Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Governor Requires Work for Food Stamps

America is going in the wrong direction on welfare. The landmark 1996 reform of our welfare system has gradually been reversed. The Obama administration sees the increase in government dependency as a success instead of a shame. Since Obama became president, the number of people on food stamps has doubled. More Americans now look upon food stamps as an acceptable alternative to working, and the government is letting them get away with it.

The trend is discouraging, but it can be reversed. Maine’s Republican Governor, Paul LePage, shows one way to do this. The Governor knew that too many people in his state relied on food stamps when they could provide for themselves. He decided to add conditions to receiving this benefit in order to weed out abusers of the system. The new requirement gives non-disabled food stamp recipients three choices in order to get benefits: work part-time, do volunteer work, or attend work-training classes. These conditions are not excessive. Nevertheless, the effect on food stamp use in Maine was dramatic. When Governor LePage put this requirement in place last year, there were 12,000 non-disabled welfare abusers without children. According to the state’s Department of Health and Services, that number is now down to 2,680. And don’t expect to see those cheaters to come back anytime soon, as abusers are blocked from benefits for three years.

Governor LePage should be applauded for his effort. Welfare abuse cheats the taxpayers who work for a living. It also condemns the abusers to a lifetime of dependency instead of enjoying the rewards of honest work. Requiring work as a condition for welfare benefits will keep spending lower, cut down on fraud, and get Americans back on the job.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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