Rick Santorum on Welfare & Poverty
Republican Jr Senator (PA); 2012 presidential frontrunner
Some of you may know me because I successfully put sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program in Congress, over opposition of both parties initially.
But hopefully, most of you know me most because I'm the proud father of seven children with particularly a special little disabled girl, who is the heart and core of my heart and married to a wonderful woman named Karen for 25 years, who is the love of my life.
SANTORUM: I think it's a one-two punch. #1, we have to create better paying jobs. I mean, that's just the bottom line. We haven't. [#2], you're looking at the man who introduced and passed the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 over two President Clinton vetoes. Got 70 votes in the US Senate. Bipartisan issue. And I ended a federal entitlement. Never been done before, never been done since. What we need to do is take the rest of the federal entitlements, not just welfare, but food stamps and Medicaid and housing programs and do the same thing we did with welfare. Work requirements and time limits. That will change everything.
There was a job for virtually anyone out of high school who was willing to work an honest day. And those jobs carried benefits and security that formed the core of the community. Looking back, it's not a very complicated equation.
I've gone pretty far on the steel-town values of education, working hard, loving your family, and living your faith. That doesn't mean that we haven't had our problems. We've had more than our share, but my family, and our neighbors, schoolmates, teammates, and church members, has shared a common belief that we needed to look out for another and be there where we were needed. Getting help from the government was something you wanted-or wanted anyone to know that you had-and you took it only when you absolutely needed it, and even then, you didn't take it for very long.
The message is ceaseless, overhyped, and cynical, but is any of it true? Do Republicans really care less about the person at the bottom of the ladder than Democrats do? To be painfully honest, I would have to say in some ways "yes." There are some in my party who have taken the ideal of individualism to such an extreme that they have forgotten the obligation to look out for our fellow man. The rhetoric is often harsh and gives the all-too-willing media an opportunity to tar all Republicans with the same brush. That is not my Republican Party. In fact, in 2005 I wrote a book titled "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good." We must not cede that moral high ground on promoting the common good of the issue of caring for the less fortunate to a party whose own misguided policies have trapped so many in a life of poverty and despair.
In the 1990s, I led Republicans working with Pres. Clinton to reform welfare in a way that preserved the safety net but got people back to work. Maybe it was tough love, but it was compassionate. Our goal was to encourage people to return to the labor force, enhance their job skills, and accept the responsibility (and earn the self-respect) that comes with employment. You need three things to avoid poverty--education, work, and marriage--and we tried to shore up all three. We ended welfare as an entitlement; we provided block grants to the states so that they could use the money in the most effective way, which included proving vocational training; and we strengthened enforcement of child support payments, among other provisions.
"This summer he showed us once again he believes in government handouts and dependency by waiving the work requirement for welfare," Santorum said in his RNC speech. "I helped write the welfare reform bill; we made the law crystal clear--no president can waive the work requirement. But as with his refusal to enforce our immigration laws, President Obama rules like he is above the law."
PolitiFact checked the claim that Obama ended welfare work requirements. In reality, the Obama administration has said it will consider proposals from states that are aimed at finding better ways of getting welfare recipients into jobs.
SANTORUM: A study done in 2009 determined that if Americans do three things, they can avoid poverty. Three things: work, graduate from high school, and get married before you have children. Those three things result in only 2% of people ending up in poverty. The Obama administration now has a program targeting at-risk youth, that can no longer promote marriage to these young girls as a way of avoiding poverty and bad choices. They can no longer even teach abstinence education. They have to be neutral with respect to how people behave. The problem is neutrality ends in poverty, neutrality ends in choices that hurt people's lives. This administration is deliberately telling organizations that are there to help young girls make good choices, not to tell them what the good choice is. That is absolutely unconscionable.
SANTORUM: Means testing for Social Security. To subsidize high-income seniors doesn't make any sense to me. Food stamps is another place. We got to block grant it, send it back to the states just like I did on welfare reform. Do the same thing Medicaid & housing programs, block grant them, send them back to the states, require work, and put a time limit. You do those three things, we will help take these programs, which are now dependency programs, which people are continually dependent upon, and you take them in to transitional programs to help people move out of poverty.
GINGRICH: The duty of the president is to find a way to manage the federal government so the primary pain is on changing the bureaucracy. On theft alone, we could save $100 billion a year in Medicaid and Medicare if the federal government were competent.
And we stood up and said, no, that creating that dependency upon federal dollars is more harmful than not believing in people and their ability to work. And so we stood up and fought, and went out to the American public. Bill Clinton vetoed this bill twice. We had hard opposition, but I was able to work together and paint a vision.
We made compromises, but not on our core principles. The core principles were: this was going to end a federal program; we were going to require work; we were going to put time limits on welfare. I stuck to those principles, and we were able to compromise on some things like transportation funding and some day care funding, all in order to get a consensus that poverty is not a disability.
SANTORUM: As a matter of fact, I did do a lot to slow it up when I had a chance. I was the author of the only bill that actually repealed a federal entitlement, welfare reform. I actually promoted and tried to pass Social Security reform. I worked on Medicare and Medicaid. I was one of the only guys out there--in a time when we were running surpluses--talking about the need for long- term entitlement reform. When the government runs up a tab and you don't have the money to pay, then you have to increase the debt ceiling. But every time we tried to tie it with reducing spending. In the last go round, I said, no we shouldn't increase the debt ceiling because we've gone too far. But routine debt ceiling increases have happened for 200 years.
