USA Today has a very nice story on the effects of Clinton’s 1990s welfare reform. Contrary to the predictions of disaster, the tougher rules actually ended up being a step in the right direction. The rules made it more costly for those on welfare to stay there forever.
“Welfare caseloads nationwide have declined by nearly 58% since the landmark overhaul of the nation’s welfare system in 1996. ”
The promise of the legislation actually turned out to be true. I can recall that conservatives mildly supported the bill, “liberals” hated it, and mostly libertarians were doubtful that it would amount to much at all. My suspicion was that nothing was really being reformed at all, but this does seem to have been an incorrect analysis.
So, good for Clinton! What ironies political history hands us! And with Bush we find the welfare state recreated in the form of vast handouts to upper-income older people and military contractors.