Dictator Obama Once Again Ignores Laws and Defies Congress by Gutting Welfare Reform

As if the Dictator-in-Chief hasn’t done enough shredding of our Constitution, he has now decided to ignore the 1996 Welfare Reform Act passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton.  Even though Congress deliberately exempted or shielded nearly all of the TANF program from waiver authority, the Dictator has now authorized HHS to do just that.  When will the narcissistic man-child stop acting like a dictator and more like a leader?  When will he stop giving the American people the middle finger and follow our laws? Never!  That is why he has to go…….

From Amy Payne via Heritage

The imperial Presidency has overturned Congress and the law again. Not content to stop at rewriting immigration policy, education policy and energy policy, yesterday, President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an official policy directive rewriting the welfare reform law of 1996. The new policy guts the federal work requirements that were the foundation of the Clinton-era reform.

While this real news occurred yesterday, most of the media remained fixated on political ads and speeches, letting a major and unilateral shift in America’s welfare system go nearly unreported.

Welfare reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children with a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The Heritage Foundation played a pivotal role in building bipartisan consensus for the reform and providing many of the recommendations that became part of the law. The whole point was that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid.

This reform was very successful. TANF became the only welfare program (out of more than 70) that promoted greater self-reliance. It moved 2.8 million families off the welfare rolls and into jobs so that they were providing for themselves. Child poverty fell, and single-parent employment rose. Recipients were required to perform at least 20–30 hours per week of work or job preparation activities in exchange for the cash benefit.

Now, Obama’s HHS is claiming that it can waive those work requirements that are at the heart of the law, and without Congress’s consent.

When it established TANF, Congress deliberately exempted or shielded nearly all of the TANF program from waiver authority. They explicitly did not want the law to be rewritten at the whim of HHS bureaucrats. In a December 2001, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service clarified that there was no authority to override work and other major requirements: “Effectively, there are no TANF waivers,” it reported.

But that did not stop the Obama Administration, which has been increasing welfare spending at an alarming rate already. President Obama has added millions to the welfare rolls, and his Administration has come under fire lately for its efforts to expand and add more Americans to the food stamp program.

This is a chronic problem: Over the past two decades, welfare spending has grown more rapidly than Social Security and Medicare, education, and defense. The TANF reform was one small step in the direction of reducing Americans’ dependence on government programs and getting them back on their feet. Cutting its work component is likely to unnecessarily swell the ranks of welfare recipients and with no way to pay for it.

Heritage experts Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley explained further in their comprehensive analysis of yesterday’s announcement:

In the past, state bureaucrats have attempted to define activities such as hula dancing, attending Weight Watchers, and bed rest as “work.” These dodges were blocked by the federal work standards. Now that the Obama Administration has abolished those standards, we can expect “work” in the TANF program to mean anything but work. The new welfare dictate issued by the Obama Administration clearly guts the law.

Obama certainly didn’t tell people he was going to gut welfare reform when he was running for President in 2008—and why would he? “Welfare horror stories helped elect Ronald Reagan,” wrote Mickey Kaus of The Daily Caller. “A promise to ‘end welfare as we know it’ elected President Clinton…And in 2008, Barack Obama didn’t dare suggest that he wanted to do what he has done today.”

While the 1996 welfare reform successfully moved people from welfare into work, it did not “end welfare as we know it.” Now, however, the Obama Administration has ended welfare reform as we know it. The President cannot hide his disastrous unemployment record by depriving Americans of the hope of a job. He should immediately reverse this course, and offer constructive ideas for economic growth rather than government dependence.

Fact Sheet on Welfare Reform

For more click here.

President Obama: Does he owe Black America?

By Stacy Swimp via Thy Black Man

When our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, it was for all people. The Preamble reads:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…

The Constitution grants no preference to ethnicity or economic class. It’s a foundation for a rule of law applying equally to all Americans.

There is only one America—not a Black, White, Hispanic, Asian or any other separatist America.

Saying Obama owes special attention to Black America is contrary to the Constitution. “Black America” itself is a dysfunctional term that only promotes class warfare and ethnic unrest.

