He did so illegally, of course, in another brazen move that’s been all but ignored.
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Through this lawlessness, President Obama violates his oath of office to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Because his welfare reform waivers lack any legal authority and so violate his oath, they are illegal and constitute an impeachable offense. That goes as well for Obama’s loathsome lieutenant, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is the official most directly in the process of breaking the law in authorizing waivers to federal statutes without authority to do so. The House should initiate impeachment proceedings against her now, which would have added political support because of her threatening maladministration of Obamacare, just now gaining momentum.
Also troublesome is the trademark Obama sweeping dishonesty. During the Presidential debate in 2008 at the Saddleback Church in California, President Obama offered as an example of where he had changed his mind the following:
I was much more concerned 10 years ago when President Clinton initially signed the [welfare reform] bill that this could have disastrous results…. [I]t worked better than, I think, a lot of folks anticipated. And, you know, one of the things I am absolutely convinced of is that we have to have work as a centerpiece of any social policy.
I knew when I heard him say that that we would reach today when he is trying to repeal whatever work is in our social policy. That was just boob bait for Bubbas, or calculated deception as I have called it, when he takes advantage of what he thinks the average person does not know, and his party-controlled media won’t tell them. Or like when he told the nation before Obamacare passed that the individual mandate could not possibly be considered a tax, and then sent his lawyers into courts all over the country to argue that the individual mandate was constitutional precisely because it is a tax. How can anyone support a President who is so dishonest with the American people?
Block Grant Welfare to the
The best counter to Obama’s lawlessness is to aggressively expand the very policies he is flouting to all federal means tested welfare programs. Tomorrow in the House Budget Committee Hearing Room at 9:30 a.m. I will be releasing a study co-authored with Lew Uhler, president of the National Tax Limitation Committee. That study discusses why and how the 1996 AFDC block grant reforms should be expanded to all federal means tested welfare programs.
It begins by explaining the welfare/poverty problem, and how the perverse incentives of give away welfare sharply reduce work among poor and lower income families, and encourage family break up and illegitimacy. It then traces the welfare philosophy of Reagan and Carleson, and the development of their welfare reforms, from California in 1971, to states across the nation in the 1970s, to the White House in 1981, back to state waivers for sweeping reform in the early 1990s, then to the ultimate in the enormously successful welfare block grant reforms of the old, New Deal, AFDC program in 1996.
Expanding those same 1996 reforms to all of the remaining, nearly 200, federal means-tested welfare programs would amount to sending welfare back to the states, achieving the complete dream of Reagan and Carleson in restoring the original federalism and state control over welfare. It also follows the spirit of the Tea Party movement in restoring power to the states and gaining control over government spending, deficits and debt.
With the states in charge, each state would have the flexibility to structure its welfare system to suit the needs and circumstances of its particular state. State control would also allow experimentation among the states to try different reform ideas, with real world results proving what works and what doesn’t. Economic and political competition among the states would then lead them to adopt what has proven to work best.
The best estimate of the total current cost of all federal, means tested, welfare programs is $10.3 trillion for the period 2009 to 2018. We estimate based on the experience with the 1996 AFDC reforms that the savings from maximally extending such reforms would amount at least to $4 trillion in the first 10 years alone, and maybe much more depending on state policies. Yet we conclude that incomes among the dependent poor would rise sharply, and poverty would plummet, again following the 1996 reforms.
Indeed, we go on to discuss what the states could do with the new power granted to them by all these block grant reforms. We recommend that the states each tie all assistance to the able bodied through work first, with welfare offices acting like local temp agencies in providing a work assignment to everyone who shows up in the morning asking for one. The assignment would pay the minimum wage in cash, or maybe more if private employers wanted to do so.
The study explains that under the law today, the minimum wage, plus the earned income tax credit, plus the child tax credit, would bring every family up to the poverty line. That means that the system would end poverty in America entirely, winning the war on poverty at last, all while sharply reducing federal spending and making government smaller.
All other assistance for the able-bodied would flow only through showing up for such work assignments in the morning. Child care would be available only through showing up at the work assignment office. The poor would qualify for Medicaid health insurance vouchers in any event, but the able bodied poor could qualify themselves by showing up for such work assignments. The states could each decide then what other assistance would be necessary.
The study further explains how tying all assistance to work first would virtually eliminate all the work disincentives of welfare, since the able bodied would have to work in any event to get assistance. It also explains how work first for the able bodied would eliminate the perverse incentives for family breakup and illegitimacy, because there would no longer be any benefits for family break up or bearing children out of wedlock. To the contrary, since working is easier with two parents rather than one, the incentives are for family reunification.
The potential for reduced federal spending through such a system would be as dramatic as the elimination of all poverty through work for the able bodied. The job assignment office would endeavor to assign those who do show up to private employment, where private employers rather than the taxpayers would pay the wages. Moreover, people would not continue to show up for these day job assignments for years and years, like some families stay on welfare today. They would get real jobs in the private sector instead, or marry someone with a job. Since work for support is necessary in any event, men who do have jobs and work would become much more desirable marriage partners in low income neighborhoods.
The bottom line is that instead of the taxpayers paying the bottom 20% of income earners not to work, as today, private employers instead of the taxpayers would be paying them to work. The entire culture of poverty would change dramatically as a result.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
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It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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