Star Parker: Welfare Work Requirements Make Everyone Better Off

The Congressional Budget Office has just released its latest projection for the next ten years.

“In the agency’s updated projections, annual deficits nearly double over the next decade, reaching $2.7 trillion in 2033 … As a result of those deficits, debt held by the public also increases in CBO’s projections, from 98% of GDP at the end of this year to 119% at the end of 2033.”

The picture keeps getting worse.

The difference between Democrats and Republicans on the issue: Republicans say let’s do something; Democrats say let’s do nothing.

House Republicans have put forward the Limit, Save, Grow Act as condition for increasing the debt limit, which imposes limits on growth of spending over the next 10 years and achieves reductions in expenditures.

Democrats are beside themselves because Republicans propose to achieve efficiencies in spending in Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families by imposing more stringent work requirements.

The idea that those getting welfare should have some skin in the game regarding humanitarian assistance they receive from U.S. taxpayers is an idea that is bonkers to our president and his party.

But, for me, Democrats screaming about cruelty and heartlessness regarding work requirements for welfare is nothing new.

I started my public career working on welfare reform passed in 1996.

It was my personal experience with the horrifying and destructive realities of welfare that opened my eyes to how badly reform was needed.

I was in the system as a young woman and collected welfare in the pre-welfare reform world of AFDC, or Aid to Families with Dependent Children. I saw from the inside the destructiveness, inhumanity and cruelty of government support pretending to be assistance and charity.

Welfare funds were available to women who were poor, not working and not married. Those were the conditions that had to be met to get the money.

Instead of being charitable and humanitarian, the government assistance was really a heartless subsidy that encouraged poverty, unemployment and sexual promiscuity out of marriage.

Welfare reform in 1996 showed how a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, could productively work with a Republican House, under the leadership of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Bill Clinton had promised to “end welfare as we know it,” and House Republicans stepped up to work with him.

When Temporary Assistance for Needy Families was put forward by Republicans, reforming welfare with work requirements and time limits, Democrats started screaming, as they are screaming now.

Poor women would be thrown into the streets. It is amazing how those who supposedly care about people have such little respect for the humanity, creativity and resiliency of those same people.

When suddenly poor women on welfare were faced with time limits for welfare and work requirements, the world changed for the better, for everyone.

In 2006, 10 years after welfare reform was passed, Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution scholar, testified before Congress summarizing the results.

From 1994 to 2005, welfare caseloads declined 60%. From 1993 to 2000, employment among single mothers increased from 58.9% to 75%. Employment among never married mothers increased from 44% to 66%.

For female-headed households in the bottom 40% of the income distribution, income attributable to earnings increased from 30% to 55% from 1993 to 2000, and income attributed to welfare declined from 60% to 23%.

Theologians and philosophers over the ages have noted that the highest charitable act is to help someone become self-sufficient.

Unfortunately, the many forms of welfare distributed by our government take recipients in the opposite direction.

Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans are doing the nation a great favor with the Limit, Save, Grow Act.

Let’s hope they get somewhere with a president and a Democratic Party whose vision for our future is a nation bloated with spending, debt and dependence.

Photo credit: torbakhopper (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

Star Parker is the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and author of “Necessary Noise: How Donald Trump Inflames the Culture War and Why This is Good News for America.” She hosts a weekly show called “CURE America with Star Parker.”

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