Cutting The Cost Of Government By Improving The Economy

Yesterday Breitbart reported that in the last year food stamp [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)] enrollment has gone down in 46 out of the 50 states. The biggest drops were in Connecticut, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.

The article reports:

Connecticut saw the largest drop, with SNAP enrollment dropping 25.4 percent from May 2016 to May 2017.

The state also saw a pretty hefty drop in enrollment over one month — Connecticut’s enrollment in the food stamp program dropped 14.2 percent from April 2017 to May 2017.

North Carolina saw the second-largest decrease in SNAP enrollment with a 14.2 drop in the number of state residents participating in the food stamp program.

Part of the decrease has to do with a provision in the 2009 economic stimulus bill. The bill included a waiver of the work requirement in areas that were economically depressed.

The article explains:

The economic boom in these towns no longer made them eligible as of April 1, 2016, for a waiver from SNAP regulations. These regulations were put in place nationwide before the recession and require able-bodied adults without children to work at least 20 hours week, enroll in school, or take part in state-approved job training if they receive benefits for more than three months.

…The only four states that did not see declines in food stamp enrollment are Alaska, Kentucky, Montana, and Illinois. Each of those states reported slight gains in SNAP enrollment. Alaska saw the biggest increase in food stamp enrollment, with SNAP participation increasing by 4.1 percent. Illinois saw the second-largest increase in SNAP enrollment at 3.4 percent, and Montana reported an increase of 3 percent.

All of those states participate in the waiver program either statewide or in certain towns because of chronic unemployment in those areas.

Nationwide, food stamp enrollment has been on the downswing. Food stamp use in the U.S. fell to its lowest level in seven years, and 1.1 million Americans dropped off the food stamp rolls since President Trump took office.

There is a basic lesson here. When there is a work requirement to collect food stamps, enrollment goes down.

As I reported in July:

For example, in July 2014, Maine announced that it would no longer grant waivers from the work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependent children.

In order to receive benefits, they would thus have to work, participate in a work program for 20 hours per week, or do community service for about six hours per week.

It is important to note that this policy did not arbitrarily cut food stamp recipients from the program rolls. Able-bodied adults without dependent children in Maine were removed from the rolls only if they refused to participate in modest activities.

In fact, most of these individuals in Maine chose to leave the program rather than participate in training or community service, despite the strong outreach efforts of government caseworkers. This indicates that these individuals had other means of supporting themselves.

As a result of the new policy, the Maine caseload for able-bodied adults without dependent children dropped 80 percent in just a few months, falling from 13,332 in December 2014 to 2,678 recipients in March 2015.

I wonder what Congress had in mind when the waivers were put in place in 2009. We now have the examples of Alaska, Kentucky, Montana, and Illinois. All of those states still have the waivers, and they are the only four states whose economies have not improved sufficiently to remove the waivers. Food stamps without a work or training requirement does not help anyone–it simply creates dependency. How many times do we have to see this principle in action before we learn that lesson?

Why Abortion Laws Matter

The American Center for Law and Justice posted an article today about Indiana’s new law about abortion. I am going to post most of the article because it is so beautifully stated.

The article states:

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky joined with the ACLU to sue the state of Indiana over a recent law passed to prohibit abortions based only on the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry, or disability, including Down Syndrome.

Claiming that the bill places an undue burden on women seeking an abortion and violates patients’ privacy rights, Planned Parenthood is once again challenging a common sense state law intended to protect the health and safety of women and children. Why? Because abortion is how Planned Parenthood makes money, even if that means standing up for the targeted and systematic elimination of innocent children with disabilities like Down Syndrome.

Governor Pence released the following statement:

I believe that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable—the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn. HEA 1337 will ensure the dignified final treatment of the unborn and prohibits abortions that are based only on the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry, or disability, including Down syndrome.

Some of my most precious moments as Governor have been with families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome. These Hoosiers never fail to inspire me with their compassion and these special children never fail to move me with their love and joy.

By enacting this legislation, we take an important step in protecting the unborn, while still providing an exception for the life of the mother. I sign this legislation with a prayer that God would continue to bless these precious children, mothers and families.

The article includes the following story:

I’m proud of Governor Pence and the representatives in Indiana. When he talks about families of children with disabilities, he’s talking about families like mine.

