Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Welfare Reform: Credit, Where Credit's Due

In this morning's NY Post, the paper writes about the new historic low in the city's welfare rolls: "Fewer New Yorkers are on the dole today than at any point over the past 45 years, figures obtained by The Post show. The city's welfare caseload had dropped to 341,329 by June 30 - a 5.4 percent decrease from the same time last year, and an astounding 26.2 percent dip since the beginning of Mayor Bloomberg's tenure, the Human Resources Administration reported. The welfare tally is the lowest since 1963 - and Bloomberg attributes the striking drop to his
administration's reforms, as well as to the dramatic changes instituted under his predecessor. Rudy Giuliani."

Let's give credit to Mayor Mike for continuing along the path that Rudy blazed in the Nineties; but make no mistake, the initial changes were Herculean-and unleashed tremendous scorn against Giuliani, contributing to his labeling as "harsh," vindictive," and yes, even "racist."

Compared to what Giuliani was up against Mayor Mike was simply painting by the numbers: "Under Rudy's reign, welfare rolls - at 1,160,593 in 1995 - plummeted to 462,595 in 2001, a vanishing act tied to his tightening of standards and his weeding out fraud...Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, squarely credited Giuliani for the dip. "I think it's very much a product of the change in welfare philosophy that Mayor Giuliani introduced in '95," she said.
She said that message is still loud and clear: "The city expects you to look for work and find a job."

So, whether its welfare or crime, it's clear that Rudy was a transformational figure. What Bloomberg has demonstrated on these fronts (with a tipping of the hat to Ray Kelly), is that the next mayor needs to follow in Giuliani's footsteps and not allow any backsliding.