What do fertility and football have to do with the Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform? Read this to find out

0

President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) on August 22, 1996. The act repealed the Family with Dependent Children Assistance (AFDC) program from the Security Act and replaced it with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a moralistic and paternalistic program that provides block grants to states. TANF is an ill-conceived and failed program with misguided goals, including the sexual regulation of working-class people, and it must be repealed and replaced.

Welfare reform as sexual regulation

Number of months after signing the PRWORA that President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman: less than one month

Number of TANF statutory objects: 4

Number of TANF statutory objectives related to promoting marriage or reducing extramarital fertility: 3

Number of “out-of-wedlock birth provisions” in TANF according to Congressional Research Service: 14

Federal funds paid to qualifying states for TANF’s “Bonus to Reward Decrease in Illegitimacy”: $650 million

Percentage of births outside marriage in the United States in 1997: 32

Percentage of births outside marriage in the United States in 2020: 40.5

As monthly TANF aid dwindled, food stamps increased

Percentage of low-income parents and children eligible for monthly income benefits from AFDC or TANF who received them in 1996: ~79 (AFDC)

Percent who received them in 2008 during the Great Recession: 33 (TANF)

Percentage who received them in 2019: 21.3 (TANF)

Percentage of low-income households eligible for SNAP (food stamps)—a program not granted en bloc in 1996 or later—who received them in 1996: 83.8

Percentage who received them in 2019: 65.1

Amount of the $16.6 billion in TANF federal funds to states spent on monthly benefits for parents and children in 2020: $3 billion

Amount of federal TANF funds spent by states on “program administration” of TANF in 2020: $2.3 billion

Labor and employment trends (with some Canadian comparisons)

Employment rate of prime-age women (25-54) in the United States in 1996: 72.8%

Prime-age Canadian female employment rate in 1996: 69.6%

Employment rate of prime-age women (25-54) in the United States in 2021: 71.7%

Prime-age Canadian female employment rate in 2021: 78.9%

Unionization rate of American women in 1997: 11.6%

Unionization rate of Canadian women in 1997: 29.4%

Unionization rate of American women in 2021: 9.9%

Unionization rate of Canadian women in 2021: 31.4%

Percentage of black men (25-54) with a high school diploma or less employed in the United States in 1995: 68.4

Percentage of black men (25-54) with a high school diploma or less employed in the United States in 2019: 64.7

Percentage of black women (=25-54) with a high school diploma or less employed in the United States in 1995: 57.5

Percentage of black women (25-54) with a high school diploma or less employed in the United States in 2019: 61.7

What did welfare reform allow Mississippi to do, or are you ready for football (and wrestling)!

Amount of TANF funds Mississippi paid former NFL QB Brett Favre to give speeches he didn’t give: $1,100,000

Amount of TANF funds given to the Victory Sports Foundation (led by a former Mississippi State University linebacker) “to run free boot camp-style fitness classes for affluent members of the community”: $1,300,000

Amount of TANF funds given to retired professional wrestler Brett DiBiase as salary while at Rise in Malibu, a luxury drug rehabilitation program in Malibu, California: $83,000

Monthly amount of TANF funds donated to Rise in Malibu for Brett DiBiase’s five-month stay: $40,000

TANF maximum monthly benefit in Mississippi for a low-income single parent with one child in 2022: $236

Number of low-income families with children in Mississippi in 2019: 337,371

Number of low-income families with children receiving a TANF benefit on average each month in Mississippi in 2019: 3,203

Number of Mississippi children in foster care as of September 2019: 4,011

Monthly homestay payment in Mississippi: $697 to $1,574

Meanwhile in Canada

Annual Canada child benefit for a Canadian child living with a parent or guardian who has no or very low annual income: CA$5,903 to $6,997 ($491.91 to $583.08 per month )

Annual US child tax credit for a US child living with a parent or other caregiver who has no or very little annual income: $0

Learn more about the Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform:

Even during the COVID-19 recession, temporary assistance does little to reduce child poverty

COVID-19 and the Importance of Minimum Income Systems – Center for Economic and Policy Research

Fail again, fail worse: Fewer families received TANF cash assistance in 2020 than in 2019

Does TANF work for struggling millennial parents?

Social Security does much more for underprivileged children than Temporary Assistance

Temporary assistance does not help poor married parents

The Case Against Marriage Fundamentalism: Embracing Family Justice for All

This first appeared on CEPR.

Share.

Comments are closed.