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  • Welfare Reform: Self Reliance, Not Government Handouts

    Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal reported on the soaring rate of food stamp participation in the western United States. The author notes that this recent growth comes from “a region that has always prided itself on self-reliance and [held] … disdain for government handouts.” Regrettably, this story of growth is not that new for the food stamp program as a whole.

    Ever since the program began in the 1960s, participation rates have been on an upward trend. And recession or not, in the last decade the rolls have increased nine out of the last 10 years. Not surprisingly, government spending on food stamps has also been climbing, as have the number of food assistance programs (currently, the federal government funds over 10). Whereas in the 1960s, the United States spent just over $2 billion (in constant 2008 dollars) on food assistance programs, by 2008, that number was a whopping $63 billion. And between 2000 and 2008 alone, total spending on food assistance jumped 50 percent.

    But food programs account for just a portion of the total federal welfare spending pie. Today, the U.S. government operates over 70 welfare programs that span 13 government departments. And spending on these programs has only soared over the decades. Last year, the government spent roughly $900 billion total on means-tested welfare programs. And the government is projected to spend $10.3 trillion on welfare over the next 10 years.

    Yet despite all of the spending, poverty rates remain virtually unchanged since the 1960s.

    This course of reckless spending is unsustainable and will only contribute to the ever-mounting national debt.

    In response, this week Representative Jim Jordan (R–OH)—along with Representatives Tim Scott (R–SC), Scott Garrett (R–NJ), Dan Burton (R–IN), and Louis Gohmert (R–TX)—introduced the Welfare Reform Act of 2011. The bill seeks to curb current out-of-control welfare spending once the recession ends by rolling back total welfare spending to pre-recession (fiscal year 2007) levels. This action would force the government to determine which programs to keep or cut based on whether they meet the goal of reducing poverty. Additionally, today, there are few who are aware of the entire scope of welfare spending of the 70-plus welfare programs spread far and wide throughout federal departments.

    But this bill calls for government accountability by requiring the federal government to “detail current and future aggregate … welfare spending” in the President’s annual budget.

    Most importantly perhaps, this new legislation also seeks to help individuals and families by promoting work. In 1996, Congress successfully reformed the largest cash assistance program—Aid to Families with Dependent Children—by creating work requirements. As a result, millions of families left welfare, and child poverty dropped dramatically. Jordan’s bill would expand work requirements to another program: food stamps, currently one of the largest welfare programs. Promoting work makes it possible for families to move off of welfare as quickly as possible so that government assistance doesn’t have to mean lifetime government dependence, as has been the case in recent decades.

    Getting welfare spending under control and promoting self-reliance through work are critical to getting the nation back on track financially while helping people out of poverty. Fortunately, successful reforms of the past tell us this is possible.

    Since its founding, the United States has achieved its independence and prosperity from a citizenry that has “prided itself on self-reliance” instead of “government handouts.” And it must continue to do so.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Welfare Reform: Self Reliance, Not Government Handouts

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    3. Concerned, Mequon WI says:

      The government has made it far to easy. What they don't know is how many people sell food stamps and how many of these people go to different food pantries to get food and then sell it to get cash. Unfortuntely the people that run these programs don't live in the real world!

    4. Don Harper, Lubbock, says:

      70+ welfare programs. I can think of food stamps / before, during and after school meal programs / SCHIP-promoted by ads saying "costs just $50 for all your children, but most families pay little or nothing" / temporary assitance for needy families / Medicaid. That leaves 65+. It's easy to justify taxpayer dollars for these these programs if you look at just the "need" part, and certainly some families really do need help. But I personally know several families using these programs who could get by without them, but it frees up their own money to spend on fancy electronics, car accessories, tattoos, etc. How easy would it be to justify spending tax dollars to help people buy plasma tvs, i-phones, and body-art? That is the ultimate result for a huge portion of these welfare programs. Assistance should be means-tested, but must also be phased out, both in duration and amount, so that recipients can see the point coming at which their poverty is really going to get uncomfortable. Perhaps it will motivate a little self-reliance.

