Can Welfare Reform be Re-reformed ?
Below I rant at Ed Kilgore and Steve Benen. Also I agree with Kilgore that it would be terrible strategy for progressive activists to try to reverse welfare reform. I am sure that this is one battle which we would lose (my complaint was that he seemed to apply his strategic caclulations to journalists who should report the facts and not consider political strategy -- also his key claim of fact was incorrect).
So what is to be done ? I think that it is possible to get some money for the desperately poor families tossed off of TANF. I think it is even possible to get something for homeless single adults. But I am absolutely sure that the love in question will have to be much tougher than optimal policy. I am sure that the majority of voters will insist that people be made to sweat for the aid their children need.
This is not reasonable. For one thing given the low demand for unskilled labor, it would probably be cheaper to just give people money. For another, taking care of young children without a spouse in the house is extremely hard and vitally important work. The idea that single mothers without jobs are not doing enough makes no sense. The idea that it is good for their children to grow up assuming that adults work for a wage makes some sense.
But political reality is real. So the only approach to fighting deep poverty which I think might actually be implemented is a massive program of workfare. I am sure this implies wasting public money and is pointlessly cruel, but I see no politically possible alternative.