Free Markets, Free People


Why America is still exceptional (and why I want it to stay that way)

As we monitor the news each day and wonder if indeed our country is in decline, and we worry about her future, it’s often helpful to step back a moment and gain a little perspective.  This wonderful post from Karol at AlarmingNews gives us that on a day at least I need it.  In its entirety (minus a short into):

In 1977, the year I was born and the year my father, his mother, his aunt and many other Jews left the Soviet Union (my mother and I left in 1978), the Soviet propaganda machine began circulating a rumor. It went, roughly: life in America is so terrible that the old people eat cat food.

This was…perplexing.

People didn’t quite get it: they have food specifically made for cats in America? What a country!

A lot of things about America remained beyond their comprehension.

A week after my father arrived in New York, he and a friend were walking around Manhattan in pure wonder. They got to midtown and stood in front of Bloomingdale’s watching well-dressed people come in and out. They discussed it amongst themselves that they would obviously have to show evidence that they had money, or proof of income, or some other paperwork to get inside. Surely this store for the wealthy wouldn’t just let them in. They watched and watched but didn’t see people getting stopped. They walked slowly through the doors and found no one gave them a second look.

There’s a feeling in America today that there isn’t equality until any of us can walk into Bloomingdale’s and buy whatever we want. The two men standing there in 1977 weren’t thinking that it was unfair they couldn’t wear the same clothes as the beautiful people around them, they were just grateful for the opportunity to try. They had left a place where that opportunity simply didn’t exist. You were born poor and you would die poor–everyone would. You could gain influence in your life and that might get you small victories–instead of being assigned to practice your profession in Siberia you might get lucky and get sent to a capital city. Perhaps you, your wife, your child, your parents and other relatives could have your own apartment, one you wouldn’t have to share with another family. Those were your wins.

It’s hard for Americans, even the ones who see America’s greatness and love this country for it, to understand the lack of opportunity that my family left. As Communism retreats into the rear-view mirror of history it’s easy to gloss over the everyday ways that Communism is meant to crush the individual and make everyone equal–equally poor, equally scared, equally hopeless.

If you’ve always lived in a country where companies make food specifically for cats then you’ve known an abundance that my family couldn’t even begin to imagine while they waited to be free. They wanted to say and do whatever they wanted, to live freely, to be allowed to earn as much money as they could, to keep their family safe from murderous ideologies and monster rulers. They just wanted the chance. Success isn’t guaranteed to anyone, and they knew this, but only if you come from a land of opportunity do you ever imagine that it’s even possible.

This year marks 34 years that I’ve lived in America. Even in the toughest times, in its darkest days, the times where we all might feel pessimistic about our collective future, we’re all so blessed to be here. On each July 20th I remember exactly how blessed.

Wonderful.

Oh, and by the way, yes there is something to be pointed out here, something I don’t want to see here and am afraid is in process: “…meant to crush the individual and make everyone equal–equally poor, equally scared, equally hopeless.”

That’s what we have to avoid.  Equality is about opportunity, not outcome in a free country.  In a tyrannical country, its about outcome – and it does indeed “crush” the individual and guarantee a form of equality none of us really want.

I want this place to always be the place that those two men saw in 1977.  A place of wonder and freedom.  A place where they had the opportunity to change their lives without government somehow smothering it or getting in the way.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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53 Responses to Why America is still exceptional (and why I want it to stay that way)

  • …it does indeed “crush” the individual and guarantee a form of equality none of us really want.

    AND free people can and DO lift others in real need when they are left with the means.
    That is because the Obama’s and the Erps of the world are NOT better than are we.
    I personally would hate to be dependent on Mr. Obama for my living.  Ask his own brother how that’s working for him.

    • “Ask his own brother” 

      Or  his aunt and uncle, both residents (illegal) of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It’s okay, though, they are both doing jobs Americans won’t do; he manages a liquor store and she collects disability and lives in public housing.

    • I am an older lady and I want to forward this to a friend because it so wonderful. I don’t know how to do this. Would one of you please tell me how?

      Sincerely,

      Frankie Ann Goodson
      Little Rock, AR

  • I love that country too, and I am afraid we are losing as well. I just have an opinion that we are not losing it to the idea or reality of legislated quality of outcomes. Instead, I believe we are losing it to legislated inequality of outcomes.

    Let me summarize my opinion as best as I can.

