Rudy Giuliani on Welfare & Poverty

Former Mayor of New York City; Republican Candidate for 2000 Senate (NY)


FactCheck:Hillary never proposed giving $5000 to every child

Giuliani said, “Remember the Hillary bond program? She’s going to give $5,000 to every child born in America. I challenged her on it. She has backed off that. She has a new one today. This one is, she’s going to give out $1,000 to everybody, to set up a 401(k). The problem is, this one costs $5 billion more than the last one.”

It is an exaggeration to say Clinton was going to “give $5,000 to every child.” She never formally proposed such a plan, though she did flirt with the idea for a few days. She told the Wall Street Journal this month that she wouldn’t propose the idea.

Giuliani also exaggerated when he said Clinton’s new proposal would cost $5 billion more than the $5,000-per-baby idea. She estimates that the new retirement plan proposal would cost about $20 billion to $25 billion each year. There were 4,289,000 live births last year. The cost of giving each of those kids a $5,000 bond is $21.4 billion, which is actually more than the low end of Clinton’s estimate for her new plan.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn MI , Oct 9, 2007

FactCheck: 640,000 off welfare in NYC below national average

Giuliani claimed responsibility for a large reduction in the welfare rolls of New York City, saying, “They thought it was impossible to reduce welfare; I removed 640,000 people from the welfare rolls.”

The number is correct. Between Dec. 1993, the mont before Giuliani took office, and Dec. 2001, the month he left, the number of people receiving welfare benefits declined from 1.1 million to 462,000, according to statistics compiled by the city’s Independent Budget Office. That total is actually 650,000. While mayor, Giuliani’s welfare reforms were dramatic and wide-ranging.

Whether Giuliani can claim that he personally removed those folks is highly debatable, though. NYC’s reductions occurred during a fall-off in the national welfare rolls, which accelerated when Pres. Clinton signed a comprehensive national welfare reform bill in 1996. In fact, while NYC’s welfare rolls declined by 58.5% under Giuliani’s tenure, the number of recipients nationally dropped by 62.2% between 1993 and 2001.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 GOP debate at UNH , Sep 5, 2007

Moving people off welfare reduces crime

Q: Is there anything you learned or regret during your time as mayor in your dealings with the African-American community?

A: There’s a great deal that I learned and a great deal that I regret during the time I was mayor, and a great deal I was very, very satisfied with. I tried very, very hard to treat everyone in New York City the same. We reduced crime by 67 percent. Some of the biggest beneficiaries of that would have been in the poorer neighborhoods of New York City, not necessarily the African-American community but a lot of the communities of New York City. And I worked very, very hard to try to move hundreds of thousands of people out of welfare. We actually followed Tommy Thompson’s program, and we had the most successful welfare-to-work program in the country. We moved 660,000 people off welfare. And I think one of the reasons that crime is still down in New York today.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC , May 3, 2007

Sold 80% of city-owned abandoned homes to developers

In numerous pronouncements, Giuliani has emphasized one aspect of his housing record: his successful drive to divest the city of its deteriorating stock of inner-city apartment buildings seized from slumlords in the 1970s & 1980s for their failure to pay delinquent real estate taxes. When he took office, the city’s ownership of this infamous “In Rem” stock was hovering at around 31,000 apartments. By the time he left City Hall, that number had shriveled to about 5,700, an 80% reduction.

The policy of selling off the buildings to private developers had begun in previous administrations. But the increases in property values across the city, coupled with the Clinton-era tax breaks, gave investors an incentive to rehabilitate buildings in low-income neighborhoods. Giuliani didn’t pioneer the process, but he injected it with new vigor, pushing for the transfer of buildings as fast as private landlords and community-development organizations could structure transactions to patch up the properties.

Source: America‘s Mayor, America‘s President?, by R. Polner, p.105 , May 2, 2007

Moved 600,000 people off welfare during mayoral term

When Giuliani took over in 1994, 1.1 million New Yorkers were getting some form of public assistance. Eight years later, the total stood at a little more than half a million.

It was undeniably an impressive statistic. By moving 600,000 New Yorkers off the rolls--more people, the mayor liked to point out, that the population of Buffalo--the city was doing its part to create a new social contract that would move poor people from dependency on government handouts to self-sufficiency. “The city gives more help than any city in America presently does and will continue to do that,“ Giuliani said shortly after taking office. ”The city is going to be asking for something in return for giving that help.“

While the number of families leaving welfare each year had remained fairly constant under Giuliani, the number going on welfare was plummeting. At the same time, the number of families poor enough to qualify for welfare had dropped, but only slightly, from 21% to 19% between 1996 & 2001.

