The 1996 welfare reform bill changed the nature of welfare in this country. The new system created work requirements (hence why it is often referred to as "workfare") rather than merely delivering benefits without any sort of expectations of effort by the recipient to get off the dole.
Unfortunately, since then, state implementation of work requirements has backslid. Few state fully enforce the rules.
A recent TV interview gives me hope that the movement for welfare reform is again alive and well. On Wednesday, January 7, Rep. Jim Jordan of Oklahoma discussed the issue of welfare reform with Chris Cuomo on CNN.
Jordan made the case that further changes are necessary in order to incentivize people to get back to work instead of simply collecting benefits without reentering the workforce. As The Daily Caller reports, Jordan says he wants Congress and the president to take up the issue.
“We’ve talked to the president actually about welfare reform, and he supports the idea of reforming our food stamp program, reforming welfare programs,” Jordan told Cuomo.
Reform is this: incentivize work. If you’re an able-bodied adult, you should have to do something to get taxpayer money. That’s an issue that Democrats support, Republicans support, Independents support. Let’s get that done. That will save money in the long run. More importantly, it will help people who are trapped in our welfare system get to a better position in life. Which is what we all should be for.
We need to incentivize people so that they want to get out of welfare, off of this dependency cycle, out of this on dependency cycle and to a better position in life. I think that is good for taxpayers, I think that is good for our budget. Most importantly, I think it’s good for human beings who are stuck in the system.
Jordan said has spoken to the president on this issue, and if a solid proposal can be created that will reduce the dependency cycle, the president is willing to sign it. The time may be ripe for another major reform package, just like in 1996.
Reform must be done in a way that does not hurt poor people, no one should question that. For those who seriously need some sort of aid, they should be able to get something as a carryover; however, that same temporary support system cannot create a cycle that ends up disincentivizing job searches.
We may have a good opportunity to do this in 2018; if it manifests, I'm going to call on my representatives to support such an important change. Will you?