In a tweet that probably irritated millions of liberal Democrats, President Trump celebrated the growth of the job market on Monday by citing the enormous reduction in food stamp dependence.
“Here’s a great stat – since January 2017, the number of people forced to use food stamps is down 1.9 million,” Trump wrote. “The American people are finally back to work!”
The statistic is a remarkable turnaround from the Obama years, when food stamp enrollment surged to an all-time high water mark. In 2013, more than 47 million Americans were using the SNAP program as delivered by the Department of Agriculture. Since then, the decline has been steady with the improvement of the economy and a crackdown on work requirements implemented by some conservatives state governments. But there’s no question that Trump himself, who demanded his Cabinet to come up with ways to push Americans off the welfare rolls and back into the employment sector, has made a big difference.
That said, there are still more than 40 million Americans enrolled in the SNAP program, which is unacceptably high. We’re not crusaders who think that we should decimate the social safety net, but there is a big difference between using EBT cards as a temporary crutch and using food stamps to make a bed you lie in for the rest of your life. Too many people in too many states have made welfare dependence a cultural norm, and that’s no good. It’s bad for our economy, it’s bad for our taxes, and, perhaps most importantly, it’s bad for the individual who never feels the satisfaction of standing on their own two feet.
According to the official stats from January, California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania have the highest SNAP enrollment numbers, which may be owed to nothing more than those states’ larger populations. Be that as it may, these states contribute mightily to the growth of a program that costs the U.S. taxpayer base more than 60 BILLION dollars every year.
All of this comes as Congress gears up to pass a new farm bill that could include some of the most significant welfare reform initiatives we’ve seen in years. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), the House Agriculture Committee Chairman, has proposed a piece of legislation that would require able-bodied adults to undergo job training or complete a 20-hour workweek to remain eligible for the SNAP program.
“Most folks on SNAP, we believe, want off the program,” Conaway said. “We are going to say, what is it that they need to get off it? Most of the time, it’s job training and skills.”
Democrats are fiercely opposed to the requirements, despite studies that show these programs can significantly reduce the number of people who rely on food stamps. It promises to be a brutal fight, but this is one Republicans can pass without the left’s help. And since it has the potential to make such a positive change in our country’s economic future, it’s a bill worth fighting for.