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tv   Washington Journal Washington Journal  CSPAN  July 24, 2022 12:08pm-1:09pm EDT

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on c-span just got easier. tell your smart speaker play c-span radio. important congressional hearings and other public affairs events throughout the day and weekdays at 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. eastern. catch washington today for a fast-paced report of the stories of today. c-span, powered by cable. >> the new covenant can break the cycle of welfare. welfare should be a second chance, not a way of life. we are going to put an end to welfare as we have come to know it. i want to erase the stigma of welfare for good by restoring a simple dignified principle. no one who can work and stay on welfare forever. those who need education and training and child care and
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medical coverage for their kids will get it. we will give them all the help they need. and we will keep them on public assistance for up to two years. but after that people who are able to work have to go to work great either in the private sector or through community service job. no more permanent dependence on welfare as a way of life. host: that was then presidential candidate bill clinton at georgetown university in 1991 making his first pledge to end welfare as we know it. five years later he signed the personal responsibility and work opportunity act which did just that. here to talk about that legislation and its impact are two historians with expertise on the u.s. social safety net. edward berkowitz at george washington university. we also have sanford schram of hunter college. thank you both for joining us this morning. >> good morning.
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host: edward, this is the fifth in our series of landmark legislation. why do you think that the 1996 welfare reform bill fits the description of landmark legislation? >> well, i would say it's not in the top tier of landmark legislation. it's not a founding piece of legislation like the social security act of 1935. but it's important. it's one of the key pieces of legislation that attempted to change the direction of the welfare state from a relatively liberal position to a more conservative position. it brought the beginning of what might be called the gingrich era of social policies. that's why i think it's important. host: sanford, what was the safety net before the 1996 bill? what did it change when it was
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passed? >> the 1990 six law abolished aid to families with dependent children, which was titled four of the social security act that had expanded over time and become the main cash assistance program for the non-aged poor. primarily single mothers with children. it was replaced by temporary assistance for needy families, which was a block grant that was given to states to encourage welfare recipients to get off welfare and go to work. and most of them were already working. it put time limits on how long they could receive assistance and it had sanctions if they failed to comply with the
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welfare to work requirements and it massively reduced number of people receiving assistance even though many of them remained eligible and impoverished. >> if i could add to that. 1935, the federal government passes the social security act and among the many things in that social security act, what we call welfare or public assistance which is defined as a program where you have to pass a means test to prove you are poor to get benefits as opposed to social security. that program was amended many times. it started in 1935. there were basically no blacks on the southern welfare rolls. that changed significantly over time. 1962 there was a liberal approach to welfare reform. let's rehab people that are on welfare.
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that gradually changed until 1996. you have the end of that program which is very unusual. the key step is the 1996 law made it so that the welfare was not an entitlement. before that if you could prove you are poor and you met the other terms the states impose, you could get welfare. after this there was a limit on how much money you could get in the aid was in the form of a block grant. host: i want to ask sanford. can you tell me more about just the political atmosphere in the early 90's. we talk about bill clinton's campaign leading up to his 1992 election. and then in the 94 midterms you also had republicans coming in. can you talk just a little bit for the listeners at home what that political climate was then. >> yes. i think clinton ran as what was
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called a new democrat. the idea was that the democrats were going to compete with republicans by being more moderate, trying to not be seen as liberal so much. he promised to end welfare as we know it. he famously said and he was kind of trapped by that promise. he wanted to pass like national health insurance. he wanted to guarantee many other benefits. and then limit welfare. in particular because he was losing support as a president and he was running for reelection. it was the monica lewinsky schedule. i think he felt obligated even though he was ahead in the polls against dole in 1996, to sign a law that he wasn't entirely in favor of.