    I believe that if such a thing as an actual free market could exist, but with all of the infrastructure that we use to try and protect the freedom of the market, and the confidence in the market, we would have a much flatter outcome. Of course there would, and should, be enornously successful individuals, and of course there would be poverty, but I believe there would be less on either end of the scale and far more in the middle. The problem, as I see it, is that once an entity reaches a certain range of wealth, they have the power to influence policy to essentially create an economic immortality for themselves and avoid the cyclical nature that would, over time, see wealth rise AND FALL, with market competition.

    These immortals who are buying policy are creating an aberration in the natural economic order which creates a situation where wealth is virtually funnelled to them. They do this by writing legislation that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to compete with them. Whether it be regulations that require an army of accountants to manage (because they can afford the army of accountants but their upstart competitors cannot) or even deregulation when it suits their purposes.

    You may call it class warfare if I even mention that the concentration of wealth in this country has reached levels not seen since the Robber Baron era, but if you would stop your knee from jerking for just a moment, I think you might consider the possibility that this is not the natural order of things and if the policies that artificially concentrate wealth are not addressed, we will end up with a country of working poor and super rich, with a tiny middle class. that would be unsustainable.

    Tax policy is a part of it, but not the whole story, it is policy across the board written and passed with the express of advantaging the advantaged.

    There is no doubt that this has occurred throughout our history in one form or another, but because of the election campaign funding system we have created, and yes, the massive size of government itself that allows even big giveaways to be hidden in the code, it is no longer just an aspect of our system, it IS our system in totality at this point. Liberals make liberal laws that disguise giveaways, conservatives make conservative laws that disguise giveaways, but rarely are laws made or repealed anymore for the good of the country.

    I understand the argument that if government we just smaller, this could not happen, at least not in the wholesale manner it is happening now, but I voted for small government in 1994 and it got bigger, I voted for small government in 96, and it got bigger, I voted for small government in 98 and it got bigger. By 2000, I realized that the small government people were nothing of the kind, but y’all voted for small government in 2000 and you got both chambers, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court, all small government (rhetorically) conservatives, and government got bigger even faster.

    At this point, you may as well vote for the sky to turn green as expect that voting for someone in this system is going to change anything.

    I don’t know exactly what the answer to all this is, but I do know that our federal government, whether R or D, will not go along willingly. Only an overwhleming movement across partisan lines could possibly change it. I personally like the idea of publically funded elections, but maybe that can’t get traction across the board. How about requiring that people who to represent us in Congress or the Senate have to personally visit 5000 homes and get signatures and 5000 checks (of as little $5) before they can even be allowed enter a race. Maybe that would push some of these fat cat fundraisers into retirement and out of the system. If nothing else, they would at least be forced to understand more of what is happening in their own districts and what their constituents are expecting of them. Now they spend 30% of their time begging for cash from people who don’t give a crap about their constituents, only what legislation they can get passed for their personal (or corporate, or union) benefit. Better still, if they see 20 voters a day for 250 days (about the same number of says they spend fundraising now), maybe some good would come from it.

    How many incumbants would retire rather than spending one out of three days with the regular people who currently give them a 9% approval rating. I’ll bet the lobbyists (the people that really matter) would give our congress a stellar approval rating.

    Finally, I say we should focus on creating a system that at least allows for honest government, and from their, let the chips fall where they may. The status quo is destroying the America I love, and I’d rather take a big risk than let it go down with a lobbyist funded wimper.

    • You might want to take note that Bush’s two worst big government acts were No Child Left Behind, a Ted Kennedy bill, and Medicare Part D.

      Part D was a Republican effort (RINO, really), and was scored at $400B over ten years by the CBO, vs $800-$900B for the Democrat alternative.

      And then we have the deficits, which was less then $200B in 2007 (last GOP budget) and jumped to over $400B in 2008 (first Pelosi budget).

      The first step towards fiscal sanity and reduced government is to get rid of the Democrats.

      • Don, there is a record and it is easily accessible. Medicare Part D was voted on in the House and all but 25 Republicans voted YES, and the majority of Democrats voted against it (only 25 yes votes). In the Senate, only 9 Republicans voted against the bill. Moreover, the bill was PURE spending with zero revenue offsets. THAT is the record. If you want to call it a RINO bill fine, then all but a very Republicans are RINO’s, which was my point in the first place, the Republican party GROWS government (they just won’t pay for the spending they vote for)

        On no child left behind, 185 out of 219 Republicans voted yes for the bill, a slightly lower majority than that of Democrats.

