In 1996, after bipartisan work, the Republican-controlled congress passed, and Democrat Bill Clinton signed, reforms to welfare that honored the belief that able-bodied adults should be required to work as part of receiving taxpayer funded, government assistance.
That reform legislation accomplished three things, according to a 2003 study by the Heritage Foundation: reducing "welfare dependence and increase employment," reducing "child poverty" and reducing "illegitimacy and strengthening marriage."
A central component to welfare reform was replacing the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, which gave cash handouts to families with little oversight or incentive to get off the program, with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which gave money to states in the form of a block grant. States could control payments and eligibility requirements, and install incentives for recipients to successfully get back on their feet -- including work requirements.
President Barack Obama, in a shocking move that attacked the spirit of TANF, issued a directive through the Department of Health and Human Services that "the traditional TANF work requirements can be waived or overridden" by regulatory maneuvering under Social Security laws.
Facing questions about the federal government's ability to issue waivers to bypass TANF work requirements back in 2001, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service published a clarification stating that there is no authority to override federal law through an agency's action that could negate "mandatory work requirements."
So fortunately, it turns out that Obama's waiver scheme is likely unallowable since some goofy agency directive can't throw out the work requirements.
Still, it reveals a desperate candidate, not a leader.
Keep in mind that these work requirements apply only to the "able-bodied" -- or, in other words, people who shouldn't be sitting around and leeching off of hard-working taxpayers. So they're pretty hard for a reasonable person to oppose.
Yet, an arrogant, unrestrained individual with a singular aim to remain in power has shown his irresponsible desire to entice those looking to be cared for by the government during an election year.
Doubt this? In 2008, while running against Sen. John McCain for the presidency, Barack Obama proclaimed at the Saddleback Debate to Pastor Rick Warren, "I always believed that welfare had to be changed. I was much more concerned ten years ago when President Clinton initially signed the bill that this could have disastrous results...it worked better than I think a lot of people anticipated. And one of the things that I am absolutely convinced of is that we have to have work as a centerpiece of any social policy. Not only because, ultimately people who work are going to get more income. But the intrinsic dignity of work...we were made for work..."
Proving former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich correct about being the "Food Stamp President," Barack Obama's flip-flop shows electioneering at its worst and reveals a man who has a core of convenience, not conviction.