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in fact he had vetoed it twice before. he was kind of trapped by his own words and ended up with this highly punitive restrictive program that massively reduced assistance and access to aid. and by 2000, the roles had been cut by about 60% and also by 2000, over half the block going to the states was no longer going for cash assistance. some of it was being used to pave the highways. it was very loosely distributed and there weren't many restrictions. they could stretch the definition of what was a good expenditure for aiding the poor and getting them off welfare. it led to increases in deep poverty and extreme poverty and what are called disconnected
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mothers who received neither cash assistance nor wages. if it weren't for things like the expansion of the earned income tax credit and some other programs, the poverty rate would be even higher today. host: we are going to get to your calls in just a moment. if you are eastern or central region, you can call (202) 748-8000. mountain or pacific areas: --(202) 748-8001. if you are a welfare recipient, (202) 748-8002. you can also send us a text at (202) 748-8003. please include your name. and your town. send us a tweet at c-span wj. we are also on instagram and
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let's listen to -- this is georgia republican newt gingrich just days into his role as house speaker back in 1994 testifying before the house ways and means committee on what gop's contract with america promise in reforming the nation's social safety net programs. >> the personal responsibility act which looks at work requirements, cuts welfare spending, attempts to reduce illegitimacy and looks at restrict welfare for non-americans. i just think we have to engage in honest discussion and i indicated yesterday that i hope in the next few months that virtually every member who represents a poor district will match up with somebody who represents an economically better off district and we will have a genuine bipartisan effort to educate each other and really open a dialogue and i don't know what the details are. the governor's are very excited and have their ideas.
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i think in the next few weeks the president has already indicated a strong interest in working together on this. we should be able to craft a bold new direction in welfare reform and we should be able to start the move from dependency to independency and back to behaviors that work in america. host: we just heard from newt gingrich in 1995. talk to us about how that impact of bill clinton wanting to not let conservatives have an edge on this issue affected that discussion. >> if you go back to his campaign in 1992, he made a commercial as a matter of fact in which he said i've been the governor of the state of arkansas and he had been a leader of the previous effort to try to reform the welfare system.
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we have been able to do this in arkansas, we cut down the number of people on the welfare look -- load and put people in jobs. when he got to washington he found out it's actually more complicated than that. he pushed health insurance before welfare reform. by the time he got interest in welfare reform, the election occurred and newt gingrich came along. so that was interesting. both parties were pledging to end welfare as we know it. he kept saying, we can work something out. gingrich and his more ideological way said i think we can have a dialogue here. both wanted credit for ending welfare as we know it. host: he mentioned the racial element that by the time this discussion about reforms began that what the welfare rolls looked like was a lot more diverse than how it started out in the 1930's. do you think that played an
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impact in elected officials wanting those reforms to happen at the time? >> yes. no doubt. the politics of welfare over the last century really has been racially fraught. there's no question that going back as far as nixon playing the race card and demonizing welfare recipients as these undeserving black people who were lazy and promiscuous and were costing us money, nixon called the welfare mess. by the time you get reagan demonizing the welfare queen, they were playing the race card like crazy to try and delegitimize public assistance to needy families. and it was a crescendo in the early 90's. part of clinton's attempt to see more moderate is to join in in
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playing the race card when he was campaigning. unfortunately in certain instances. and the campaign for welfare reform is highly documented. a lot of people in congress, not just gingrich but other republicans made many outrageous statements comparing welfare recipients to elementals -- to animals, alligators and so on. it was just a really sordid moment in our history where race was played so extravagant a role in delegitimizing a legitimate program. >> if we go back to the history of welfare, you can go back to 1912 when the states decided
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that there be special grants from others with dependent children. they are exclusively widows at first. 1935 the federal government picks up part of the tab. again, widows. not in any way illegitimate children. white rather than black. as the welfare program got underway, there were several categories you could fall into. the key point is there were many more elderly people on welfare than there were dependent children. so welfare really does get stigmatized -- doesn't get stigmatized the way he paints it until the 1950's. as the social security act began to take up more people and blacks migrated from the south, -- became blacker and the politics at its worst could devolve into this racial confrontation between blacks who
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are on welfare and whites who are not. host: we are talking about the landmark legislation of 1996 welfare reform. let's talk about what was actually in that act. you will see on your screen and the personal responsibility and work opportunity act of 1996 replaced aid to families with dependent children with what we now know as temporary assistance for needy families. tanf required work within two years, created a lifetime cap of five years for federal benefits and enhanced child support enforcement and withheld occupational licensure for undocumented immigrants. let's listen to a caller from iowa. she says she is a welfare recipient. we would like to hear from you. >> yes. i am 69 years old and i receive food stamp assistance
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unfortunately not by choice. i worked all my life, 54 years. my money i paid into social security. i get $685 because i had a husband. my husband left after 32 years. i asked elizabeth warren what happened to my money before i became -- i worked. you can get disability up to five years prior to social security. during that five-year period, i was not getting any kind of income because i wasn't able to work. so i went and applied for the disabilities, it said i had a husband. i couldn't get it because he made $7.25 an hour. i asked elizabeth warren, what happened to my money i made all my life? she said that was a really good question. i said it's not really fair to someone who became disabled.
