May 14, 2010

Reporting on Guv’s Call for Eliminating Calif. ‘Welfare-to-Work’ Program, Press Again Ignores Bloated Caseload

CaliforniaBankrupt2009Today was a same-old, same-old day in California.

For the second year in a row, a state official has proposed eliminating the former Golden State’s “welfare-to-work” program, which the rest of us know as “welfare,” or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Last year, it was left to a spokesman for the state’s Department of Finance to bring out the idea. This year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fronted it himself.

As has been the case for the almost four years I’ve been following the situation, the press once again universally failed to provide anything resembling context. If it did, people would understand that this is a story about a decade-long shocking level of theoretically well-intentioned waste (the cynical observation would be that the good intentions are tempered by the likelihood that dependent voters are overwhelmingly Democratic voters).

The as up to date as possible context (through September 30 of last year) for recipients and families, the latest available government data; some estimation was required because certain data fields are blank) is this:

  • Though California has roughly 12% of the nation’s population, the state’s 1.36 million TANF recipients as of September 30 of last year represented 32% of the nation’s welfare caseload. That’s up from 25% in March of 2006.
  • The percentage of Californians on welfare (roughly 3.75%, up from less than 3% in March 2006) was almost four times higher than that of the rest of the country (roughly 0.95%). In Illinois (of all places), the percentage of the population on welfare was 0.43% in September of last year.
  • Press reports today indicating that the welfare population is 1.4 million and that Schwarzenegger’s proposal would affect “about 1 million children” indicate that the caseload has continued climbing out of control in the intervening months (where’s the “to work” part of the equation?).
  • There still is no rational justification as to why the state’s caseload is so out of whack. The bad economy doesn’t explain it, because basket case Michigan’s caseload is less than 2% of the population. It isn’t immigration, because Arizona and Florida’s welfare caseloads are under control.

(Programming note: Yours truly fully realizes there are other “welfare” programs. I plan to address them in the coming weeks, because they’re exploding dangerously on a national scale.)

An evening dispatch by the Associated Press’s Judy Lin and every other press report I located made no mention of the state’s ridiculous caseload. Here are a few paragraphs from Lin’s report:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday called for eliminating California’s welfare-to-work program, one of the deep cuts he proposed to close a $19 billion budget deficit in the coming fiscal year.

Slashing the welfare program would affect 1.4 million people, two-thirds of them children.

… Among the options Schwarzenegger presented is eliminating CalWORKS, the state’s welfare-to-work program. The program provides a maximum $694 monthly cash assistance for families and helps single mothers with child care and job training.

Gina Jackson, a single mother who lives in Fremont in the San Francisco Bay area, said she would not be able finish her college degree in political and social science without the state’s assistance. She currently receives about $1,000 a month to cover after-school care for two of her four children.

“I certainly can’t take my kids to school with me every single day,” said Jackson, 45, who was laid off from her job as an administrative assistant two years ago.

Other publications covering the welfare aspect of the Governor’s announcement included these:

  • The Sacramento Bee, where a county official told the paper’s reporters that, “It’s the remake of ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’ in California.”
  • The San Jose Mercury News where one finds Democrats still harping on eliminating “corporate tax breaks” as the solution.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle, where an opponent described the proposal as “an all-out scorched earth campaign.”
  • The Los Angeles Times, which of course provided a provocative title (“Schwarzenegger’s budget deals blows to the poor”)

As noted, there was not a word about the bloated caseload anywhere.

It’s long past time to stop considering this journalistic failure to provide meaningful context a mere oversight.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Holder Hasn’t Read the Arizona Immigration Bill

Filed under: Activism,Education,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:40 pm

The “Can You Top This?” outrages continue ….

I don’t know why I should be surprised about anything Eric Holder says or does, except the actual admission (also at Hot Air) about his familiarity with Arizona’s immigration-enforcement law:

“I have not had a chance to, I’ve glanced at it. I have not read it.”

“… I’ve only made, made the comments that I’ve made on the basis of things that I’ve been able to glean by reading newspaper accounts,” (hopelessly biased people who also more than likely haven’t actually read the law)

“… obviously, looking at television,” (ditto)

“… talking to people who are on the review panel, on the review team that are looking at the law.” (politically correct appointees who wouldn’t dare say the law is okay in a group setting lest it harm their professional advancement)

So the nation’s politically correct “opinion leaders” are conducting a persecution of a sovereign state over an 18-page bill the nation’s Attorney General (and its President, who couldn’t keep his more than likely uninformed mouth shut either) hasn’t even read?

Maybe someone should ask Highland Park, Illinois school officials who unilaterally decided that its girls high school basketball team couldn’t make an already planned trip to Arizona if they have read the bill … under oath.

WashingtonExaminer.com OpinionZone Debut Post (‘In Ohio, Gov. Strickland bitterly attacks challenger John Kasich’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:27 am

OpeningPostAtWashExaminer051310

It’s here.

Yours truly’s new affiliation with the Washington Examiner is a pretty cool development.

OpinionZone is the paper’s multi-author blog. It has been in operation for over a year, and in that time has become an important part of the ongoing national discussion.

I appreciate James Dellinger’s invitation to participate, and the referral to the opportunity I received from a gentlemen at another web site. I expect that a good time will be had by all — except, perhaps, the objects of our criticism and scorn, including the aforementioned Strickland.

It’s a little disorienting to see one’s name on the same page with long-time luminaries like Mark Tapscott and Mark Hemingway, but I promise to work on getting used to it. :–>

I will usually mirror Examiner blog posts here at BizzyBlog about 48 hours after their initial appearance. So the one above will show up here tomorrow afternoon (link obviously won’t work until then).

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Two Years After Strict Immigration Reform, Oklahoma Is More Than OK’) Is Up’

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:59 am

oklahomaIt’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Sunday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

___________________________

Background:

The column builds on a number of posts from 2-3 years ago concerning “1804,” the Sooner State’s immigration law-enforcement measure.

  • May 19, 2007“Oklahoma’s Brand of Immigration Reform Barely Makes News; Guess Why?” The press mostly ignored what the state was doing, possibly because Congress and the Bush administration were attempting to push slow-motion illegal-immigrant amnesty on the rest of the nation, and didn’t want the rest of us to know that the really is a consensus for enforcing the law, controlling the borders, and keeping people who are here illegally from taking jobs from U.S. citizens.
  • January 10, 2008“USAT Report on Okla. Immigration Law Impact Heavy on Anecdotes, Light on Facts and Stats.” It critiqued a USA Today item that wanted us to believe that work wouldn’t get done because illegals had been chased away. In my post, I noted that “… an admittedly cursory review of statistics at the state’s Department of Human Services, indicates that Food Stamp, Medicaid, and other program participants and costs had been growing significantly for several years until the spring of 2007.” 1804 passed in May of 2007 and became effective in November.
  • April 22, 2008“Oklahoma Unemployment Is Way Down. Will Media Look into Why?” If anyone has, I’ve missed it.
  • April 23, 2008“More on Oklahoma’s Employment Situation: A Graphic I Wanted to Steal ….” The graphic shows how Oklahoma’s unemployment rate went down in late 2007 and early 2008, while the rest of the states, virtually without exception, started to see their unemployment rates rise. The nationwide rise that turned into a rout once the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy started up in June of 2008, creating the recession As Normal People Define It that began in that year’s third quarter.

At the time, the only thing one could say without lots of investigation was that there were a lot pretty interesting coincidences.

Two years later, Oklahoma is clearly outperforming the rest of the country. Absent any other acceptable explanation, it would seem that 1804 deserves a large share of the credit.

Go to the column for the details.