The purposes of welfare and assistance programs should be simple and straightforward. However, like much that is touched by the corrosive hand of government, this is not the case. What might have started out with good intentions quickly morphed into a means of rewarding various segments of society for their support at the polls. In other words, in spite of any good these programs do, they are perverted into vote-buying schemes.
This then brings up the issue of who should receive public assistance. It’s not an easy question to answer since it directly depends on one’s definition of the purposes of the government. Like it or not, the working theory for decades, especially since the Great Depression and augmented by new programs in the 1960s, is that it is the government’s duty to create a “safety net” to alleviate homelessness, hunger, unmet health-care needs, and to provide some retirement funds. At least for starters.
This also creates issues determining who is eligible for those benefits even if the programs are well-defined. For example, should able-bodied persons be required to work in order to receive benefits? Tennessee has just decided that they should, and this is precisely what Mr. Obama opposed as it disrupts a vote-getting scheme of the Democrats. Nevertheless, 58,000 able-bodied welfare recipients in Tennessee will now be required to work in order to be eligible for those benefits.
What Tennessee addressed are the “work-requirement waivers for food stamps Congress enacted under former President Barack Obama in 2009 in response to the 2008 financial crisis.
“The goal, of course, was to ease hurdles to getting government assistance in a time of grave need by allowing states to waive the federal requirement that able-bodied individuals work, study, or train for a job to receive benefits. However, in 2015 — a full seven years after the crisis began and long after an easement of the worst privations had occurred, 42 states still had full or partial work-requirement waivers for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.”
SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, generates more than its share of fraud as people try to game the system or circumvent prohibitions. But we’re not dealing with fraud here. We’re dealing with ending a waiver enacted a decade ago that should never have been made law in the first place.
“As of Feb. 1, 2018, most Tennessee counties will require able-bodied adults who do not have dependents to work 20 hours a week at a job, getting education or training, or volunteering. Recipients will have 90 days to comply with the new regulations once they take effect.
“‘How do we with a straight face say, “Oh, there’s still extraordinary circumstances in Tennessee that still demand a waiver”? Absolutely not,’ Haslam said.
“When we hit record low unemployment three months in a row, then it comes a time to look around and say, are we doing everything the right way? We looked at this and thought, it’s hard to justify a waiver.”
So, in spite of the liberals’ anguish, what Tennessee is going to require as a condition for getting food stamps, is that able-bodied adults work at least 20 hours a week, be in some sort of schooling, or perform volunteer service. This doesn’t seem too onerous. In fact, it seems generous.
Nevertheless, it will be too much to ask of some residents of Tennessee.
“Approximately 58,000 food stamp recipients in Tennessee will be affected by the new requirements — and, if history is any indicator, that means the food stamp rolls are going to plummet.
“As Fox News notes, similar changes in 13 Alabama counties led to an 85 percent drop in able-bodied food stamp recipients who didn’t fulfill work requirements between January and May of this year. Three counties in Georgia that instituted the requirements saw a 58 percent drop in adults receiving benefits; when the program was expanded to 21 more counties, a 62 percent drop was noted.”
There is no cruelty in this. The aged, the disabled, those with child-care responsibilities, and others remain exempt from even these modest requirements. In fact, note that these measures which have liberals so upset, do not even require recipients hold down full-time jobs, or any job as long as they are in school or training for work.
Benefits are still there for the single mom who is struggling between childcare responsibilities and the need to have food for herself and the kids.
However, those otherwise able to work who wish to configure a life of relative leisure around the accumulation of government benefits are going to see those benefits cut.
And if this bothers Mr. Obama, that’s just too bad.
Source: Conservative Tribune