In 1996, President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress passed sweeping new welfare reforms. In doing so, they included strict regulations that required welfare recipients to work (or actively look for work). And they made it clear that "work" did not include such things as bed rest, exercise or personal past-times. The welfare rolls plummeted in the years following 1996, and the program was hailed a great bipartisan accomplishment.
But on July 12, President Obama’s Health and Human Services Department issued an administrative order to the states that reverses the work requirements contained in the welfare law. Many believe this action is illegal, and it will almost certainly be litigated in the courts. But in the meantime, this order guts the work requirement in the 1996 welfare reform law and will allow millions more Americans to qualify for welfare benefits.
On another note, the number of Americans going onto Social Security Disability Insurance in the 2Q of this year greatly outpaced the number of new jobs created in the economy for the first time. By April of this year there were a total of 10.8 million on disability, the highest ever. Likewise, there are more Americans than ever before on food stamps - 46.4 million as of March. Ditto for the number of Americans living in poverty - an estimated 15.7% of the population.
These are very depressing numbers. The media tells us that this is all because of the weak economic recovery and continued high unemployment. The weak economy is certainly a big part of the problem, but could there be other factors involved? Could it be that the current administration in Washington wants more Americans to be dependent on the government? I will address this question at the end of today's wide-ranging E-Letter.