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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Richmond Times Dispatch Gets It Right

The small minds on the Roanoke Times editorial board the other day came out with an attack on Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nominee's calling out Barack Obama for having gutted the country's welfare program.  The Times called the charge "A Shameless Fabrication."

In truth?  It's not a fabrication at all.  It's very much the truth.

As explained by the Richmond Times Dispatch editorial staff:
Welfare Reform: Gutted

Obamacare requires every American either to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. Suppose a future administration agreed to grant blanket waivers to that requirement on a state-by-state basis. Would liberals say nothing had really changed? Don't bet on it. They would be screaming that the waivers "gutted" the mandate. What's more, since the mandate is the lynchpin of the law — guaranteed issue can't work without it — gutting the mandate guts the entire framework of the act.

The White House has done the precise functional equivalent to welfare reform. Yet the president's cheering squad is shoveling nonsense by the truckful in a desperate attempt to cover up the truth. And the truth is that — as the Romney campaign says — the administration has indeed gutted the 1996 welfare-reform law's work requirement.

The administration will grant waivers to states that want to try so-called different approaches. Different from what? Well, from requiring welfare recipients to work, of course. The public-relations line says states will be able to "test alternative and innovative strategies . . . to improve employment outcomes for needy families." Sounds like the White House wants to let states get more people into work sooner, doesn't it?

Nuts. If you want to get more people to work, you don't loosen the requirements — you tighten them. That's why, as critics of the new waivers point out, the work requirement of the 1996 law was "specifically designed not to be waivable." The 1996 law allows waivers for certain provisions — such as state reporting rules — but the "mandatory work requirements" contain no waiver provisions. As the Congressional Research Service said in a 2001 report: "Effectively, there are no TANF waivers." (TANF, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, is the formal term for welfare.) The administration is simply ignoring the law. [link]
Quoth the Roanoke Times: "'Under Obama's plan, you wouldn't have to work and wouldn't have to train for a job,' the ad declares. 'They just send you your welfare check.'  Romney has presented no evidence to back up his claims, and there is ample evidence to the contrary."

Evidence? Now you have your evidence. Bill Clinton forbade waivers and now Barack Obama provides waivers.  It's that simple.

Not that the truth will sway those who cling desperately to their DNC talking points.