Welfare as we know it

Brad De Long delong at econ.Berkeley.EDU
Sat Oct 10 20:26:30 PDT 1998

>> Ehrenreich has recently said that with the
>> ending of welfare, the state no longer deserves any support.
>Anyone who thinks "welfare has ended" hasn't
>the faintest idea what the government is and
>isn't doing.
>No offense to PK, but the next time I see
>this I swear I'm going to write something
>for In These Times or some damn left

There *is* no more federal match for state welfare expenditures. We *are* likely to see a race to the bottom once maintenance-of-effort requirements expire and the next recession hits. We don't know how large the race to the bottom effect will be, but I am scared.

The law that the Congress passed and Clinton signed in 1996 may well lead to the end of welfare sometime in the next decade. Robert Reischauer draws an analogy between TANF and revenue sharing--the second ended quickly once the economy slowed, and the first is likely to end quickly, because both involve Senators voting for taxes to fund programs that are then spent by Governors who then run against Senators...

Unfortunately Barbara Ehrenreich's... pea-sized brain is too small to grasp that the real fiscal impact of the change from AFDC to TANF hits (a) sometime after 2000, and (b) only when the next recession his, and so THERE IS STILL TIME TO REVERSE THIS F****** POLICY DISASTER IN THE MAKING IF ONLY PEOPLE WOULD ORGANIZE!!

Sorry. It's been a long month.

Brad DeLong

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