One of the great accomplishments of Bill Clinton and his Republican led-congress was welfare reform, a provision of which required work to receive welfare.
The Obama administration has managed to partially undo the legacy of welfare reform. During the financial crisis, the Department of Agriculture allowed states to suspend their work requirements — which made sense at the time — but didn’t require them to reinstate them. That’s why despite any economic improvements that Obama wants to boast about, food stamp usage is at record highs.
There has been a trend in states reinstituting their work requirements, and even the poor are reaping the benefits.
Via the Daily Signal:
States such as Kansas and Maine chose to reinstate work requirements. Comparing and contrasting the two approaches provides powerful new evidence about the effectiveness of work.
According to a report from the Foundation for Government Accountability, before Kansas instituted a work requirement, 93 percent of food stamp recipients were in poverty, with 84 percent in severe poverty. Few of the food stamp recipients claimed any income. Only 21 percent were working at all, and two-fifths of those working were working fewer than 20 hours per week.
Once work requirements were established, thousands of food stamp recipients moved into the workforce, promoting income gains and a decrease in poverty. Forty percent of the individuals who left the food stamp ranks found employment within three months, and about 60 percent found employment within a year. They saw an average income increase of 127 percent. Half of those who left the rolls and are working have earnings above the poverty level. Even many of those who stayed on food stamps saw their income increase significantly.
So the poor are seeing the benefits, and they’re hardly the only ones. The government is being kept happy as well:
Furthermore, with the implementation of the work requirement in Kansas, the caseload dropped by 75 percent. Previously, Kansas was spending $5.5 million per month on food stamp benefits for able-bodied adults; it now spends $1.2 million.
You won’t hear this spin from liberals. While they love to portray any attempts at keeping the social safety net in line as “against the poor,” they’re forgetting that in many ways, the social safety net has become a hammock.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analaytical Economist]