Time to implement food stamp reforms

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Welfare reform is red meat for conservatives and a sure sign of racism to liberals.

That alone illustrates the stark division concerning the question of welfare reform and more specifically, food stamp reform.

The Trump administration's proposed budget calls for a $190 billion savings in the food stamp program over the next 10 years by requiring able-bodied adults to work to receive food stamps.

The requirement is the same as the one adopted under former President Bill Clinton and later waived by President Barack Obama.

In 2000, 17 million Americans received food stamps. That number has exploded and today 50 million Americans are on the food stamp program as a result of the expanded eligibility and elimination of the work requirement by the Obama administration.

The overhaul of the food stamp program will require some heavy lifting and there is no assurance - given the "resistance" stance adopted by the Democrats - that the changes will occur in the short term.

But we have a model of just how the reforms would work.

Three years ago, the state of Maine implemented a work requirement for food stamp eligibility and the results were staggering.

To be eligible for food stamps, able-bodied adults were required to work 20 hours a week, enter a job training program or volunteer at least 24 hours monthly.

Since implementation of the new work requirement, food stamp outlays in Maine dropped 80 percent.

Nationwide, an estimated 5 million food stamp recipients today are able-bodied, not elderly and without children. A reduction of that population alone would save an estimated $8.4 billion annually.

I fully recognize that today there is no semblance of bipartisan cooperation in the hall of Congress. The Democratic Party - now clearly hijacked by the far left of the political spectrum - will not work with this administration on any issue.

But it would seem that those who can work should work to receive government assistance. Yet even on this one issue, the Democrats are staunchly opposed to any reduction in government dependency.

In a $4 trillion budget, the removal of a dependent population unwilling to work is just a drop in the bucket.

Yet the sticky issue of food stamp eligibility remains a sore point with a population tired of providing for those who will not provide for themselves.

The Democrats constantly bemoan "corporate welfare" yet shy away from the low hanging fruit of welfare reform.

If you are elderly or need food stamp assistance to feed your children then by all means, as a nation we should willingly provide that help.

If, however, you are able to work or volunteer or enter a job training program, and choose not to, then your days on the food stamp rolls should be eliminated.

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