Former Director of the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services Larry Townsend.
Former Director of the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services Larry Townsend. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

In the summer of 1996, on the lawn of the White House Rose Garden, President Clinton signed a bill that would dramatically transform the country's welfare system.

Twenty years later, what the heck is welfare anyway? And we should make it clear — we're talking about cash assistance to poor families, not food stamps or medicaid.

Welcome to "The Uncertain Hour," the Wealth & Poverty desk's new podcast hosted by Senior Correspondent Krissy Clark. In the first episode, we'll introduce you to the "Magic Bureaucrat" — the former director of a suburban county welfare office. You'll hear about his foray into synthpop music production and how he launched the welfare reform movement.

Because the things we argue most about are often the things we know the least about.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Krissy Clark at @kristianiaclark