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Jeb Bush on Welfare & Poverty

Republican FL Governor


Replace AFDC with limited temporary assistance

Jeb Bush decided to run for governor in 1994, vanquishing competition in the Republican primary and leading in polls during most of the fall. He called for fewer appeals for death row inmates and speedier executions, said Florida should withdraw from Aid to Families with Dependent Children and replace it with limited temporary assistance. There was a rigid tone to Bush’s campaign; when one black man asked him what he would do to help him, Bush replied, “Probably nothing.”
Source: National Journal, the Almanac of American Politics Jan 28, 2000

Limit welfare benefits; supports welfare-to-work

Source: Vote-smart 1998 Florida NPAT Jul 2, 1998

Help welfare recipients into workforce

Source: Vote-smart 1998 Florida NPAT Jul 2, 1998

Taking welfare should be more shameful than working

Aristotle created a special category of virtue, which he called “quasi virtues.” In it he placed shame. Shame has always been an important mechanism for exercising self-control.

An example of how we have come to devalue shame in our society is in our welfare system. In the mid-1960s, only half of those eligible for welfare payments were taking them and many enrolled would refuse to take the maximum allowance. People shined shoes and found other ways to bring in money that by today’s standards would be considered shameful. However, by the early 1970s, the stigma of receiving welfare had been lost by an administration that encouraged receipt of welfare. The rolls exploded as a much higher percentage of those who were eligible suddenly thought it less shameful to take advantage of the benefits rather than employ themselves in a job requiring hard work, such as shining shoes or sweeping floors. For many it is more shameful to work than to take public assistance-that is how backward shame has become!

Source: Profiles in Character, by Jeb Bush & B.Yablonski, p. 52-55 Nov 1, 1995

Maintain federal Social Services Block Grant funding.

Bush adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

Despite an ongoing need to provide social services to families, the elderly, and the disabled, federal funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) has been cut dramatically over the past few years, indicating a weakening of the historic state-federal partnership to serve needy Americans. In 1996, as part of the historic welfare reform agreement, Congress agreed to provide the states $2.38 billion each year for SSBG. Since that time, funding has been chipped away little by little. This year, SSBG is funded at $1.725 billion.

NGA’s Position

The nation’s Governors have consistently supported the broad flexibility of the SSBG and are adamantly opposed to cuts in federal funding for the program. Governors believe that funding for SSBG is among the most valuable federal investment that can be made for the nation’s most vulnerable population. Further cuts will be difficult for state and local governments to absorb and will cause a disruption in the delivery of the most critical human services. Governors believe that funding for SSBG should be restored to $2.38 billion, and transferability should be permanently restored to 10 percent, the levels that were agreed to as part of the 1996 welfare reform law.

In 1996, Governors reluctantly agreed to a slight reduction in funding for SSBG, from $2.8 billion to $2.38 billion, with the understanding that funding would remain at $2.38 billion through fiscal 2002, and then return to $2.8 billion. However, the federal government has consistently broken that promise. The nation’s Governors strongly urge Congress and the administration to reject the proposed cuts and to restore funding and flexibility to the program.

Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA14 on Sep 7, 2001

Maintain flexibility & funding levels for TANF block grants.

Bush adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The 1996 welfare reform law, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, needs to be reauthorized before September 30, 2002.

NGA’s Position

    In 1996, the Governors, Congress, and the administration entered into a historic welfare reform agreement. In exchange for assuming the risk involved with accepting the primary responsibility for transforming the welfare system from one of dependency to self-sufficiency, Governors agreed to guaranteed funding for the life of the TANF block grant along with significant flexibility to administer federal programs. The current NGA policy on welfare reform makes three key points:
  1. Maintain flexibility. The TANF block grant was created so that states could develop innovative approaches to addressing welfare reform, and states have been successful in tailoring their programs to meet the individual needs of their citizens. This flexibility must be maintained so that states can continue the progress of welfare reform.
  2. Maintain investment. States are provided with $16.5 billion each year in federal TANF funds, which together with the required state maintenance-of-effort funds, finance welfare reform. Some will argue that the funding should be cut because of the dramatic drop in caseloads. But TANF is no longer just about cash assistance - states are now serving a much broader population than under the old welfare system, and states are now providing services to families that help them succeed and advance in the workplace, not just cutting a check for cash each month.
  3. Move toward greater program alignment. The Food Stamp Program is one example of a program that is in great need of reform, and its connection to welfare reform should be discussed in the context of reauthorization. Other related programs that should be considered include child support, child welfare, housing, the Workforce Investment Act and Medicaid.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA17 on Sep 21, 2001

More federal funding for Low-income energy assistance.

Bush signed the Southern Governors' Association resolution:

Source: Resolution of Southern Governor's Assn. on Energy Policy 01-SGA12 on Sep 9, 2001

Supports TANF grants to states.

Bush signed the Southern Governors' Association resolution:

Source: Resolution of Southern Governor's Assn. on TANF 01-SGA9 on Aug 7, 2001

Other candidates on Welfare & Poverty: Jeb Bush on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010