    5. Carol,AZ says:

      One six, of our fellow Americans work force are without jobs.

      "Shovel ready jobs," promised along the way, never existed.

      Our national debt grows exponentially added to continued foreclosures, home and business bankruptcy, outsourcing illegal work force though the legal, Visa, guest worker programs and and chain mirgration.

      This unstoppable greed that continues for all hiring practices for illegals living, working and getting all welfare has added to this debt ratio.

      The fraud that exists under these programs starts with accountablility. It continues in the billions.

      No one is willing in our governemt to take the responsibility to cut off all benefits to all people, who are living here illegally.

      Americans must come first.

      We are dying a slow death in this country.

      No one speaks about these nameless, faceless people that represent all of us.

      I'm ashamed of my counrty's inability to take action to help my fellow Americans.

      I'm disgraced by our nanny state of the union and growing worse.

      I'm shamed when I see grown men holding signs on street corners in metro PHX looking for work, and American veterans begging on the streets.

      I'm shocked by the local news media reporting the endless lines at homeless shelters for food and shelter, queue every day.

      But at least someone see them.

      Most of America and our own leadership are blinded by all facts related to this issue.

      Where I live; two food donation centers are depleated by the second week, of every month.

      Last week Sheriff Joe, and his men raided in Metro PHX, the restaurant chain, Pei Way.

      It has several locations throughout Metro Phoenix. Over 47 illegals were rounded up, arrested for false documentation and deported.

      The restaurant closed for two days.

      They placed employment ads advertising the typical jobs offered by all eateries. Over 2000 people stood in line for hours to fill -out paper work.

      One woman interviewed stated that she has stood in line for nine hours.

      She also stated that she was hired as a dish washer for $8.00 an hr.

      She put a human face on this human disaster no one speaks in America.

      She told the reporter, she had two two Masters Degrees, and had been out of work for two years.

      She had exhausted her benefits and drained all savings. She stated;" that any job was better than no job, at the end the of the day".

      Thank you Sheriff Joe, my fellow American.

      Thank you H.F. for continued reporting about this issue.

    6. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Really? $900 Billion? So this isn't 'discretionary spending?' This kind of stuff isn't on the table for FY2010? As Government Programs go I suppose you could argue it is a good one but aren't we paying people to destroy our Neighborhoods? That's a 'good' program if you hate Free Enterprise. "Everything is on the Table!" but then every day I can see another gigantic boondoggle that isn't on the table. The Budget of HHS, why isn't this useless duplicative and ultimately destructive Department 'on the table?' EPA does nothing 'for the People' so you talk about 'unworkable programs' the Environmental Protection Agency is destroying American Industries. "EPA is 'working' really well!" they say but nothing is getting cleaner, that work was already done.

      When Republican TEA Party Representatives talk about Big Overbloated Government and then play patty cake with the DINOs over table scraps? They betray us. Nobody has put the Big Agencies on the chopping block! The DINOs want the Government to go off that cliff! They really do want to 'save' America with Totalitarian Communism. I am down to the point I think "If the House does not Impeach the Half Vast Left Wing Conspiracy there won't be a free and fair election in 2012!"

    7. Bobbie says:

      Gee if everyone is expected to be self-reliant as they once were, there wouldn't be a need for 75% of government! The higher food costs go to those that pay, the more food stamps are handed out to those that don't.

      Some welfare recipients that have government subsidized grocery stores fill the shelves with their food stamps and food pantry provisions. Some selfish immigrants demanded culturally appropriate foods be provided at the food pantries! Not desperate, but accommodated none the less and at tax payers expense. Food shelves or panties consisted of donations from people without taxpayer funding. Nobody is stopping anybody from donating "culturally appropriate food." But nobody did so instead of going without, now taxpayers foot the bill.

      Before their arrival (late 80's into the 90's,) we were told (these specific) immigrants are self reliant and self sufficient. NOT! Immigrants that took positions in the government helping themselves, abusing their power while nobody the wiser stopped them from getting anything they wanted that benefited only their own.at the cost of the tax payers that live in the same neighborhood, who only receive the expense and NO BENEFIT! NOT RIGHT! Government AUTHORITY is suppose to equally benefit all. Race, creed or culture IRRELEVANT! NO GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY SHOULD RECOGNIZE OR FAVOR ANYONE OVER ANYONE ELSE!

