Welfare Policy in American Politics: From Rhetoric to Reform
This chapter examines the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in the context of the welfare dilemma: Should the program focus on alleviating poverty or on reducing dependency? It considers the problem of poverty, which is what welfare programs are designed to alleviate. The chapter also examines how the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) address problems in the welfare system. The welfare system established in 1935 focused on the goal of assistance. One difficult issue in welfare is the matter of race. In ending the federal guarantee of welfare, the PRWORA also created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant, a lump-sum payment the states will use to fund their own poverty assistance programs. Welfare policy has changed incrementally over the last sixty years, evolving from a mostly local function to a state-federal function, and then gradually devolving to the states.