Since the dawn of time, mankind has been forced to feed him or herself. Over time, communities developed and charity was a means by which the less-fit could sustain themselves. Church drives and food drives for the needy helped keep people fed.
During the Great Depression, the threat of going hungry loomed large in America and welfare programs were created to aid the truly needy. Now, these programs that have long since outlived the Great Depression drain our economy as tens-of-millions of Americans now rely upon these programs for their survival.
For food, shelter, healthcare, internet, spending money, medical assistance, phones, and even air conditioners, millions of Americans are dependent upon the government for their every need. As conservatives have voiced the need for reforms that separate the truly needy from the merely lazy, states have adopted “need-to-work” requirements that require those who rely upon taxpayers for their existence to at least put forth an effort to aid in their own survival.
However, according to a recent report, the vast majority of states have disregarded these work requirements and have become simply a tap for dispensing taxpayer money to those who won’t work.
Forty-four states have eased these requirements. 30 of the states have waived the requirement outright while 14 other states issue partial waivers to communities of high unemployment.
“The explosion of enrollment on SNAP (food stamps) of able-bodied adults without requiring work is a recipe for long-term dependency, and is hurting the country’s economic recovery,” said Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) Josh Archambault, whose group obtained the numbers.
Supporters of waiving work requirements counter that there still aren’t enough jobs out there.
“Work requirements are the wrong diagnoses for the wrong problem,” Joel Berg, executive director of the New York Coalition Against Hunger, told Fox News. “States should have the greatest flexibility possible to help people move into living-wage work. Having ‘one size fits all’ cut-offs will make it more difficult for people to get and keep work.”
But fiscal conservatives say the waivers waste millions — if not billions — of taxpayer dollars. The total cost of SNAP has increased dramatically, from $54 billion in 2009 to $74 billion in 2014.
Since 1996, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been able to grant waivers for areas with high unemployment. The practice surged after the recession, as the 2009 stimulus allowed states to waive — for 18 months — the requirement that able-bodied adults with no dependents find work within three months of receiving benefits.
Despite the unemployment rate being cut nearly in half since 2009, the numbers from the FGA show nearly every state still opts to partly or fully waive work requirements. Likewise, food stamp enrollment has dipped only slightly after surging to historic levels in 2013 — from about 47.6 million in 2013 to 46 million now.
States now are required to renew their waivers annually — governors have until Sept. 1 to decide whether to do so for fiscal 2016, and most are — raising concerns about fueling government dependency. Archambault said a quarter of enrollees have been on the program for more than eight years, and half the enrollees have been on for four years or more.
“Instead of partnering with enrollees to get them back on their feet, the Obama administration has been complicit in keeping them on SNAP without helping them to become work-oriented,” Archambault said.
Sadly, it has become a radical concept for someone to assert that people should be responsible for feeding themselves and their families.
Though LBJ’s “War on Poverty” is 50 years old, it seems that the government has done little else but greatly augmented government dependency and augmenting the percentage of Americans who are impoverished. After a half-century, one would think that it would be time to try something else.
Americans are facing the squeeze at both ends; while President Obama and his band of socialists crusade to squash enterprise in America, there are fewer and fewer jobs available. Simultaneously, those who are unemployed are baited into government dependency with the promise of a taxpayer-funded existence and those struggling to keep their businesses open are forced to shoulder this increasing burden.
We look to Greece and condescendingly wonder, “How could this have happened?”
This is how…