Black America” is a concept born from Black Nationalism, creating a means for Americans of African descent to eschew citizenship.

Obama owes Americans of African descent what he owes every other American. It’s not special or preferential treatment. It’s the truth—something he’s not delivered faithfully since taking office.

Instead of improving economic conditions, it would seem Obama has allowed things to get worse. For example:

•Reported unemployment last August was at 9.1 percent. In January of 2009, it was 7.6 percent. Long-term unemployment tripled during the Obama Administration.

•The average price of a gallon of gas in early September was over $3.50. When Obama took office, it was well under $2. This commodity affects the price of almost everything we buy.

•Food stamp use rose 70 percent over the past four years. There are more than 45 million Americans now on food stamps, as opposed to just over 30 million when Obama became president.

•The ranks of poverty-stricken children grew by 2 million over the past two years.

•The national debt is over 14.3 trillion dollars, up from nearly 10.7 trillion on Inauguration Day 2009.

•The federal government essentially borrowed $29,660 more dollars from every American household since Obama signed the first stimulus bill.

•In 2010, more than a million households suffered foreclosure—the first time it’s gone so high. The current pace of home sales could make 2011 the worst year for the industry in a half-century.

President Obama needs to set aside “race-baiting” politics and embrace real solutions to our nation’s problems. For instance:

•Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act that regulates federal labor agreements. This would save taxpayers over $10 billion per year and free up more money for more infrastructure projects that the Heritage Foundation estimates will create more than 150,000 jobs.

•Repeal the minimum wage law that discriminates against minorities and poor Americans—causing alarming hikes in unemployment in urban cities.

•Based on success in the states, a national “right-to-work” law could create more private sector jobs as well as more and faster personal income growth.

•The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world that punishes corporations for increasing profits and drives jobs overseas. Reform the tax code.

Americans need President Barack Obama to lead and support policies that put people back to work.

An American agenda is colorblind, for it is based upon the tenets of free enterprise, limited government and individual responsibility.

Enough of the rhetoric. Enough of the special interest politics. It’s time to follow a real plan.

Written By Stacy Swimp

Official website; http://StacySwimp.com

Voter Fraud: Research study suggests major election problems

By Jim Kouri via The Examiner

A major non-partisan research project suggests  that the U.S. is fast approaching the status of Third-World Nation when it comes  to the integrity of local and national elections.

“Our democratic process requires an effective system for maintaining  accurate voter registration information. Voter registration lists are used to  assign precincts, send sample ballots, provide polling place information,  identify and verify voters at polling places, and determine how resources, such  as paper ballots and voting machines, are deployed on Election Day” state Pew  Center statisticians.

These systems are plagued with errors and inefficiencies that waste  taxpayer dollars, undermine voter confidence, and fuel partisan disputes over  the integrity  of our elections, according to Pew researchers.

Voter registration in the United States largely reflects its 19th-century  origins and has not kept pace with advancing technology and a mobile society.  States’ systems must be brought into the 21st century to be more accurate,  cost-effective, and efficient, according to Pew Center statement.

Research commissioned by the Pew Center on the States highlights the  extent of the challenge:

* Approximately 24 million—one of every eight—active voter registrations in  the United States are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate.

* More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as active  voters.

* Approximately 2.75 million people have active registrations in more  than one state.

Meanwhile, researchers estimate at least 51 million eligible U.S. citizens  are unregistered, or more than 24 percent of the eligible population.

The Pew study also found that the paper-based processes of most  registration systems present several opportunities for error.

In a typical system, election officials get information about a voter’s  identity, eligibility, address, and contact information through a form completed  at a public agency, such as a county election office or motor vehicles office,  or through an unregulated third party voter registration group, such as a  campaign or advocacy organization (ACORN, Project Vote).

These are sent to election offices, where the data often are manually  entered and names are added to the voter list. A voter must supply any change to  that information, such as a new address, name, or party affiliation, which is  usually manually entered and processed by election officials.

