This is an old post in the drafts from 2011.
Entitlement: Not really sure what I meant by this one.
Cadillac mama: The idea of the Welfare Queen was thought up and popularized by one of Ronald Reagan’s speech writers. There’s little to no basis in reality, though some point to one woman who was perpetuating actual fraud (and was caught and went to jail for it). There were no single mothers living large on Welfare back during Reagan’s time and TANF is even less generous, so that’s even less of a thing.
Encourages more babies: TANF does not pay enough for an extra child to make it worthwhile to have an extra child. The extra child will cost more than the additional benefit of TANF. Anybody saying they want babies to get on welfare is delusional.
Encourages divorce/not getting married: maybe. Welfare (pre-TANF), potentially even more so, because it was targeted at single moms and even more difficult to get if married. But even if TANF does encourage divorce/not getting married, that’s not necessarily a bad thing if it helps women not be trapped in dangerous marriages.
Discourages work: yes and no. Welfare pre-TANF did discourage work. TANF is an improvement over that. TANF is designed to try to keep it from discouraging work as much, though theoretically it still could. Empirically it seems to not discourage work much. One of the terrible things is that work doesn’t really provide a living wage for a lot of people on the margins of TANF.
People move to states with more generous benefits in order to receive benefits: This just does not happen. First: People do not leave their families and support networks to chase benefits. Second: even if they did, states have waiting periods where you have to live in said states for more time than most poor people can handle before benefits start up.