Monday, August 13, 2012

The Romney Welfare attack, as syllogism


Having been accused of employing pretzel logic for defending the truth of the Romney attack ad on the Obama administration welfare policy, I see that it needs to be addressed again.  So let's try it in the form of a syllogism.
Definitions:
"Guts" - central elements, main purposes, integral contents
"Gutted" - Removed the guts of
Major Premise:  One of the "guts" of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act was that it contained non-waivable work requirements.

Minor Premise:  The Obama administration, in its July 12, 2012 letter, claimed for the Secretary of Health and Human Services the right to waive work requirements.

Conclusion:  The Obama administration has gutted the 1996 Welfare Reform Act.
Clearly, that's a valid syllogism.  Equally clearly, the minor premise is true.  The only possible argument that one could make for the syllogism being false is that the major premise is not true. 

Now, one can argue about whether or not waivers might make the system better, more effective, more humane, more cost-effective or anything else.  But if the non-waivable nature of the work requirements were one of the "guts" of the reform (and all of the evidence suggests that that is the case), and those "guts" have been removed or overridden or ignored, then the act has been gutted.  Period.  And there's no pretzel logic whatsoever required to get to that position.  It's all very simple and straightforward.

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