        And don’t forget the two unfunded wars.

        As to the deficit in 2008 vs 2007, a very nice parry, making it look like the Democrats ran up spending, but without context. Federal REVENUES shrank from $2.414B in 2007 to $2.288B in 2008.  That adds up to increased spending of $12.6B. (about 3 weeks in Iraq).

        When are you people going to get into your heads that they ALL SUCK and are going to continue to suck until the way we elect them is changed.

        • I’d suggest tax day be 2 days before the election and get rid of withholding. I bet a lot more people would “vote their interest” then.

        • The Democrats voted against Part D because they had their own plan which was twice as expensive per the CBO (and probably worse; part D was a rare plan that eventually came in under budget). And the eventual Democrat plan, Obamacare, is far, far worse.

          Bush was pushing both Part D and No Child, which increased GOP votes on both. That’s bad on Bush but the vote total overstates GOP support for both of those.

          “$12.6B. (about 3 weeks in Iraq)”

          Iraq cost about $1T over 10 years, your number works out to over twice that. Sometimes war is less expensive then the alternative, it was Clinton who really caused the wars with his weak handling of events in the 90s.

        • “are going to continue to suck until the way we elect them is changed.”

          Ah, I see. It’s the procedure that is the problem, not the candidates or the issues. I guess the Soviet Union was well-governed; they had public financing of elections and almost 100% turnout. What could go wrong?

          • The candidates suck because the system sucks. It rewards people who suck up to the money they need to fund their campaigns, and out of the other sides of their mouths, they say what they think their potential voters want to hear.

            “I guess the Soviet Union was well-governed; they had public financing of elections and almost 100% turnout. What could go wrong?”

            Canada has publically funded elections, So is Canada a Communist totalitarian state now?

        • “When are you people going to get into your heads that they ALL SUCK”

          When are you going to get into your head that mose of us already think that they ALL SUCK? Almost all the pro-Republican comments here are qualified by the disclaimer that the Reps. are only the lesser of TWO evils.

          • Bingo, the chief difference being the Democrats have us on the noon express to hell, scheduled to arrive at Mephistopheles platform at 2:00 PM and the Republicans are willing to take the 11:00 slow train with stops in Purgatory and the suburbs of Perdition before the train arrives at Hell’s platform at 5:00 pm.

    • Typical.
      You state a raft of apocryphal and apocalyptic apoplectic bilge that you do not…and cannot…support.
      Next, you try to establish you are a mere pragmatist, only interested in what works.
      AND you falsely pretend you would (and even have) joined in reducing the power of government.
      But we know you.  You are a fan of command economics.  You openly advocate restricting speech.
      You don’t like, trust, or even comprehend markets.

      I believe that if such a thing as an actual free market could exist, but with all of the infrastructure that we use to try and protect the freedom of the market, and the confidence in the market, we would have a much flatter outcome.

      Actual free market models are all around, both in time and space.  You assume they have to be protected by all kinds of “infrastructure” to keep them “free” and assure “confidence”.  They do not.  A simple civic structure of law and order is all that is really required.
      Your USUAL solutions are MORE government, not MORE individual choices.  MORE concentrated authority, instead of disbursing power down to the individual level.
      You are a Tom Dewey thinker, and you are at enmity with a Hayek thinker.
      You like carefully insinuated lies, such as implying that having a R majority COULD mean a revolution in the trajectory of the central government.  You know that would be politically impossible, as it would mean electoral suicide and reversal of the party in power.
      Power does not WILLINGLY permit power to be lost.  It has to be TAKEN, and for that to occur, there has to be considerable support.
      So, IFFFFF you were truthful about wanting smaller, freer government, join a TEA Party organization and get the FLUCK to work.  Oh, and get your head straightened out.

      • Somalia had one international airline before its civil war. It was state owned.
        After the civil war, and in apparent anarchy, they now have 14 international airlines.
        So, I guess even if the government doesn’t build it, it gets done anyways in a free market.

        • I don’t believe that there are 14 international airlines that fly to Somalia, but even so, the lack of infrastructure and security make what few flights there are notoriously inconsistent and exorbitantly expensive.

          But I applaud noting that Somalia is a free market. You can do any business that you want, with the only caveat that your right to own anything is entirely dependent on your ability to defend it. In countries who do have quite that free of a market, much of what you would have to build yourself in Somalia, if you locate your business here, the infrastructure is already in place because SOMEBODY BUILT THAT.