      The only immigrants that came in flux that are self reliant and sufficient within months time, are the Somalians, so I've read. Thank you to the Somalians who understand and respect America and appreciate the freedom and independence to stand on your own, that your country of origin did not allow. Wish all America's immigrants had the same drive.

      What benefit are community organizers to America? non-essential and probably directly INFLUENCING THE DESTRUCTION OF AMERICA'S CONCEPT! OBAMA IS A PERFECT RESEMBLANCE OF A PROUD COMMUNITY ORGANIZER! pretty embarrassing to the community that actually needs an organizer…

    8. Diana Brown, Illinoi says:

      I am all for giving assistance to the American People who actually need it but so many people are taking advantage. Giving out welfare is too easy and I believe there should be tighter restraints put on these people who apply. I believe that our churches and our communities should also assist these people. People who pay their taxes and work hard all their lives are always the ones who suffer but who helps these people. I am so disgusted with playing by the rules when certain people just live to take advantage of our government who doles out the entitlements instead of restricting them!!!

    9. Rich says:

      Why are Boehner & the Republicans talking about $6 Billion and 10 Billion dollar Budget cuts when there $4 TRILLION +++ Budget deficits? Why will the Republicans not get involved as they were elected to do; shown to them in last November's elections?

    10. Frances in the north says:

      Add to the list of benefits daycare for working mothers, where the daycare provider earns more than the working mother, and provides vastly inferior care for the children. At least in my case. I found work, but not enough to pay for my living expenses. I agonized over the purchase of a toilet brush, because that couple of dollars meant less money to pay bills. I wanted to start an in home daycare so I could be at home with my children, but the facility requirements and insurance and licenses made it impossible to do legally, because I had no money to begin with, and no way to get a loan. If you encourage people with tough love, please deregulate so they can use their ingenuity and imaginations to begin businesses.

      Eventually I dipped into another form of welfare, and went back to school, so I could learn to make enough money to get free of the system. It sounds so easy from the other side, but believe me, it is not. Juggling work and school and 5 children for whom you suddenly have to provide everything is daunting, to say the least.

      I know there is a lot of abuse of the system, I have overheard conversations in which one woman says to another, "I think I will have another kid, my welfare check is too small." I just want to say thanks to all you who have helped me with foodstamps and medical and educational benefits. My life has been bearable because of you.

    11. James Garland says:

      Jobs are a solution to the problem of poverty, but where are the jobs. The unemployment rate is increasing and the poor are often least able to qualify for a job. Some research into the eligibility of the poor and vulnerable would be helpful before smply suggesting that they ought to work. 45 million Americans are living in a crisis of poverty.

      Forty cents of every dollar allocated to existing federal initiatives that provide greatly needed assistance to Americans who continue to struggle thorugh the economic recovery are lost in bureacratic red tape associated with those programs. Bureacratic efficiency would help.

    12. James Garland, Marqu says:

      Jobs are a solution to the poverty problem. But where are the jobs with growing unemployment and the least qualilfied are the poor and vulnerable. 45 million Americans are living in a crisis of poverty. Urge congressmen to effect some bureaucratic efficiency. Forty cents of every dollar allocated to provide assisstance to Americans who continue to struggle through the economic recovery are lost in bureaucratic red tape. Poor and vulnerable people did not cause the budget deficits. They should not bear the greatest burdens in addressing it.

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    15. Nita Gallardo, Calif says:

      It's time to put an end to this. There is no way our government is that stupid that they can allow so many free handout programs to grow this big. They know exactly how much fraud is going on and do nothing. I blame Democrats and Republicans – they can stop this if they really want to. On top of all that – they keep raising the taxes of all the people in this country that have pride and are hard working citizens. WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING AS AMERICAN CITIZENS BEFORE THEY DESTROY THIS COUNTRY AND BELIEVE ME IT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

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