Clinton mostly blames the failure of the 1996 Welfare Reform Bill on the Bush Administration and Republican Governors.
ANDREA BERNSTEIN: So I remember the politics of the 1990’s, and obviously I'm aware of the discussion in this campaign. But take, for example, the welfare bill. Now you've said the time limit was something that didn't work and has been punitive. That was something that people raised at that time, and I'm wondering is it something that you were worried about at that time in talking about that bill, but you didn't feel the politics of the moment would allow for such a discussion?
HILLARY CLINTON: So there were a lot of very strong supporters of changing the welfare system from what it had become, which was not at all a platform for most people going anywhere. And because of the way the states controlled a lot of the standards that were applied, there were such broad disparities between some states that were, you know, truly punitive and miserly, and states that tried at least to be more supportive. So there were some very important changes that were part of the welfare reform policy.
I remember well when my husband had been a governor, his working with Daniel Patrick Moynihan and others to see what we could do to make it a better safety net than it had been. And Bill, you know, shut the government down twice, because the Republicans were trying to slash Medicaid, slash food stamps. And they were going to push through a welfare reform bill after '94. And it was just a question whether it could be one that would have some promise attached to it. So yes, there were voices saying, "It doesn't matter what they do or how it's constructed, it's going to be bad."
I did not believe that. I believed that it could be a net positive, if it were implemented right. And I remember very well the incredible public-private effort that went into training welfare recipients, giving them that first rung on the ladder of a job. I met a lot of those people. I mean, as I traveled around the country I met people who thanked me for what my husband had done, because they felt, as one woman said, now when my little boy asks me what I do I can tell him I work and tell him where. So there was a lot that I thought was positive.
I would put most of the responsibility on the Bush Administration and on governors and on the failure to be able to get some of what was tried to have more modulation when there were downturns in the economy. But the Bush Administration and Republican governors were really not interested in continuing what had been the positive framework for welfare reform and now we have to take a hard look at it again, especially after the Great Recession and the five-year limit, but also the really unfair way that a lot of states have defined education benefits and other administrative changes that they have imposed on top of that framework.”
Trump believes the answer to poverty is creating more incentives for people to work.
SEAN HANNITY: Let me ask you, would you be able to get 50 million Americans out of poverty?
DONALD TRUMP: I would. I would- I would create incentives for people to work. People don’t have an incentive. They make more money by sitting there doing nothing than they make if they have a job.
HANNITY: You’d take the incentive away.
TRUMP: We have to create incentives that they actually do much better by working. Right now, they have a disincentive. They have an incentive not to work.
HANNITY: You would insist for food stamps, welfare, and any assistance that you have to work for it.
TRUMP: Well, you could – you could start looking at things like that. And actually Bill Clinton wanted that, a lot of people wanted that over the years. You know, a lot of democrats frankly wanted that. A lot of liberals wanted that. The problem we have right now, we have a society that sits back and says we’re not going to do anything. And eventually the 50 percent cannot carry, and it’s unfair to them, but cannot carry the other 50 percent.
HANNITY: So you become President, you talked about new trade deals, you talk about the importance of balancing a budget, not cutting Social Security entitlements. How quickly can you get 46 million Americans off food stamps and 50 million Americans off poverty? Give me the four things that you would do immediately to jump start the economy.
TRUMP: Well, it’s actually not four things.
HANNITY: Five things?
TRUMP: No, it’s not a question of things. It’s a question of incentives. We have to create incentives. We have to restructure our tax system so that people create incentives. You can do zones. You can do lots of different things to get people to work. We have to change – I mean, we have a very massive change coming up because this country cannot sustain itself. It just can’t.