My sister, Mary Rose, was born in the late summer of 1989, exactly six weeks before I turned three. Months after she was born, it became clear that Mary was special – different from normal babies. While the diagnoses, tests, and many in the world would assess that Mary is ‘mildly to moderately retarded,’ ‘developmentally delayed/disabled,’ or ‘slower than normal kids,’ it is clear to anyone who encounters Mary that she was a gift from God, placed on earth to teach us all the true definition of unconditional love.

Although Mary doesn’t have Down Syndrome, many of her closest friends do. Others, including Mary, have similar genetic abnormalities that cause developmental delays. Although national research isn’t comprehensive, many studies reveal that somewhere between 80 and 95% of unborn babies with a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome are aborted.

More than 4 in 5 unborn babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are murdered simply because they have an extra chromosome. These children are never given the chance to show the world just how much potential they have.

Some mothers who are pressured to abort their child with Down Syndrome have refused, and the hearts of their communities are forever changed once their child is born.

But more often than not, those lives are lost forever. My heart breaks every time I hear these statistics because I know just how incredible these children are. I’m an example of a life forever changed because of their lives. I know from first hand experience just how much the world is losing every time a child is aborted because they have a disability.

Mary is the perfect example of this. Though not being academically “smart,” she’s more insightful and emotionally intuitive than most people I know. Though Mary may never discover a world-changing innovation, she is never forgotten by all who encounter her. Mary has a zest for life rooted in her ability to appreciate every person and opportunity that comes her way, and her inability to focus on tedious, superfluous details. She reminds us all of the childlike faith we once had.

Mary and her extraordinary friends have shaped the man I am today. Because of Mary, I always speak up for the underdog, squirming when I feel someone is unrightfully judging me or someone else. Because of Mary, I try to look past first judgments and impressions, and empathize with people I meet and situations I encounter. Because of Mary, I thirst for justice and appreciation of all human beings, no matter how diverse or different. Because of Mary, I recognize the incredible ways that the Lord uses His children whom the world labels as “slow”, “useless”, or “not viable” to show us His unfailing and unconditional love.

And because of Mary, I’m thankful for Gov. Pence and other leaders around the country who fight for laws to protect those with disabilities – to give them protection under the law.

When Planned Parenthood and its abortion allies sue to stop these laws, we all must realize they’re suing to end lives like those of Mary and her friends.

They think they’re on the right side of history. I wish they’d meet Mary so they know how very wrong they are.

This is the reason we need to take the profit out of the abortion industry. Abortion is a multi-million dollar industry, and because of the money involved, the industry wields a tremendous amount of political clout. All of us need to back up and think about what the abortion industry is about and whether or not we want the government to support it. It is time for all of us to rethink all of our abortion laws and move to make abortion something that is only done when absolutely necessary. We also need to reach out to those women who have had abortions and help them deal with the scars.

 

I Support Protecting Children From Abuse, But This Incident Does Not Seem To Be Abuse

It is getting to the point where if your neighbor does not like you, he can report you to whatever authorities he chooses and there is a chance your children will be taken away. This is definitely government overreach.

Chicks On The Right posted a story today about a family living in Kentuckyoff the grid.’ It seems that somehow living off the grid is an offense to local authorities, there have recently been a few cases of people being treated very badly because they are living off the grid.

The story reports:

According to that sourcelink, police seized 10 kids from their rural Kentucky home after receiving an anonymous tip to investigate the family’s “off the grid” lifestyle.

Joe Naugler happened to be away with eight of his children when the authorities arrived on the scene. Nicole Naugler, who happens to be five months pregnant, took their oldest children with her to drive away, but the authorities stopped her and took took them. She was arrested for “disorderly conduct and resisting arrest,” but she claims she was arrested after not allowing the officers to take her children without a “fight.” Officers told her husband he needed to hand over the other children or face felony charges, and he complied. 

Pace Ellsworth, a family friend, said he believes the Nauglers were targeted because the government disagrees with their “free” lifestyle of “unschooling,” which focuses on learning through life experience and each child’s individual strengths.

That sounds like the way we used to do it! The authorities seem to have some question as to whether or not the children’s needs were being met, but the neighbors and friends tell a very different story. The neighbors have stated that the children are being raised in a loving environment and are well taken care of.

The children were taken on an anonymous tip. If this was supposed to be an investigation, why were the children taken? Has anyone asked the children basic questions to see if their education is appropriate for their age levels? Has anyone compared the education of the children to the education children in public schools are getting?

