Hoax And Change

The Truth About the New Food Stamp Work Requirements’ Effects

The Truth About the New Food Stamp Work Requirements’ Effects

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “My family relied on food stamps … when my dad died at 48. I was a student. If this happened then, we might’ve just starved.” Pictured: Ocasio-Cortez at a “Little Women” premiere in New York on Dec. 7, 2019. (Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)


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    The Trump administration on Wednesday released a final rule strengthening work requirements in the food stamp program.

    Predictably, it set off alarms on the left. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted, “My family relied on food stamps … when my dad died at 48. I was a student. If this happened then, we might’ve just starved. Now, many people will.”


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    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez



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    My family relied on food stamps (EBT) when my dad died at 48.

    I was a student. If this happened then, we might’ve just starved.

    Now, many people will.

    It’s shameful how the GOP works overtime to create freebies for the rich while dissolving lifelines of those who need it most. https://twitter.com/nbcnews/status/1202297479556993024

    NBC News


    BREAKING: Trump admin. has formalized work requirements for recipients of food stamps, a move that will cause nearly 700,000 people to lose access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). https://nbcnews.to/2Rlan3C


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    Headlines blared about 700,000 Americans losing access to food stamps. A Washington Post columnist wrote, “Just in time for Christmas, the Trump administration finalized the first of three new rules requiring more people to go hungry.”

    The demand for socialism is on the rise from young Americans today. But is socialism even morally sound? Find out more now >>

    But the critics are simply not being fair.

    So first, let’s look at what the Trump administration food stamp reform would do and who it would affect. Contra the implication of Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet, the reform does not affect parents with minor children, the elderly, or disabled.

    It is limited to able-bodied adults without dependents. There are currently 3 million such people receiving food stamp benefits. The overwhelming majority have zero employment and earnings.

    Under the rule, some recipient able-bodied adults without dependents who have received aid for more than three months would be required to take a job; if a job is not immediately available, recipients would be required to undertake training, perform community service work, or at least look for a job.

    The reform is quite modest: Two-thirds of all recipient able-bodied adults without dependents are exempt from the requirements.

    While the press ambiguously reports that some 700,000 recipients would “lose benefits” under the rule, it’s important to note that not a single individual will lose benefits if they perform the pro-work activities required by the program.

    Again, benefits would be terminated only if the recipient earns enough to no longer need food stamps or if the recipient refuses to perform the assigned activities.

    The administration’s rule represents a positive nudge toward employment for work-capable adults who are currently unemployed and receiving aid. Studies show that this type of work requirement reduces dependence and increases employment.

    Work requirements also ultimately benefit Americans who are capable of working. A major problem in the welfare state is that benefits tend to reduce work and earnings among the affected population. Random assignment controlled experiments (conducted as part of national income maintenance experiments) offer—by far—the best information on the effects of welfare on behavior.

    These experiments show that each $1 in welfare transfers typically results in 66 cents in reduced employment and earning.

    Traditional welfare, therefore, is a very inefficient means of raising income and living standards. Moreover, if welfare encourages recipients to remain out of the labor force for longer periods, the gaps in work experience will not only reduce immediate incomes, but will also pull down long-term earnings potential.

    Unfortunately, despite the value of work requirements, too many states have tried to dodge implementing them.

    The work requirement approach has nearly universal public support. More than 90% of the public agrees that “able-bodied adults who receive cash, food, housing, and medical assistance should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving those government benefits.”

    The public does not want to deny aid to those who need it, but does believe that recipients should take steps toward self-support in exchange for the assistance they are given.

    Welfare should be based on reciprocal obligations between society and recipients, rather than a one-way handout from taxpayers to recipients.

    We have been down this road before. Work requirements were at the heart of successful welfare reform in the 1990s. That reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children program with a new program called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

    The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, for the first time, required single parents to work or prepare for work as a condition for receiving aid. As a result, welfare caseloads plummeted, employment surged, and child poverty dropped at a record rate.

    The program was regarded as a remarkable success. But not everyone agreed. Progressives opposed welfare reform, and have opposed all work requirements in welfare with dogged consistency since then. In their view, welfare aid must be given unconditionally without any behavioral requirements.

    The opposition to work requirements for recipient able-bodied adults without dependents is just the latest battle in an ongoing struggle against welfare work requirements per se.