          I am a history buff, especially the history of the American West, and you can find places not dissimilar to Somalia in American history. Deadwood is a good example, before it was civilized, there was virtually no law, and there was wealth to be pulled from the ground. But with a murder rate near 20%, getting rich wasn’t the problem, it was staying alive with some wealth.

          • ” if you locate your business here, the infrastructure is already in place because SOMEBODY BUILT THAT.”

            And every other mother’s son has EXACTLY the same access to that infrastructure YOU do.  And you paid for it at least as much as any of them. So, what is your point.

            The ‘rich’ get to use the same roads we do, or hadn’t you noticed?

          • Your grasp of history is about like that of Obama, but it does match up with your ignorance of economics rather well.
            Hong Kong is a much more apt example of a free market economy.
            Instead of the crazy-stupid example of Deadwood, try Scranton, PA.
            Even within the U.S., look at how feeder cattle are bought and sold.  (This would require some education on your part…a good exercise you should try more often.)
            I am always impressed by how stupid you really are.

          • Facets of Somalia which those demonizing libertarianism/free market/anarcho-capitalism tend to overlook:
            1. The “lack of government” is actually a lack of internationally recognized government.  Warlords who control territory, plunder from innocents, set the rules, and enforce the rules–naturally allowing those with political connections to be exempted–are government.  They only differ from the “official” governments in that their territories are smaller than the “official” country boundaries and they lack peaceful relationships with neighboring countries.
            2. The laws imposed by the governments of the various powers in Somalia are harsh, religious laws (Shariah).  Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, property rights, most freedoms for women, etc. are all violated by the government.
            3. The culture of the people lacks any historical similarities with peoples in the West, whose ancestors were behind The Enlightenment, who fought to change the political landscape to introduce considerations of individual rights, etc..  Instead of the Industrial Revolution, science, electronics, computers, etc., the people there generally live in the same manner as their ancestors from centuries ago, though they do have access to technology from the West (cell phones, guns, automobiles).
            I could go on, but I think that’s sufficient to demonstrate that Somalia’s warlords have more in common with governments like Iran than with libertarians, laissez faire free market advocates, etc..

        • “they now have 14 international airlines”

          Really? Like one-aircraft airlines?  Of course, international there is like interstate here. And I don’t think I am flying any Somali ‘international’ airline anytime soon.

    • Who’s got the free time and the travel money to visit 5000 homes? Incumbents and/or those supported by fat cat donors. Well, them and unemployed people on welfare long-term that like to walk. Sorry, but the only effect of that law would be to place an even greater emphasis on urban voters because they are easier to travel to.

    • “the Robber Baron era”

      Uh, those would be the fellas that stole the railroads, steel mills, oil industry, etc. from the Indians, right?

      “the possibility that this is not the natural order of things”

      Why not? All the regulatory structures that claim to prevent distorions and undue influence were created *after* the “‘Robber Baron” era.

      “ the policies that artificially concentrate wealth”

      Homeopathic economics, eh? We need more regulations to correct existing regulations. Excessive bureaucracy can only be cured by more bureaucracy. 

    •  “How about requiring that people who to represent us in Congress or the Senate have to personally visit 5000 homes”

      Sorry, but that is just a tad unrealistic. Having done some door-to-door stuff myself, I can state with some assurance  there is just no way that is going to work. 

    • You may call it class warfare if I even mention that the concentration of wealth in this country has reached levels not seen since the Robber Baron era, but if you would stop your knee from jerking for just a moment, I think you might consider the possibility that this is not the natural order of things and if the policies that artificially concentrate wealth are not addressed, we will end up with a country of working poor and super rich, with a tiny middle class. that would be unsustainable.

      Wealth is EARNED, brick-brain.
      So,. yes, it is CLASS WARFARE and indicative of a very adolescent mind (i.e., ENVY).
      So GROW UP!

      • “Wealth is EARNED, brick-brain.”

        I doubt there is a lobbyist in America who used campaign funds, plush events, and other means of persuasion to get government cash giveaways would say they did not work for that money.

        On the other hand, I doubt that there is a bank robber out there who doesn’t think they earned their booty.

        If you think that the current policies allow for wealth to be earned without legislative advantages bought buy those who already earned their fortune with the express intention of preventing others from competing and dwindling their fortunes, then you have no problem, with the current system and add no value to this discussion.