The study also identified:

* Approximately 12.7 million records nationwide that appear to be out of  date and no longer reflect the voter’s current information.

* More than 1.8 million records for people who are no longer living, but  have active registrations on voter rolls.

* About 12 million records with incorrect addresses, indicating that either  the voters have moved, or that errors in the information on file make it  unlikely the Postal Service can reach them.

Illegal alien voters

A study released by the conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation provides proof that  illegal aliens and immigrants with green cards are committing rampant voter  fraud in the United States.

Reports of ineligible persons registering to vote have raised concerns about  state processes for verifying voter registration lists. States usually base  voter eligibility on the voter’s age, US citizenship, mental competence, and  felon status.

Although individual states run elections, Congress has authority to affect  the administration of the elections. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA)  had set a deadline for states to have a statewide voter registration list and  list verification procedures, according to Heritage analysts.

For example, the methods used in seven  selected states to verify voter eligibility and ensure accuracy of voter  registration lists were varied and include relying on registrant self  attestation, return mailings, and checking against lists of felony convictions  or deceased individuals. Some states, for instance, failed to do any more than  ask on their application forms if the registrant was a US citizen. The applicant  will merely check off the “Yes” box, but there is no action taken to verify the  authenticity of that answer.

“The voter registration officials simply take the word of the registrant with  no follow-up,” said conservative political strategist Michael Baker.

“Some states that require some backup documentation merely ask for a utility  bill or a driver’s license — neither of which prove citizenship. In other words,  legal or illegal aliens can easily register to vote in local and national  elections,” warns Baker.

Guest Blog: The Danger of A Nation of Dependents by Congressman Allen West

via Heritage Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

As someone who grew up in inner-city Atlanta, I understand there are times when people need whatever help they can find. The social safety net—in conjunction with generosity from neighborhood groups, churches, charities, and private companies—can help lift Americans out of poverty and toward the path of self-reliance and individual prosperity. However, that “net” should never turn into a “hammock”—and that is what this President and his policies are allowing.

What we see today with our vast social safety net is a growing and frightening dependency on the federal government, which is increasingly replacing our important local and private charitable efforts. The Heritage Foundation’s newly released 2012 Index of Dependency on Government show some stark details about a nation of reliance and how it’s devastating our nation’s fiscal future.

This annual study by The Heritage Foundation analyzes federal assistance programs for everything from housing, health care, and food stamps to college tuition and retirement assistance. And there are some alarming numbers indeed.

  • An estimated one in five Americans now receives aid from the federal government. That translates into more than 67.3 million Americans who rely on federal dollars for their way of life.
  • Additionally, the amount the average American receives in federal benefits jumped to $32,748 in 2010; this surpassed the average working American’s disposable personal income of $32,446.
  • At the same time, the federal taxpayer base continues to shrink, with nearly half of the U.S. population not paying any federal income taxes.

Is this a vision of President Obama’s doctrine of fairness and economic equality? Our democratic government is at risk when there are more Americans who are wedded to the federal government— either by subsistence or employment check—than federal taxpayers to pay for the rampant spending.

What do you think will happen when producers realize they are working for the entitlement class or the state, instead of their own families and the American dream? Eventually, they will stop producing. As Margaret Thatcher said, the government will “run out of other people’s money.”

I fear the future does not hold much hope for reversing this trend. With the impending retirement of 77 million baby boomers and the continued liberal march toward government involvement in all parts of life, the trend in the number of Americans dependent on Washington seems to have only one direction: up.

But I have hope. The essence of the American spirit does not want to be obliged to government for our daily routine. Americans want to fight for their independence and be successful providers for themselves and their families.

We in Congress need to do our part to aid the struggle for more personal responsibility. We need to reduce government spending levels so we are taking less from America’s producers of economic growth. We need to take a long, hard look at these assistance programs, eliminating duplicative efforts and directing aid first to the neediest of our population.

We also have to embolden charities, local groups, and private-sector initiatives to empower individuals through programs that require more “skin in the game.” Far too often, these good Samaritans are pushed aside by government zeal to provide inferior and bureaucratized services. And finally, we need to reform entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security so that they are viable for future generations without bankrupting our country.

