Derik Schneider Online

Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
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Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Book Archive-C-SPAN: Washington Journal With Brian Lamb- Christopher Hitchens & Richard Brookheiser in 1996

This piece was originally posted at FRS FreeStates

To put it simply, the best way to help poor people move to the middle class and become self- sufficient and not need public assistance for their daily survival, is to give them temporary financial assistance and child care, so they can survive in the short-term, yes. But to move them out of poverty, they education, to give them an  opportunity to get their GED or go back to high school, as well as go to college like a technical school. So they can get the education and skills that they need, so they can get a good job to support themselves and their family's. And then finally job placement, help them find a good job that they are qualified for. So they can support themselves and their family's on their own and no longer need public assistance.

Along with deficit reduction and balancing the Federal budget, Welfare Reform of 1996, is President Bill Clinton's biggest achievement. It moved millions of people who would probably still be on Welfare Insurance today or working multiple minimum wage jobs just to barely survive today. Had it not been for the 1996 Welfare Reform Law. Millions of people who were on Welfare Insurance twenty years ago, now have good jobs today and some of them even own their own business's or manage a business. Then Governor Bill Clinton who made Welfare Reform a big part of his 1992 presidential campaign, didn't make a big push to pass a bill out of Congress his first two years. When he had a Democratic Congress, including a forty-seat majority in the House.

Even though President Clinton had good ideas on Welfare Reform, like education, job placement and child care. So these single parents could leave the home to go to school or look for work. His calculation was probably that he would never get the votes at least in the House, because the Far-Left flank in the Democratic Party there would never go along with a bill that had time limits for Welfare deficit reduction, the crime bill, Family Medical Leave and of course the nightmarish debacle of health care reform. All things he passed in his first two years except for health care reform. It took a Republican Congress for President Clinton to finally incorporate his ideas as well as republican ideas to make it law. And it was by far the best legislation that a Republican Congress in modern times has ever passed.

What we tried in the 1930s and 1960s with anti-poverty programs, where you essentially just give low-income low-skilled people money and expect nothing from them, that the "cycle of poverty" would just go away on its own, clearly did not work. Sixty-years later poverty was still a big problem in America which is why it was reformed. But in the 1990s we finally saw record reductions in poverty down to as low as 13%. One of those reasons being the economic expansion of that decade. But if you're low-income and low-skilled, you won't see the benefits of any economic expansion. Which is a big reason why Welfare Reform was so important, because it empowered low-skilled people to get the skills that they need to get themselves out of poverty and into the middle class.