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i was married 32 years. he leaves. my income is $685 and i've never been without a job. so now i'm forced to go back to work to survive and i don't want to count on the government for my money. and here's the other question quickly. my other question is how is it they take social security out of a person who is retired at 69 because i am working a job taking care of an autistic gentleman. and they take social security out of my paycheck. which i don't make that much. but they still take social security out of someone who's already receiving social security. so i'm kind of confused. >> what's happening to you has almost nothing to do with what we are talking about today. the welfare law of 1996.
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what you are involved in is both social security and a program called ssi or supplemental security income, which is our welfare program for people that are adults like you. so the question is i am working, why are they taking social security out? that is because when social security started, it was going to ensure the condition of retirement and if you work you are penalized. gradually we ended that. you find as you age, that penalty will end. host: richard in nashville tennessee. go ahead. caller: good morning. the question has always loomed. i'm 69 years old. lived through a lot of stuff. it doesn't matter if i'm left or right. what matters is i would like to ask these gentlemen. we got 50 states in the united
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states of america. when we look at welfare whether it be food stamps or whatever it may be whether the government actually gives somebody or subsidizes them. any governor when you take over estate, why don't they immediately go in an audit every agency. i don't care if its energy, human resources. i don't care what it is. audit them to make sure that money is being funneled to the people who really need it. whether they are disabled children with down syndrome or wherever -- whatever it may be. why don't they audit these agencies and make sure that if you are getting welfare or food stamps that you truly need it? what i see is people driving new cars, working under the table and drawing paychecks. i'm not saying all of them are guilty of this, but there is a large amount of people and i still work at 69 because i can't afford.
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and inflation doesn't bother me because i don't have to buy. if i can't afford a stake i will buy hamburger. if i can't afford this i will buy cereal. i will find a way in america. you know why? because i'm free. every election, every agency needs to be audited to make sure that money is going to those people who are truly in need because those people gaming the system are taking away from the same people that are their mothers or grandparents. whoever it may be that truly need this money. host: do you want to respond to the caller? >> it's a great question. we definitely want program integrity. we want these programs to be honestly administered. welfare fraud is insignificant compared to tax fraud by the wealthy in particular. so it's just greatly exaggerated that there are a large number of people who are getting welfare
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and ripping off the system. by the way, if you are ripping off the welfare system, that means you are not poor. so targeting the poor is somewhat of a mistake. welfare is audited and one of the bad things among the many bad things in the 96 law was that they changed the auditing system so that you are penalized for overpayments of welfare, when the federal government looks at what the state state. but they don't penalize them for underpayments. so it's biased against trying to help people. there is very little welfare fraud. it's greatly exaggerated. it's sort of like a prominent enduring conspiracy theory. whether it's about people moving from one state to another to get welfare and so on and so forth. all these things are not factually supported and we
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should be looking elsewhere like they have welfare ripping off our government. >> that color really nicely articulates the case against welfare in many people's minds. people say these people are getting money and they don't deserve it. they are not really poor etc. etc. and that has enough resonance to be carried over today and politicians like ronald reagan made a lot out of it and people like professor sanford have been pushing back against this for many years about the composition of the welfare load and how black it is . the notion of these welfare queens with lots of money and how fallacious that is. and still despite their good work, we still have people who believe at its face, welfare is
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a ripoff. host: next color is lynette in hartland, wisconsin. go ahead. caller: hello. i'm a senior citizen. and when i was 19, 20 years old i was in a car accident. and i needed help because i had no medical insurance. and they forced me to take food stamps. and i said i don't need food stamps. but they forced me to take them. so i gave them to a girlfriend who was 16, pregnant and had a child. now, i tried like hell to not get the food stamps. because i didn't need them.
