Romney's Welfare Queen

Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page argues that Mitt Romney's assault on President Obama's welfare-reform policy actually gets in the way of putting its recipients to work. 

Posted:
 
mitt_romney_081412_400jrw
Larry Marano/WireImage/Getty Images

In his Chicago Tribune column, Clarence Page argues that Mitt Romney's assault on President Obama's welfare-reform policy actually gets in the way of putting its recipients to work.

In a July 12 directive, the Obama administration invited the states to apply for waivers from welfare reform rules that require recipients to get a job, seek a job or engage in job training.

That opened up an opportunity for Romney and other Republicans to charge, as a Romney campaign ad puts it, that Obama is single-handedly trying to "gut" President Bill Clinton's 1996 welfare overhaul "by dropping work requirements."

Since the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, anyone seeking cash assistance has faced strict work requirements and a five-year lifetime limit. But "(u)nder Obama's plan, you wouldn't have to work and wouldn't have to train for a job," says the narrator in the Romney ad. "They would just send you your welfare check. And welfare-to-work goes back to being just plain old welfare. Mitt Romney will restore the work requirement because it works."

But the directive's aim is to improve welfare-to-work, not gut it. Major fact-checking organizations tend to agree. PolitiFact.com gave the ad a "Pants on Fire!" rating, calling it a "drastic distortion." FactCheck.org gave a similarly low rating

Read Clarence Page's entire piece at the Chicago Tribune.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.