The rules of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) were changed under George W. Bush in 2006. Under the new rules people could only be paid TANF payments for two years while in an educational program . If getting people out of poverty is one of the goals of TANF, what are some of the problems you see with that rule?
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As with any policy implementation decision, there can be points to be made that affirm it or raise question about it. I think that one of the critical aspects of the President's approach to the changes authorized in TANF came from an ideological perspective. Many believe that a shift took place in American government regarding TANF and the entire concept of government assistance in the mid- 2000s. This shift in perception was one whereby government assitance was not seen as a way to help people as much as a wedge issue in which political gain was acquired through the targeting of those who are the most desperate in our society:
Several observers commented that both federal signals and state politics contribute to reduced welfare caseloads and funding. Caseload reduction has become “a religion,” in the words of one participant, even though smaller caseloads do not necessarily mean fewer families living in poverty....In contrast, TANF focuses on accounting and penalties, and states try to divert eligible families from the rolls. Leaderssee political gain in attacking welfare, not in protecting it, according to one participant. Americans expect people to work, and despite TANF’s focus on work, the program continues to carry a stigma.
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