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Bill Clinton wanted to be seen as a centrist president, and one way he tried to do this is enacting the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.
A common critique of America's welfare system is that they were so generous at the time that it encouraged dependency.
UNEMPLOYMENT CHECKS (AND FREE GUMDROPS)
The PRWORA of 1996gave states fixed funding for welfare, required recipients to find work within two years, and put a lifetime maximum on welfare of five years for recipients.
It was not passed easily, two previous forms of welfare reform were vetoed and it took negotiation with Newt Gingrich to get Clinton to sign PRWORA.
Because the goal was to make people less reliant on welfare, the effects were gradual. At one point, 60% of single mother families were receiving welfare in this program.
That percentage is now down to 24% today.
Today the PRWORA is still maintained, though there is need for more reform in that area as its success has stagnated. Unfortunately, Congress lacks a will to compromise in this area.
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