A Step In The Right Direction

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services reinstated work requirements for people who receive taxpayer-funded food assistance. The change in the law will impact about 70,000 people in 69 Michigan counties.

The article reports:

Wheaton (Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Public Information Officer Bob Wheaton) said that these work requirements had been in effect before 2002, but were lifted because of high unemployment. With the economy improving, Wheaton said, the MDHH decided it was time to reinstate the policy.

Holly Wetzel, communications coordinator at the Michigan-based, free-market think tank the Mackinac Center, supports reinstating work requirements.

“Work requirements benefit the individual, taxpayers and the economy because they realign incentives within our welfare system that encourage, reward, and restore the dignity of work,” Wetzel told Watchdog.org.

Former Democratic President Bill Clinton incorporated work requirements in his welfare reform package in the 1990s, which Wetzel said were a great success. These policies, she said, preserve the food stamp system and ensure access to the most needy while incentivizing a sustainable lifestyle. Along with a more sustainable food stamp system, she said she expects that employers will see “a more vibrant and enterprising labor market,” which will help them fill positions in an economy that has brought more jobs to the country.

“[Food stamps] exist to help the truly vulnerable,” Wetzel said.

In addition to food stamp work requirements, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is currently seeking to add work requirements to his Medicaid expansion program, called the Healthy Michigan plan. If Snyder succeeds, this will have the same work requirements as are currently required for food stamp recipients.

Putting a work requirement on food stamps provides incentive for those receiving food stamps to find employment. The fact that the state is referring people to programs where they can receive job training is also helpful. Part of human nature is not to appreciate things that you didn’t have to work for. Putting a work requirement of public assistance and training people for jobs helps the recipients of food stamps climb out of the poverty they are in. This worked in the 1990’s when it was first tried, and it will work successfully again.

One Result Of A Strong Economy

On Monday, Breitbart reported that for the first time in eight years, the number of American households on food stamps has dropped below 20 million.

The article reports:

The latest data from the USDA reveals that the number of households on food stamps in February 2018 dropped to 19,992,124—the first time it fell below 20 million since September 2010, when 19,979,385 households were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The USDA notes that not only is the number of households receiving food stamps at a record low level, but the number of people enrolled in food stamps has also gone down. From January to February of this year alone, overall food stamp enrollment dropped from 40,640,170 to 40,032,131.

The downward trend in enrollment has only continued over President Trump’s first year in office, keeping on pace with the stable decline in SNAP participation since 2013.

The food stamp program is included in the Farm Bill which is currently in Congress.

The article reports:

Although the Trump administration is making it a priority to require food stamp recipients to work to receive benefits, the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill released Friday does not include the work requirements sought out by the Trump administration and the House Agriculture Committee.

The House’s version of the bill includes a provision that would require most adults ages 18 to 59 who enroll in food stamps to work, receive job training, or look for work under a case manager’s supervision.

It is time for the people the government is feeding to go to work. The idea that working people should pay exorbitant taxes to allow other Americans to live well without working is just ridiculous. It is time for the gravy train to end.

Policies Have Consequences

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the impact of some of the changes President Trump is making to federal handouts.

The article first cites changes in welfare:

Earlier this month, the government reported that enrollment in food stamps plunged by nearly 600,000 in one month. Is this part of a broader trend toward greater self-reliance?

…In the months since President Trump has been in office, the number of people collecting food stamps plunged by nearly 2 million.

The same is true for welfare. Enrollment in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program dropped 12% last year, to reach 2.3 million.

Better still, the number of workers on Social Security Disability Insurance was down to 8.6 million in March — a decline of more than 100,000 since January 2017, and the lowest level since February 2012.

So far this year, disability applications have averaged 179,000 a month, compared with more than 193,000 a month in 2016. And the number of people dropping off disability rolls is up.

The next area cited is Medicaid:

Even enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP — the health care program for the poor and children — dropped by almost a million in 2017, to 74 million. In contrast, enrollment surged by more than 2 million in 2016. (Medicaid’s rolls could climb gain if additional states decide to expand the program under ObamaCare.)

In other words, millions of people are now free from at least some of their dependence on federal benefit programs.

The article notes that some people judge the success of these programs by how many people take advantage of them–thus a drop in enrollment is seen as a drop in the level of success. Actually, it would be nice if those running the programs actually wanted people to be successful enough not to need the programs. However, if the level of participation in these programs dropped greatly, there would no longer be a need for the giant federal bureaucracy that administers them. It is unrealistic to expect people to do something that in the long run might make their job obsolete.

The article also cites changes in Work Benefits:

ObamaCare, for example, allowed able-bodied childless adults — with incomes above the poverty line — to enroll in Medicaid in expansion states. Because these states are now picking up a bigger share of the expansion costs, many are looking to impose work requirements to stay on the program. There’s also a push to add work requirements for food stamps.

