Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mitt Romney Will Apparently Lie About Anything (Again)

So shortly after finishing Mitt Romney Will Lie About Anything, I came across the newest case of Mitt Lies™. This crap is so … well, disgusting is the only word that comes to mind. First, let’s look at Romney’s newest campaign ad:

Wow! I didn’t know President Obama had the power to just change the law like that!

Oh, wait. What? He didn’t change the law? He didn’t “gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements”? Um, no. He didn’t. Not even close.

Actually, in July, the United States Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, issued a policy memo. Go ahead. Take a few minutes and read the memo (pay particular attention to the letter portion at the bottom of the memo). It’s not very long. Or, read the following highlights (but as you do, be sure to keep in mind Romney’s charge that President Obama “gut[ted] welfare reform by dropping work requirements”):

[M]any jurisdictions expressed a strong interest in greater flexibility in TANF and indicated that greater flexibility could be used by states to improve program effectiveness. We also heard concerns that some TANF rules stifle innovation and focus attention on paperwork rather than helping parents find jobs.  States offered a range of suggestions for ways in which expanded flexibility could lead to more effective employment outcomes for families.  Two states – Utah and Nevada – submitted written comments that specifically identified waivers as one mechanism for testing new approaches to promoting employment and self-sufficiency, and a number of others states – including California, Connecticut, and Minnesota - have asked about the potential for waivers.

As described in more detail in the Information Memorandum, the Social Security Act provides the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services with the authority to grant states waivers of certain TANF provisions for the purpose of testing new approaches to meeting the goals of the TANF statute.  The Secretary is interested in using her authority to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.  The statute does not permit tribes to receive waivers under Section 1115, however we are committed to using the underlying flexibility in federal law to help tribes innovate in their programs.

TANF Waiver demonstration projects under Section 1115 must be accompanied by a high quality evaluation plan, which is critical to ensuring that the pilots result in rigorous evidence about what works and what doesn’t in order to inform future decisions made by policymakers at the federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local levels.  In addition, states that apply for a waiver must identify interim performance targets that will be used to hold states accountable for improving outcomes for families.  We will work with states interested in developing waiver demonstration projects to design these performance measures and targets.

The Information Memorandum outlines the types of waivers that will and will not be considered.  The Secretary is only interested in approving waivers if the state can explain in a compelling fashion why the proposed approach may be a more efficient or effective means to promote employment entry, retention, advancement, or access to jobs that offer opportunities for earnings and advancement that will allow participants to avoid dependence on government benefits. 

See any differences between Romney’s charge and the actual actions taken by the Obama administration? And it’s worth noting that the two states whose actions prompted the request — Nevada and Utah — have Republican governors. I always thought Republicans just loved “states rights”.

And it’s worth noting that in 2005, several Republican Governors wrote a letter to the Department of Health & Human Services asking for just the sort of waivers the Obama administration has now said it will consider. Here’s the signature page of that letter (look in the upper right corner…):

Signatures of Republican governors, including Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, on letter asking for flexibility in managing TANF programs

Right. This is something Romney wanted … until President Obama did it. And now it’s evil. Or something. (And, should you be interested, here is a letter from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to Rep. Dave Camp, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, further describing the current action and relating it to the request made by Romney and other governors in 2005.)

I could probably say more, dive deeper into the issue of the waivers or what the 1996 welfare reform law really says, but that would just be belaboring the simple point: Mitt Romney will apparently lie about anything to be elected President. The man has absolutely no scruples or moral fiber. He is a serial liar.

It’s getting to the point that if Romney says the sky is blue, we better all look outside and trust our own observations rather than the drivel that comes out of his mouth.

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