The 1996 welfare reform law required that able-bodied adults in the food stamp program either work or prepare for work. Those work requirements were the heart of the reform’s success; welfare rolls dropped by half, and the poverty rate for black children reached its lowest level in decades within a couple of years.
Then Barack Obama became president.
President Obama waived those work requirements for the food stamp program in 2012. Predictably, national enrollment in the program skyrocketed to 47 million people in 2013.
Now, states are fighting back.
More than 44 million people are still on food stamps according to Department of Agriculture data, but that number is starting to drop as states reinstate the work requirements.
Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and New Jersey have either reinstated the work requirement, or will soon, according to Bloomberg. What do these states all have in common? They are all led by Republicans, of course.
Despite the still high level of nearly 44 million food stamp recipients, it is the lowest level since 2010.Arkansas stopped granting waivers to work requirements January 1, 2016. By mid-November, over 25,000 people were off of food stamps, also called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Arkansas Govenor Asa Hutchinson’s office told Arkansas Online, “It’s about personal responsibility. If you’re receiving these SNAP benefits, you can continue to receive those SNAP benefits, but you have to work if you’re between 18 and 49 — that’s a conservative philosophy that the governor believes.”
Not surprisingly, liberals are furious. Critics are claiming that everyone has to eat, whether they work or not. They even believe (as Nancy Pelosi has publicly stated) that food stamps are excellent economic stimulus. But what progressives always fail to understand is that food stamps aren’t created magically out of thin air. Working people have to pay taxes to fund these programs, and raising taxes on working people certainly does not stimulate the economy.
Conservative states have successfully led the country towards common sense welfare reform. A Trump presidency will only accelerate that success.
Do you think that able-bodied welfare recipients should be forced to work for their food stamps? Share your thoughts in the comment section.