Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bill & Hill's Neolib 'Welfare to Work' Legacy Soon To Bite Many African-Americans

In a recent campaign ad for Bernie Sanders, Spike Lee is heard to say: "99 percent of Americans were hurt by the financial crisis and that's why I'm officially endorsing my brother, Bernie Sanders."

But as we learn Hillary and Trump are set to "wrap up nominations" today  (WSJ. Feb. 29, p. A4)  and 'Sanders Is Downplaying The Odds' (p. A6)  do African -Americans agog for Hillary even process what he's saying? One wonders as so many appear to fall all over themselves to jump aboard the Clinton bandwagon which they insist will be foursquare in their corner once she's elected. If she is.

But maybe it's time for a reality check.   As per a WSJ piece five days ago ('Food Stamp Reprieve Is Short On Time', p. A3) millions of blacks in 22 states are set to lose their food stamp benefits unless they comply with tough job requirement benchmarks.  Among these forlorn souls is Tiffoney Greene, 43, who lives in subsidized housing and has needed food stamps off and on the past five years.

Ms. Greene, from Raleigh, NC, was formerly the manager at a barbecue restaurant but she lost her job in 2013 after no longer having a reliable means of transport following a divorce.  She had been working toward an A.A. degree when she lost her job and her options were scuttled. Now, she faces going hungry after receiving a letter from the county that she has until March 31 to buck up and get moving with work - or some alternative -  or else lose her food money.

As the article put it: she "cried when she found out".

And WHO,  we might ask, is to blame for this travesty that afflicts the "unprotected" in this country (in the parlance of Peggy Noonan from her latest WSJ piece) mainly poor and minorities?

Well, to those with lapsed memories it was none other than Bill Clinton, who - under pressure from the DLC - passed (with Republican help) the 'Welfare to work' law back in 1996. The law enraged actual liberals though it was applauded by Neoliberal whores and bootlickers in the media.  As I described in my book, 'Elements of the Corporatocracy', it was an evil affront to justice that mandated - in states like Maryland- welfare recipients could be paid below the minimum wage ($3.50 /hr was often cited by The Baltimore Sun)

After the horrific financial crisis, credit meltdown in 2007-08 the job requirements for SNAP were broadly waived so people like Greene and millions of others could catch a bit of a break. Now, however, with job numbers seemingly improving, the requirements are being reinstated by many states.

This is all despite the fact that "joblessness is higher for many groups who lack a high school diploma" not to mention the 6 million Americans (including many blacks) who are left with only part time work because they can't find full time jobs. And yet, by the new work requirement, if they are unable to work at lest 80 hours a month they will have to have their food stamps cut. Talk about adding insult to injury!

Do any of the African-Americans backing Hillary sincerely believe she will change this draconian law? Why not ask her at the next confab or event and see?  Do you really believe in her heart of hearts that she will tear asunder the ill-conceived program her hubby Bill put in place? Eschew the record of her husband?  As P.J. Podesta writes at salon.com:

"The federal safety net for poor families was torn to shreds by the Clinton administration in its effort to “end welfare as we know it.” In his 1996 State of the Union address, given during his re-election campaign, Clinton declared that ‘the era of big government is over’ and immediately sought to prove it by dismantling the federal welfare system known as Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC). The welfare-reform legislation that he signed—which Hillary Clinton ardently supported then and characterized as a success as recently as 2008—replaced the federal safety net with a block grant to the states, imposed a five-year lifetime limit on welfare assistance, added work requirements, barred undocumented immigrants from licensed professions, and slashed overall public welfare funding by $54 billion (some was later restored)."

At least a Sanders administration would fight tooth and nail to repeal 'welfare to work' or issue an executive order to stop it..

Hillary?  I warrant not so much. A pity so many African-Americans (even Civil Rights stalwarts like John Lewis) are now so blinded to Dem Neoliberalism they will likely rubberstamp it today - with Hillary's forthcoming coronation.

See also:



"Hillary actively advocated for her husband's 1996 "welfare reform" legislation, calling the recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) "deadbeats," and despite a doubling of extreme poverty calling the program a success as recently as 2008.."

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