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99% Invisible

The Magic Bureaucrat

In 1996, President Bill Clinton and the Congress undertook a reform effort to redesign the welfare system from one that many believed trapped people in a cycle of dependence, to one, that in the President’s words, would give people “a paycheck, not a welfare check …. Today, we are ending welfare as we know it.”
Many of the key components implemented by Clinton can be traced back to a bureaucrat named Larry Townsend and a pilot program he operated in California called GAIN (Greater Avenues for Independence). Head of the welfare office in Riverside County, Townsend focus on a singular mission: get people into jobs as fast as possible.
Krissy Clark from Marketplace’s The Uncertain Hour has the story.

The Magic Bureaucrat and His Riverside Miracle

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