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The Liz Bruenig Express, Coming to A State Near You

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NASHVILLE, : US President Bill Clinton clinches his fist during a 27 October speech on welfare reform at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The US general election is two weeks away on 05 Novemeber. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Look, I’m sure Bruenig’s ridiculousness that now that Roe has been overturned that Republicans will truly become the party of family values has no evidence against it and certainly not that states around the nation have the money for welfare but just don’t give it to people because they hate the poor and want them to suffer.

When Congress passed welfare reform in 1996, states were given more autonomy over how they could use federal funding for aid to the poor. They could demand welfare recipients find work before receiving cash assistance. They could also use their federal “block grants” to fund employment and parenting courses or to subsidize childcare.

Twenty-five years later, however, states are using this freedom to do nothing at all with large sums of the money.According to recently released federal data, states are sitting on $5.2 billion in unspent funds from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF. Nearly $700 million was added to the total during the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years, with Hawaii, Tennessee and Maine hoarding the most cash per person living at or below the federal poverty line.

States have held on to more of this welfare money amid rising poverty. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 16.1% of children under age 18 lived in poverty in 2020, up from 14.4% the year before. The poverty rate also ticked up for people aged 18 to 64, from 9.4% to 10.4%. As unused TANF dollars have accumulated, applications to the cash assistance program have waned, though it’s not for a lack of need, say experts and people who have applied to the program.

All these states must have just been waiting to overturn Roe first…..

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