Yesterday, 12 July, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a directive which cripples the American work ethic. The official policy directive guts the basic work requirement which was the bedrock of the welfare reform act of 1996. With this policy, the Obama Administration has ended welfare reform as we know it.

     The welfare reform law of 1996, under Clinton, replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children for a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy families (TANF) and established the requirement that adult who were capable, either go to work or prepare for work to receive welfare assistance. During the period between 1995 and 1996, Congress passed the bill a total of three times and, in 1996, an election year, Clinton signed the bill into law the third time.

     The welfare reform law was a great success. It was the only welfare program, of over 70, which promoted greater self-reliance and was responsible for removing almost 3 million families from welfare rolls into the work force. The child poverty rate fell and single-parent employment rose. With the law in effect, in order to receive welfare payments, an able-bodied adult had to either work a minimum of 20-30 hours per week or go to some sort of training for work.

     With yesterday’s policy directive by the HHS changes all that. The Obama administration wants to waive the work requirements, making it easier to get welfare payments. Evidently, the Obama administration has given up on efforts to create jobs and desires to expand the nation’s welfare rolls. Of course, by doing this, some of those jobs now filled by welfare recipients who no longer are required to work for their money can be filled by people who actually want to work. Those people leaving the work force for the welfare rolls will no longer be included in the work force. Both these things will result in the unemployment rate to fall. The plus side for Obama will be more people relying on government for their existence.

     Before you quit your jobs, there may be a problem for Obama. When the law was written by Congress in 1996, they didn’t want some future HHS bureaucrat to waive the work requirements from the law. Although waivers are discussed in the law, they are limited as to certain parts of the law, none of them concerning the work requirements. In fact, in a review of the law in 2001, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service clarified there was no authority to waive the work requirement or any other major requirement in the law.

     I’m sure that this directive will be argued back and forth between the administration and Congress, who again has been bypassed by Obama. There will be advertisements by Obama blaming everyone who disagrees with him on this issue for not caring about the needy. When all this starts, keep in mind some of the things the liberal progressives wanted to declare as work were such things as hula dancing, attending Weight Watchers and, my personal favorite, bed rest. The reality of the directive is a swelling of  the welfare rolls, which Obama has already grown more than any other President, and there’s no way to pay for it.