|A thousand monkeys labor at a thousand
typewriters in a dank, dimly lit basement
at the Washington Post, churning out editorials,
subsisting on a meager diet of E.J. Dionne’s
cast off half-empty Courvoisier bottles and
Richard Cohen’s beard trimmings.
Today’s Washington Post editorial takes Mitt Romney to task for falsely claiming President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services illegally gutted mandatory welfare work requirements. It’s a brilliant editorial. It’s well written, concise and makes a good point.
There’s only one tiny little thing wrong with this otherwise “Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius”-level display of persuasive writing: Mr. Romney is exactly correct that President Obama’s HHS is in fact illegally gutting Congressionally mandated work-for-welfare requirements.
You go, girls!
Congress passed, and President Bill Clinton signed, the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (a/k/a Welfare Reform Act), which, among other things, instituted non-waivable work requirements for federal welfare programs and federally funded state welfare programs. The applicable section can be found at 42 U.S.C. §607* if you enjoy painful reading of anachronistic language.
Here’s the memo issued by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ henchman Earl S. Johnston, Director of the Office of Family Assistance.
While the TANF work participation requirements are contained in section 407, section 402(a)(1)(A)(iii) requires that the state plan “[e]nsure that parents and caretakers receiving assistance under the program engage in work activities in accordance with section 407.” Thus, HHS has authority to waive compliance with this 402 requirement and authorize a state to test approaches and methods other than those set forth in section 407, including definitions of work activities and engagement, specified limitations, verification procedures, and the calculation of participation rates. As described below, however, HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.
Did you catch that rationale? Maybe not, as most of you have sensibly chosen to avoid majoring in government regulation legal horseshit. Fortunately, you have ‘Puter to do the dirty work for you. Let ‘Puter break it down for you. Here’s the translation:
1. Sure, we can’t waive the work requirements. The law’s clear on that.
2. But look over here! We can grant waivers to state programs to try new things.
3. And, hey! Those mandatory work requirements are necessarily part of the state plans we approve.
4. So therefore, because we can grant waivers to states to try new things with their programs, and the mandatory work requirements are part of those programs, we can avoid the clear intent of Congress and the plain meaning of the statute and let states ignore the mandatory requirements!
5. Profit! At least for our freeloading liberal voting Democrat base who live on welfare. And no, this has absolutely nothing to do with The Most High and Exalted President Obama being in a tight election against the most white-bread-and-mayonnaise-sammich Republican candidate of all time.
This may be the biggest, most steamiest pile of horse manure legal reasoning ‘Puter’s ever encountered. It’s even more steamier because the reasoning starts by admitting the agency cannot do what it then proceeds to do.
Here’s yet another object lesson in the dangers of post-modernism. Even crystal clear prohibitions can be explained away as not reflective of the agency’s current reality. That is, the unelected hard Left government agency minion cubicle dwellers are using legal relativism to cram their unpopular agenda down America’s throat.
So let’s recap before we leave this topic. The Washington Post is wrong on its law and its facts. The Republican National Committee’s ad is accurate.
*’Puter gets hacked off with government agencies’ tendency to make things more complicated for regular people to follow than they need be. For instance, note that ‘Puter uses citations to the United States Code. That’s because that’s how everyone in the known universe finds statutes. Everyone, that is, except for the government. The government uses the section numbers in the statute as passed, rather than the statute as codified. Hence we see in the linked HHS memorandum the agency referring to “Section 1115 of the Social Security Act” and “Section 402 of the Social Security Act” rather than 42 U.S.C. §1315 and 42 U.S.C. §602. There’s no reason not to use standard United States Code references other than to keep the public in the dark. Will someone in Congress please mandate that administrative agencies use only official United States Code citations, if for no other reason than keeping ‘Puter’s head from exploding?
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.