Return to main page

Return to Welfare; History, Results and Reform

 

Summary of Charts

<SNIP>

    Here is a picture of Jesse Jackson marching with N.O.W. (National Organization of Women, a liberal feminist group) members against Welfare Reform, along with the results of the reforms they opposed. State Reform took effect around 1992-1994 and the National Bill was passed in 1996, molded largely by Republicans who swept the house in 1994 promising a ‘Contract with America’. People are the same the world over. It is the political structure and governmental interference that make all the difference. To believe people cannot succeed without government ‘help’ is to subscribe to what has been called, ‘the soft bigotry of low expectations’. These charts support that idea that persons in poverty remain mired in poverty because of the government programs, which often only serve to subsidize poverty and single motherhood.

                                                            Chart 55 (178):

<SNIP>

    Let us now pause and look at some conclusions from all of this. Obviously Welfare Reform has been a great success, especially for African Americans. But more vexing problems emerge when we examine the reason for it's success. After all, what did Welfare Reform do? The funny thing is that it didn't specifically do anything to help poorer people! It didn't give poorer people anything of value - it took away things of value, by setting strict time limits. Sure, there was some childcare and job training money mixed in, but it was more or less just a substantial repeal of the old Welfare system. The next obvious question is - how in the world can poor people benefit when a program designed to help them is taken away? The ironic truth is that the Lyndon Johnson and the Congressional Democrats of the 60s, in the throes of liberal compassion, subsidized poverty and created what they sought to eliminate. [contrast Group 1 charts to view this]

    What about the rise of single motherhood, especially in African American families? Where did all these single mothers that needed support come from? Isn't it a good thing we increased welfare spending at this time - so no single mothers would fall through the cracks? Well.... the research I have done has led me to the sad and horrifying conclusion - they came, in large measure, from nowhere. That is, they did not exist in any significant number before the very programs that were designed to help them, created them. They were molded from the most vulnerable; the youngest and poorest girls in society. As seen by Chart 14, it is a simple matter of cost/benefit economics. As the government raised the payment per family, loosened eligibilities and proliferated spending, the most destitute teenage girls and some impoverished married women became enticed to participate in a short term windfall, which would become their long term ruin, creating an underclass of dependency and poverty. Let's more closely compare six of our previous charts. Chart Group 3:

 

                                       Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens        
                                   Ages 15 to 19, by Race and Ethnicity 1940-2002

            Chart 15 (26):                                                                                                            Chart 3 (231), (232):

 

               Chart 40 (55)  (ends 1993):                                          Chart 24 (31): (25% in 1995 and fell sharply after):

              Chart 56 (202):                            Chart 17 ( 28) (remember this rise began declining in 1994 [Chart 18]):

    Keep in mind, and this is vitally important to remember, that the reason all of these graphs match the non-white/black rates for the various statistics is NOT because they are non-white/black, but because they were poorer and thus their short term welfare gain is higher (although as previously mentioned discrimination in earnings as job market may play a role, especially in the 60s-70s). The same thing is happening to poor whites, but they are more 'hidden' by the much larger, (and wealthier) white population.

 

<SNIP>

 

    Thus far in this analysis we've left out what is arguably the most important part: poverty. Poverty was the whole reason these government programs were concocted in the first place. Despite what we've seen so far, if millions of poorer (especially minorities) were thrown into poverty following Welfare Reform we could not declare it a success. In the same sense if the spending in the late 60s early 70s lifted people out of poverty then we might declare President Johnson's war on poverty a success. But, everywhere we look we find the opposite of what we might expect. In fact, the following graphs (especially Chart 58) suggests that the poverty rates stopped dropping as government programs to combat poverty kicked in! Chart Group 1:

    Chart 58 (233):                                                                                                                    Chart 33 (45):

                       

  Percentage of Persons in Poverty, by age:1959-2002 Chart 38 (64):         AFDC rolls (pink =recession) Chart 6 (13):

    Notice the drop in black poverty from 1994 to 2000, over a 10% reduction to it's lowest level ever (Chart 33, upper right), due in large part to Welfare Reform. The small increase of 2001-02 may have been influenced by the recession.

<SNIP>

 

Return to Welfare; History, Results and Reform

Return to main page