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.

 

Work Works

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on welfare reform. The Committee is seeking a way to help poor Americans get out of poverty.

The article reports:

The hearing, titled “Moving America’s Families Forward: Setting Priorities for Reducing Poverty and Expanding Opportunity” examined the welfare system. One area of reform examined was work requirements for individuals receiving welfare.

…“I have a personal relationship with this situation, where I started out, and my family started out, in public housing,” Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said at  the hearing. “I know what hard work could do to put me to where I am today, from living in the halls of public housing to serving in the halls of Congress.”

In his testimony, Bragdon ( Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability) used two states as examples, Kansas and Maine, that have restored work requirements for welfare programs. In Maine, “Thousands of able-bodied adults leaving food stamps found jobs and increased their hours, leading their incomes to rise by 114 percent on average. And in both states, that higher income more than offset the food stamps they lost, leaving them better off than they had been on welfare,” Bragdon said in his written testimony.

“It turns out work works,” Bragdon said. Bragdon testified that work requirements for able-bodied adults would likely deal with much of the fraud happening in the welfare system.

President Lyndon B. Johnson introduced the idea of ‘declaring war on poverty’ in his State of the Union address in 1964. The chart below shows the impact of the legislation that followed:

PovertyRate1959to2014Although we initially made some progress, it seems as if we have lost the war on poverty. It’s time to rethink our strategy.

The article concludes:

On Tuesday, the Ways and Means Committee passed two bills related to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that provides assistance to families in need.

“These bills are part of a commonsense package of proposals to ensure TANF – one of the nation’s most important anti-poverty programs – effectively spends taxpayer dollars to help those most in need,” a blog post from the committee says.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, says the legislation “undermines work requirements” in the TANF program.

“Rhetoric aside, the Ways and Means Committee legislation actually undermines work requirements in TANF,” Rector, who played a key role in writing the original TANF legislation twenty years ago, told The Daily Signal. “A key principle of workfare is that parents who refuse to participate should have their  welfare checks halted. Ironically, the legislation financially penalizes states for doing this. The bill shifts from the successful ‘work first’ strategy embodied in the original law to a social service and training model that has a very long history of failure.”

If Congress cannot figure out something that is so completely obvious, maybe it is time for a new Congress.

Work vs Welfare

Below is the Executive Summary from a white paper released by the CATO Institute on August 19. The white paper was entitled, “The Work versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013.”

Executive Summary

In 1995, the Cato Institute published a groundbreaking study,The Work vs. WelfareTrade-Off, which estimated the value of the full package of welfare benefits available to a typical recipient in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It found that not only did the value of such benefits greatly exceed the poverty level but, because welfare benefits are tax-free, their dollar value was greater than the amount of take-home income a worker would receive from an entry-level job.

Since then, many welfare programs have undergone significant change, including the 1996 welfare reform legislation that ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program and replaced it with the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program. Accordingly, this paper examines the current welfare system in the same manner as the 1995 paper. Welfare benefits continue to outpace the income that most recipients can expect to earn from an entry-level job, and the balance between welfare and work may actually have grown worse in recent years.

The current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a disincentive for work. Welfare currently pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, even after accounting for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and in 13 states it pays more than $15 per hour. If Congress and state legislatures are serious about reducing welfare dependence and rewarding work, they should consider strengthening welfare work requirements, removing exemptions, and narrowing the definition of work. Moreover, states should consider ways to shrink the gap between the value of welfare and work by reducing current benefit levels and tightening eligibility requirements.

One of the things that has made America great has been the willingness of Americans to work hard, knowing their diligence would be rewarded. When the government creates a situation where staying home doing nothing pays as well as working, it undermines the work ethic in America and weakens our country. It might also be a good idea to examine the role the tax burden plays in this–does the working person earn less because of the tax burden that comes with working? Is the welfare recipient subject to a lesser tax burden?

The bottom line here is simple. People are not stupid. If a person can make as much money not working as he would working, why should he work? I recently posted a story with a striking example of this philosophy at rightwinggranny.com. We need to reinstate the work requirements to receive aid, and we need to be more aware of who is getting aid so that we can limit fraud.

It’s time to make sure that the people who are working hard are rewarded for their hard work.

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Received In My Email Today

March 27,2013

By Len Mead

Get most of your information from local newspaper front pages?  From TV news?  You may be a “Low Information Voter!”  You’re not stupid. You’re just not well informed.

Fortunately, as your conservative watch-dog and friend,  I’m here to help.  So brace yourself.  Here comes the ugly truth you don’t get from the “main street” media.    The average “family” on welfare takes home about  $61,000 a year compared to the working stiff median family income after taxes of about $48,000 (from a December, 2012 report of the Weekly Standard.)   Wonder why welfare recipients aren’t anxious to work?

This tragedy began in the 1950s.  That’s when misguided Democrat welfare programs started paying fornicating teenagers money for bearing illegitimate children.  Teens qualified under “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” if there was no father or husband around!  Go figure.

