Quote of the day – August 28, 2012
Increasingly the time a parent is on Cal-WORKS is growing shorter, at least for Californians. In April, when the Job Club class I attended started, California parents were allowed a lifetime total of four years on welfare – 12 months fewer than the federal maximum. (Parents with children under 2 were exempt from federal work requirements). But then in June, the state effectively cut that period in half. Starting in January 2013, parents can lose welfare benefits after 24 months unless they have some sort of paid or unpaid employment, and the exemption for having a child under 2 can only be used once. As strange as it sounds, the only sure way to stay on welfare in California is to secure a job.
But this reality remains almost entirely disconnected from the political discussion about welfare, in which political aspirants conjure the specter of bonbon-popping welfare queens sleeping the day away on a mattress stuffed with fur coats and government money. When the federal Department of Health and Human Services announced over the summer it would allow a modicum of flexibility in the way states meet welfare-to-work requirements, Mitt Romney moved swiftly into attack mode. “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job,” one of his campaign ads claimed. “They just send you your welfare check, and ‘welfare to work’ goes back to being plain old welfare.”
- An excerpt from Dashka Slater‘s piece for EHRP, published at Salon.com: “Where are the jobs?”: Scenes from California’s Job Club