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.