The End of Welfare as We Know It

America’s once-robust safety net is no more.

By the numbers, welfare reform was a success.

More than 13 million people received cash assistance from the government in 1995, before the law was passed. Today, just 3 million do.

“Simply put, welfare reform worked because we all worked together,” Bill Clinton, who signed into law welfare reform, or the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times in 2006. Clinton had campaigned on a pledge to “end welfare as we know it” and today it is all too apparent that he succeeded.