Adhering to Bipartisan Reform Will Encourage Work, Not Government Dependence
(Washington D.C.) – While some indicators suggest the U.S. economy has improved in recent years, federal spending on welfare programs is at an all-time high, with millions of Americans currently drawing taxpayer-funded assistance. Now, some governors are taking action to reinstate the guidelines set by the 1996 federal welfare reform law, which was designed to ensure that assistance reaches the truly needy, while simultaneously encouraging able-bodied adults to find employment. Some states had undermined these efforts by suspending work requirements for food assistance in certain cases. Before the 2008 recession, 55 percent of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households consisted of children and the elderly; now, a slight majority of recipients are able-bodied, non-elderly, adults.
Daniel Garza, Executive Director for The LIBRE Initiative released the following statement:
“Welfare programs like SNAP were created to provide temporary assistance to those who were in need, and to offer a hand up – not a hand out – to able-bodied adults who were otherwise earnestly looking for work. Now, by forgoing work-training or volunteer requirements, the incentives that were meant to help people get back on their feet have been removed and induced prolonged program participation and longstanding idleness in many cases.
Unfortunately, in many cases, our welfare programs are not working as they were intended and are at risk of being abused. It’s time Washington addressed this problem and reformed poorly designed welfare programs, which are taking a large chunk of federal budget and seem to be encouraging increased reliance on government programs, as opposed to self-reliance. The current model is economically unsustainable, but worse yet, it hurts those it is meant to help the most.
Encouraging and enabling Americans to work and thrive in the private sector must be one of the end goals of public policy. This offers the best opportunity for millions to become self-reliant, fulfill personal aspirations for themselves and their family, and feel the dignity that comes from personal achievement and earned success. This requires robust economic growth in the private sector, which is the best antidote to reversing the declining labor participation rate and alleviating the angst felt by so many.”