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?

Reining In An Out Of Control Government

Civil asset forfeiture has become a problem in America in recent years. I have written about a number of cases of forfeiture in recent years. Two of these stories are here and hereHot Air posted an article today citing what Florida has decided to do about this government abuse of power.

The article at Hot Air reports:

Some great news in asset forfeiture reform is coming out of Florida. S.B. 1044, approved by the legislature earlier in the month, was signed into law today by Gov. Rick Scott.

The big deal with this particular reform is that, in most cases, Florida police will actually have to arrest and charge a person with a crime before attempting to seize and keep their money and property under the state’s asset forfeiture laws. One of the major ways asset forfeiture gets abused is that it is frequently a “civil”, not criminal, process where police and prosecutors are able to take property without even charging somebody with a crime, let alone convicting them. This is how police are, for example, able to snatch cash from cars they’ve pulled over and claim they suspect the money was going to be used for drug trafficking without actually finding any drugs.

The civil asset forfeiture law was put into effect to allow municipalities to sell off the assets of criminals and use the money for municipal purposes. In order to trace drug money, a law was passed that any cash deposit of $10,000 or more had to be documented by the bank involved. This law was abused and used against small businesses that generally made cash deposits of less than $10,000. They were accused of making the small deposits to avoid the law, and their bank accounts were seized. A number of small businesses were forced out of business by these actions. Aside from the fact that that this is simply government overreach, it is also a violation of the Sixth Amendment.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Montana and New Mexico have already passed laws to curb the abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws. We need this trend to continue.

Civil Forfeiture Has Met Its Match (At Least In Montana And New Mexico)

I have written a number of articles citing cases of civil forfeiture in various states. Generally speaking these are situations where property was taken from Americans without regard to their Constitutional rights. If you type civil forfeiture into the search engine on this site, you can read the various articles. One example was posted in November of last year.

Some states have decided that they are going to protect the property rights of their citizens. Montana and New Mexico have recently passed laws doing that.

Forbes Magazine posted an article on its website today stating:

Earlier this year, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed a law that requires the government to first obtain a criminal conviction before taking and keeping someone’s property through civil forfeiture.  This legislation also shifts the burden of proof onto the government—where it belongs—when spouses, neighbors and other innocent owners try to get back property used by a suspect without their knowledge. Montana’s civil forfeiture reforms are vital to restore due process and protect the property rights of the innocent.

New Mexico went even further and abolished civil forfeiture outright. As in Montana, law enforcement can only forfeit property after a criminal conviction. Crucially, this new law requires that all forfeiture money be deposited in the general fund, preventing it from becoming a police slush fund. Without a single vote cast against it, Gov. Susana Martinez (and a former prosecutor) signed this landmark reform on April 10.

The increase in civil forfeiture cases in recent years is related to the fact that money and property seized can be kept by the police and prosecutors in the civil forfeiture cases.

The article reports:

Speaking at a forfeiture conference, Pete Connelly, then the city attorney for Las Cruces, New Mexico, called civil forfeiture “a gold mine,” and told attendees, “We could be czars. We could own the city.”

…First, lawmakers must remove the profit incentive behind civil forfeiture. Allowing police and prosecutors to keep what they seize has enriched law enforcement at the cost of Americans’ constitutional rights. Since 1985, the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Fund has grown from $27 million to over $2 billion in 2013. Nationwide, more than 500 police departments and task forces have seized the equivalent of 20 percent or more of their yearly budgets. To end this appalling incentive to police for profit, legislators should direct all forfeiture proceeds either to the general fund or to a specified neutral fund, like education.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It shows what can happen when the Constitution is not followed and the average citizen is not paying enough attention to realize what is happening.

Thank you, Montana and New Mexico, for taking the lead on this.

Borrowed From A Friend On Facebook

Alan Simpson, the Senator from Wyoming calls senior citizens the Greediest Generation as he compared “Social Security ” to a Milk Cow with 310 million teats. Here’s a response in a letter from PATTY MYERS in Montana … I think she is a little ticked off! She also tells it like it is! This goes for both the Democrats and the Republicans and is right on the money!!! (so to speak)
————————————

“Hey Alan, let’s get a few things straight!!!!!

