Obama V Clinton

Obama V. Clinton:
and I do not mean Hillary

Two of most progressive presidents America has seen in the last two decades are Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama. Each made tremendous progress in each of the two major aspects of progressive social spending, Welfare and Health care. Clinton sought to “change welfare as we know it” while Obama refinished the foundations of healthcare reform Clinton started.   Yet to declare the presidential champion of progressive social program reform one must first examine the socio-political environment these men played in. The economy, public opinion, existing polices, and the structure of the proposed policies all act as determining factors to the relative success of each of these policies and these presidents and to determine if the current administrations should look to the past for policies development or if America is headed in the right progressive direction.
First round in the battle of progressive dominance is Bill Clinton’s welfare reform. Looking at the policies that were in practice when Clinton took office one can see why he needed to be a progressive. The major welfare program at the time was AFDC (American Families with Dependent Children) with over 5 million cases including 14.2 million individual recipients during 1994 according to the Heritage foundation Index of dependency. (Beach, and Tyrrell) Financially speaking AFDC was a black hole in the budget, its structure was as such that the more cases the states granted the more federal money the states would receive as reimbursement for the program without a cap on spending. To make matters worse the program only seemed to expand. As coverage included: originally just dependent children in 1935, expanding to unemployed parents of dependent children in 1961, next a second parent if the family had an incapacitated or unemployed parent in 1962, then came the ‘essential person’ defined as any individual deemed essential to the child in 1968, finally coverage extends to...