The latest IBD editorial is a lament about the Democrats tossing welfare reform under the bus by changing the rules for states in the stim bill:
Welfare reform proved the conservative Republicans right about the destructive wastefulness of government "helping" the have-nots by trapping them in a cycle of dependency. But it also proved that liberal Democrats, led by Bill Clinton, were capable of abandoning blind faith in the powers of government.
Clinton was re-elected in great part thanks to his signing of welfare reform that year; the Republican architects of the law maintained a House majority for a decade afterward.
But today's Washington seems little impressed by the achievement of reducing the welfare rolls from over 5 million to below 2 million in the course of a decade. Congress' big-spending "recovery" package reverts the federal-states welfare funding arrangement to the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) system — in some respects making it worse than those bad old days.
"For the first time since 1996, the federal government would begin paying states bonuses to increase their welfare caseloads," noted Heritage Foundation scholars Robert Rector and Katherine Bradley in an analysis released last month.
"Indeed, the new welfare system created by the stimulus bills is actually worse than the old AFDC program because it rewards the states more heavily to increase their caseloads," they added.
Under Congress' new scheme, "the federal government will pay 80% of cost for each new family that a state enrolls in welfare; this matching rate is far higher than it was under AFDC."
Encouraging states to beat the bushes for welfare recipients while making not working even more attractive for those on the margins between work and welfare will guarantee a huge increase of Americans on the dole.
Making Americans dependent on government is one way to get them to vote Democratic in elections. So perhaps rather than looking at this as "welfare reform" we should simply chalk it up as a political power play by the Democrats to increase their advantage in elections.