Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Welfare Reform and Workfare Have SAVED New York!







On June 30th, 2008, New York’s welfare rolls plummeted to their lowest tally in 45 YEARS!

When Rudy Giuliani took office there were over ONE MILLION people on New York City’s welfare rolls (1,160,593), today there are under 400,000 (341,329)!

Yes, workfare helped some people get back to work, BUT what welfare reform (including workfare) really did was to eradicate the massive FRAUD and abuse that had plagued that system rooted in a failed 1960s ideology that “work is wage slavery, and we should seek to free poor people from the shackles of employment and employer abuse.”

Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute, who studies these kinds of policies, attributes all the gains made to Giuliani’s welfare reform, instituted back in 1995. "I think it's very much a product of the change in welfare philosophy that Mayor Giuliani introduced in '95," MacDonald said.

The savings to New York, at a time when tax revenues are falling due to the volatility on Wall Street, cannot be overstated. Given that the average welfare recipient in New York City costs the city at least $30,000/year, those 820,000 fewer recipients means the city is saving (at minimum) a staggering $2.4 BILLION/year! That’s got to be GREAT news for a cash strapped city like New York.

And the welfare rolls are perhaps the very best indicator of individual poverty that we have. Despite rising unemployment (the current rate has still not risen above 5%) and with many people leaving the workforce to work for themselves, the welfare rolls have, not only, not grown, they’ve continued to fall, indicating that actual individual poverty continues to fall, as well.

And that’s good news all around. No one should be mired in the generational dependancy that welfare progrmas breed, as that is the closest thing to a living death.

16 comments:

Don said...

good topic.

when i finally took the time to truly understand the welfare system i understood the principle idea, but i could never embrace how so many people (including my relatives) appeared to want to live on a welfare income. til this day i find that concept mindboggling.

i don't know much about the overall workfare program, but if it allows or demands that welfare recipients improve their conditions - it's a good deal.

WomanHonorThyself said...

this is heartening my friend..the entire welfare system has been abused beyond recognition!!

heidianne jackson said...

would that the likes of the liberal community could see the inherent positives your post illuminates. alas, they will simply say something like "there are hundreds of thousands of people who should be on welfare right now, but because of right wing policies they are being denied what is rightfully theirs!"

great post, my dear.

JMK said...

Don, I think the idea behind welfare, like so many such things, was rooted in good intentions, but the result is that it has not helped people forge better and more meaningful lives for themselves, it has mired millions of Americans across the country in a perpetual dependancy.

I support the idea of helping those in need, but I could never support any program that mired people in hopelessness for the rest of their lives.

The BIGGEST beneficiaries of welfare aren't the millions of recipients, but the army of social workers and case-workers who've made their livings within these programs.

JMK said...

I don't know what kind of shape NYC would be in today if it still had over a million people on welfare, Angel.

I think the eradicating of the once rampant fraud and the increased work-training has been a big plus, not only for the city, but for those who've gotten back into the workforce, as well.

JMK said...

Heidianne, that is almost certainly correct and it's due, largely, to the misguided view of "work as slavery," that many far-Left people embrace.

Mick Brady said...

Amen, brother. As a former welfare recipient and later a case-worker in the Bronx, I can say that I've actually lived through both sides of this issue.

My family was forced into poverty when I was a child, and wound up on welfare for about a year. We couldn't wait to get off; it was utterly humiliating.

As a young radical leftie in the 60s, I moved to New York City to "save the oppressed minorities" and after a year or so, became so hardened against both the system and the majority of my clients who were scamming the system that I couldn't wait to get out; it was utterly infuriating.

There is a need for welfare, but in most cases, it should not last more than a year.

Seane-Anna said...

This great news for the Big Apple. Did the New York Times cover it?

Don said...

perpeutal dependancy - i agree. it's somewhat shocking to see those who actually believe they can live off welfare, then have the nerves to turn around and complain about unwanted conditions.

great point about those who truly benefit from the complacency of others.

JMK said...

I have to say, I didn't see much in the NY Times...OK, if they covered I missed it, so I didn't see it at all. In fact, I searched the NY Times archives for "New York City Welfare Rolls" and "New York City Welfare" and found nothing.

No big surprise there.

JMK said...

"perpeutal dependancy - i agree. it's somewhat shocking to see those who actually believe they can live off welfare, then have the nerves to turn around and complain about unwanted conditions." (Don)
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It seems that some of the abuses of such systems are a part of human nature. A sad and destructive part, but a part none-the-less.

We see the same thing with insurance scammers. Some people just have to "beat the system."

And certainly, humans do tend to follow the path of least resistance in our lives. We take advantages of what opportunities are in front of us.

Some people scam insurance companies, others find ways to get public assistance from a number of municipalities.

As wrong as those things are, and they are morally wrong, it's the systems themselves that must be made better.

The "dirty little secret" about all such systems, is that those who earned their livings working inside them, had little incentive to improve them. Welfare case workers always saw larger case loads as "proof of the need for that program," just as police departmets used crime stats and fire departments used fire stats to bolster arguments for more hiring and more funding.

The worst thing about the welfare system that's evolved here, at least from my view, is that it does not seek to ultimately get recipients to improve their lives, get back to work and become the free and autonomous beings they were born to be.

That's the sad thing - all that wasted life, all that wasted creativity, lost to progrmas that have fostered dependancy.

Uncle Joe said...

Nice post on a good subject. The welfare system is used by some politicians to maintain power. That's the biggest obsticle to changing it. Even Clinton apologized for signing a good welfare reform bill in the 1990's.

JMK said...

"Amen, brother. As a former welfare recipient and later a case-worker in the Bronx, I can say that I've actually lived through both sides of this issue...

"...There is a need for welfare, but in most cases, it should not last more than a year." (Mick Brady)
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That's a pretty unique experience Mick. If only the vast majority of welfare case-workers had that viewpoint, perhaps some lives could've been pulled away from the dependancy trap.

A basic tenet of human nature is that "If you reward something, you'll get more of it," BECAUSE "people respond to incentives."

That's the critical flaw in ALL Marxism, which is based on the premise, "FROM each (should work/produce) according to his abilities and TO (rewarded) according to his needs," as that tenet ALWAYS delivers a nation filled with gluttonous people with bad backs.

Same with the idea of "guaranteeing an income" or "giving the poor all the necessities of life" - once you start rewarding sloth, ignorance and self-destructive behaviors, you get MORE of them.

JMK said...

"The welfare system is used by some politicians to maintain power." (UJ)
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It certainly has been used in that way UJ, but welfare reform has made a huge difference today.

New York is currently saving some $2.4 BILLION per year due to reducing its welfare rolls from nearly 1.2 million to under 340,000.

Anonymous said...

We are 4 students that are writing a blog about workfare policies in Ontario, Canada as a course assignment. I noticed that your views may be different from ours and we are hoping to encourage critical comment and debate. I would appreciate if you checked out our blog. We just started it today, but we will be adding posts weekly!

http://criticallythinkingaboutpolicy.blogspot.com/

JMK said...

"We are 4 students that are writing a blog about workfare policies in Ontario, Canada as a course assignment. I noticed that your views may be different from ours and we are hoping to encourage critical comment and debate. I would appreciate if you checked out our blog." (anonymous)
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I will check it out ASAP.

I do generally hold to relatively Conservative/Libertarian views, and believe that dialogue is almost always a good thing.

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