That may seem heartless. But keep in mind that most of these programs have the word “temporary” right in their titles. They were never envisioned as permanent means of support, but a way to cover over rough patches.

The article reminds us that a poverty program is truly successful when there is no one who has the need to enroll in it!

To understand more about poverty in America and exactly what qualifies as poverty, I strongly recommend reading The Heritage Foundation‘s report Poverty and the Social Welfare State in the United States and Other Nations.

 

Saving The Government Money

Breitbart is reporting today that enrollment in the food stamp program has dropped by two million since President Trump took office.

The article reports:

The USDA data show that the number of people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the government program that administers food stamps, plunged to 42,182,443 in fiscal year (FY) 2017 —a drop of 2,036,920 from the 44,219,363 enrolled in FY 2016.

Participation in the program is at its lowest level since 2010, when 40,302,000 people enrolled in the program.

Food stamp enrollment steadily declined after 2013, when participation in the government program swelled to 47.6 million—the highest amount it has ever been since former President Lyndon Johnson authorized the creation of the food stamp program in 1964. Taxpayers spent $79.8 million on SNAP when enrollment reached its peak in 2013.

The article includes other ways that the Trump Administration is planning to cut the cost of the program:

The USDA announced in December that the agency would give state agencies more autonomy over administering SNAP as one way to curb costs of the multi-billion dollar welfare program.

The federal government is also examining policy ideas being considered at the state level, such as limiting the number of family members who can make purchases using a SNAP card and drug-testing welfare recipients, to potentially implement them nationwide.

Cutting taxes is a wonderful idea, but cutting spending is also very much needed.

Taxpayers Are Waking Up

No one denies that we need a social safety net. The discussion centers on the size and the use of that safety net. It is meant to be a safety net–not a career choice. Many states, including North Carolina, are beginning to revise their safety nets in order to encourage people to work, to abstain from drugs, and to become productive members of society rather than constantly depending on the safety net.

On Saturday, the News & Observer posted an article detailing coming changes in the North Carolina food stamp laws. Food stamp recipients in North Carolina will soon be required to either work, volunteer, or take classes for at least 20 hours a week.

This is a chart showing the number of Americans on food stamps:

http://www.rightwinggranny.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/food-stamps-yearly-do-not-hotlink.jpg

The number has almost doubled since President Obama took office.

The article at the News & Observer continues:

That federal requirement (work, school, or volunteering) – which applies to adults under 50 who don’t have children – was suspended in 2008 as the recession hit and unemployment rates rose. But the exemption ended Jan. 1 for 23 mostly urban counties across the state, including Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg.

While the 77 other counties are seeing a slower economic recovery and could continue the federal exemption, the state legislature acted last year to restore the work and education requirement statewide starting July 1.

The change affects 115,000 North Carolinians who will have to document work, volunteer or education activities or lose their food stamp benefits. Recipients can still get up to three months of benefits without meeting the requirement.

Opponents of the change claim that it will rip away the safety net. There are some of us who feel that the change will simply sort out the people who genuinely need food stamps and those who are happy to take advantage of ‘the system.’

In April of last year, I posted a story about what happened in Maine when people who received food stamps were required to either work or volunteer.

The story included the results of that action:

A Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) spokesman tells the Associated Press that 12,000 non-disabled adults were in Maine’s SNAP program before Jan. 1 – a number that dropped to 2,680 by the end of March.

More than 9,000 Maine residents have been removed from the state’s food stamp program since Republican Gov. Paul LePage‘s administration began enforcing work and volunteer requirements.

The goal of a safety net is to help people who need help. Changing the rules will allow North Carolina to continue to help those in need while providing some relief to the taxpayers of the State who also have needs.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Zero Hedge has posted nine charts that clearly show what President Obama’s economic policies have done to the American economy and those of us who try to exist in it.

Here are the charts:

EconomicCharts2015

If you follow the link above to the site, you can make the charts larger. It really is not a pretty picture.

Somehow A Lot Of News Reports Missed This

CNS News posted a story today about the number of Americans now receiving food stamps. If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are two pictures that tell the story:

food stamp participation chart

food stamp chart monthly

If the economy is doing so well, why are so many people receiving food stamps?

The article reports:

In 1969, the national population stood at 202,676,946, meaning the 2,878,000 persons on food stamps represented 1.4 percent of the population. In 2013, the national population stood at 316,128,839, meaning the 47,636,000 average persons participating in SNAP represented 15.1 percent of the population.

In 2013, one in five American households, or 20 percent, participated in the SNAP program. In 2013, there were 23,052,396 households that participated in the SNAP program, which was 20 percent of the 115,013,000 population.

If we don’t vote for people who want less government in November, we will totally destroy what is left of the economy of America. It’s up to the voters.

 

Some Perspective Posted On Facebook

Photo

See the National Center For Public Policy Research for further information.

The article reports:

You’re also probably not hearing that the taxpayers are spending about $80 billion annually for food stamps.

