Which is to bring back work requirements. The guys over at the Foundation for Government Accountability have released a new study showing that restoring work requirements reduces food stamp rolls dramatically. They have also found that it increases employment rates and even increases charitable volunteerism.
The Obama administration has granted waivers from work requirements for 46 states. Louisiana is one of those. In order to restore work requirements, all Governor Jindal has to do is decline to ask for a renewal of the waiver in September.
Food stamp use nationwide has grown by 177 percent since 2000. The U.S. government now spends $80 billion a year on food stamps. In 2013, a record 48 million people were on food stamps across the country. Food stamps are the gateway drug to government dependence.
In particular, the number of able-bodied childless adults on food stamps has exploded. Nearly 5 million were on the program in 2013, which is another record. The amount of food stamp spending for this class is $10 billion. That’s $10 billion not being spent on being people who actually need the assistance.
Federal law generally limits food stamps for able-bodied childless adults to three months out of a three-year period. Unless those people work or participate in employment or training programs for at least 20 hours per week. Louisiana is one 46 states that has had those requirements partially waived.
As a result, that means only 25% of the able-bodied people receiving government assistance are actually working. Clearly this is not sustainable.
One state did something about it, Maine. Here’s what happened there.
Maine’s Governor, Paul LePage, bucked the national trend and declined the work requirement waiver that his state had received each year since 2008. The results are compelling.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) tells the AP that the number of people in Maine on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has dropped even more than Gov. LePage’s administration expected. At the end of 2014, Maine had around 12,000 able-bodied, childless adults on the program. By the end of March 2015, that number had shrunk to 2,680.
That’s 9,000 people moving toward prosperity and away from government dependence..
The press often attacks these statistics as people “losing food stamps,” but policies that move people toward work shouldn’t be viewed as a negative.. It is something we should celebrate.
If work requirements were brought back in Louisiana, it would shrink the state’s food stamp rolls dramatically. In 2013, Louisiana had 89,000 on food stamps. If work requirements were fully restored, the FGA estimates that the enrollment numbers would drop from anywhere between 53,400 to 71,200. That’s up to 71,200 Louisianians moving towards dignity and away from government dependence.
Why doesn’t Governor Jindal just do it? It would help his presidential campaign and the state. This is a no-brainer.