Welfare changes will mean more people in poverty

Ever since the post-1960s backlash that gave rise to the New Right, welfare has been one of the most unpopular and misunderstood public programs in America – and in California. Now the state is poised to undermine the most successful parts of its program, all but ensuring that more people, not fewer, will continue to struggle with poverty. The 1996 national reform of welfare, which created Temporary Aid to Needy Families, or TANF, pushed states to reduce their welfare rolls and required certain rates of work participation for those receiving grants. Yet despite this reform, welfare remains a popular political target, and California’s program, CalWORKs, came under attack last year in the midst of the budget crisis, resulting in major changes to the program.

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