    Earlier this year, Ocasio-Cortez let the cat out of the bag when, as part of her “Green New Deal,” she advocated providing “economic security to all those who are unable or unwilling to work.”

    This revealing remark was quickly withdrawn, but the New York Democrat’s position is, in fact, standard for the left. In particular, the left sees food aid as a universal human right. Behavioral requirements for food stamp eligibility are, therefore, anathema.

    Perhaps not coincidentally, Ocasio-Cortez’s remark tracks actual policy in most of the current welfare state. Each year, government spends $1.1 trillion on more than 90 means-tested aid programs that provide cash, food, housing, and medical benefits to poor and low-income Americans.

    Nearly all of these programs are unconditional entitlements. They do not require constructive self-help behavior from recipients.

    Only two programs, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and the earned income tax credit, have substantial work requirements. Even there, the work requirements are riddled with loopholes.

    As noted, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families initially focused on work, but today, half the able-bodied caseload in it is completely idle. The earned income tax credit ostensibly links benefits to employment, but actual employment is not verified, and the requirement is weakened because the parent is free to transfer the work obligation to other adults who are already working.

    Clearly, a lot needs to be done to transform the current welfare system into a more benign system that provides ample aid to those who need it, while at the same time promoting the positive behaviors of work and marriage.

    Such a reformed system would not only be more efficient in raising overall income, it would also be more humane, because work and marriage provide intrinsic psychological and social rewards well beyond their immediate economic impacts.

    The Trump administration’s food stamp rule is a positive step in that needed reform.

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      It would really be nice if the Trump haters would know what they are talking about BEFORE they throw out their BS.

      An example is AOC’s stupid and untrue comment about her family might’ve just starved (under the new rules for food stamps). If she had taken the time to read before she looked like a fool, she would have found that the new rules are “limited to able-bodied adults without dependents.” They do not “affect parents with minor children, the elderly, or disabled.”

      It is obvious that her mother would have qualified for food stamps after her dad passed away, since she (AOC) was a student. But, it is obvious that AOC does not care about facts to support her BS, as she wants to put the socialist spin on EVERYTHING, regardless of the facts.

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        What’d be nice is if companies actually paid enough so that millions of full-time workers didn’t have to rely on food stamps to survive. Taxpayers are subsidizing billions in corporate payrolls.

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            Did you read the article? If your low skill, low pay job doesn’t provide enough to survive, go get more education, training, and experience. Then earn enough to be off public assistance. Working for benefits is a fair and equitable requirement for those seeking assistance.

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                I guess that you do not understand that employees are paid based on their skills, education and contributions to the company, NOT based on what it takes to live on. If one wants to make more money, that person should improve his/her skills and/or education and contribute more to the company.
                During my years in the workforce, I have had many employees ask when are they going to get a raise. In the next breath, they said, when asked to do something that is included in their job description, “That is not my job”. Not exactly the way to get a raise.

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                    John it has been the democrats and especially your buddy Barack Obamba who destroyed the 40 hour work week to get everyone on Obamba Care that has exacerbated the food stamp problem.
                    Also putting corn into ethanol and our cars gas tanks hasn’t helped much either.

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                      Students will still get free breakfasts and lunches at school, which is what they get now, along with food stamps. Most schools even provide students and their families dinner at 4 pm after school. They invite the students’ families in to eat for free. So what do they need food stamps for? Liquor? Cigs?

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                          We are talking about single (no children or spouse), able-bodied people who are capable of working but choose not to even try.

                          There is a big difference between need vs. greed. No American has a right to a job, he has to earn the position. It is his responsibility to prepare for what the workforce requires.

                          You work for the employer: he does not work for you. You know what the wage is when you start work. . .you make the choice to either work there or look for something better. If you work for an employer who cannot afford to pay what you need, you had better look for a better situation. It’s your responsibility.

                          Preparation for a better job is your responsibility. You have to be better than the other guy. Don’t get mad because you don’t make enough to pay the bills. You made the choice to take that job and you knew — going in — what you were up against . . . including the possible consequences. Get over it and get busy.

                          America does its best to help the needy; but, its time to give the able-bodied person incentive. If you don’t get busy now, you certainly will when it comes time to retire. Again, it’s up to you . . . it’s your responsibility.

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