August 22nd of this year ushers in the 10th anniversary of former president Bill Clinton's sweeping welfare reforms. What have been the results? It depends on whom you ask. The USA Today ran an article on this topic earlier this summer and found mixed reactions from those who were affected. Some have flourished by their forced re-entry to the workforce, others have struggled to find work and keep themselves, and their families, out of poverty. Almost everyone agrees that problems confronting the poor continue to persist including a minimum wage that seems unreasonably low and a deficit of programs to provide skills to the unemployed or minimally employed.
Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune had a nice op-ed piece on the anniversary in which he describes the positive steps toward the reduction of child poverty and teen pregnancy that were achieved by way of welfare reform. He also details some of the outstanding issues that remain and looks ahead at what further regulation by the Bush administration might yield. There will, no doubt, be other articles and op-ed pieces this week celebrating, or excoriating, the passage of Clinton’s reforms and we will try and post others that we think make relevant contributions to our understanding of the legislation and its consequences.