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When President Bill Clinton spoke in the White House Rose Garden on August 22, 1996, he claimed, “today we are taking an historic chance to make welfare what it was meant to be. A second chance. Not a way of life.” Then he signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, a radical overhaul of the nation’s welfare law. What happened next?

Then, every day, some 78 Americans die from an overdose related to either prescription painkillers or heroin. Doctors agree that opioid addiction has a genetic component, so tests are being developed to help identify people whose genes increase their risk of becoming addicted. But are these tests safe and accurate?

Next, millions tuned in for Canada’s The Tragically Hip’s final show on Saturday night. The reason they’re calling it quits is actually quite tragic: lead singer Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer.

And finally, the 2016 Summer Olympics came to a close in Rio Sunday night. We’ll round up the highlights, the lowlights and everything in between.

Photo courtesy of Reuters 

Producers:
Matt Holzman
Anna Scott
Jolie Myers
Christian Bordal
Sarah Sweeney

20 years since welfare reform, are the poor better off? 23 MIN, 17 SEC

When President Bill Clinton spoke in the White House Rose Garden on August 22, 1996, he claimed, “today we are taking an historic chance to make welfare what it was meant to be. A second chance. Not a way of life.” Then he signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, a radical overhaul of the nation’s welfare law. Instead of giving poor people cash assistance for however long they needed it, the new law implemented strict requirements. People had to work or be in some kind of training program in order to receive their benefits, and a five year lifetime limit on benefits was instituted. The result: the number of people receiving cash assistance was slashed from more than 12 million in 1996 to around 4 million today. Is that a good thing? Did the law spur people to get jobs or are poor people in worse shape now, a generation later?

Guests:
Genesis Batalla-Munoz, Mother
Caitlin Esch, Independent Producer (@CaitlinEsch)
Luke Shaefer, Associate Professor (@profshaefer)

More:
The Uncertain Hour
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America

Can a genetic test tell your risk of opioid addiction? 9 MIN, 2 SEC

About 80 percent of the world’s opioid supply is consumed in the United States. Every day, some 78 Americans die from an overdose related to either prescription painkillers or heroin. In response, President Obama recently signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. The Act represents a new approach by treating opioid addiction as a disease and emphasizing prevention, treatment, and recovery, rather than incarceration. As a disease, doctors agree that opioid addiction has a genetic component, so tests are being developed to help identify people whose genes increase their risk of becoming addicted. However, there’s disagreement as to whether these tests are accurate, and some say they may even be dangerous.

Guests:
Steven Richeimer, Doctor, Chief of Division

Millions of Canadians tune in for Tragically Hip’s final show 8 MIN, 53 SEC

The Tragically Hip are considered essential Canadian music, but they’re not so well-known in the US. The pride of Canada played their last show on Saturday night, and the reason they’re calling it quits is actually quite tragic. Lead singer Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer. Millions tuned in to the live CBC broadcast of their final show.

Guests:
Sean Michaels, Critic, Novelist (@stgramophone)

Rio highlights, lowlights and everything in between 9 MIN, 18 SEC

The 2016 Summer Olympics came to a close in Rio Sunday night. Seventeen days of athletic competition and plenty of non-sports-related drama. There were empty seats, security issues and scandals. We’ll round up the highlights, the lowlights and everything in between.

Guests:
Eric Adelson, Yahoo Sports (@eric_adelson)

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