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i just needed medical help. but that was part of the package. you guys, i will tell you. go ahead. cut me off. host: do you want to respond to the caller? >> the discussion was about food stamps, which are basically ways of giving money to people and subsidizing their diet so it's better. and it's a favorite example of how it's not just welfare, it's not just social security. we have many other programs that operate all at once. and why do we have this food stamps which was greatly expanded by president nixon. we have it because of people like senator dole who was worried about the excess food commodities that we have. food stamps is still an
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important part of our welfare state that just hasn't gone away even as we've changed the income side of the welfare state. host: helen and washington, d.c., you are on. caller: i just wanted to say something. when i was going through a crisis, all of a sudden my health went bad because i was taking care of my aunt who was 89 years old. and we had no food. and i had to go on welfare to make sure that we got something to eat so i could feed her. nobody wants to get on welfare. but when welfare comes into a way of getting food and especially during a pandemic, when the president decided to give us a check or whatever, the
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first thing i did was go out and buy food. i don't have no freezer. i live in an apartment. so i had to buy very carefully. and i have food stamps. but i don't use all my food stamps. i tried to save it because at one time i was getting only $30. i can't buy a bag of groceries with some meat and vegetables and dairy products with $30. and they are talking about -- the congress people are talking about i don't care whether they are republican or democrat. you can't live off of that. i remember years ago, somebody went to a senator or congressperson and saw how nice the house was. we are not stupid, people. we want what you got. but what is it that you're always making appendages to laws
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that affect poor people? host: thank you for your call. >> we are where they. host: i'm going to let you respond to helen. -- >> we are worthy. host: i'm going to let you respond to helen. >> i think that's a very poignant comment. there has been a successful campaign to demonize the poor, very often using race. a lot of people don't know much about welfare. most people don't receive it. most people don't actually know other people that are receiving at. especially among white people, there is a lot of ignorance about the level of need in our country. especially after society becomes increasingly unequal. and people are really removed from the suffering that a lot of people in our country are going through continuing post-pandemic and so on. it's just a shame. that we have such an inadequate
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social safety net that in part is perpetuated by our political culture being so individualistic. just take care of yourself. and being so myopic, sort of a willful blindness about how other people are enduring in an increasingly adverse economy. host: i want to pull up some video. this is president bill clinton and his 7/1/1995 radio address talking about efforts to overhaul welfare programs and pushing congress to pass legislation to do the same. but he says without drastic cuts providing essential safety net resources to new single mothers. >> we do want people to be good workers and parents and if we want parents on welfare to go to work, we have to make sure they
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can find good clean safe places for their children to go during the day. many in congress want to cut childcare just to save money. i want to cut spending and save money, too. but we have to do it the smart way. cutting childcare will make it harder for parents to get off and stay off welfare. it will therefore cost us far more down the road and it will ever save in the near term. some people in congress want to take even more extreme steps that will hurt, not strengthen families. they don't want welfare reform unless it cuts up all help to poor unmarried mothers. we should require teen mothers to live at home, stay in school and turn their lives around. so they and their children stay off welfare for good. host: we have a tweet that says, this act was an example of scaling back personal security by giving states more control
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and welfare benefits unilaterally, which they did. the racial disparity in the outcome was as planned as it was un-american. what are your thoughts about this? >> i think that's a very insightful comment. i totally agree with that. years ago, a famous political scientist in the book semi sovereign people said there is the privatization of conflict and mainly he saw this happening by the federal government giving up on certain causes and allowing states to battle it out. you are sort of privatizing the conflict. making it go away. it's a little bit what's happening now with dobbs decision regarding appealing roe v. wade and ending the national right to abortion. let the state's handling it. you are sort of privatizing the conflict. so the battle about welfare and
