In no uncertain terms, Gov. Tom Corbett has rejected the Obama administration’s re-election-year pander allowing states to dispense with the work requirement under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
What Pennsylvania’s welfare recipients deserve is a lifeline, not a noose.
“The flexibility offered through this potential waiver will simply lock states into another round of caseload expansion and escalate welfare spending,” Gov. Corbett writes. “More importantly, it will handicap our ability to ensure that an effective safety net is preserved for the truly needy … .”
That’s precisely what happened previously when Pennsylvania’s TANF program went limp on the work requirement — and full-time job placement for adult recipients fell “significantly,” Corbett writes.
Moreover, of six states that have reduced their welfare rolls during the recession, four match work requirements with time limits, writes Elizabeth Stelle for the Commonwealth Foundation. Nationwide, “stagnant welfare rolls experienced unprecedented declines” after welfare reform, with its work requirement, in 1996, according to The Heritage Foundation. Millions of families transitioned from the government dole to work and newfound independence.
Work restores not only a paycheck but self-dignity and self-respect. As Corbett says, Pennsylvanians “deserve better” than a welfare redux.