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The Trump Administration Plans to Reform Welfare Programs

The Trump Administration Plans to Reform Welfare Programs
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich recently put the Obama administration on blast for letting the U.S. welfare system get out of control. 

Millions of Americans are taking advantage of a system that was put in place to be temporary and meant to give “people the opportunity to build better lives and create their own American dreams.”

“When President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, many believed that the law would indeed “end welfare as we know it.” It’s what we intended when Congress created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and implemented work requirements to restore welfare to its original intent as a springboard to self-sufficiency. These policies were intended to be the beginning of welfare reform – the beginning of a nationwide policy focused on ending dependency. Instead, President Obama launched a war on the very thing we know is most successful at achieving this goal: work,” writes Gingrich for Fox News. “Over the past decade, too many of our fellow citizens have fallen deeper into the welfare trap, ensnared by government policies that pay people to not work. The so-called “War on Poverty” has left our nation with record-high levels of welfare enrollment – despite a 17-year record-low unemployment rate and more than 6 million open jobs across the country.”

There are 21-million able-bodied adults that depend on food stamps, which is three times as much as there were in 2000. Similarly, Medicaid collectors have quadrupled since 2000. 

As Gingrich points out, states that have enforced time limits have successful outcomes, even though Democrats have criticized these programs for being “uncompassionate.”

“Over the four-year period after the reforms, enrollees with records of prior earnings saw their wages increase by 237 percent on average. Throughout the duration of the evaluation period, these people dramatically increased their total earnings from $2.6 million to $8.6 million,” writes Gingrich. “In October 2014, Maine began requiring able-bodied and childless adults who were receiving food stamps to work, train, or volunteer – at least part-time – in order to receive their benefits. The reform drew criticism from the Obama administration – but once again, the power of work emerged. Those who left the program saw their incomes, on average, more than double within the first year, offsetting any lost welfare benefits. And the number of able-bodied adults receiving food stamp benefits fell from approximately 16,000 to 1,500.”

With that being said, the Obama-era is over. 

The Trump administration recently introduced the Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility, an executive order signed by the president that rewards those who work. 

“The Federal Government should do everything within its authority to empower individuals by providing opportunities for work, including by investing in Federal programs that are effective at moving people into the workforce and out of poverty,” writes the executive order. 

The executive order states that the government will strengthen “existing work requirements for work-capable people” and will introduce “new work requirements when legally permissible” and will also “ensure that welfare services and administering agencies can be held accountable for achieving outcomes.”

The Trump administration’s goal is to “avoid long-term dependence.” 

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson argues that the housing assistance needs welfare reform too. He believes the way the department calculates a family’s rental assistance is outdated and desperately needs to be revamped. 

“The way we calculate the level of assistance to our families is convoluted and creates perverse consequences, such as discouraging these families from earning more income and becoming self-sufficient,” said Carson.

Carson’s “The Making Affordable Housing Work Act,” that he announced last month, would have people on rental assistance pay about 35% of their income on rent, instead of the current 30%. 

He states that the program needs additional funding, since only one in four families that qualify get assistance. Increasing the rental assistance rates is a solution that doesn’t use more of taxpayers’ dollars. 

“These waiting lists mean families must wait for years,” said Carson. “It’s clear that from a budget perspective and from a human point of view, the current system is unsustainable.”

“The overhaul would also allow housing authorities across the country to require residents to work. The move is in keeping with the Trump administration’s efforts to mandate work for Americans who receive public assistance,” writes CNN Money. 

Author’s note: Our welfare system has proven to be unsuccessful and we have to reverse the trend of giving away more and more money from the government.

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