It seems to me that unless there was actual evidence of abuse or neglect of the children, the authorities did not have the right to take them. I hope that when this is sorted out, the parents find a good lawyer, figure out who issued the order to take the children, who was responsible for the anonymous tip that resulted in the taking of the children, and proceed to become millionaires.

I’m Convinced There Is Something In The Water In Washington, D.C.

Today the National Journal posted a story about the relationship between the Tea Party members in Congress and the Tea Party members trying to get elected to Congress.

The article cites some examples:

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida won’t take sides in GOP incumbent primaries because of his own experience of running against the establishment’s pick. Neither will Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who rode tea-party support to take down a three-term incumbent. Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas are also unlikely to back any of the conservatives taking on Republican senators; in fact, Paul is committing heresy in the eyes of tea-party hard-liners by endorsing two Washington insiders, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and Wyoming Sen. Michael Enzi.

This show of decorum from senators who instigated the unpopular government shutdown is striking at a time of mounting friction between the establishment and tea-party wings of the Republican Party. So what’s behind it? The upshot of the tea-party caucus’s largely staying on the sidelines—and, in Paul’s case, endorsing two of his colleagues—is that of all the protocols the conservative insurgency has trashed on Capitol Hill, a member endorsing a colleague’s opponent remains strictly taboo.

Note to Republicans–it’s not a club–it’s a government, and right now it isn’t working very well.

The Tea Party is a grass roots movement. It was started and has been joined by people who do not like business as usual in Washington. If Congressmen who are elected by the Tea Party become part of business as usual, they will be unelected. The Tea Party will gain strength as people feel the weight of government over-reach. Since the Tea Party is responsible for what life there is in the Republican party, the Republicans in Congress need to support Tea Party candidates when they are running against business as usual candidates.

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Why Were These Things Included In The Deal?

I am sure that there is more of this to come, but there are two provisions in the agreement to raise the debt ceiling that indicate to me that it is time to clean house in Washington.

WFPL News reports that the bill ending the government shutdown includes $3 billion for the massive Olmsted Dam Lock in Paducah, Kentucky.  The bill increases the funding from $775 million to nearly $2.9 billion.

The article reports:

Asked about the additional funding in the proposal, McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer directed all questions to lawmakers who worked on the bill directly.

“Senators (Diane) Feinstein and (Lamar) Alexander, the chair and ranking member of the energy and water subcommittee, worked on the issue and can help you,” he says.

Since 2009, McConnell has been an outspoken supporter of the project, and has been working on getting its funding for some time.

This may not be an earmark, but it sure looks like one. Why was this included in this bill rather than a stand-alone bill?

The other part of this bill that disturbs me is the change in how future debt ceilings will be handled.

Breitbart.com reports:

The plan includes a proposal offered by McConnell in the 2011 debt ceiling crisis that allows Congress to disapprove of the debt ceiling increase, which means lawmakers will formally vote on whether to reject a debt ceiling increase until Feb. 7. Obama can veto that legislation if it passes. If Congress fails as expected to gather a two-thirds majority to override the veto, the debt ceiling would be raised.

If we ever want to see the end of runaway spending, we need to oppose that idea and everyone who supports it. Shutting the government down was not pleasant, but Congress (particularly the House of Representatives) is supposed to be in charge of spending. This change makes Congress almost irrelevant and allows the President to continue to drive America into bankruptcy.

This was not a good deal for America.

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Can We Elect More Senators Like This?

The Courier-Journal in Louisville Kentucky reported on Thursday that Senator Rand Paul is returning $600,000 to the U.S. Treasury. He saved the money on Senate office operating expenses during the past year.

The article reports:

The $600,000, which amounts to about 17 percent of Paul’s $3.5 million office budget, was in addition to about $500,000 he saved two years ago, his first year in the Senate, Paul said.

He said the savings were realized by “watching every purchase,” including keeping close tabs on expenditures for “computers, paper, ink cartridges. Everything we buy.”

He said he also keeps close watch on travel expenditures and noted that, although he frequently flies between Washington and Kentucky, his staff seldom does. He said he also doesn’t pay his staff excessive salaries.

The article lists a number of Senators in both parties who have returned money to the government. That is a start.Enhanced by Zemanta