Source: America‘s Mayor, America‘s President?, p. 91&96 , May 2, 2007

NYC welfare reform focused on workfare assignments

While the federal welfare law contained much talk of encouraging marriage and battling illegitimacy, City Hall’s rhetoric and prescription were almost exclusively concentrated on work. Jobs would, at first, consist largely of workfare assignments-- 20-plus hours a week picking up trash or answering phones for city agencies, in exchange for a “wage” equivalent to a monthly welfare check.

Giuliani portrayed his Work, Accountability, You--WAY--as a descendant of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. Critics labeled it “slavefare,” pointing out that WAY workers were paid barely minimum wage and were not offered the right to sick days, health benefits, or protections from sexual harassment or capricious dismissal. Early in his second year of office, Giuliani announced that, thanks to what he termed “fraud detection,” more than 10,000 applicants to the Home Relief program for single adults had been rejected.

Source: America‘s Mayor, America‘s President?, p. 92 , May 2, 2007

America Works: pay company for jobs for welfare recipients

We decided to expand the concept of workfare, an idea that developed with the America Works program. America Works was a private company that got performance-based contracts, receiving the bulk of their money if, and only if, they found a welfare recipient a job that the recipient stayed in for at least six months. The recipients attended orientation sessions and work-skills seminars, and America Works was on-site to act as a go-between should any problems arise with issues like punctuality and child care.

The liberal world was incensed about the fact that America Works would “make a profit from welfare.” The company was tying its profit to getting people a job, though, and the concept appealed to me immediately. Those who were not able or willing to find permanent jobs were expected to participate in the Work Experience Program, spending 20 hours a week doing work like cleaning parks and answering phones at various agencies.

Source: Leadership, autobiography by Rudolph Giuliani, p.162 , Oct 1, 2002

Welfare offices as job centers

Hopefully, all welfare offices will be Job Centers, and they all will be finding work for people. When people go into welfare offices, they won’t even recognize them anymore as welfare offices. They will look like employment offices. That’s what they should be. Because that how you empower people.
Source: 2000 State of the City Address , Jan 13, 2000

The homeless need special attention: reach out & help

[Some] people living on the streets have serious problems. These problems include substance abuse, mental illness and serious violent criminality. All of those issues need to be addressed. Letting people lie there so that their problems get worse is not the answer. It’s not compassionate, and it’s not humane. We need to reach out to these people and help them address their problems. That’s what a compassionate society does.
Source: State of the City Address, New York City , Jan 13, 2000

Change welfare offices into job centers

While New York City used to be called the welfare capital of the country, under Rudy Giuliani’s leadership, the City has developed the largest and most successful welfare to work initiative in the nation. When Rudy took office, more than one in seven New Yorkers were receiving public assistance. Welfare dependency had become a problem effecting generations of New Yorkers. New York’s welfare reforms anticipated the changes in the Federal law. By changing welfare offices into job centers, Rudy Giuliani has helped move over 450,000 New Yorkers from a state of dependency to the dignity of work. Those who remain on public assistance participate in the City’s work experience program in exchange for their benefits. By reasserting the value of the social contract, which says that for every right there is a responsibility, Rudy Giuliani has helped restore the work ethic to the heart of life in New York.
Source: RudyYes.com, “Proven Leadership” web site , Dec 9, 1999

460,000 moved off welfare rolls during Rudy’s tenure

Source: RudyYes.com, “Proven Leadership” web site , Dec 9, 1999

Do whatever it takes to get the homeless off the streets

We are going to spend a lot of time removing homeless people from the streets. They should not be sleeping on streets at night. When a person sleeps on a street at night they are indicating a serious problem for themselves and for others. When somebody decides to put down a bed and sleep there at night we should intervene, try to help them. If it turns out they have warrants for their arrest, which is sometimes the case, then we should put them in jail.
Source: CNN.com’s “Talkback Live” , Dec 2, 1999

Govt stabilizes business; businesses provide jobs

New York City is going to be a pro-business city-a city that is pro-jobs. If we can’t keep businesses here and if we can’t attract businesses here, than all the promises that we are making to poor people are absolutely empty promises. Government can not employ everyone. You need an atmosphere in which businesses are going to provide jobs for people.
What this should mean in terms of sensible local government policy to have policies that stabilize the businesses you have in your community [and make it] an attractive place to put a business.
At a time of grave fiscal concern, we cut taxes. These cuts have allowed businesses to stabilize so that they could have more disposable income to rebuild their businesses or to employ more people.
We are no more than a third of the way through trying to reduce the burdens of regulations. Instead of businesses being required to obtain 15 or 20 permits, we lowered it to one or two or three. We continue to work towards that goal.
Source: Speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government , Sep 29, 1997

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Other big-city mayors on Welfare & Poverty: Rudy Giuliani on other issues:

Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Mar 26, 2021