        Alternatively, if you look at the virtually infinite number of examples of crony capitalism (was that money earned?) or regulatory capture (was that money earned), or tax policy that was lobbied for and legislated for the benefit of specific businesses or industries (is that money earned), you may realize that while a great deal of wealth was earned, a great deal was not earned, but rather legislated.

        • You really have no sense of history at all.
          Well…and no sense whatsoever.
          What a pathetic too.

        • So, in what year did the balance shift from earned wealth to legislated wealth?

          • I’d have to say it was evolution rather than a switch being flipped. But if I had to give a date when the tables turned for the worse, I would say January 30th, 1976.

  • “A simple civic structure of law and order is all that is really required.”

    In an agrarian economy, sure, in a global economy, you’re dreaming.

    “Your USUAL solutions are MORE government, not MORE individual choices.  MORE concentrated authority, instead of disbursing power down to the individual level.”

    I don’t have a USUAL solution, my solutions are dependant in what I think will work best. For example, I think the SS system should systematically dismantled (over time) in favor of the creation of private accounts for individuals to fund their own retirements.

    On health care, I think a single payor system would work best.

    These two ideas are at odds with other ideologically, but I don’t give a crap about ideology, and in fact I think it is a substitute for thinking in many people.

    When a clear path is not evident to me as to what solution might be best, my default position is whichever path involves the least government involvement.

    But my policy opinions (and yours) are all irrelevant, you are never, ever going to get a majority of elected officials to put the brakes on the gravy train. The only way forward that has any chance is either change how pols pay for their campaigns, or change the rules on how they need to interact with their constituencies in order to be eligible for office.

    But hey, you just keep voting tea party, and I’ll just keep watching tea party congressmen sellout to the lobbyists for campaign cash. The Tea Party, or should I say the various Tea Parties, are a coalition of old white people held together with contradictory exclamations like shrink government, but leave my medicare alone, and support liberty, except the kind of freedom they don’t like. It is a mishmash of economic know-nothings and social extremists, with an occasional bright, but severely disappointed libertarian mixed in.

    We are not going to ever elect a Congress that will vote power away within the party system. Only with a mass popular movement that transcends party lines and ideologies, could we possibly force Congress to vote across party lines to have any chance of keeping their jobs.

    • Single payer healthcare is not sustainable unless we go to a level of care that is far below what we now have. At this point, such a level of care isn’t politically feasable, so the result would be a faster trip into even more massive debt.

    • In an agrarian economy, sure, in a global economy, you’re dreaming.

      You lying idiot, consider the internet and the sales via eBay, as just a small example.
      What a moron!

      • “You lying idiot”

        C’mon now. A lie is an intentional act. Idiocy is not. One or the other. Today, I think idiot. I sense no evil in the force. Farce, maybe, but no evil.

        • The phuc keeps coming here PRETENDING to be something he isn’t, and lying.
          He seems to think he’s going to fool somebody, which makes him a MORON!

      • “You lying idiot, consider the internet and the sales via eBay, as just a small example.
        What a moron!”

        Wow, this is just a monumentally ignorant statement.

        Just for the possibility of the e-commerce free market to exist, there is a huge infrastructure and level of technological development that must exist.

        The first infrastructure element is of course the telecommunications infrastructure, which was heavily subsidized.

        Next, you need a society that already has ubiquitous access to internet ready computers.

        You also need a credit and banking system that is technologically developed to the point of being able process e-commerce transactions, which is of course dependant on the first two.

        Try and open an e-commerce site in Kenya for the purpose of selling goods to Kenyans.

        Wow, just wow. you speak as if the internet just magically appeared like an open field you could set up a fruit stand in.

        • “A simple civic structure of law and order is all that is really required.”
          In an agrarian economy, sure, in a global economy, you’re dreaming.

          Note your LATEST attempt at the red herring fallacy.
          NOBODY…no you…not me…was talking about technology or banking infrastructure.
          The issue was what was required for a free market to function.  I stated (correctly) a simple civic structure of law and order was adequate.
          The global market exemplified by eBay is a fine example.  How much Federal regulation is in play?  What agency of government “assures confidence” in the market?
          You are pathetic.  But typical of the Collective in your ignorance and voluntary stupidity.

    • It is a mishmash of economic know-nothings and social extremists, with an occasional bright, but severely disappointed libertarian mixed in.

      Spoken JUST like a stupid phuc who gets his views from the NYT or WaPo, and who has NEVER attended a TEA Party rally and met the people.
      Odd those “know-nothings and social extremists” waxed your Collective’s ASS in election after election.
      Huh?
      Why do you even pretend? You have been busted, troll.

