Government programs that start of with some good intentions often mutate into monsters that become exceptionally difficult to reign in. This is one cause of the catastrophic levels of debt around the neck of our federal government as well as many state governments.
When these programs are transfer payments of funds to support social services, containing the increase in spending often entails revoking people’s welfare benefits. This has a convulsive effect in at least two ways. For one thing, people lose benefits on which they had been depending, whether they deserved them or not. For another thing, politicians with large portions of their constituencies being comprised by welfare recipients can use any cuts for political benefit, and often do.
Nevertheless, welfare benefits as a percent of government spending cannot increase forever. Recognizing that, President Trump has taken action that has removed 1.1 million from food stamps largely due to his crackdown on illegal immigration, and to the return of requirements that people other than the disabled hold down jobs to receive those benefits.
“Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dropped to 41,496,255 in May 2017, the most recent data available from the USDA, from 42,691,363 in January 2017 when Trump took office.
“According to the latest data, SNAP enrollment during the first few months of Trump’s presidency decreased by 2.79 percent.
“Food stamp participation on average in 2017 has dropped to its lowest level since 2010, and the latest numbers show that this trend is continuing.
“Trump proposed cuts to SNAP in his 2018 budget proposal, suggesting that states match up to 20 percent of federal money allotted for the food stamp program and expand work requirements for able-bodied adults receiving food stamps.
“Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration has also prompted many immigrants, both legal and illegal, to cancel their food stamps over concerns that they might be denied citizenship or deported.”
Some things must be relearned. One of those is that drawing welfare is not and never was intended to be a permanent way of life. The idea is to help people out who have their backs against the wall until such time as they can recover from whatever misfortune befell them and can resume productive lives. Only the elderly and permanently disabled are to receive government benefits for the rest of their lives.
Reinstating this guiding principle is not cruel but only fair. There is nothing just or compassionate about compelling those who are working to pay to support those who choose not to work. And inviting illegal aliens into the country on the promise of generous benefits is utterly unacceptable, and even an illegal act itself.
It is long past time welfare reform be enacted such that those who truly need it and deserve it are able to receive those benefits and no one else.