The Trump administration and congressional Republicans are eager to use the reconciliation process in 2018 to enact sweeping welfare-to-work reforms, the Hill reports.
In what could be the most consequential welfare reform since Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich got together in 1995, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) says he has been talking with President Trump about focusing on major reforms, specifically food stamps and Medicaid.
Under the Trump administration, states are now being encouraged to impose real work requirements on those physically and mentally capable of working, something the Obama administration would not approve.
Due to this, and the expansion of Medicaid through Obamacare, Medicaid enrollees exploded from 61 million in 2009 to 74 million as of March 2016 — cost to taxpayers: $567 billion per year.
Food stamp recipients exploded from 33.5 million in 2009 to 44.2 million in 2016 — cost to taxpayers: $71 billion per year.
For perspective, the current cost of food stamps and Medicaid alone nearly equals that of total federal government spending in 1981 ($678 million).
According to the Kaiser Foundation, of those on Medicaid who are physically capable of work (and under the age of 65), only 59 percent are working. This means that roughly 30 million Americans who are able to work are not working and still receiving Medicaid.
Outside of the cost to taxpayers is the incalculable effect welfare has on its recipients, what it does to damage the human spirit and remove the incentive to aspire to something more. Like a drug, these freebies enslave millions into lifelong poverty.
No one opposes a temporary safety net for the able-bodied who face a temporary setback. No one opposes taking the best care possible of those incapable of working. But when the government allows welfare to become a way of life, most especially a generational one, the damage to our society and social fabric cannot be underestimated.
With the economy booming under President Trump’s leadership, there is no better time to act than now.