Monday, July 16, 2012

HHS welfare policy change disappointing

[Gazette Blog Editor's note: While we always appreciate hearing from Bob Edwards, we were not aware of the story the following commentary was based on.  A quick search on Google turned up this item, which apparently appeared on Fox News:]

Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of unilaterally gutting welfare reform after the Department of Health and Human Services quietly notified states that they may seek a waiver for the program's strict work requirements.

HHS made the announcement in a policy memo Thursday, news that slipped well below the radar amid a raucous day on the presidential campaign trail. But a few prominent GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill picked up on the change, and accused the administration of overhauling one of the most important bipartisan agreements of the past several decades.


By Bob Edwards
Gazette Contributor

Believing that government at all levels is broken and bloated, I expected to have problems with Barack Obama on many issues, but, his pledge to be post racial, transparent, bipartisan and above petty politics I truly hoped to find agreement… once again a politician has fit my fears and not my hopes.

I spent a number of years representing the inner city of Flint, Michigan and, being a Republican, I was suspect. But, with time and the willingness to reach out and work on a “let’s find some real answers to real problems” approach on both sides we accomplished many things. I had hoped for this approach from the President but, politics seems to have trumped results.
This last week I was shocked when the President took a wrecking ball to President Clinton’s welfare reform. While on the above issues, I allowed myself to actually believe him, when I am honest, I was not surprised to see yet another politician revert to politics as usual.

But, on the issue of protecting those fighting poverty, I never expected a person who purportedly started a career seeking to help the poor turn against them.

Welfare as originally conceived, like many programs of the progressives, was well meaning but a total and damaging failure. It put a penalty on two parent families, a premium on illegitimate births, destroyed the dignity of the recipients and locked them into poverty prison. The Clinton reform gave them true hope and, while just a small step in the right direction, has worked. I personally watched women who endured men leaching off their welfare checks blossom into women with self-esteem and the courage to kick the beer drinking men off their front porch and out of their lives. I also watched these women become better mothers and better citizens.

The black community has many black politicians but very few black leaders… I had hoped the President would set a different standard.

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