August 29, 2006

CATHY YOUNG COUNTS THE WAYS that welfare-reform critics turned out to be wrong.

Plus, Mickey Kaus comments:

The purpose of welfare reform wasn’t to lower the poverty rate. It was to move people from welfare to work–out of an isolated, non-working subculture that had all sorts of bad social effects (fatherless families, crime, segregation, etc.). If welfare reform could have done that with a small increase in the poverty rate, that would have been a price worth paying. If reform had accomplished this goal–a near-60% reduction in the families getting welfare**–with no increase in the poverty rate, that would be a victory. That the poverty rate has actually fallen a full point from 1996 (13.7% then to 12.6% now–an 8% reduction) is a significant success. … P.S.: The black poverty rate has fallen from 28.4% in 1996 to 24.9% in 2005, a 12% drop. In 1993, when Clinton took office, it was 33.1%. Since then it has dropped by almost 25%. …

Sounds like a success.