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the ongoing need that a lot of people have had sort of been submerged at the state level. and most states have not handled this very well. my own research for a long time has shown that race plays a big role in whether estate is going to be more punitive and cutting back on public assistance and it's way more important than any other factor like the level of income or revenue or party competition or whatever. it's like the federal government is giving states an opportunity offstage to play the race card and make access to public assistance more restrictive by demonizing recipients who are disproportionately or are primarily white, but are
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depicted in political discourse as nonwhite and therefore furthering the idea that these are people who are undeserving and aren't playing by white people's middle-class rules of work and family. host: another caller, richard in scranton pennsylvania. caller: i have a question and a comment. you are talking about the bill that was eventually signed by president bill clinton. i guess your guest began by giving an overview of the bill. they mentioned that there was a five-year amendment on it. as i understand it, that could be split up. some of them could be on it for two years and then off and then go back on.
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but they would have three years of eligibility. i believe the bill may have had an age requirement in it. i think there was a work requirement. and i think if you were between the ages of 18 and 45 and not disabled and in good health, the work requirement for your welfare applied. i could be confusing that with pennsylvania's law that was signed by governor jake thornburg. i think clinton's bill incorporated a similar thing. am i correct in that that there was an age requirement? >> the elderly in our complicated social welfare system have a different program than dependent children. the elderly have ssi so that agent is kind built into the system and the objective of the
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1996 law was not the elderly who have always been the more deserving of the poor, but rather people with dependent children. particularly people with illegitimate children. one thing i might inject into the conversation now is that a key part of the politics of this had to do with immigrants. there were these people that were getting welfare benefits but they weren't citizens. they were legally in the united states they weren't citizens in both parties really had a field day with that, including your senator from pennsylvania was one of the leaders in the politics of this bill. host: ok. we have another tweet. it says on 9/30/2002, -- expired with a heavy load of
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congressional business in the fall of 2002. congress did not meet the deadline for making the decision necessary to reauthorize the law. so what replaced it. can you give us some of that context? >> i'm actually not familiar with that. as far as i know the law is still in effect. i think more and more people have come to appreciate that the law has failed now and there is discussion in congress to replace it and i've been on an advisory committee in the house to help craft an alternative bill. but it hasn't even been marked up let alone have hearings in its likelihood of passage i think is still in doubt. so i think what's going on is originally welfare was part of what's called reconciliation. it's actually called the
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personal responsibility and work opportunity reconciliation act. that's part of the budget process. so i think what's going on is it's being carried forward under annual budget appropriations. >> the point is this is a law that's been on the books for a while and it's going to stay on the law and be one of the enduring social welfare laws that govern their country. the part about reconciliation is actually interesting. originally we just passed laws like the social security act or the economic opportunity act or whatever. but increasingly beginning really with ronald reagan and the omnibus budget reconciliation act of 1991, part of a package where congress gets a budget target they agree on and all the committees have to come up with programs that will meet that target.
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it's all put together in omnibus law. bill clinton vetoed the welfare law twice. he also vetoed it as part of the reconciliation package. these things are intertwined. reconciliation has been a very important phenomenon. one of the reasons are medicaid program is as generous as it is is through this reconciliation process where representative waxman from california was able to liberalize it step by step. host: i think what the caller was referring to, the act did have authorization. congress may have missed their deadline but they ultimately passed some new reauthorization's to welfare reform. jackie in manhattan, new york. you're on.
