Trump’s Next Priority? Welfare ‘Fraud’

The ink has barely dried on President Donald Trump’s executive order designed to undermine the Affordable Care Act, yet he’s already trying to find another way to screw America’s poor people. The next target: welfare programs.

On Monday morning, Trump told his Cabinet that that cracking down on welfare fraud would be a priority for the White House in the upcoming months.

“Some people are really taking advantage of our system… and we are going to be looking very, very strongly, therefore, at welfare reform,” said Trump. “It’s gonna be a very big topic under this administration.”

Trump declined to name any specific plans, only to say that he would release more information on an agenda “very shortly.” This president has developed a reputation for teasing concepts well before his team actually works out any specifics (see: tax reform, transgender military ban, infrastructure overhaul.)

Trump similarly offered no evidence to suggest that welfare fraud is rampant, probably because research does not support such an assertion. Take food stamps, for example: while it’s true that $70 million of money allocated toward SNAP is wasted fraudulently, the government spends $71 billion on the program in total.

In other words, less than a tenth of a percent of the money is applied fraudulently, which seems like a successful rate of return considering how many hungry Americans it feeds in the process. If 1 out of 1,000 food stamp recipients is scamming the government, how is changing the program for the other 999 a good idea?

Not that Trump has ever needed the numbers to be on his side to politicize an issue. Earlier this year, he convened an Election Integrity Commission to study voter fraud, despite that research overwhelmingly demonstrates that voter fraud is practically non-existent – never mind the 3 to 5 million illegal votes Trump alleged.

It’s an extremely safe bet that whatever Trump “discovers” about welfare fraud will be used to slash public assistance programs. The budget the White House prepared earlier this year included massive, unprecedented cuts to food stamps, welfare, Medicaid and a host of other services that benefit American families at or below the poverty line.

Though Congress, even many Republicans, scoffed at a lot of these cuts, Trump may be able to sway legislators over to his plan if he successfully starts a national conversation about how public assistance money is being wasted and swindled.

What we’re seeing here is a deliberate attack against the poor. It’s part of the GOP’s larger plan to shame, denigrate and scapegoat those who have the least in society to take attention away from the greedy rich. It’s a way of “other”-ing people who are less fortunate, even though most of us have been in similar circumstances: 79 percent of American suffer from “economic insecurity” at some point as adults.

While Trump has taken swings at Muslims, immigrants and LGBT people to appeal to his white, religious base, this impending attack on welfare is most definitely a favor to his rich donors and fellow tycoons. No group benefits more from public assistance programs than poor, white people residing in red states. These voters may be in for a rude awakening when they discover their safety net is being yanked away because the president says there’s too much fraud.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

55 comments

Kathryn I
Kathryn I28 days ago

Anything that Trump comes up with hasn't been, and won't be, for the good of those who live in poverty--that's a given! Thank you

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Amanda M
Amanda Mabout a month ago

The only "fraud" in this country is that being committed by Twitler and the Religious Reich! Voter fraud, welfare fraud-if they say it's happening, you can guarantee that it is nothing but HORSE HOCKEY! And Peggy B, you have to watch out for "church aid" or church-run programs. Far too many of them have a requirement that you must either be a churchgoer already or be willing to convert to a Christian religion in order to receive aid, which makes them anathema to non-Christians. I should know; I had to homeschool my kids for preschool partly because our town has no pre-K program in the public schools and partly because the only preschool programs in town are in the churches (Baptist, Pentecostal, and conservative Methodist, to name a few). As a Wiccan who wants her children to be raised to understand ALL religions and choose for themselves when they're old enough to make an informed decision, we'd be about as welcome as a skunk at a wedding! So I homeschooled until kindergarten, and still supplement their education with homeschool lessons (thank the Goddess for the iPads that the schools give to students nowadays-it definitely helps with snow days and school breaks!). But I digress.

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Margaret G
Margaret Gabout a month ago

Megan Hargan wrote, “ … If you can’t afford children, don’t have them. … “ I agree. So does Megan agree with me that every woman should have access to affordable, accessible, convenient, safe, and effective birth control and abortion?

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Joan E
Joan Eabout a month ago

Trump MAKES UP non-existent fraud that he blames on innocent people. His so called Election Integrity Commission has no more integrity than Trump himself -- he just likes to screw over poor people and people who have the sense to vote against him

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Joan E
Joan Eabout a month ago

How do I hate him? Let me count the ways.

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Winn A
Winn Aabout a month ago

tRUMP should be inpeached.

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Winn A
Winn Aabout a month ago

:-(

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Tania N
Tania Nabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing

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Carole R
Carole Rabout a month ago

Thanks for posting.

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Anne M
Anne Mabout a month ago

Sure,, screw the poor,, they’re only baggage in chump’s eyes...

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