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Monday, June 12, 2017

Reforming Welfare with Work Requirements

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

Welfare programs are unconstitutional.  The federal government has no authority expressly granted in the U.S. Constitution to sponsor, fund, or be a participant in any way in welfare programs.  If a State wants to have a "safety net" in place, the States are authorized to do so, but even then, I would not recommend it.  That said, we can't flip a switch and eliminate programs many Americans have come to become dependent upon, so we must reform these programs, with the eventual goal of weening Americans who participate in these programs from the poisonous drug addiction of government dependence.

The Daily Signal reports that reform programs in Alabama have been working wonderfully.  The successful programs require food stamp recipients in 13 counties to either work, look for work, or get approved job training.  Since the reform has been put into place earlier this year, participation in the food stamp program has plunged by 85 percent.

Unlike Democrats, victories in the war on poverty in the eyes of Republicans are marked by less people being dependent upon government, not more.

Economic poverty is defeated by economic growth, not the expansion of benefits programs.

The thirteen Alabama counties (out of a total of 67) were previously exempt from enforcement of the federal work requirement for those participating in food stamps. That exemption ended as of January 1 under the administration of Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, which is why reform is now in play in each of those counties.

The Alabama reforms go all the way back to the federal reforms to the welfare program in 1996, calling for able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49 without dependents to be limited to three months of food stamp benefits without working in a 36-month period, unless they find employment or are involved in a work program part time.

In 2009, through the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Obama administration allowed all States to waive the work requirements for food stamp enrollment.  Countrywide, food stamp participation exploded.  The dramatic increase went from 1.9 million in fiscal year 2008 to almost 4 million by fiscal year 2010, and 4.9 million by fiscal 2013.

Caseworkers in Maine attribute their huge decrease in enrollment in food stamp programs to many recipients’ choosing to go without benefits rather than perform a minimum of six hours per week of community service, or other aspects of the work requirements.

While the federal government should get out of the benefits programs business, to head in that direction they need to be reducing their role, and as they do so, it would be wise to encourage constructive behavior from able-bodied adults without dependents if they wish to get food stamps.

Ultimately, the federal government should completely remove their funding and influence from welfare programs, and let the States run programs if they so desire.  The problem is, over 90 percent of food stamp funding is from the federal government.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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