The New Wisconsin Idea

Ending welfare as we know it.  This was the signature line from Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 proving that he was a new kind of Democrat.  It was also a signal that bipartisan consensus had been achieved to end 60 years of entitlement welfare with policies that would empower the poor to become self-sufficient.  Wisconsin was the first state to turn Clinton’s slogan into reality.  The result was a 90% reduction in welfare assistance combined with record levels of employment for single mothers and reduced poverty.

The Wisconsin Model served as the blueprint for the 1996 welfare reforms passed by Congress and it inspired similar reforms in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, and Israel.  This transatlantic exchange was discussed at a National Press Club event featuring former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson and British Member of Parliament Iain Duncan Smith.

Read an excerpt from The New Wisconsin Idea

Listen to an audio recording of National Press Club event

Read our iBook: Wisconsin Welfare Reform – 20 Years Later