Mitt Romney Is Right: Obama's Welfare Plan DOES Reward Laziness


welfareRepublican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took some heat for his ad that claimed that “President Obama quietly ended the work requirement -- gutting welfare reform.” It relates to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Information Memorandum sent out by the Department of Health and Human Services last month.

The policy directive uses shifty logic to end the federal requirement that welfare recipients work or prepare themselves to enter the workforce in order to receive TANF assistance. This stipulation was put in place in 1996 with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which was passed with bipartisan support from President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress.

The key component of that bill was getting people back to work, rather than just sitting around accepting welfare checks. Rewarding laziness is generally not a good idea when trying to get someone off his or her hiney to become a productive member of society. 

Obama’s White House ended the work requirement for welfare, effectively gutting the successful 16-year-old reform. Mitt Romney pointed it out. The media called him a liar. At least they refrained from calling him a racist ... this time. Only can a Democrat call a Republican a liar for stating the truth. Can you see my eyes rolling from over there?

For a peek into how removing strings from receiving welfare checks does nothing but keep the poor impoverished, let’s take a look at California, the nation’s welfare queen. A full one third of the welfare recipients in the U.S. live in California -- a state that has sidestepped some of the federal work requirements by citing the Safety Net Program. When adults are ineligible to receive welfare, the checks go straight to their kids. Three quarters of California’s welfare recipients are minors.

But they’re kids! They’d starve otherwise! The real unemployment rate in California is over 20 percent, so shouldn’t we try to help these poor unemployed people out? Especially the kids!

Except that people could get jobs if they wanted to. Don’t believe me? There’s a huge shortage of laborers in California right now -- to the point where fruits and vegetables are being left in the field to rot, because there is no one to pick them. Don’t even try to give me the whole Mexican migratory theory, or I’ll ask you why it’s beneath an American to pick produce but not a Mexican. They’re people too, you know.

Here’s a crazy thought: Maybe Americans aren’t taking those jobs because it’s easier to collect a welfare check than to go out in the hot sun and perform manual labor. This isn’t about taking care of the destitute children; this is about paying people to not work.

Mitt Romney is neither wrong nor a liar for calling Barack Obama out for effectively ending the welfare work requirement. If you think requiring an able-bodied person to work or train for a job in order to receive welfare is wrong, you should probably reexamine your priorities. This is one issue that a majority of Republicans and Democrats have been able to see eye-to-eye on; let’s not ruin it. 

What do you think of this change?


Image via Magnus D/Flickr

2012 election, barack obama, economy, election, human rights, in the news, media, mitt romney, politics, white house


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Deann... Deanna2872

What do I think of the change? I think its a very convenient one right before an election.

Money can't buy love, but free money (read: other peoples earnings) can buy a whole lotta votes-

Great article, Jenny. I expect you'll be raked over the coals and called a few nasty names for it, but I appreciate the integrity it takes to speak the truth, even when it isn't popular to do so-

wamom223 wamom223

It makes me really sad.  After the recession I saw a friends mother working at Walmart after she'd lost her job.  She looked embarrassed like she didn't want me to see her working there so I called my friend that night to talk to her about it and was surprised to hear her say, "My mom is just embarrassed that she had to lower herself to working at Walmart."  I got upset and told her," Your mom didn't lower herself, she rose up to support herself and your father that has a bad heart."  I wish more people were like my friends mom.  It wasn't easy to go back to school at her age and while working a thankless job, but she did and they are doing great now.  It can be done, you just have to want it.   I have no  problem helping those that need a little help but I do have a problem with us doing all the work for them.  I have to admit I saw this coming when I heard about the commercials telling people to get on welfare but I don't think this is right.  It one thing to want to be a stay at home mom, its another to ask Americans to pay your way to do it.

nonmember avatar Zuri

Well, looks like there's a few lazy people out there abusing the system. WE KNEW THAT ALREADY. Don't punish everyone else for it. Some people need welfare.
My latest post on your last article was also directed at you.

I know the conservatives will be here in several minutes shouting "HOW DARE YOU UNAMERICAN TRAITOR LAZY DON'T WANNA WORK BLAH BLAH BLAH" and raking me over the coals, but this is my opinion. You don't agree with it? Fine.

worms... wormspoop

Another reason why we need Ron Paul!!!!!!!!!


"A democracy will only survive until the people discover they can vote themselves money."

That is a famous quote from a historian, but I think it should be revised to this...

"A democracy will only survive until ELECTED OFFICIALS STOOP LOW ENOUGH TO BUY VOTES."

asaffell asaffell

This is so slanted and embellished, you should be really embarrassed by it.  NO fact checking whatsoever. He gave MORE power to the states through this to add and revise their work requirements.

This is just foul and poor "journalism".

asaffell asaffell

Did you just not read the sources you linked?

Stevona Ferguson

Stevona Ferguson

I hope you all go to that link because this story posted by Jenny Erickson is false!

wamom223 wamom223

Stevona why in the wold would we go to a cnn site to fact check something?  Give me a break.  He took something that had bi-partisan support and said he knew better, again.  Its funny it would have been nice for him to have this kind of decision making skills when he was serving in Congress.  If he trusts the states so much why doesn't the federal government get out of the welfare business all together?  There should be basic rules for receiving money and work should be one of them in all 50 states, and yes I say drug test them all.

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