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caller: i wanted to explain to your viewers. host: i think we lost you. caller: i'm here. host: keep going. caller: i wanted them to explain the difference between ssi and social security. a lot of viewers get it confused. so ssi to my knowledge is someone that never paid into social security. and social security is based on the amount of money that you pay into social security. and a lot of your viewers called in and said social program. if you receive ssi, that is money the government is giving to you. you didn't work for this. a lot of times they receive money -- the red states don't pay a lot in social security. that's why they receive a
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little. in the blue states pay more into social security than the red states. they still want to call it a socialist program. they get more than the blue states. >> this is another piece of our history. without needing to sound like a pedantic professor, the social security act created programs like old-age insurance. that was what they call social insurance. basically you are entitled as a right for the fact that you pay in or your employer pays payroll taxes eventually you get a benefit when you reach retirement age. what's important about social security is the head of the dallas cowboys, whoever that happens to be at the moment, he gets social security.
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anybody who has worked gets social security. it's very much an entitlement. ssi originally started in the social security act as the so-called adult welfare categories. the aged and the blind. in 1972, congress changed that and federalized the law so there was a uniform benefit for people in all the different states and they called this supplemental security income. it was supposed to add to social security. but it is means tested. you have to prove you are poor and ssi. you don't have to prove you are poor to get social security or unemployment compensation. host: it does seem that welfare is more criticized and
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politicized than social security. why is that the different safety nets have different perceptions perhaps in the public or political sphere? >> it's a fascinating thing. it's an example of what political scientists call policy feedback. the way the policies were structured originally created this invidious distinction between the deserving and undeserving based on how the program was funded. it's called the insurance myth. the idea that social security recipients pay in and they earn their benefits and they are just getting back their money that they invested in some social insurance scheme. that this is like private insurance. and welfare recipients are just getting a handout. they are taking other people's money. this distinction is built right into the original social security act and unfortunately over time politicians have
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exploited it to demonize the poor as undeserving when in fact many social security recipients get back more than they paid in and many welfare recipients are getting benefits but they've been working and paying wages even though they are seen as being lazy and on welfare. >> many social security recipients are also getting ssi by the way. >> so the distinction is just entirely false and it's politically exploitive. unfortunately at the expense of people's well-being. >> we might want to mention the fact that in 1935 when we started all this, the categories for welfare assistance which meant the federal government would give money to the states for it where the blind. they were considered very worthy recipients. the elderly were considered very worthy recipients. and mothers with dependent children. widows were considered very worthy recipients.
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so this notion of welfare being different than social security is a modern idea. there were many more people on welfare in 1950 in there were getting social security. welfare benefits were higher than social security benefits in 1950. it's only after that that social security became perceived as the more genuine where the program and welfare became less worthy program. that does correlate, my fellow guests would agree that does correlate with race and other things. that's the post-1950 development and its only when social security began to reach a lot of people in 1950 that the switch between welfare and social insurance developed and after that the split between welfare for the elderly and welfare for dependent children developed. so by the time it comes to 1996,
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there are lots of illegitimate children. and this became, we haven't really mentioned it, but this was central to the politics of 1996. the republicans said illegitimate children are the source of all the problems we have in the country. they are more likely to commit crimes, more likely to go on welfare. this became the point further welfare debate in 1996. host: this is a text review -- text we received. what about obama getting the bill? he terminated the work requirement. we have pulled up a fact-check post because this became an issue during obama's reelection in 2012 when he was up against mitt romney. can you tell us about that? what did president obama want to
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do with the welfare program? >> it's interesting. obama was one of the presidents who didn't do that much with the welfare program. reagan, nixon, carter, ford. they were all very involved. obama much less so because it was a much more settled issue when he became the president. he had other things to deal with like the recession. i don't know exactly specifically what you are referring to, but that's the general background. >> i think it was during the great recession, there was exemption for areas with high unemployment. which is built into the law. obama got that expanded as part of his recovery legislation. so he was allowing more people in those areas do not have to meet the work environment -- requirement because there wasn't work available. then the heritage foundation and a lot of conservatives really gave him a hard time about that.
