Review of the Book "Ending Welfare As We Know It" Essay

Review of the Book "Ending Welfare As We Know It" Essay

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Bill Clinton’s first presidential term was a surprising change period in policy toward low-income families. In 1993 Congress enacted a major development of the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families. In 1996 Congress passed and the president signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA). This legislation abolished the sixty-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program and replaced it with a block grant program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. However, it not only restricted the recipients with firm new work requirements but also limited the length of time people could receive welfare benefits.
Impressive change in AFDC was also happening gradually in the states during these years. States used waivers granted by the federal Department of Health and Human Services to experiment with various welfare strategies, including denial of additional benefits for children born or conceived while a mother received AFDC, work requirements, and time limits on receipt of cash benefits. The speed of change at the state level accelerated after the 1996 federal welfare reform legislation gave states better flexibility to design their programs.
Until 1996, there was a situation of overwhelming public rejection of existing AFDC program. Candidate Clinton promised in his 1992 election campaign to “end welfare as we know it.”

In his book Ending Welfare as We Know It the author calls the political environment in 1996 as a chaos that it was nearly impossible “political fluke” to make that reform. The book examines how social factors and political institutions act upon each other.
Firstly, the author gives examples of President Nixon’s Family Assistance P...


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...rogram took place. It particularly evaluates the national welfare reform signed in 1996. In fourteen chapters, R. Kent Weaver addresses three sets of questions about the politics of welfare reform: the depressing history of complete AFDC reform initiatives; the remarkable changes in the welfare reform agenda over the past thirty years; and the reasons why complete welfare reform at the national level succeeded in 1996 after failing in previous attempts. Welfare reform raised issues of race, class, and sex that are as complicated and divisive as any in American politics. In addition to that, social and political trends helped to create a historic opportunity for welfare reform in the late 1990s. Finally, President Clinton and congressional Republicans along with other policymakers turned “ending welfare as we know it” from political possibility into policy reality.

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