A: Absolutely not, because it's not the problem. This is where leadership comes in. You know, you need to stand firm on these things. But you can't stan and say you give me everything I want or I'll vote no. You have to find the principles, like I did on welfare reform. I said three things--to end the federal entitlement, which we did. We wanted to require work, which we did. And we wanted to put a time limit on welfare. We did those 3 things. We compromised on everything else. I didn't get everything I wanted, but I got the core of what I wanted and we transformed welfare. You need leaders, you need people who are good at leadership, not showmanship. You go to the American public and you lay out the facts. [On the budget crisis], we need to get the economy growing. That doesn't mean taking more money out of it, that means creating energy jobs, creating manufacturing jobs. And my plan will do that.
Santorum: I am the only candidate that wrote & helped pass a bill (welfare) that actually ended a federal entitlement with Democratic votes. Leadership!
Gingrich: Block grant Medicaid and send it back to the states as Rep. Paul Ryan suggested.
Santorum: I was the first candidate to embrace the Ryan plan without exception. Send Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other means-tested entitlements to the states.
Cain: I would focus on major entitlement reform. This would focus on programs similar to Social Security.
Gingrich: Also, fraud in Medicaid and Medicare are rampant. We should stop paying the crooks.
Santorum: And of course repeal Obamacare before it does even more damage to our economy and our freedom
The Santorum campaign pointed to news articles from 2005 and a European Social Survey conducted in 2009. All detail declining church attendance, but none indicate single-digit rates continent-wide. Santorum is correct regarding England, France, & the Scandinavian countries, which have attendance rates in the single digits. But Italy has about 39% church attendance; Ireland has about 65%; Portugal 30%; Spain 20%; Germany 15%. So, single digits are actually fairly rare.
SANTORUM: If you look at my record, I'm someone who's actually accomplished a lot on big issues. Take for example, welfare reform. I drafted the Contract with America Welfare Reform Bill. It was considered this extreme measure. But I managed that bill and we ended up winning. I didn't believe that poverty was the ultimate disability. I believed that people could work and they could succeed. And we brought people together. I got 70 votes [out of 100 in the Senate] to end a federal entitlement. I led and got bipartisan support to do it.
Q: Are you concerned at all about the influence of the Tea Party?
SANTORUM: Not at all. I think the Tea Party is a great backstop for America. It is absolutely essential that we have that backbone to the Republican Party going into this election.
When we introduced our bill, the liberals savaged it, calling it cruel, heartless and mean-spirited. We had actually had the audacity to call for TIME LIMITS on welfare for the ABLE-BODIED! Not only that, but we wanted to require them to work or else lose their benefits.
So-called welfare rights groups weren't the only ones who raged against our bill. Senator Ted Kennedy opined, "There is a right way and a wrong way to reform welfare. Punishing children is the wrong way. The Senate is on the brink of committing legislative child abuse."
Despite the opposition, welfare reform passed. After two votes, it was finally signed into law by President Clinton in 1996.
While conservatives have always recognized the difficulties facing low-income families, we also resisted government involvement. That resistance has meant, in practice, that we simply allowed the liberals to design our nation's social policies, and that has hurt the poor even more. The real solution, the conservative solution to the problems of low-income America, is to structure all our programs around the family, to work with the family rather than against it.
I still think President Clinton was wrong to call people being paid "volunteers." But I came to realize that these energetic, mostly young people could play an important coordinating role with community and nonprofit service organizations to help build up social capital. So after being one of AmeriCorps' harshest critics, I began working to move the program in a more community-oriented direction.
AmeriCorps is by no means perfect, and I am working on ways to get more volunteers into community-based non-profits. I am also a supporter of President Bush's USA Freedom Corps.
What happened between the late 1990s and 2001? America had elected a president who was actually going to IMPLEMENT the 1996, 1998, and 2000 charitable choice laws.
Liberal senators have now effectively blocked any expansion of charitable choice, claiming that it promotes discrimination. I argue that not giving money to faith-based organizations to perform social services, services that serve the common good, is the real discrimination.
Our legislation will create approximately $2 billion in tax credits for financial institution and private investors that create IDAs. We have tried for years to create a federal IDA tax credit as part of a broader initiative called the Charity Aid Recovery Empowerment (CARE) Act, which would help charitable organizations help the poor.
Why did it seemingly vanish? It's hard to place the blame on ongoing racism, since racism was at least as much of a problem during the heyday of black enterprise in the early decades of the twentieth century as it is today. No, what really changed the economic terrain for African-Americans was something else: the arrival of liberal welfare policies, the liberal cultural of victimhood, and poorly thought-out liberal urban renewal.
Amends the Internal Revenue Code to permit a community homeownership tax credit based upon an applicable percentage of each qualified residence's eligible basis. Makes such credit available to residences (including factory built homes) located:
Provisions Relating to Earned Income Credit: Amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal the supplemental young child credit and revise and increase the earned income credit.
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