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but that eventually went away. >> another thing that's interesting is when obama was the president and we did have this terrible recession. for a while he cut off social security tax payments by people as a way for them to keep more money in their paychecks. that really underscores how even though people attack social security for all these various reasons, it is still an incredibly popular program that figures into our politics. host: we are going to go back to the phone lines now. nancy and las vegas. go ahead. caller: i grew up very poor. 14 people in the family. we did get welfare for some time. it wasn't even enough to feed us. we never had seconds in my home. i remember when i was in second grade the teacher scolding us as
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children being on welfare. so when i grew up i said i will never be on welfare. anyway, i worked all my life. i'm 73 right now. i hurt myself where i had two broken wrists. so i called social security to see if there was some home care programs to help me. they gave me some names and i called all those homecare's and they all said that they only helped medicaid. i said you know what's ironic about this whole program? is that people on medicare are the ones that paid for the medicaid people. and yet we get no services of home care or any kind of services and yet people that have never really paid taxes get everything free. and i don't think that's right. that needs to change. because we all donated into this fund and yet when we need it we
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do not have the service. another thing when people cry about people on welfare, they should cry about corporate welfare. corporate welfare is spending all the money that should be going to the poor people. i think that social security thing needs to be changed. because it is not right that we worked all our life, paid into that fund, and people that never worked and never paid into the fund get everything free. that is unjust. host: your thoughts? >> i definitely recognize that the welfare system is complicated and there a lot of glitches in it and it's not always properly administered. some of those things being said here now are i think a little confusing and i'm not sure if i'm following it. it might be incorrect.
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so the idea that people on medicare are paying in or paid in and the people on medicaid didn't is not really true. this is this invidious distinction, the social insurance net and so on. a lot of people on welfare have worked. a lot of people on medicaid which i know conservatives have often over the years wanted to call it welfare health care, but they are working and paying in. they may not be contributing to a fund that is supposedly set aside. this is another part of the myth. people don't pay into social security and medicare into a separate fund. that's just not true. they make it sound like there's a trust fund. al gore promised when he was running for president he was going to put in the lockbox. people pay in and most of the money goes out to benefits of people who are currently receiving.
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they are just two different welfare programs. one is in her class welfare -- inner class welfare programs. generational welfare programs. it's not healthy for us to continue to make this distinction. people like joe manchin recently while posing the child tax credit on the grounds that there has to be a work requirement. doesn't want us to be an entitlement society. it's just further throwing fuel on the fire of this invidious distinction. >> it turns out we have these two programs and what lies behind that is we don't have any national health insurance at least until obama care. so we have medicaid which was intended for welfare beneficiaries and we have medicare which goes to social security recipients. in fact, medicare is funded
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quite liberally with general revenues. medicaid is funded with both state and federal revenues. it's important that medicaid has become an important part of the safety net. we talked about how the aid to families with dependent children or tanf has become one of the key parts of the safety net. even more so has medicaid. it's the one program people have added things so it no longer just goes to the people on welfare or to the poor. people that are in some other situation like being pregnant that people think deserve state aid. medicare has always tried not to be the program that pays for long-term care because they want to subsidize people in mental health hospitals who are an
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enormous number of people in 1965. but it has been moving much more to funding home health care as part of this general trend in medicine to keep people out of hospitals. so all these things are going on at the same time that the welfare reform discussion is going on. host: peter in fairfax, virginia. caller: newt gingrich testified about welfare reform just last week arguing that work requirements have been a success. he further recommended that we replicate that model for all federal welfare programs. what he ignores is the fact that the requirements are unreasonable for recipients and unrealistic for states. unreasonable because they require a single parent to participate 130 hours a month for a grant of a few hundred dollars, affecting them having them value their time at a few dollars per hour. the target states are expected
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to achieve our unrealistic so they take advantage of all sorts of loopholes. the work requirements are really not about work. and there is zero evidence that they have had the effects that gingrich claims. so how do we get conservative politicians to move beyond misleading talking points to focusing on implementation and policy details so we can have a reform that helps versus pushing families off? and i realize that's a difficult question to answer. host: edward, you want to go first? >> that's a very complicated question and very profound social commentary. so what can we do about this. we can push social security and medicare more than we do. because those programs are ones that the more conservative republican politicians have difficulty in cutting like george bush at the beginning of our present century. so that's one thing you can do.
