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06-09-09, 08:57 PM #1
Shock, awe greet Schwarzenegger's proposal to end welfare
In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton announced a historic shift in government support for the poor. By requiring parents to work instead of merely handing them checks, Clinton vowed to "end welfare as we know it."
This week, California's Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking that goal quite literally, proposing to eliminate cash assistance for the state's poorest families altogether. Legislators, poverty researchers and poor parents alike greeted with astonishment his unprecedented call to drop the state's welfare-to-work program, known as CalWORKs.
The governor's proposal would make California the only state in the nation to reject Temporary Assistance to Needy Families block grants, the federal program that allows states to draw funds as long as they impose strict time limits and work requirements on recipients.
Rejecting the $3.7 billion federal grant would save the state its matching portion of $1.8 billion. But it also would result in the loss of $600 million in federal stimulus funds — money economists and poverty watchers say is desperately needed to invigorate a moribund economy.
The proposal landed in uncharted territory in the Capitol and beyond, with no one able to predict what legislators ultimately will do as the extraordinary recession deepens.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, Schwarzenegger's proposal to eliminate CalWORKs appeared to be, if not dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Legislature, then on life support. Legislators from both parties signaled they would oppose a wholesale elimination of programs serving California's neediest, including CalWORKs and the Healthy Families insurance program for the children of the working poor.
Even a leading conservative suggested a more surgical approach. "There can be a phasing down, a scaling back" that might over time result in equal savings, said Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Redding, who has been tapped to help lead the Republican Caucus in negotiations to close the state's $24 billion deficit.
Democrats, too, have responded with shock to the governor's proposals, unveiled after voters last week shot down a slate of ballot measures that would have pumped billions into the state's coffers by extending taxes and borrowing from Wall Street.
"Particularly in these extraordinary economic times, it's hard for me to believe that the Legislature would ever agree to that — or that this is a serious proposal even from this governor," said former Assemblywoman Dion Aroner, a Berkeley Democrat and architect of California's welfare-to-work program.
But with the deficit continuing to grow, Schwarzenegger's proposal seems certain at least to lead to major changes in the welfare program, which by most accounts has been a notable success, moving millions of families off the public dole and into the work force.
And Schwarzenegger says ending the program, which now serves 1 million children and 300,000 adults, is, frankly, only a start.
By week's end, the governor says, he will unveil another $3 billion in cuts. He has said he knows there are faces behind all the dollars disappearing but that he has no other choice.
That's hard for Michelle — a San Jose mother of a 2-month-old — to believe. The loss of CalWORKs would mean no diaper money, no rent payments and no independence from her baby's father, who she said abused her and kept drugs in the house. Her $584 monthly grant has allowed her to receive child care, attend DeAnza College and buy groceries while she works her way to self-sufficiency.
Michelle, who is 26 and did not want her last name used, echoed other CalWORKs clients interviewed who said quite simply that the assistance keeps their families off the streets.
"CalWORKs is a lifeline between whether we eat or not and whether we have a roof over our head or electricity and gas," said Vivian Hain, a Berkeley single mother of three who testified about Schwarzenegger's proposal before state legislators Wednesday.
Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose, argues for administrative cuts — reserving money for benefits rather than state workers who handle cumbersome paperwork and investigators who chase down the low number of "welfare cheats."
Eliminating CalWORKs would result in "a lot of little kids begging on the streets," Beall said.
Adult CalWORKs recipients have a lifetime limit of 60 months on aid. In exchange for cash benefits that average $526 per family, they are required to work or look for work. The program also offers job training and child care.
Sharon Parrott, a senior analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, called Schwarzenegger's plan "draconian" and never before attempted in U.S. history.
"The hardship this would wreak would be very, very significant," Parrot said. "Certainly, California's budget problems are dire, but it seems hard to imagine that this is the only option left."
Barbara O'Connor, director of Sacramento State University's Institute for the Study of Politics and Media, said it's "counterintuitive and unlikely" that Democrats will go for the end of welfare. But she added: "Anything is possible in this wacky environment."
06-09-09, 10:20 PM #2
i have no problem with this whatsoever. i live in maryland. my parents are in philly, my inlaws are in long island. i have two toddler aged boys and i have no family here at all to help me out with them. i work, and my wife watches the kids. then she works, and i watch the kids. its difficult, but we make it happen. if i was a single parent, i would create a budget, LIVE WITHIN MY MEANS, and find daycare. having all the latest gadgets, big screen televisions, luxury model vehicles, etc are not your god given rights. if you cant afford it, youre SOL. if you have the disposable income, then great, by all means buy all the toys you want.
i patrol an area where there is an abundance of government assisted housing. nothing disgusts me more then getting dispatched to a domestic (or any other call), pulling up front, seeing a lexus parked there, walking inside, seeing a 60 inch plasma flat screen mounted on the wall with every video game system imaginable hooked up to it, surround sound, a blue ray disc player, an apple i-phone on the table, a laptop computer, a wrap around leather sofa, etc....and when the call is done, and i ask what they do for a living and they dont work and are on government assistance. then you come to find out they pay $50 a month in rent, and have the independence card, where the government buys their food, baby supplies, etc...while their neighbor has an honest job, drives a piece of shit, uses the computer at the library, and struggles to pay the $800 a month that is the typical rate inside the complex.
obviously not everyone abuses the system, but the system has failed. i say eliminate the welfare system altogether countrywide.in the warriors code there's no surrender, though his body says stop, his spirit cries...NEVER. deep in our souls, a quiet ember, knows its you against you, its the paradox that drives us all. its a battle of wills, in the heat of attack, its the passion that kills, and victory is yours alone.
the posts and opinions stated by me do not in any way reflect the values, beliefs, or views of my department. they are simply opinions and/or observations which have been developed through my personal experiences. hell, most of the stories probably arent even true...wink wink
06-09-09, 10:29 PM #3
06-09-09, 10:48 PM #4
I recently overheard a discussion between a hispanic gentleman and a guy who sells building materials. The sales guy commented on how hard he had seen a latino contractor's employees work vs. others he's seen, and asked how the hispanics seem so motivated to produce on the job.
The hispanic said, quite simply, "This is how anyone works when they know that there are no handouts coming..."
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.
06-10-09, 01:34 AM #5-=Twan007
Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.
Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in alignment with his employer. Matter of fact, the poster will deny any knowledge of any post... this message will self-destruct in 5 seconds...
06-10-09, 08:31 PM #6
The last time my Sunday school class did Habitat for Humanity, they lady that was getting the house started bitching about still having a mortgage. I nearly hit her in the head with a shovel.....by accident of course.
Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat
"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway
The opinions given in my signatures & threads DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "Five-0" on Officerresource.com
06-10-09, 11:08 PM #7
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