Your independence is a precious gift, protected by the Constitution and enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Fight for it. I know I will.

U.S. Representative Allen West (R – FL) represents Florida’s 22nd District in Congress.

The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.

 

Morning Bell: Voter ID Prevents Election Fraud

By Mike Brownfield

 

Last night’s nail-biter in Iowa marked the beginning of election year 2012. And with Americans heading to the polls — next in New Hampshire, then South Carolina and beyond — they will hope to rely on the integrity of the election system to ensure that every legitimate vote counts and that fraud is not the deciding factor on the local, state or national level.

Unfortunately, despite all the technological advances in our modern democracy, voter fraud still occurs, and yet there is still resistance to one very simple tool that could help eradicate it — voter ID. Some, like The New York Times, say that voting fraud is a myth, that “there is almost no voting fraud in America.” But as Heritage senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky explains, voter fraud is all too common in America today:

The fraud denialists also must have missed the recent news coverage of the double voters in North Carolina and the fraudster in Tunica County, Miss. — a member of the NAACP’s local executive committee — who was sentenced in April to five years in prison for voting in the names of ten voters, including four who were deceased.

And the story of the former deputy chief of staff for Washington mayor Vincent Gray, who was forced to resign after news broke that she had voted illegally in the District of Columbia even though she was a Maryland resident. Perhaps they would like a copy of an order from a federal immigration court in Florida on a Cuban immigrant who came to the U.S. in April 2004 and promptly registered and voted in the November election.

Even former liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens agrees. Stevens wrote in a 6-3 majority opinion upholding an Indiana voter ID law: “That flagrant examples of [voter] fraud…have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists…demonstrate[s] that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election.”

Given the incidence of voter fraud — and the simplicity of requiring voters to present a valid ID in order to be able to vote — it’s not surprising that 70 percent of likely U.S. voters believe that voters “should be required to show photo identification such as a driver’s license before being allowed to cast their ballot,” according to a recent Rasmussen poll. Meanwhile, only 22 percent of Americans are opposed to the requirement.

Despite the fraud — and the support for voter ID measures — Attorney General Eric Holder intends to examine new state voter ID laws for potential racial bias. Von Spakovsky writes that the allegations of bias are baseless, and there is evidence to prove it. In Georgia, which enacted a photo ID law before the 2008 election, the number of African American voters increased after the new law went into effect. “According to Census Bureau surveys,” von Spakovsky writes, “65 percent of the black voting-age population voted in the 2008 election, compared with only 54.4 percent in 2004, an increase of more than ten percentage points.”

On top of all that, the number of people who don’t already have a photo ID is incredibly small. An American University survey in Maryland, Indiana, and Mississippi found that less than one-half of 1 percent of registered voters lacked a government-issued ID, and a 2006 survey of more than 36,000 voters found that only “23 people in the entire sample–less than one-tenth of one percent of reported voters” were unable to vote because of an ID requirement. What about those who don’t have photo IDs? Von Spakovsky notes that “every state that has passed a voter ID law has also ensured that the very small percentage of individuals who do not have a photo ID can easily obtain one for free if they cannot afford one.”

The American people value the integrity of their elections, and they overwhelmingly support voter ID requirements to make sure that Election Day is as fair, honest, and legal as possible. Still, though, there is resistance and predictions of massive  disenfranchisement if voter ID laws continue to be implemented. The  evidence, however, proves otherwise.

 

Remembering Pearl Harbor

By Tierra Warren:

Seventy years ago today, Japanese naval and air forces launched a surprise attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

More than 2,400 Americans perished and 1,178 military personnel and civilians were wounded. In the attack, America lost 188 aircraft, 8 battleships, 3 destroyers, 3 cruisers, and 1 minelayer.

The shock and anger caused by the attack on Pearl Harbor united a nation and ultimately led to victory in World War II.

Today we pause to remember the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. We at The Heritage Foundation salute and remember the men and women in uniform who served this country then and those continue to do so today.