First of all, I'm genuinely glad to see Paul Ryan talking at length about poverty, as he did in a speech yesterday. I'm guessing that makes him second only to John Edwards in terms of how much verbage a recent presidential candidate has given the issue.
This week marks the 15th
anniversary of welfare reform, in which a Republican Congress and a
re-election-focused Democratic president got together to fulfill the latter's
promise to "end welfare as we know it."
A rising economic tide lifts everybody’s financial boat. Well, almost everybody’s. Thanks to the country’s unprecedented economic expansion, the great majority of Americans are better off financially than they were several years ago. Not only are the rich getting richer, but the middle classes too have seen a surge in income and wealth. The economic boom has even helped low-income families.
With his astonishing mix of blarney and brilliance, personal empathy and political calculation, Bill Clinton could have walked off the pages of a southern novel. The revivalist language of repentance and redemption is second nature to him, but so too are the practices of “war room” politics.
Funding for the 1996 law that changed welfare had an expiration date of September 30, 2002. So last year, Congress had an opportunity to renew and revise the system. The House and Senate disagreed, however, about funding amounts and changes for the system.
Six years after Bill Clinton signed into law a controversial bill ending “welfare as we know it,” Congress is debating how to extend or revise the welfare program. Funding guidelines must be reauthorized by October 1.