When President Obama signed his massive spending bill into law yesterday, many of the provisions of the 1990s welfare reform were chipped away, says Cato Senior Fellow Michael D. Tanner in today's Cato Daily Podcast. Parts of the new law actually offer states incentives to add people to their welfare rolls, Tanner says.
They didn’t repealed the ’96 act, but what they have done is chip away at the foundations and the very idea that you’re supposed to hold down your rolls rather than increase them, particularly when you take this into the context of all the other welfare spending....There really is a surprising increase in the welfare state in this bill.
In a New York Post op-ed, Tanner expands on the welfare-friendly provisions of the stimulus plan:
This is radical change. States that succeed in getting people off welfare would lose the opportunity for increased federal funding. And states that make it easier to stay on welfare (by, say, raising the time limit from two years to five) would get rewarded with more taxpayer cash. The bill would even let states with rising welfare rolls still collect their "case-load reduction" bonuses.
In short, the measure will erode all the barriers to long-term welfare dependency that were at the heart of the 1996 reform.