Or that food stamp spending increased under Obama from $39 billion in 2008 to $85 billion in 2012, and it doubled during the George W. Bush Administration, as reported by Katherine Rosario of the Heritage Foundation.

Or that the massive food stamp spending increases since 2008 occurred during a period of massive unemployment and underemployment. As the economy recovers — surely it will over the next ten years, President Obama? — the need for food stamp spending should go down.

Or that, as Robert Rector and Amy Payne of Heritage have written, “If converted to cash, means-tested welfare spending is more than five times the amount needed to eliminate all poverty in the United States,” so the amount of money we’re spending isn’t really the issue, it’s how we’re spending it.

Do your homework–check the stories the media is reporting.

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How Much Are We Actually Spending On Food Stamps ?

The chart below was posted yesterday at Power Line Blog:

The chart was posted as part of an article on recent Congressional activity regarding the Food Stamps Program. Power Line reports:

So Senator Jeff Sessions tried to introduce a minimal amount of fiscal discipline into the food stamp program by offering amendments that incorporated two basic reforms: 1) preventing states from waiving federal eligibility requirements for the program, and 2) eliminating the bonuses that the federal government now pays to states that deliberately swell the ranks of food stamp recipients. Given that the federal government pays 100% of the program’s cost, such bonuses create perverse incentives in the states, with predictable consequences. And at least 28 states have no limit whatsoever on the financial assets a household can have, and still qualify for food stamps.

One might think that a government running trillion-dollar-plus annual deficits would take common-sense reforms like those proposed by Senator Sessions to heart, but no: the Democrats voted them down. The prefer the irresponsible, free-spending status quo.

Technically the House of Representatives is supposed to be in charge of spending, but unfortunately, the Senate is so totally out of control, there is no hope for slowing the runaway spending. The Democrats in the Senate have refused to pass a budget for more than 1000 days. It’s time for a new Senate.

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President Obama And Food Stamps

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the increase in the number of Americans using food stamps during the past four years. This is the graph:

The problem with with the food stamp program is that there is not enough oversight of the program. As Senator Jeff Sessions has stated:

The agriculture bill we are considering this week…would result in a quadrupling of food stamp funds from their 2001 levels. At a proposed $80 billion a year, food stamps are becoming one of the largest items in our budget….

There is little if any oversight of the program, resulting in the extraordinary waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars. … In some cases, the only thing you need to become food-stamp eligible is have a brochure from the federal government be sent to you in the mail. …

This program is not being run honestly, effectively, or fairly. It is deeply disappointing and extremely telling that the Democrat-led Senate voted down even this modest effort to address the almost shameless mishandling of taxpayer funds. We’re in a fiscal crisis that is already killing jobs, and these bills just increase spending—and destroy confidence—that much more.

We have a corruption problem in our government, and many of our respresentatives in Washington are unwilling to deal with it. Meanwhile, we are cutting our national defense down to a level that is dangerous to our national security. We need to help people who are struggling to make ends meet. I have no problem with that. But we also need to make sure that government programs are not misused or taken advantage of.

The article at Power Line cites just a few of the abuses that have been discovered in the Food Stamp Program. We need to elect a Congress that will have the will to cut waste, fraud, and inefficiency in the Food Stamp program.

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The Federal Government Did Something Right !

Yes, the federal government did something right–they turned down Mayor Bloomberg’s request to bar New York City food stamp recipients from using their food stamps to buy soda and other sugary drinks. I appreciate the compassion that Mayor Bloomberg has for those using food stamps–but these are grown-ups–the government has no business trying to control their diets. This is another example of the government giving someone money (or the equivalent) and then trying to control the person because the money was accepted.

The article reports:

Dr. (Thomas A.) Farley (New York City’s Health Commissioner), who said he was “very upset” by the decision, said that it “ really calls into question how serious the U.S.D.A. is about addressing the nation’s most serious nutritional problem.”

In October, city and state officials proposed a two-year experiment to see if the prohibition would reduce obesity among people who buy their groceries with food stamps. Dr. Farley said that about 57 percent of adults in the city and 40 percent of the children in its public schools were overweight or obese, and that obesity was especially rampant in low-income neighborhoods. Limiting consumption of sodas and other drinks with high sugar content, he argued, could help reverse that trend. 

Just because these people are on food stamps, they shouldn’t be used as guinea pigs to confirm some bureaucrat’s theory on why people are overweight!

The article reports Mayor Bloomberg’s statement regarding the federal decision:

“We think our innovative pilot would have done more to protect people from the crippling effects of preventable illnesses like diabetes and obesity than anything else being proposed elsewhere in this country — and at little or no cost to taxpayers,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. “We’re disappointed that the federal government didn’t agree, and sorry that families and children may suffer from their unwillingness to explore our proposal. New York City will continue to pursue new and unconventional ways to combat the health problems that hurt New Yorkers and Americans from coast to coast.” 

We need less government–not more!

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