After 50 plus years,  the American Family with a loving father and mother has been destroyed by these welfare incentives.  Dear Reader, 40% of today’s births are to single mothers with no acknowledged father.  A population of 315 million today has only 113 million American taxpayers but 100 million on welfare (excluding social security and Medicare), 47 million on food stamps, and 23 million desperate Americans who can’t find work.

You’re told that your government will take care for you — that you’re a victim— that the rich aren’t paying enough taxes.  That too many guns, not untreated mental illness threatens schoolchildren.   You’re told cutting our military won’t threaten your safety while Iran proclaims it is now a nuclear power with its first stated goal to launch a bomb wiping out Israel.

While millions of illegals invade our country you’re told these criminals are just “undocumented.”   Your healthcare – once the best in the world — is collapsing with  higher rates, bureaucracy, mandated fines and jail if you don’t buy Obamacare insurance.  Lastly, you’re told that when the current Democrat regime in DC spends $1.40 for each $1.00 they collect,  this is not a problem.  $17 trillion in US debt now and trillions of overspending each year as far as the eye can see – no problem?  Click on the US Debt Clock.

Getting the picture?  See —  you are getting “low information” news.  Daily front page and TV “reporting” of these problems is non-existent and actually suppressed.  Why?  Because struggling regional publications don’t have the resources to have reporters in DC or around the world.  So they meekly claim they must depend on national wire services such as the Associated Press (AP) for national stories.

But AP “news” stories preach that all goodness comes from government, that self-reliance is foolish, that limited constitutional government is passé,  that whatever Obama does must be celebrated and mistakes protected!  (Criticism is racist!)  Continually ingesting this hogwash has produced generations of “low information voters” who now vote foolishly for “more government” against their own best interests.  Regional TV and newspapers’ professional role demand that they actually verify what they print or show.  Most don’t.  And those that don’t shouldn’t be bought, viewed, or used by advertisers.

So what now?  Re-read our Declaration of Independence and Constitution so you re-learn that our rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness come from our creator – GOD – not from government.  Discover that our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms exists NOT so we can shoot squirrels but so we can shoot government tyrants as we did fighting off King George’s troops.

Friends, start getting  your information from internet news sources – the Drudge Report, Yahoo News, Google News,  talk radio, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine and Fox News.  Acknowledge that the lies and deceptions  from the Associated Press or wire service broadcasts boil down to: life on “government” welfare is better than success on your own. 

Our great wealth and freedom has come from low taxes, limited government, self-reliance, freedom, a strong military and a strong private system of charity through neighbors and faith organizations.  Becoming a “High Information Voter” means you will start returning to elected office individuals who agree with these principals.

What’s a great first political step?  Demand that your taxes stop going to new pregnant teenagers for each new illegitimate birth.  This will finally stop the cancer of welfare which is destroying the traditional family– the building block of any society.   Continue in the low information mode,  and your future and that of your children will be dismal at best – serfs to the cruelest of masters – entrenched government.

Len Mead is a Tea Party Activist, past “Citizen of the Year” award winner from Citizens for Limited Taxation and can be reached anytime at mead1720@gmail.com

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The End Of Welfare Reform

Yesterday the welfare reforms of the 1990’s ended. There was no note, there was no trumpet fanfare, and I haven’t seen it on the news. What happened? An executive order by President Obama cut out the heart of the welfare reform bill passed during the Clinton Administration.

The Corner at National Review reported:

The welfare reform law was very successful. In the four decades prior to welfare reform, the welfare caseload never experienced a significant decline. But, in the four years after welfare reform, the caseload dropped by nearly half. Employment surged and child poverty among blacks and single mothers plummeted to historic lows. What was the catalyst for these improvements? Rigorous new federal work requirements contained in TANF.

Contrary to some perceptions, the formula that made welfare reform a success was not giving state governments more flexibility in operating federally funded welfare programs. The active ingredient that made the difference was requiring state governments to implement those rigorous new federal work standards.

The article explains how the work requirement was changed:

…the Obama administration issued a dramatic new directive stating that the traditional TANF work requirements will be waived or overridden by a legal device called a section 1115 waiver authority under the Social Security law (42 U.S.C. 1315).

Section 1115 allows HHS to “waive compliance” with specified parts of various laws. But this is not an open-ended authority: All provisions of law that can be overridden under section 1115 must be listed in section 1115 itself.

The welfare reform bill was vetoed by Bill Clinton twice before he signed it.

The article concludes:

Obama’s new welfare decree guts sound anti-poverty policy. The administration tramples on the actual legislation passed by Congress and seeks to impose its own policy choices — a pattern that has become all too common in this administration.

The result is the end of welfare reform as we know it.

This is another example of executive overreach. All this does is create more government dependency, increase the size of government, and change a policy that was successful. It is time to elect a new President.

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