“Though he has been an outspoken critic of the sweeping welfare changes enacted by Congress in 1996, his last year in the Senate, Mr. Bradley did not propose rolling back that law’s major provisions, which include time limits on benefits and work requirements for recipients.”
Bill Bradley did not like the changes that the Clinton Administration made in his “pure” law that he and Democrat colleagues made from 1984 through 1991. Democrats worked overtime year by year to modify and recreate family law and welfare before the Clinton swept into office. Apparently, he doesn’t formally object to the enforcement measures that Clinton and the feminists made which violate the civil rights of every American on some level and the civil rights of some Americans on multiple levels. What did the Clintons actually change that made his welfare reform fail or is Bill Bradley simply playing both sides? More likely, he was offended by the Clintons hijacking his personal legal territory. He was running for president at the time, so playing to cover himself is likely. Welfare reform instituted over the years often uses similar tired statistics proposed in this New York Times article along with promises to reduce or eliminate child poverty. The promised results never happen and the welfare and family reform laws usually fails outright on virtually every count. Social engineering through federal tax law rarely works or is kept in place long enough to work. Politics and social engineering has become a large fools game.
By JAMES DAO
Published: October 22, 1999
Describing poverty as a ”slow motion national disaster,” former Senator Bill Bradley called yesterday for reducing the number of poor children by half over the coming decade by raising the minimum wage, increasing spending on child care programs and providing an array of tax benefits to poor parents who work.
Evoking the Depression and the race to the Moon as challenges the nation had overcome through ingenuity and strong will, Mr. Bradley, who is challenging Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic Presidential nomination, said it was morally unacceptable for a prosperous America to allow 1 in 5 of its children to live in dire need.
”I am issuing a simple challenge today,” the former Senator from New Jersey said in a speech at the Concord Baptist Church in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. ”If we can achieve the kind of prosperity we have, if we can change the world through our ideas and inventions, if we can muster the will and create the technology to put a man on the Moon in a decade, then surely by all that we hold dear as Americans we can eliminate child poverty as we know it.”
Though he has been an outspoken critic of the sweeping welfare changes enacted by Congress in 1996, his last year in the Senate, Mr. Bradley did not propose rolling back that law’s major provisions, which include time limits on benefits and work requirements for recipients.
Instead, he outlined a menu of programs that he said would cost the Government $14 billion a year and lift seven million children out of poverty over eight years. He said his proposals could be financed using the portion of the Federal surplus not earmarked for Social Security, projected to be more than $1 trillion over the next decade.
Most of Mr. Bradley’s proposals are intended to help families in which at least one parent is employed and that live near or below the poverty line. He would increase the minimum wage by $1, to $6.15 an hour, over two years, and require that it automatically go up with inflation. He would increase the earned-income tax credit for families with three or more children and reduce marginal tax rates on families that receive the credit.
Mr. Bradley said he would also raise Federal spending on Head Start, the preschool program for low-income children, to $8.7 billion a year, which would be enough, he asserted, to reach every eligible child. And he would spend $1.3 billion a year to help pay off the student loans of 50,000 college graduates who agree to teach in low-income areas.
Like his call for making health insurance available to virtually all Americans, Mr. Bradley’s poverty proposals offered a somewhat more expansive vision for government than had been proposed by Mr. Gore. As such, Mr. Bradley’s proposals provided further evidence of his efforts to win over his party’s liberal wing, a large, vociferous and energetic faction that often dominates primary elections.
The Vice President announced his own antipoverty program on Wednesday, calling for increasing the minimum wage, cracking down on parents who do not make child support payments and making the earned income tax credit available to more families. In the past, Mr. Gore has also called for universal pre-kindergarten programs and for financing scholarships for 10,000 new teachers.
Yesterday, Mr. Gore’s aides said Mr. Bradley had done little to advance the Vice President’s ideas.
”It turns out Senator Bradley’s big ideas are Gore ideas,” said Kiki Moore, Mr. Gore’s campaign spokeswoman.
But Lawrence Aber, director of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University, said he considered it significant that Mr. Bradley had set clear goals for reducing poverty.
”I can’t point to a Presidential candidate in 30 years who has said, ‘Let’s reduce poverty by this amount,’ ” said Mr. Aber, who attended Mr. Bradley’s speech yesterday but is not supporting any Presidential candidate. ”Gore has not put himself in that position yet.”
But Susan Eckerly, the chief Senate lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which represents 600,000 small-business owners, said Mr. Bradley’s minimum wage proposal would do little to help the poor because most of the 12 million people earning the minimum wage are teen-agers living at home or single adults. She added that increasing the minimum wage discouraged small companies from hiring young people.
”This is a very blunt instrument to use to get at child poverty,” Ms. Eckerly said.
Mr. Bradley’s aides said his minimum wage and tax proposals would typically increase the incomes of working-poor families by $2,000 to $3,000 a year. Poverty is defined as earning less than $16,400 a year for a family of four.
Authorities on poverty said the most important element of Mr. Bradley’s plan was his proposal to expand the earned-income tax credit, which is intended to encourage poor parents to work. Under current policy, a refundable credit of up to $3,816 a year is given to families with two or more children. The credit is gradually phased out for families earning $12,400 to $30,580 a year.
Mr. Bradley would give larger families more money: $4,500 a year for families with three or more children. He would also phase out the credit at a slower rate, so that families earning higher incomes could keep more of it. And he would eliminate a glitch in the policy that reduces the credit for married couples filing joint tax returns.
Among other elements of Mr. Bradley’s plan are these:
*An increase in Federal subsidies for day care by $1 billion a year, enough to provide care for an additional 420,000 low-income children.
*A proposal to make an existing tax credit for child care expenses refundable, so that low-income families with no tax liabilities would receive Government checks to cover their costs for day care and other family expenses.
*A program to create 2,000 community centers, at a cost of $1 billion a year, to provide after-school services and activities for latch-key children.
Mr. Bradley also said he would spend $300 million a year to create 550 group homes for poor teen-age girls during their pregnancies and for one year after childbirth.