The 2009 stimulus bill created an "Emergency Fund" that allowed states to subsidize jobs via the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), formerly known as welfare. The Senate voted against reauthorizing the program in March. Last week Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) blocked a request to bring up a bill that contained a $1.5 billion reauthorization. Advocates of the program are not optimistic that a change of heart is afoot in the U.S. Senate.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the program put more than 240,000 otherwise unemployed people to work in 37 states, including 45,000 people in California. The program even has the approval of the American Enterprise Institute's Kevin Hassett, who calls it "a pretty cost-effective way to create jobs."
That's the same Kevin Hassett that both Mitchell Hirsch and I have written about recently. The same Kevin Hassett who thinks people earning minimum wage are being overpaid. If he thinks this is a good deal, that's because the job creation is cost effective, and because the people who get these jobs aren't being paid all that well.
Thanks to the Senate, instead of 240,000 working people, we'll have 240,000 more unemployed people, with little to no hope of finding a job any time soon. Brilliant.
cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org