

working-class whites have worsened since the 2008 economic crisis. Rural white poverty was already more systemic than urban poverty.

Poor white people are more likely to lack basic education levels and remain in poverty FOR GENERATIONS

Government reports to date confirm that white Americans, poor and middle-class alike, receive the overwhelming majority of tax-funded government assistance programs, from monthly assistance to Social Security to food stamps. Check the TANF site for more info.

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

 hey ive got a question for you, are the same "lawyer" guy that posts on mangaminx videos on youtube?

apr2563
apr2563

Thanks for sharing the stats.

worleyeoe
worleyeoe

And the Democrats are no better regarding their campaign, to which Obama has a skinny record in terms of the economy to run on. And BTW, I don't see Obama closing the budget gap anytime soon, and I'll take spending cuts over tax increases any day. Obama couldn't figure out how to cut spending even if someone took away his checkbook. If you think unions have less influence than the wealthy, then you're sorely misinformed. Finally, the liberal, Democrat party is just peachy perfect and will cure all of America's problems through the great power of PPACA, so long as we keep raising taxes like the French to a stratospheric 75%. Yea! I can't wait.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

 In a shrinking economy, there is little rationale for spending cuts without a stimulus. The European countries that embraced austerity and cuts are paying a high price for it. Among our Western contemporaries, we are doing much better because of the STEPS OBAMA TOOK AFTER INHERITING THAT HORRIFIC RECESSION that almost destroyed the very fabric of American life.

Even Romney is on record as stating that those stark cuts proposed by certain Republicans, if implemented would thrust the company back into a recession.

The polarization of this election is mind boggling. Both sides appear to support positions that they do not even understand.

Anyway, Romney should not be elected. Obama has to finish the work he started.  Anyone who thought that the almost terminal damage created under G.W. would be reversed in one term, was being unrealistic.

Why would I want to vote for Romney? I am a Conservative but more importantly I am a patriot and love America!  So I will not be supporting a candidate whose record shows that the claims he makes that his venture capitalist background make him a job creator, failed in MA.  We have the scars from his governance in MA.

And now, with his shirking from the expected and moral position on Tax returns, the candidate Romney looks even worse.

Blindly supporting a candidate who has a poor record, and who is running on the "elect me because I am not Obama, even though I have no clear plans for you" is not only unpatriotic, it is completely inane!!

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

      

 

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

 well...

my taxes last year (keep in mind im a 17 year old girl) amounted to about 59% of my total income. and i have a tax-professional do it for me.

my neighbor, who has lived in a house his parents bought him at 15, paid about 16% of his total income on taxes and he makes quintuple the amount i do. his parents are wealthy and together have an income of 1,200,000 USD per year (thats combined with work+stocks)

does that seem FAIR to you?

i dont even make enough to pay for an apartment  and my taxes eat up nearly 60% of my income. 

if you republicals get into office i dont think ill make ANY money, my taxes will consume 99% of my income while my rich neighbors taxes will consume a mere 1% of his.

learn to listen kid;

the poorer you are the more taxes you pay.

the richer you are the less taxes you pay.

does that SEEM FAIR to you?

highest class = no money spent on taxes

high class = little spent on taxes

middle-high class = some money spent on taxes

middle-middle class = money spent on taxes

middle-low class = more money spent on taxes

low-high class = even more money spent on taxes

low-middle class = most of your money spent on taxes

low-low class = poverty

under your republical ideas it would be

highest class = no money spent on taxes

high class = no money spent on taxes

middle class (as a whole) most of your money spent on taxes

low class (as a whole) most of your money spent on taxes

is that fair? DOES THAT SEEM FAIR TO YOU?

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

@worleyeoe:disqus

ouch kid. ever learn of informal writing in school? no, i doubt you have. im taking a lesson from your messiah, romney, and using his own tactics. to be taken seriously you have to PRETEND to know what youre talking about and hyperbole and lie.

lies are fun. especially when they get peoples attention.

The top 1% (income > $380k) pay ~ 38% of all taxes.

The top 5% pay 59% of all taxes.

The top 10% pay 71% of all taxes.

The top 25% pay 87% of all taxes.

The top 50% pay 98% of all taxes.no. that doesnt seem fair.i dont give a rats bullion about the hard amount people pay - i care about the percentage people pay. since THATS the problem. the rich should pay the same percent in taxes that everyone else does. a flat rate would be amazing to start with. 20%~30%. then skew that towards the lower class with tax breaks at decreasing intervals. how it is now, theres a massive skew towards the higher classes and THAT is wrong.

edit;

OH! and before i forget; even your little tax thing is skewed to the high class. why not break it down further and give us the amount by income bracket? what you posted is incredibly misleading. youre taking lessons from romney too, arent you?

worleyeoe
worleyeoe

Um, Dawn, are you in the 3rd grade? To be taken seriously, one should at least "try" to use grammar, okay?

FYI - for individuals:

The top 1% (income > $380k) pay ~ 38% of all taxes.

The top 5% pay 59% of all taxes.

The top 10% pay 71% of all taxes.

The top 25% pay 87% of all taxes.

