Haunted by the Reagan era, (and pretty much mythical) bogey of the "welfare queen," the federal government overhauled a system intended to provide vital aid to poor families, especially those with children, in a reform intended to help people get OFF welfare, becoming self-sufficient. Those seem like good intentions, but we have been left with a system that leaves the most vulnerable among us inadequately cared for.
[The old welfare system] used to reach as many as 68 out of 100 families in need; [the Clinton era program we now have] now reaches 23 out of 100. The purchasing power of our parsimonious public aid—some states offer less than $300 a month to a family of three—has similarly declined dramatically. Meanwhile, the national TANF average monthly caseload has fallen by almost two thirds—from 4.7 million families in 1996 to 1.7 million families in 2014—even as poverty has intensified. It appears while TANF is great at moving poor families off of poverty caseloads, it is far less successful at actually moving families out of poverty. Two decades in, is TANF due for reform? The church’s teaching on human dignity insists that the authentic needs and dignity of the “client” have primacy over the prejudices of society when devising public aid proposals. And its preferential option for the poor demands that in a just society the treatment of the poor will have primacy over other public spending decisionsAnd yes, before you small-government types say it, the current welfare system still wastes an enormous amount of tax-payer money.
But guess what?
It's not going to the poor.
It's going in block grants to the states, in the name of subsidiarity, where it is spent in myriad ways that bear no fruit in moving people out of poverty and that have created ever more complicated machineries and protocols and systems and programs that benefit - the people who devise them and execute them.
"What's YOUR Love Style?"Why do I ask? you wonder...
Give a listen. In case you don't feel like listening, Oklahoma was offered as an example...)
... but looked at my state, and we're doing an even more shameful job of caring for the poor.