      • “Odd those “know-nothings and social extremists” waxed your Collective’s ASS in election after election.”

        Get as angry as you want, the Tea Party is a failure.

        You can find solace in the fact that the OWS movement was a much, much bigger failure.

        • “the Tea Party is a failure.”

          Are you channeling Scott Erb?   And are you crazy?

          Or is that wishful thinking on your part?

    • “It is a mishmash of economic know-nothings and social extremists,”  =  Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, a significant portion of the Democratic party, the Obama White House and Occupy Wall Street.

      And there’s demonstrable evidence of that, as opposed to your supposition about all the members of the Tea Party.

  • The Tea Party, or should I say the various Tea Parties, are a coalition of old white people held together with contradictory exclamations like shrink government, but leave my medicare alone, and support liberty, except the kind of freedom they don’t like.

    Which isn’t much different then what you write. Anyone who pushes campaign finance and socialized healthcare really doesn’t care about freedom.

  • I wish America could stay that way, but it’s a constant fight against the tyrant strain. Look at Mayor Bloomberg’s recent statement about a police strike to force gun control. He’s as un- and anti- American as they come.  That statement made me more furious than anything a pol has ever said. Usually something they say is annoying, but this one was enraging.  We’ll never have our true freedom until little tyrants like him are run out of town on a rail, preferably two steps ahead of a mob angrier than the one Mussolini faced at the end.

  • A lot of things have changed since 1977.  I don’t know about Russia, but “Americans enjoy less economic mobility than their peers in Canada and much of Western Europe.”   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/us/harder-for-americans-to-rise-from-lower-rungs.html?pagewanted=all

  • So we create a ‘dole’ mentality amongst the population, and then when they stay on the dole, we use that to point out America Sucks and people can’t get ahead.

    Self fulfillment.

    • “So we create a ‘dole’ mentality amongst the population,”

      I can provide an alternative explanation. We have not created a dole mentality, and in fact, had previously worked to reverse some of the worst elements of welfare in order to make the programs focus on pushing people back into the workforce by limiting the amount of time they can be on welfare with both short term caps and lifetime caps.

      I submit that the safety net, though less than it used to be, is in greater demand because incomes in the lower quintiles have been stagnant for a couple of decades and it puts people closer to the edge creating a situation where a recession puts more people over the cliff.

      Just a thought

      • The work to reverse the worst elements of welfare have since been hopelessly compromised and essentially destroyed by Congress (yes, Democrats). Do a Google search. The story was all over the place about a week or so ago.

        • Those facts are not popular in the moonbattery, so our boy has not stumbled on talking points for them yet.

        • “The work to reverse the worst elements of welfare have since been hopelessly compromised and essentially destroyed by Congress (yes, Democrats). Do a Google search. The story was all over the place about a week or so ago.”

          I diagree with your opinion as to the effect of the HHS decisions, but that’s irrelevant to the point. If for the last 16 years we have reversed the “dole mentality” that looker believes exists, he is clearly wrong. We have been moving in the right direction to prevent the “dole mentality” he speaks of. As a result of that, I would argue that my assertion is correct. More people are on assistance because the economy is weak AND because even when it was strong, far more people were living on the edge that the previous generation or so.

          Now, back to your assertion that welfare reform was gutted by Democrats in Congress. That would be an amazing feat, since Democrats have not had a majority for but 2 years out of the last 18. Perhaps you are thinking about the HHS rule change that eas rolled out a week or so ago.

          For years, state governors have been begging the federal government for flexibility in how they accomplish the goals of the welfare reform legislation. Virtually every Republican governor for the last 10 years has requested MORE flexibility to achieve the TANF goals than the new HHS provides.

          “The new steps we have taken will give states more flexibility in how they operate the Temporary Assistance to Need Families program. And the steps we have taken were specifically requested by states led by officials from both parties,” he wrote. “When the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program was established as part of welfare reform in the 1990s, it was intended to give states flexibility to design effective programs to help parents move from welfare to work. Today, however, Federal rules dictate mind-numbing details about how to run a welfare-to-work program. Most States and experts agree that these aren’t helpful.” 

          Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/13/republicans-accuse-hhs-gutting-welfare-reform-with-quiet-policy-change/#ixzz21gsFgHLR

          But hey, if it’s political points your after, go for it, your readership eats that stuff up.

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