WELFARE REFORM….As long as we’re looking at charts from the Census Bureau’s latest income survey, here’s an excerpt from the chart showing the poverty rate. I’ve helpfully annotated it.

Now, I don’t really know anything about welfare reform. It’s just one of those issues that I’ve never taken a close look at. Still, looking at this chart, it’s sure hard to convince myself that welfare reform had any effect at all on actual poverty rates. The poverty rate started going down in 1994, went down for three years, went down again the year welfare reform took effect, kept going down for three more years after that, and then started going up during the Bush presidency.

I dunno. Maybe welfare reform had other beneficial effects. But it sure would have been nice if all those people who put so much energy into getting people off welfare had been able to work up the same level of energy to lift the poor out of poverty once they got back to work. It’s funny how the second part of these bargains never quite seems to materialize, isn’t it?

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