The stimulus bill has an astonishing array of bad policy contained within. As National Review writes, these welfare provisions may be one of the worst, even saddest elements:
Obama, in what is plainly a sop to ACORN and the rest of the “community organizing” gang, is overturning those reforms. Under the provisions in the stimulus bill, states will once again be paid a bounty for expanding their welfare rolls. As reported by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, the federal government will now pay states 80 percent of the cost for each new family they sign up for welfare. That means that states will get $4 for every $1 they spend. This will leave the main welfare program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), with a funding mechanism similar to the one that supports Medicaid. As Brian Blase argues here, Medicaid’s funding ratio, which gives states $1 to $3 for every dollar they spend, has caused state Medicaid spending to skyrocket. If Medicaid’s dollar-for-dollar model has proved ruinous, Obama’s new $4-to-$1 ratio for welfare will prove, in all likelihood, four times so.
What can Republicans do about this? Not much. House Republicans hung tough against the stimulus only to have their position undermined by three of the usual suspects in the Senate: Senators Specter, Collins, and Snowe. Republicans were locked out of the process by which the differences in the House and Senate versions were resolved-their last (forlorn) shot at taming this beast of a bill.