December 2, 1996
August 22, 1996, marked a dramatic new day for America’s welfare programs. On that day President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 into law, bringing to an end some 30 years of federal government policies that have, despite billions of dollars in effort, done little to alleviate the needs and distress of the poor.
The current welfare system consists of an array of programs that are designed to provide society’s neediest members with cash assistance, food stamps and medical assistance. Though well intentioned, it has evolved into a bureaucratic behemoth that is largely ineffective. In fact, many critics fault the current system for contributing to, rather than solving,…