Saturday, February 21, 2009

Obama Wants to Restore Welfare "As we Knew It"

Hidden in the media coverage about Barack Obama is the eloquent argument being made by Republican Governors regarding their concerns over the stimulus package. The media believes that these politicians are jockeying for higher office. The truth is, most are opposed to the massive growth of the federal government and are particularly concerned about the bill's various "hitches" designed to force states to take positions that they are opposed to. Worse than being critical about these governors, many in the mainstream media are ignoring them entirely.

Robert Schlesinger has noted at US News and World Reports that the New York Times reviewed the views of GOP candidates and their thoughts on Obama's stimulus package and stated that "in terms of presidential politics, the most notable name in the Times piece is Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who campaigned with Obama for the stimulus package last week. Glaringly absent from the Times piece were governors like South Carolina's Mark Sanford, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Mississippi's Haley Barbour and Alaska's Sarah Palin—all governors recently named in the Washington Post's excellent 'The Fix' column as being among the five most influential and powerful voices in the Republican Party (the other person named was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney). Palin and Jindal are often named as contenders in 2012, and Barbour gave 2008 a long look before passing on it. Sanford is chairman of the Republican Governor's Association."

Haley Barber has been particularly persuasive in discussing his concerns, stating on Fox News that the Obama measure would force states to allow people to receive welfare, even if they are not willing to work, if they want to enjoy the complete package. For example, Barbour notes, that if the state of Mississippi wants to receive $54 million in increased unemployment benefits, they will have to expand the benefits to those not actively looking for employment or willing to take it if offered. If Barbour doesn't take it, he will receive less than $4 million of the expanded benefits.

We haven't seen this kind of pressure on the restoration of the Welfare State since Bill Clinton and Republicans in Congress led the efforts to reverse many of the damaging policies that led to multi generational poverty. I consider that to be one of the the greatest policy achievement of the 1990s. This achievement is threatened as the Obama policies are implemented in the states.

Kevin Price is a syndicated columnist whose articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media. Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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