President Donald Trump said that he had taken “a giant step towards actual welfare reform” hinting that his signing of an executive order that will get more Americans back to work.
We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity.
President Donald J. Trump
“Trump just took a giant step towards actual welfare reform” https://t.co/LQlACDDLug
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
The White House released a statement Wednesday that outlines an executive order on mobility reforms. The statement listed what actions the order took to reform ineffective social safety nets.
The order provides nine Principles of Economic Mobility, which will guide agencies that administer public assistance programs to effectively reform the welfare system by directing that they:
- 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
- empower the private sector to find solutions to poverty
The order focuses on increasing opportunities for those in need by:
- strengthening current work requirements
- empowering States, localities, tribal governments, and private-sector entities to serve individuals and families in need
- using taxpayer dollars for their intended purpose, which includes ensuring only eligible persons receive benefits.
The order directs Federal agencies that administer public assistance programs to:
- 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
- take steps to implement such recommendations.
According to the White House, the order was necessary because welfare enrollment for able-bodied adults is at record highs despite the fact that the Trump administration’s economic policies have brought about record-low unemployment.
Under President Trump, unemployment has hit and remained at near-record lows, and businesses are facing labor shortages.
The United States unemployment rate has remained at 4.1 percent for the third straight month, which is the lowest level since 2000.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has not exceeded 4.8 percent during President Trumps tenure.
According to a January 2018 survey released by the Federal Reserve, businesses across the country are having challenges finding enough workers to fill the quality jobs that are available.
Despite labor market shortages, welfare enrollment has remained at or near-historic highs.
The new initiative by the president is based on the idea that “work is the solution.”
- Work leads to a higher income than welfare can provide and is the best pathway to the middle class
- According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a hypothetical poor single-mother with two children could see her net annual income double with a part-time job at minimum wage, or even quadruple, with a full-time job at minimum wage, compared to not working and receiving welfare
- U.S. Census Bureau data shows that more than 97 percent of people who work full-time move out of poverty.
Work is often the solution to many societal problems:
- A non-violent offenders ability to have and keep a job once released from prison reduces recidivism by twenty percent.
- Those working are less likely to have kids before marriage and enter poverty.
- According to the Harvard Business Review, employed people rate the quality of their lives much more highly on average than the unemployed.
- Work decreases dependency on governmental assistance programs.
- In States that have restored work requirements, people on welfare are twice as likely to work.
- Welfare work requirements can cut the average time on the food stamp program in half.
The idea that work gives people a hand up instead of a handout it evidenced by successes in several states:
- After Kansas implemented work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults on food stamps, caseloads dropped by 75 percent and the average amount of time spent on welfare was cut in half. In addition, thousands of people went back to work in more than 600 industries.
- Maine re-instated work requirements for able-bodied adults with no kids in 2014 and saw individuals incomes increase 114 percent in one year.
- Studies conducted after reforms in Maine and Kansas show that individuals who left welfare and went back to work saw their incomes increase, more than doubling on average; this increase more than offset the welfare benefits they lost. Welfare enrollment also dropped by 75 to 90 percent.
- More States have noticed and are leading the charge to provide greater opportunities to their citizens. Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are currently implementing work requirements.