• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • You Won’t Believe This Surfer Living the Food Stamps Dream

    This is Jason Greenslate’s typical day: “Wake up, go down to the beach, hang out with my friends, hit on some chicks, start drinking.” He also plays in a rock band. And he’s living off food stamps.

    He has no income—he’s not interested in getting a job—and he’s eating on your tax dime: $200 a month of “free money,” as he puts. “All paid for by our wonderful tax dollars.” He stays with friends, family members, or girlfriends. “Why not?” he asks. He says he is “living the dream.”

    Today, there are roughly 47 million Americans receiving food stamps. About 4 million of these individuals are “able-bodied adults without dependents.” In the past, to qualify for food stamps, these able-bodied adults had to work at least part time or participate in some type of work program to qualify for food stamps. If not, their benefits were limited to three months out of every 36 months. However, waivers issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture have allowed states to suspend the work requirement the past few years. Between 2008 and 2010, the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps doubled from approximately 2 million to 4 million.

    Of course, not all able-bodied food stamp recipients are like Jason, with no interest in working, and certainly a tough economy has meant fewer job opportunities.

    Yet food stamps should be reformed to encourage work, even if that means preparing for work or simply looking for work.

    As a result of the 1996 welfare reform, which instituted work requirements for the largest cash assistance welfare program, welfare rolls declined substantially, dropping by half within about five years. Employment rates among low-income adults also increased, and child poverty plummeted.

    However, last summer the Obama Administration announced it would begin issuing waivers to the federal work requirement.

    Today, the federal government operates roughly 80 means-tested welfare programs, and very few promote work. American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray explained to Fox News that government welfare “is systematically undermining a civic culture of independence that was a great American treasure.”

    Welfare should not stand in the way of self-sufficiency but should encourage freedom from government dependence, helping individuals achieve the true American dream.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×