Changes to welfare pushed by President Barack Obama's administration are providing his Republican challenger Mitt Romney with material for a new round of attacks, including a television ad released Tuesday...Here's the ad:
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the welfare ad was one piece in a larger push to highlight the Obama administration's changes to ways states administer welfare.
"Middle-class Americans are working harder and harder to make ends meet," Saul wrote. "Under President Obama, they have fewer jobs and less take-home pay. And now, President Obama wants to take their hard-earned tax dollars and give it to welfare recipients without work requirements."
Let's review what we already know about what the Obama administration did regarding welfare reform.
- He did NOT "gut" welfare reform.
- He did NOT get rid of work requirements.
- What he did do is give states the option to request waivers that Republican governors (including Romney) had requested.
- The goal of the waivers, as stated by HHS, is "more efficient or effective means to promote employment entry, retention, advancement, or access to jobs that offer opportunities for earnings and advancement that will allow participants to avoid dependence on government benefits."
- No state is required to change anything. They can request a waiver if they so chose.
In 2005, Romney signed a letter along with 29 other state governors to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, calling for greater state flexibility in managing their TANF programs.These particular changes are a result of requests from Republican governors in Utah and Nevada.
"Increased waiver authority, allowable work activities, availability of partial work credit and the ability to coordinate state programs are all important aspects of moving recipients from welfare to work," the letter read.
Why all the noise in reaction to President Obama doing exactly what Republican governors have requested that is totally in line with their emphasis on "state's rights?"
First of all, its an attempt to take the "class warfare" focus off of the tax cuts Romney wants to give to the 1% and suggest that the real problem is the taxes we pay to support Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (0.7% of the federal budget).
But secondly, it gives folks like Mike Huckabee the opportunity to pivot from calling TANF recipients "welfare queens" to alluding to them as "roaches."In other words, its dog whistle heaven for making cheap appeals to racist white working class voters.
So let's recognize this for what it is and remember that they're so desperate at this point that this is all they've got.