“We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity,” President Donald J. Trump said recently. But despite the economic progress made by the administration, the welfare rolls continue to balloon at an astronomical rate.
A White House briefing pointed out that despite the gains made in employment and current labor shortages in the workforce, more than 16 million people remain enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and 74 million Americans remain enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These numbers constitute record highs for the welfare rolls.
Sensing the problem, Trump recently signed the Executive Order on Economic Mobility to reform the broken welfare system by eliminating fraud and abuse.
Trump’s executive order establishes the following “Principles of Economic Mobility” that are set as public policy goals for the United States moving forward. They are as follows:
- improve employment outcomes and economic independence;
- promote marriage and family as a way of escaping poverty;
- address the challenges of hard-to-employ populations;
- provide more flexibility to States, while ensuring accountability for achieving outcomes;
- streamline services to more effectively use taxpayer resources;
- reserve benefits for those truly in need;
- consolidate duplicative programs;
- facilitate greater sharing of information between States and localities; and
- empower the private sector to find solutions to poverty.
Because of Trump’s executive action, federal agencies are mandated to do the following in order to institute welfare reform:
- review all regulations and guidance documents relating to work;
- ensure such regulations and documents are consistent with the principles for reform;
- send a report to the President on what they can do to get Americans back to work; and
- take steps to implement such recommendations.
In their memo, the Trump administration pointed to different states that had provided incentives for welfare recipients to find jobs. Maine re-imposed work requirements for able-bodied childless adults, and individual incomes spiked by 114 percent in one year. Kansas saw welfare caseloads drop by 75 percent and the average time an individual spent on welfare was almost cut in half after they implemented similar policies.
This Executive Order came after many months of planning, as the Trump administration has been working with Congress to ensure that this is just the beginning of much-needed comprehensive welfare reform.
“We’ve opened conversations with leadership in Congress to let them know that that is the direction we are heading,” said Paul Winfree, who serves as deputy director of Trump’s Domestic Policy Council, last year.
Budget director Mick Mulvaney said: “If you are on food stamps and you are able-bodied, we need you to go to work.”
With this executive order now in full effect, that message is being heard loud and clear. Under Trump’s watch, the U.S. welfare program will no longer be an open-ended giveaway system. The full text of the executive order can be read here.