‘Extreme Poverty’ – Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) Didn’t Work

Money is for rich people

This is part of the Clinton administration’s legacy. In a new book, Kathryn J. Edin concludes the number of Americans living on $2 a day or less has “more than doubled since 1996, placing 1.5 million households and 3 million children in this desperate economic situation.”

$2 per person per day, or $2,920 per year for a family of four. is an income category that the World Bank refers to as “extreme poverty.”

1996 is an important marker, because that’s the year the Clinton administration, working alongside Republicans in Congress, eliminated the Aid for Families with Dependent Children program, which provided a guaranteed safety net for the poor. In its place they created Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF), a much more meager and temporary safety net.

…In 2012, only one-quarter of poor families received TANF benefits, down from more than two-thirds in 1996, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. According to $2.00 a Day, the welfare program reached more than 14.2 million Americans in 1994, but by 2014 only 3.8 million Americans were aided by TANF.

The failure of TANF, like the decline of the American middle class, is barely mentioned in the media. Nobody is asking presidential candidates about this. Instead we get Donald Trump’s daily insult-fest and the great gefilte fish e-mail flap.

More info:
Could You Survive on $2 a Day?

    • #2 by Larry Bergan on September 3, 2015 - 5:01 pm

      John Maynard Keynes didn’t know what he was talking about, even George Jetson had to work. 🙂 Actually, I don’t think I ever knew what year the Jetson’s were living in, but I loved the show.

      Another very good article by the man who should be our labor secretary.

      • #3 by Richard Warnick on September 3, 2015 - 5:11 pm

        The Google knows all, tells all:

        The futuristic series, first produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1962, was set in 2062…

        • #4 by Larry Bergan on September 3, 2015 - 5:27 pm

          That’s fantastic! Any information at all about one of my favorite sixties TV shows is more then welcome. 🙂

          Are you listening Me-TV?

  1. #5 by brewski on September 5, 2015 - 10:43 am

    “the number of Americans living on $2 a day or less has “more than doubled since 1996, placing 1.5 million households and 3 million children in this desperate economic situation.””

    Define “Americans”

    If you import 12 million rural poor uneducated and unskilled people, then what would you expect?

    From your source:
    “Americans often put off applying for aid because of social stigma and other hurdles, such as requirements to attend orientation meetings, make employment plans and register for employment services.”

    In other words, the aid is there, but they can’t be bothered to apply for it.

    • #6 by Richard Warnick on September 6, 2015 - 4:20 pm

      Most of our politicians represent the 1 Percent. The 1 Percent hate people who have to work for a living – or worse, can’t even find a job. Therefore, social safety net programs are loaded with bureaucratic hurdles to keep people from applying for aid, or deny them if they do. That’s a problem.

      • #7 by brewski on September 6, 2015 - 4:49 pm

        No. Government loves bureaucracy, that’s what they do. They make up stuff just to be bureaucratic for the sake of being bureaucratic. It’s job justification.

        • #8 by Richard Warnick on September 6, 2015 - 5:19 pm

          5 Ways States Are Screwing the Poor By Making Welfare Almost Impossible to Get

          As Elizabeth Lower-Basch, policy coordinator for CLASP (Center For Law and Social Policy) told AlterNet, “Some states’ TANF policies are driven by this ideology that people are poor because they’re making bad choices, that they’re bad people, and thus we need to force them to shape up. It doesn’t recognize the real world people live in.”

          Sound familiar?

    • #9 by Larry Bergan on September 6, 2015 - 10:43 pm

      You keep bringing up the horror of an unskilled workforce, brewski. I wasn’t unskilled during my time in the optical business because I had to learn how to make pairs of glasses on the job, but it was only after decades that I was required to take an opticians certification. In fact I didn’t even know such a thing existed. It was because Standard, Midwest and United Optical didn’t want us to be certified because me could make the case we deserved more money. So please stop harping on people being lazy.

      All my work life, I was reluctant to even ask for a raise for fear I’d earn myself right out of the job, which I needed for healthcare and just plain longevity.

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