Welfare is supposed to be a safety net, but with all the various programs available many use it as a hammock, costing taxpayers billions.
Maine decided that enough was enough – and decided to tackle the problem of food stamp abuse. If you were going to be on food stamps, you had to be either employed, volunteering, or in job training. As for the results, the Washington Examiner reports:
The result has been dramatic: The number of healthy adults without dependents receiving food stamps fell by more than 90 percent over the last year, from 13,589 to 1,206 through mid-November.
In the eyes of Maine’s conservative reformers, that drop constitutes a success.
“We have to make sure that our focus is on food stamps and other welfare programs being a last resort, not a way of life, and that we’re promoting employment,” said Mary Mayhew, the commissioner of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Most former beneficiaries got jobs or determined that it wasn’t worth meeting the requirements for food stamps, Mayhew suggested, although she said the state isn’t yet able to monitor those outcomes closely.
The point was to promote the self-sufficiency that comes with work and to change the culture of the department and state, she said.
Maine is “an example of how a work requirement promotes work and self-sufficiency over welfare,” said Rachel Sheffield, a poverty analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank. “You don’t want to cut anybody off,” Sheffield said, noting that assistance is available for people who want to work.
Shouldn’t the rest of the country follow their lead? It’ll grow our workforce (and tax base), and reduce the size of government spending.
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