The top 50% pay 98% of all taxes.

I'll leave it to you to figure how much the bottom 50% pay in taxes. Does that seem fair? BTW - you might want to ask for a refund from your tax professional and take your business elsewhere.

We can both agree that significant tax reform would be a major platform if your's truly were running for president.

Take care and work on that grammar.

apr2563
apr2563

http://2012.talkingpointsmemo....

Gingrich Admits There’s ‘No Proof’ Yet To Welfare Attack

It is just based on what that Kenyan, socialist might do.  Dog whistles.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

Rats! Just when I was beginning to hope that I would never see the name "Gingrich" in print any more. The Great One continues to bloviate.

DAK27
DAK27

Yet some will still vote for Mitt just because he isn't Obama.  I know lots of people who aren't Obama, why not vote for one of them?  Let me ask a favor of all those who will vote for Mitt, a known liar, why are you voting for him?  Give me a reason to vote FOR Romney (and not this he isn't Obama fluff.  Tell me what there is about Mitt that makes you want to vote FOR him and not AGAINST Obama.)

Beholdthejabberwock
Beholdthejabberwock

I have a few family members who are right-leaning folks - not full-on conservatives, but certainly not liberal - and they claim they are voting for Romney because they trust a businessman more than a trust a "professional intellectual."

There are not affluent folks, mind you. These are middle-class people; pay-check-to-pay-check types. I can't help but read into their admiration: it's the worship of Mammon. They assume wealth = right.

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

 rather than that...

id assume its white = right.

thats the problem.

jmac
jmac

Are they the same the same people who thought Bush did a great job on the economy?  Some people still refer to it as "Bush's miracle economy" as Romney has Bush's budget director on his top five VP list.  

Pollopa
Pollopa

DAK -

I asked this same question REPEATEDLY a few weeks ago.  The daily rightwing posters here would not give any answer that wasn't anti-Obama.  Then just today I asked if there was going to be any positive campaigning by Romney. Anything that could be considered a positive ad explaining what he stood for.  Not one person again could give me an answer.  So I think the lack of response you will see here for your question is notable as there are no reasons to vote for Romney, and you're right the R's may as well have put up Joe the Plumber's crack.

Jardin J
Jardin J

His devilish good looks? 

The charming way he can fit both feet in his mouth?

Fantasies of him and several wives?

I'm sure there is something.

mcgeenate
mcgeenate

And the lies and liars continue to grow! Romney has made it abundantly clear he has no shame in so many different areas of his so called character and our media continues to ignore it because he is the republican nominee? Even if Romney has no shame what does that make our folk in the media? If FAUX brain dumb broadcasting continue to exist and pundits in the lame stream media continue reporting as if the lies were true where does that put our media?

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

Yeah... boo giving more power to the states.  Isn't that right Republicans?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

This was linked over at Eschaton this A.M. (it's from July, but still as relevant):

http://pressthink.org/2012/07/...

=> Suppose a major party candidate for president believed we were in a “post-truth” era and actually campaigned that way. Would political reporters in the mainstream press figure it out and tell us? I say no. They would not tell us. Not in any clear way.

...

I think there’s evidence that the Romney forces have figured much of this out. And so even though we have a political press that believes itself to be a savvy judge of campaign strategy, here is one that will probably go unnamed and un-described because (…and this may be the cleverest part) a post-truth campaign for president falls into the category of too big to tell.

Meaning: feels too partisan for the officially unaligned. Exposes the press to criticism in too clear a fashion. Messes with the “both sides do it”/we’re impartial narrative that political journalists have mastered: and deeply believe in. Romney will be fact checked, his campaign will push back from time to time, the fact checkers will argue among themselves, and the post-truth premise will sneak into common practice without penalty or recognition, even though there is nothing covert about it. # <=

~

Pnnto
Pnnto

Jay Rosen knows the press all to well.

Sadly none of what he describes is actually a new phenom.

jsfox
jsfox

However Santorum also said he had no proof beyond the imaginings of the rights' fevered brains that Obama was going weaken the work requirements. Just that he might do it. And Gingrich this AM also said, there is no proof, but he just knows he will.

So now we have two spokes people for the campaign basically saying there is no there there outside of  wild speculation to the claim about Obama gutting welfare.

LogicLoop
LogicLoop

 ohhh this reminds me of Steven T. Colbert's "not intended to be factually accurate hash tag. Totally on point for these guys comments.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

It's the same sort of fevered dream that sparked gun and ammo sales in 2008 because they all knew Obama was going to come house to house and take their guns. Since it didn't happen, now they know that it will happen if he gets re-elected and won't have to worry about the effect on his popularity.

bobell
bobell

Mitt Romney might draft the entire male population of the country to fight the Assad regime in Syria.

Hey, he's never said otherwise, and anything's possible.  Who knows? Barack Obama might even decide to weaken the work requriements of welfare reform.

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

Should we speculate? It would be irresponsible not to.

Pollopa
Pollopa

That aren't named Romney.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

And Rmoney might not have paid any significant Federal income taxes in the ten years prior to 2010, the return he made public.

~