If the government is going to offer free benefits, people will take advantage of them. That’s obvious. But not only that, recipients, to the degree that they bother to vote, are very likely to favor the party and candidates who are most likely to keep the free money coming. That usually means the Democrats.
The idea of people not having enough to eat is very disturbing. Hence, private charities set up food pantries, and the government has established the food stamp program to combat hunger. That said, there will always be those who abuse the system, taking advantage of benefits to which they are not entitled and which should go to those more deserving.
While Mr. Obama expanded the pool of those eligible for food stamps by raising income limits, ostensibly because he was so concerned about the poor, his motives might also have included currying favor with voters who could be counted on to vote for Democrats. Under President Trump, those on the food stamp rolls have dropped from their high under Mr. Obama to a seven year low.
“USDA statistics on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation showed that 42,609,852 people in the U.S. took part in the food stamp program in fiscal year (FY) 2017, the lowest level it has been since 2010 when 40,302,000 people enrolled in the program.
“Food stamp usage has been on a steady decline after 2013, when enrollment in the government program swelled to 47.6 million, the highest amount it has ever been since the program’s inception.
“The increase in the number people receiving food stamps during that period can be attributed to the Obama administration’s effort to allow those with higher incomes to receive benefits. Enrollment in benefits increased by 70 percent from the year former President Barack Obama took office in 2008 to 2013.”
However, with a Republican Congress, Mr. Obama was forced to make cuts which started the process of reducing those receiving food stamps.
“Obama signed an $8.7 billion food stamp cut into law as a way to placate House Republicans in early 2014 after they pushed for deeper cuts to the program throughout 2013.”
Here’s what is really making a difference.
“Individual states such as Maine also began the process of implementing or reinstating work requirements to participate in the food stamp program that many states delayed putting in place because of the recession.
“At the federal level, lawmakers are working on legislation to take food stamp work requirements nationwide and reinstate time limits on how long recipients can receive benefits.”
These requirements reduce those receiving this form of welfare in two ways. First, some recipients refuse to get jobs and thus are dropped from the program. Others do get jobs, which obviously increases their income thereby reducing or eliminating their reliance on the SNAP program. Those who are physically or mentally unable to work, continue to receive benefits.
Welfare should never create a permanent underclass that just manages to exist by permanently drawing government benefits. Those who truly cannot support themselves have benefit programs available to them. Those who will not support themselves need a gentle, or not so gentle, nudge to engage with the economy and become productive citizens.
Who knows, they might start making enough money that they can purchase things they previously only dreamed of.