Blog author: jspalink
by on Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Anthony Bradley, a research fellow for the Acton Institute, looks back on the effects of the welfare reform of 1996. Many people criticized this legislation as it was being passed and predicted that the result would be increased poverty. However, the results of the legislation have been overwhelmingly positive.

Poverty, especially amongst single mothers, has declined significantly. Employment among people formerly claiming welfare has increased dramatically. The number of welfare cases has dropped from 4.3 to 1.89 million — that’s more than 50% fewer cases — and poverty has decreased as well! These results cannot be only attributed to economic factors (although a good economy obviously helps poverty). As Mr. Bradley puts it: “When our society provides incentives encouraging work, marriage, family, and accountability—which are central to human dignity—we see people thought to be helpless rise to the occasion.”

Read Anthony’s commentary here.


  • Clifford Washington

    Anthony—I enjoy your writings and I count myself as a true defender of the free market, however, you left too much out of such an article. The 10 year old Welfare Refrom Act looks great on paper but in practice it does not address the issues of today nor the recipients of today. Today, they are men and women who lost their jobs due to no fault of their own, the downsizings, the plant closings the outsourcing of plants and work to other nations and the dyanmics of the market. Former employees of Delphi, Steelcase, Electrolux, Grand Rapids Plastics and many, many other well paying companies that no longer exist for many reasons. When is the last time YOU sat foot in an FIA (Family Indenpent Agency) or what ever the trendy name for "Welfare Office" is in your town or across America today? Spend an hour in any 5 in the midwest talking to the people, then try to re-write this article. I’m sure that you will see that the stats you quote above do not ring true.

  • Anthony Bradley

    "Today, they are men and women who lost their jobs due to no fault of their own, the downsizings, the plant closings the outsourcing of plants and work to other nations and the dyanmics of the market."

    Cliff, your concern does not actually have anything to do with the TANF legislation per se. There’s no need to "re-write" the article. Michigan’s poor economy is not paradigmatic for the country and the unemployment issues there have more to do with Michigan politics than the effectiveness of TANF nationwide. So of course I left out "too much" out. I never intended to address economic and employment cycles due to changes in market conditions at the low skilled labor market. As it stands, nationwide, the stats remain true to fact.

  • ALX

    haha

  • Cliff Washington

    Anthony,

    OOOh, thank you very much! Sorry so the late response–I have missed this many times!:-)

    Cliff