Turning Over the Rock

A mostly political weblog.
Feb. 11 2009 3:31 PM

Turning Over the Rock

Robert Rector and Katherine Bradley note that the anti-welfare-reform provisions in the stimulus bill aren't as bad as I'd feared. They're worse . They attempt replicate the fiscal mechanics of the old welfare (AFDC) "entitlement," but with a bigger incentive to welfare expansion:

For the first time since 1996, the federal government would begin paying states bonuses to increase their welfare caseloads. Indeed, the new welfare system created by the stimulus bills is actually worse than the old AFDC program because it rewards the states more heavily to increase their caseloads. Under the stimulus bills, the federal government will pay 80 percent of cost for each new family that a state enrolls in welfare; this matching rate is far higher than it was under AFDC.

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12:58 P.M.

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If the election were held today, would Republicans retake the House? Michael Barone finds the Dem generic ballot plunge "astonishing," though he acknowledges it might be ephemeral. ... P.S.: Ramesh Ponnuru argues

Republicans would probably be better off if they spent less time pointing out the Democratic plan's flaws and more time talking up their favored economic fixes.

I dunno. If Barone is right, they're doing OK pointing out the flaws. (It's their fixes that are unappealing.) If the GOP's leaders had pointed out the Welfare Restoration provisions a little earlier, for example, they might have had a much bigger impact. ... P.P.S.: Remember when, during the Bush Social Security debate, responsible types urged Pelosi to present a Democratic alternative? She refused, and stuck to attacking the Bush plan. It worked. ...  12:52 P.M.

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Slouching toward 1994: The Corner reports that the Senate has dropped a requirement that employers who get stimulus money use the E-verify hiring system to screen out illegal workers. ... Update: But it's in the House bill, and could still be included in conference. Krikorian has more :

 If Reid and Pelosi do strip the E-Verify provisions from the bill, they'd give Republicans an easy-to-explain reason to vote no: "The Democratic leadership rejected bipartisan measures to ensure that the jobs created would go only to Americans and legal immigrants, and we're not going to mortgage our great-grandchildren's future to create jobs for 300,000 illegal aliens ."

Stimulus jobs for illegals! Restore welfare as we knew it! Maybe I'm wrong about where the electorate's anti-Dem hot buttons are located, but it sure seems as if Reid and Pelosi are determined to unearth them and push them. ... You almost think they're not bringing up gays in the military because it won't turn the voters sufficiently against them. ... By the time they get to "card check" in the summer they'll have rubbed the public raw, no? ..   12:39 P.M.

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It's not nice to piss off Heather Mac Donald . ... 12:36 P.M.

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TODAY IN SLATE

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