Social Welfare

Commentary & Community

Biden Unveils Child Care, Elder Care Plan

Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden this week outlined a $775 billion proposal that would expand federal spending on child care and elder care.


The Biden plan would:

  • Provide universal preschool for 3- and 4-year old children
  • Create a federal program to build child care facilities
  • Fund child and elder care jobs
  • Expand the use of community health care workers
  • Create a $5,000 tax credit for caregivers


The Biden campaign says this initiative will help millions of Americans who are caring for their children or elderly relatives. They argue that it will also create 5 million new jobs. The need for greater federal involvement in child care is something that has been a theme for Biden, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.


However, the initiative also has critics, which call it too costly. They also argue that expanding federal efforts in these areas constitute government intrusion on family activities.


If elected president, Biden would need to convince Congress to pass this package for it to go into effect.


Do you think the federal government should spend more on child care and elder care?

North Carolina House Bill 630


Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in North Carolina, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!


North Carolina House Bill 630, Reform Social Services and Child Welfare Systems: Passed 101 to 14 in the state House on June 14, 2017.


To make several reforms to the state social services and child welfare systems. Among the changes, the bill would have the Department of Social Services work with several public and nonprofit organizations in setting up regional offices for localized administration of social services. It would also have the state contract with an outside organization to draw up reforms of accountability and oversight of the state social services and child welfare systems.


Comment below to share what you think of North Carolina House Bill 630!



Ohio House Bill 233


Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Ohio, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!


House Bill 233, Limit "Gun Free Zone" Enforcement Measures: Passed 65 to 31 in the state House on July 7, 2016.


To allow a concealed handgun licensee who is discovered carrying their weapon in a place where this is prohibited or restricted to leave the property upon request, while making clear that they are not
guilty of violating a carried weapon prohibition or subject to seizure of their weapon.


Comment below to share what you think of Ohio House Bill 233!



Wisconsin Assembly Bill 238


Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Wisconsin, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!


Assembly Bill 238, Seek work requirement to receive housing assistance: Passed 61 to 35 in the state Assembly on May 10, 2017


To request that the federal government allow Wisconsin to impose a work requirement on recipients of the Housing Choice Voucher Program.


Comment below to share what you think of Wisconsin Assembly Bill 238!


Wisconsin Assembly Bill 242: Expand drug testing for government benefits


Check out this key bill passed by elected officials in Wisconsin, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!


Assembly Bill 242, Expand drug testing for government benefits: Passed 62 to 35 in the state Assembly on May 10, 2017


To allow more state programs to test recipients for drug use. The new state programs where recipients will be drug tested under this bill are the Temporary Employment Match program, the Community Service Jobs program, and Transitional Placement program.


Comment below to share what you think of Wisconsin Assembly Bill 242!


A Republican Poverty Plan

There has been a lot of talk about poverty during this election season. In a USA Today op-ed, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson explain what they would like to see happen with federal policy aimed at moving people out of poverty.


In their op-ed, Ryan and Johnson discuss a Wisconsin program that connects low-income workers with good jobs. They point to it as a model of how initiatives focused on individualized results can do more to move people out of poverty than government programs.


According to Johnson and Ryan, “Each year, it spends nearly $800 billion on more than 90 different programs to fight poverty, with almost no coordination or any consideration of an individual’s needs. It should be no surprise that upward mobility is no better now than when we started the War on Poverty in 1964. But it should be a scandal that today, if you were raised poor, you’re just as likely to stay poor as you were 50 years ago.”


What do they propose instead? “What the federal government should do is direct resources to communities, let them try different ideas, then hold people accountable for results.”


This op-ed echoes many of the themes found in the anti-poverty plan released by Speaker Ryan in June. In it, he laid out reforms he would like to see the federal government undertake, such as:

  • Expecting adults who are able to work to seek employment
  • Removing incentives that keep people from finding work
  • Measure the results of anti-poverty initiatives
  • Focus resources on the most needy


Not everyone thinks this approach is a good idea, however. The Washington Post editorial board, for instance, criticized Rep. Ryan’s plan, saying, “The program offers no real sense of how states might work through a series of thorny issues in practice: How to design a welfare system that phases out as income grows but does not discourage people from seeking higher wages, for example.”


Others, such as Timothy Smeeding, an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, dismiss the plan for being little more than rhetoric. “I don’t see anything here,” he asserts. “I see some broad generalities.”


What do you think of the anti-poverty agenda being put forth by Speaker Ryan and Senator Johnson?


Future of state pension fund could be at risk, group says

In North Carolina, there are questions about whether the state treasurer relied too much on risky investments for the state’s pension fund. With the private sector increasingly using retirement funds such as 401(k)s, some in the legislature are re-examining whether the state should continue offering pensions. How do you think the state government should fund employees’ retirement?


State Fails to Deposit Required Amount in School Pension System

The state of Michigan has accumulated huge unfunded liabilities in the government employee retirement systems it runs due to failing to deposit the required amounts into pension funds. The system for public school employees is the largest and currently has a $26.5 billion unfunded liability. Taxpayers are on the hook for this debt to the tune of more than $2,600 for every man, woman, and child in the state.

So it is significant that for the sixth year in a row state officials once again failed to adequately fund the system. According to an article in Michigan Capitol Confidential, the state’s own actuaries calculated that it should deposit $2.18 billion into the school employee system this year. The deposit covers the additional pension benefits accrued by individual employees for the year, plus some extra to cover catching up on past underfunding.

However, the state only contributed $1.97 billion, shorting its “Annual Required Contribution” by $210 million.

Legislation has been introduced to contain the growing burden by no longer enrolling new school employees into the defined benefit pension system. Under the bills, new hires would instead get defined contribution, 401(k)-type benefits (see House Bill 5218 and Senate Bill 102).

Michigan Welfare Rolls Down, Job Rolls Up

Welfare rolls are declining in Michigan, with different explanations for why. According to the statewide news site Mlive, there are 216,173 fewer people collecting welfare in Michigan than in 2011. Of these, 32,090 have been thrown off the rolls by 2011 law that removed loopholes from how long a person could collect cash benefits. Other bills in that same package tightened up procedures such reducing exceptions to welfare work-or-study requirements, cross-checking arrest warrant and criminal record databases for people who apply for food stamps and other benefits acquired by having a state “Bridge Card,” and more.

But Mlive also acknowledges (barely) the impact of a growing Michigan economy, for which the figures are even more striking. According to the Mackinac Center’s James Hohman, Michigan’s February unemployment rate of 4.8 percent was below the national rate of 4.9 percent for only the second time since the year 2000. (The first time was last July.) The total number of Michigan residents working in non-farm jobs was 4.3 million as of January, up from 3.8 million in 2010.

That means the increase in the number of people working is twice the number of those who are no longer collecting welfare. The figures give credence to old political line “the best welfare program is a job.”

Copyright © 2018 Votespotter Inc. All rights reserved.