1. As a career politician, you have been on the public dole (teat) for FIFTY YEARS.

2. I have been paying Social Security taxes for 48 YEARS (since I was 15 years old. I am now 63).

3. My Social Security payments, and those of millions of other Americans, were safely tucked away in an interest bearing account for decades until you political pukes decided to raid the account and give OUR money to a bunch of zero losers in return for votes, thus bankrupting the system and turning Social Security into a Ponzi scheme that would make Bernie Madoff proud.

4. Recently, just like Lucy & Charlie Brown, you and “your ilk” pulled the proverbial football away from millions of American seniors nearing retirement and moved the goalposts for full retirement from age 65 to age, 67. NOW, you and your “shill commission” are proposing to move the goalposts YET AGAIN.

5. I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying into Medicare from Day One, and now “you morons” propose to change the rules of the game. Why? Because “you idiots” mismanaged other parts of the economy to such an extent that you need to steal our money from Medicare to pay the bills.

6. I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying income taxes our entire lives, and now you propose to increase our taxes yet again. Why? Because you “incompetent b*******s” spent our money so profligately that you just kept on spending even after you ran out of money. Now, you come to the American taxpayers and say you need more to pay off YOUR debt. To add insult to injury, you label us “greedy” for calling “bulls***t” to your incompetence. Well, Captain Bulls***t, I have a few questions for YOU:

1. How much money have you earned from the American taxpayers during your pathetic 50-year political career?

2. At what age did you retire from your pathetic political career, and how much are you receiving in annual retirement benefits from the American taxpayers?

3. How much do you pay for YOUR government provided health insurance?

4. What cuts in YOUR retirement and healthcare benefits are you proposing in your disgusting deficit reduction proposal, or as usual, have you exempted yourself and your political cronies?
It is you, Captain Bulls***t, and your political co-conspirators called Congress who are the “greedy” ones. It is you and your fellow nutcase thieves who have bankrupted America and stolen the American dream from millions of loyal, patriotic taxpayers.
And for what? Votes and your job and retirement security at our expense, you lunk-headed, leech.

That’s right, sir. You and yours have bankrupted America for the sole purpose of advancing your pathetic, political careers. You know it, we know it, and you know that we know it.

And you can take that to the bank, you miserable son of a b****h. NO, I did not stutter.

EVERYONE!!!

If you like the way things are in America delete this.

If you agree with what a Montana citizen, Patty Myers, says, please PASS IT ON!!!!

P.S. And stop calling Social Security benefits “entitlements”. WHAT AN INSULT!!!!

I have been paying in to the SS system for 45 years “It’s my money” – give it back to me the way the system was designed and stop patting yourself on the back like you are being generous by doling out these monthly checks!”

Enhanced by Zemanta

When Politics Is More Important The The Welfare Of Americans

Steven Hayward at Power Line posted an article today about the decision by the Obama administration to delay the leasing of shale gas fields in Ohio. This is an attempt by the administration to win back the environmentalists who are not happy after President Obama decided not to change the current ozone rules. Evidently when Lisa P. Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, was appointed she expected to rewrite those rules quickly–now she is being told that she will have to wait until 2013 if President Obama is reelected. That is something to keep in mind–rewriting the rules in the manner that Ms. Jackson would rewrite them would cripple America’s economy and greatly decrease our domestic energy supply.

The article at Power Line reports:

If you want to get a little more of an idea of the federal permitting problem, have a look at the embedded video on this Energy Information Administration squib about the Bakken field in North Dakota and Montana.  As you will see from the animation, the bulk of activity in the early years occurred in Montana, on some old federal leases, but in recent years those fields have started to tail off while North Dakota has boomed into the fourth largest oil-producing state in the country.  Most of the activity in North Dakota is occurring on private or state land (ditto for gas production in Pennsylvania), while new exploration and production in Montana has atrophied because of the fields there are mostly on federal land, and new areas are not being opened up.

America has the ability to meet its own domestic energy needs in an environmentally safe way. Right now government interference is preventing America from doing that. However, the tide may be changing.

The article at Power Line also reports:

Mr. Brune [the current executive director]  (of the Sierra Club) acknowledged that paid membership had declined by about 100,000 in recent years, to just more than 600,000, but attributed it to financial hardship caused by the recession.

It is important to protect the environment. It is also important to understand that civilization as we know it and a clean environment can co-exist. The next presidential election will determine whether civilization as we know it will continue to exist.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta