Maine Ends Dependence on Food Stamps. Virginia Next?
According to an editorial in this weekend's Investor's Business Daily (IBD), "The number of childless, able-bodied adult food stamp recipients in a New England state fell by 80% over the course of a few months. This didn’t require magic, just common sense."
The IBD editorial continues with by explaining:
"From December 2014 to March 2015, the caseload of able-bodied Maine adults with no dependents crashed from 13,332 recipients to 2,678, says the Heritage Foundation. This is a remarkable change and needs to be repeated in government programs across the country.
"How Maine achieved this is no mystery. Gov. Paul LePage simply established work requirements for food stamp recipients who have no dependents and are able enough to be employed. They must, write Heritage policy analysts Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, “take a job” — just 20 hours a week — “participate in training, or perform community service” for a mere 24 hours a week. Recipients who do none of those are stripped of their food stamp benefits after three months.
"This isn’t a radical new idea. Rector and Sheffield cite a successful historical precedent:
“When work requirements were established in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in the 1990s, nationwide caseloads dropped by almost as much, albeit over a few years rather than a few months.”
"In the Obama era, “the food stamp caseload of adults without dependents who are able-bodied has more than doubled nationally, swelling from nearly 2 million recipients in 2008 to around 5 million today” across the country, Rector and Sheffield report. That’s far too many Americans who can take care of themselves living at the expense of others. The situation cries out for reform.
The editorial provides a great deal more detail, and concludes by saying:
"The success in Maine is but a blip, affecting only a thin slice of the nation’s welfare rolls. Yet it is a model, a prototype for reforming welfare programs in need of change or elimination, which is all of them. Policymakers at all levels should be rushing to adopt it, then adapt it."
The IBD editorial is based upon a February 8, 2016 commentary by Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield in the Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal news platform and Heritage Foundation's research report (Backgrounder #3091, February 8, 2016) by researchers Rector, Sheffield and Kevin Dayaratna.
Virginia readers of Growls are encouraged to contact their Delegate and Senator in the General Assembly to learn what their legislators have done to pass legislation that would require childless adults to work to get food stamps. Members of the Virginia General Assembly who represent Arlington County include: Senators (Adam Ebbin, Barbara Favola, or Janet Howell) and Delegates (Rip Sullivan, Patrick Hope, Alfonso Lopez, or Mark H. Levine. Contact information for members of the General Assembly can be found here -- use one of the "quick links" to locate the senator and delegate who represent you.
And tell them ACTA sent you!