Preserving Clinton's biggest domestic achievement isn't something you should want "even" if you're a liberal who believes in affirmative government. It's something you should want especially if you're a liberal who believes in affirmative government.
(This is the point when liberals who believe in affirmative government should check to make sure their wallets are still there.)
On behalf of liberals who believe in affirmative government, allow me to excerpt the relevant portions of our wish-list:
1) A job and a pension for young and old (or at least some federal expenditures to pull us out of our current tailspin) ...
356) Mickey jumping out of a plane, realizing that his parachute is a knapsack, and then falling slowly out of view until we hear a thud and see a cloud of dust rising from the bottom of a canyon ...
2114) The federal government continuing the incentive for states to keep welfare caseloads low (Bill Clinton's biggest domestic accomplishment!) in the middle of a rising wave of unemployment and economic contraction ...
See? Liberals do want the survival of the caseload reduction credit. We just gotta get to a few other things first. Thanks for the concern, though.
[Isn't this where Mickey cites the First Law of High Contrarianism -- liberalism can be neither created nor destroyed -- and argues that you can't have #1 without #2114, much like you can't help unskilled workers without a border fence and you can't redistribute wealth without killing the UAW? -- ed. Yes, increasingly shrill voice inside my head -- history has shown that you just can't expand unemployment benefits in tandem with successful federal investment in jobs creation. Except for, you know, that one time.]
Besides the sheer volume (can you tell that Mickey's been looking for an excuse to write about welfare reform since 1996?), there's not a lot to Mickey's thesis here. You can even play along at home. First, take a look at this unemployment chart:
Now, ignore that chart. Assume it's 1996 and we're still right in the middle of Clinton's economic expansion, with jobs a-plenty. The only thing that would lead people to go on welfare is
The next step is to assume completely-inexplicable-yet-entirely-nefarious motives ("the Dems would like" caseloads to "soar"!; Money Liberals want "[l]ots of new people on welfare"!). Why on Earth do Dems and "Money Liberals" (a term destined to go viral) want these things?
/tumbleweed rolls by
/lone audience member coughs
Finally, assert that stopping liberals will be ... great for liberalism! Hooray?
[T]he now-undermined welfare reform was the key to rebuilding confidence in (liberal) affirmative government.
I'd ordinarily say that this is the kind of unprovable, ridiculous assertion that Mickey throws in between two data points, hoping that his readers won't see the scotch tape holding it together, but he's got it totally right.
The Confidence In Liberal Affirmative Government Metric (CILAGM) is at 7.2, its highest level in decades, and a Gallup poll taken right after the 2006 election credited "Rebuilt Confidence in Affirmative Government due to Welform Reform of 1996" as their reason for returning Democrats to power.
It's just science.
Bonus Tip: If cornered by actual economic reality, pull the ol' switcheroo:
But lack of jobs isn't a reason to loosen work requirements. It's a reason for the government to provide the jobs.
"Lack of hair isn't a reason for you to refuse to sleep with me. It's a reason for you to buy me a toupee."
Here's how Mickey -- a closet Keynesian, apparently -- plans to enact his federal jobs-providing legislation:
Step 1: Crawl into bed with the truly insane anti-stimulus crowd and scream incessantly that the stimulus (and not, you know, the economic disaster that the stimulus is supposed to alleviate) is going to put people on welfare again.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: The New Deal.
Judging from his blogging -- and it's not so much blogging as it is rewriting "The End of Equality", the second time as farce -- Mickey's preferred course of action is to use red state animus over welfare to cajole Democrats into creating a new Civilian Conservation Corps, to be run by the Heritage Foundation for the good of the working poor.
If only the world was ready for you, Mickey.