Remember the “stimulus?” The “stimulus” was passed by Congress when Obama had majorities in both Houses of Congress plus a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
[Source: These States Added Work Requirements for Food Stamp Recipients: Here’s How It’s Working Out, by Nathan Mateer and Rachel Sheffield]
Food stamp participation naturally grew during the recession. However, it was on an upward climb before then. But when one looks at a graph of the “participation” of Americans in the food stamp program the USA looks like a third world country.
Ask yourself if it is really likely that 48 million Americans were malnourished in 2013, four years after the end of the recession. Policies were put into place that made it easier for people to get on the program and stay there. Then, during the recession, the food stamp work requirement for able-bodied adults without dependents was suspended as part of Obama’s stimulus package. (The work requirement limits able-bodied adults without dependents to three months of food stamp benefits in a 36-month period unless they work at least part-time, participate in a work program, or do community service.) Do those requirements seem harsh?
As the effects of the recession have lessened some states proactively ended the waiver and able-bodied adults were encouraged to work.
Maine, one of the most proactive states in reinstating work requirements for food stamps, saw its caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents decrease by 80 percent within just a few months after re-establishing the work requirement.
Kansas has experienced similar results, seeing its caseload decline by 75 percent. Accompanying the decline in caseload has been an increase in employment and earnings for able-bodied adults without dependents.
[From the Mateer/Sheffield article] The Foundation for Government Accountability identified that nearly 60 percent of Kansans who left the food stamp rolls following the establishment of food stamp work requirements found employment within 12 months and, “their incomes rose by an average of 127 percent per year.”
Indiana has experienced similar outcomes. Indiana reinstated work requirements in July 2015. Six months after reinstating these requirements, the state’s caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents decreased by 68 percent.
Our hearts and our desire to assist poor individuals and families is strong regardless of political party or philosophy. However, when considering the “food stamp program” put the following facts into your equation. On average, the poor are well nourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children. In most cases, it is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than higher-income children consume, and their protein intake averages 100 percent above recommended levels. Quite to the contrary, poor children are the antithesis of starving. Researchers led by Jennifer L. Black of New York University’s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health critically reviewed ninety studies published between 1997 through 2007 on neighborhood determinants of obesity. They found that neighborhoods with lower incomes have higher rates of obesity. I am not saying that is “good,” but it certainly does not portray the “poor” as struggling to feed themselves.
The above facts relate to children. Our current topic relates to “able-bodied adults without dependents.” Americans have always helped those in need. But it is simple human nature to grab at “free stuff.” When the Democrat Party dangles “free stuff” in front of Americans would we not expect them to avail themselves of this opportunity?