Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The interesting question about Clinton's reforms in welfare -- formally, Aid to Families with Dependant Children -- was not what would happen immediately after they were passed, but what would happen in the next recession, after the five-year limits had run out for some recipients. Would they still be able to get the help they would need? What would occur? And now we have the answer:

In a trend that has surprised many experts, the federal welfare rolls have declined over the last three years, even as unemployment, poverty and the number of food stamp recipients have surged in a weak economy.

Success! Even in the midst of a recession, with total jobs stagnant and the size of the labor force actually declining, the poor are being saved from the degrading experience of taking welfare payments.

And don't suggest that the right thing for government to do would be to give those people education. What would training do for them? College graduates in Dubya's economy have a higher unemployment rate than high-school dropouts.

Because compassionate conservatism is all about saving people from degrading attitudes and conditions -- like saving the undeserving kids of poor families with dependant children from the degradation of eating government handouts. Starvation builds character.

(College link via Tristero).


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