Skip to comments.California: America’s Welfare Queen
Posted on 06/12/2012 9:25:17 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
California is the nations welfare queen: The state accounts for one-third of Americas welfare recipients, though it only contains one-eighth of the population, and theres no good reason for it.
Some of Californias welfare problem can be attributed to its particularly severe economic slump (Californias unemployment rate is 2.7 percentage points above the national average). But states in similar situations have significantly smaller caseloads; for example, Nevada, with the nations highest unemployment, at 11.7 percent, has a welfare-participation rate about one-quarter of Californias. In California, 3.8 percent of the population receives monthly welfare checks. In no other state is more than 3 percent of the population on the dole.
Some may assume that the illegal-immigrant population in California expands its welfare rolls. But in Texas, which also has a large illegal-immigrant population, less than one half of one percent of the population receives welfare.
The main reason that California is so dependent on welfare is its uniquely lax enforcement of the provisions of the 1996 welfare reforms. As part of the creation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the federal government put in place a set of regulations on welfare payments to help or encourage recipients to return to work, such as the five-year lifetime limit on benefits.
California, however, is one of nine states that dont unconditionally enforce this supposedly nationwide provision. Even when adults do exhaust their welfare payments in California, under the Safety Net Program, the minors in their families continue to receive checks. Only three other states have similar policies. Unsurprisingly, three-fourths of Californias welfare recipients are 18 years old and younger.
A 2009 Public Policy Institute study showed that strengthening the enforcement mechanism by moving from Californias current grant-reducing sanction to a policy of gradual or immediate grant elimination for recipients who fail to comply with welfares work-participation requirements would reduce Californias welfare caseload, substantially increase its work participation rate, and slightly reduce poverty among children with single mothers. The effects of decreasing the time limit itself are harder to predict, but the study indicated that doing so would, at least, not harm welfare recipients to a measurable degree.
Efforts to reduce the size of monthly checks in order to cut costs have been, at best, a temporary solution for California. Work-participation rates continued to lag behind the rest of the country. By 2010, only 22 percent of welfare recipients met the minimum federal work requirements. In this case, the cost of the program is a cosmetic concern, concealing persistent structural problems.
It wasnt until his 2007, 2008, and 2009 state budgets that then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed reforms to the most important provisions, regarding overall time limits and sanctions for not meeting requirements. At the end of his term, Schwarzenegger was successful in cutting the time limit to four years and imposing stricter sanctions, effective July 1, 2011. This year, Governor Jerry Brown has proposed to cut the time limit to two years. It remains to be seen whether or not Browns plan will pass, or whether its enforced even if it does become law. The mere fact that a Democratic governor proposed such reforms shows that his states economic reality is finally stark enough that its affecting political realities.
Browns plan will inevitably be called heartless, draconian Social Darwinism, even though the state technically passed a two-year time limit back in 1997 (lack of enforcement rendered it meaningless). If Browns proposal passes, the state will still need another round of reforms (such as the elimination of the Safety Net Program) for it to fall in line with the rest of the nation. Reforming a program as thorny as welfare can be difficult, but California need only follow existing federal standards to alleviate its problems.
Nash Keune is a Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the Franklin Center.
Eliminate from the welfare rolls all of the illegal immigrants collecting welfare benefits and there will be a significant drop in the numbers receiving welfare.
Join in this happy song that pretty well summarizes the whole problem: It's Free Swipe Yo EBT!
There is a good reason why Ca is a welfare queen: 55 electoral votes
Build a welfare state in the sunshine on the border of Mexico and just see what shows up for the goodies.
We live about a mile from a county office and you can see the short fat little girls pushing strollers around the area. Each one of those anchor babies is worth a fortune in benefits. Welfare,housing, medical, pre-school, food stamps, WIC..it would be interesting to add up all the income they get . Plus..once they get in state paid day care the mother goes to work off the books.
All you have to do is uhh, and then you get the big bucks.
It’s a democrat controlled state,expected.
Link is broken
It’s not just illegal aliens. Moochers move here from other states just to take advantage of the more generous bennies.
We in California voted to do just that and it passed — then it was struck down by the Nazis in Black Robes.
RE: Link is broken
I just re-tried the link, it works:
Yes. I know. I voted for that ballot measure myself.
RE: then it was struck down by the Nazis in Black Robes.
Makes me wonder why you guys in CA even bother to spend money on referendums. From proposition 8 to the one above (and now maybe even the pensions of labor unions voted in San Diego and San Jose), all of them were overturned by a few clowns.
Why not just ask the clowns in robes to decide and be done with it? Saves a lot of money that way.
I’d like to see a referendum on the ballot which outlaws referendums. It’s past time the state of CA legislature started doing it’s job instead of forcing voters to vote for referendums which are then struck down by clowns in robes.
New California State Nickname: The Parasite State
Old California State Motto:
New California State Nickname: I Got Mine, Suckers
That YT is amazing.
I’ve forwarded that link to dozens of friends.