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another thing you can do is try and who knows how, it may be sanford has better ideas about this. we have to make these sort of general programs that help people. not welfare programs that only help poor people. programs that come to people's aid and help them through life. we don't have a general assistance law in this country which would give money to any poor person. we need something a little bit more like that. i think it's very important -- newt gingrich would like to have all policy be like the 1996 welfare act. he would like to have more block grants, more power given to the states. i think that possibly we are having every consideration of that today. that's clearly something that we need to do. host: this has been a great discussion. we have been chatting today with two historians with expertise on
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the u.s. social safety net. we are talking about landmark legislation, which is the personal responsibility and work opportunity act of 1996. which is welfare reform. we thank you for joining us. it's edward berkowitz of george washington university and sanford schram of hunter college. thank you both so much for this discussion. >> thank you >> thank you. host: you can join c-span later this evening tonight. former vice president mike pence is on the campaign trail as he contemplates a presidential run in 2024. he recently traveled to south carolina to talk about policy proposals after the supreme court struck down roe v. wade. you can watch his remarks tonight at 9:50 p.m. eastern. that will be held
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>> c-span's washington journal, every day we take your calls live on the air, on the news of the day, and discussing policy issues that impact you. we discuss the major events in congress with bloomberg's emily wilkins. and senior fellow, molly reynolds, on the bipartisan effort to change the way votes are counted after a presidential election. and we will preview the week ahead with the washington examiner's white house reporter, catherine doyle. watch "washington journal" on c-span or c-span now, our free
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mobile app. during the conversation with your phone calls facebook , comments, text messages, and tweets. >> here is what is ahead. next, hearing thing at election security and threats to election workers. then the mayor of buffalo, new york talks about the economic effect of mass shootings, and later, a debate among democratic candidates to be the next governor of florida. >> in march 2020, he head it 19 outbreak while sailing and no one would let him dock. they recount what happened aboard the stranded ship with cabin fever and the eventual save harbor. >> virus started becoming apparent a week into the cruise.
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looking cap on it, they said they noticed certain people were getting sick people or coughing even before then. >> it felt like the cruise -- cruise company gambled that one last ship could go out. this really is a journey that symbolizes a lot of the horrors that we went through. >> their book, "cabin fever," tonight and c-span's q&a. you can listen to the podcasts on our free c-span now app. >> the senate returns money at three clock p.m. eastern. centers will have a vote on legislation providing grants to the computer chip industry. also expected to take up a bill for health care and disability
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benefits for veterans exposed to toxins during service. tuesday at 2:00 p.m. eastern and planned to take up the hued pewter chip -- the computer chip legislation. later, members will vote on a bill to provide wildfire and drought relief. watch the house on c-span, the senate on c-span two, and watch on our c-span now app or online. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government, funded by these television companies and more, including sparklight. >> the greatest town on earth is the place you call home. at sparklight, it is our home too. we are facing our greatest challenge. that is why sparklight is working round-the-clock to keep you protected. we are doing our part so it is easier to do yours. >> sparklight supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you
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a front row seat to democracy. >> election officials testified on potential threats to election workers leading up to the 2022 midterms at a homeland security meeting. they spoke about ways to secure election systems by updating voter rolls and taking actions to prevent cyber attacks. they also warned about the dangers of disinformation and threats of violence related to the administration of elections. [indiscernible chatter]


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