Will Trump Target Social Welfare Programs Next?

Not content to strip health care from millions of children or increase taxes on most middle class families, President Donald Trump has plans to inflict even more economic pain on struggling Americans: an executive order that could make it much harder for people to access welfare.

So-called “welfare reform” — conservative code for limiting benefits to the extreme poor — has been part of President Trump’s policy agenda ever since his surprise November election victory.

In May he vowed to get “at least 6 million” people off the welfare rolls, predicting it could save over $1 trillion in the federal budget. Then in August, he revoked the opportunity for states to get waivers from a national requirement that welfare recipients must be actively seeking work or in training in order to receive benefits.

And, now, the administration is going even further, testing out the idea of an executive order that could eventually lead federal agencies to reform their welfare programs — and ultimately push more people into jobs without government support.

“The draft instructs the federal agencies to look at their current programs and regulations in place and then propose ways to update and reform the welfare system,” reports The Hill. “Such changes would reportedly aim to implement stricter work requirements in an effort to pressure recipients to rejoin the labor force, slash or streamline repetitive services, and create a metric system to judge a program’s performance.”

The possibility of stricter guidelines would be just the latest in the Trump administration’s ongoing quest to unravel the social safety net that keeps so many low-income Americans afloat.

As Politico reports:

The president’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal called for massive cuts to the social safety net, including food stamps, Social Security disability insurance benefits and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. ‘If you’re on food stamps and able-bodied, we need you to go to work,’ White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters earlier this year.

Conservatives have been cheering the president’s moves, claiming that the country is in such good economic shape that there’s simply no reason anyone who needs benefits shouldn’t be able to find some sort of employment.

As the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute wrote in September:

Doubling down on work within TANF couldn’t come at a better time. Unemployment is at historic lows and millions of jobs are unfilled. TANF recipients should be seen as potential workers, and if mismatch is the problem, then TANF agencies, training organizations, and employers must work to build participant skills to meet job demands.

Ultimately, policymakers at all levels should be asking why, with a strong economy, do work-able people need TANF benefits at all? If the answer reveals a problem with TANF, states should be encouraged to innovate and work with the new administration to improve the program.

But, CNN Money reports that it’s not as easy as it appears:

It sounds simple: Take those unemployed people and put them on the front door of companies seeking workers. The problem is: Companies don’t want these workers. Why? They don’t have the skills to do those jobs,” the outlet reports. “Business leaders complain constantly that people either don’t have the right skills or that they’re unwilling to move. So there might be a lot of job openings in places like Utah, but a lot of the unemployed are sitting in places like eastern Kentucky.

And while Republicans tend to believe that less welfare and tighter budgets will get them reelected, the truth is that many of the states that receive the most in benefits are those that vote red. Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Texas all rest near the top of the rankings when it comes to welfare recipient spending based on population size. And that means that the same Republicans who oppose “government handouts” are likely to be benefiting from them.

There is no clear timeline for when the president plans to sign his executive order, but sources say he hopes to complete it before Thanksgiving. After all, nothing says “Happy Holidays” like cutting off financial support to the nation’s neediest.

Photo Credit: USDA/Flickr

44 comments

Mike R
Mike R1 months ago

Heartless

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Mike R
Mike R1 months ago

Heartless

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Mike R
Mike R1 months ago

Heartless

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Jaime J
Jaime J1 months ago

Thank you!!

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Colin C
Colin C2 months ago

Cutting welfare benefits has been happening world wide

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One Heart i
One Heart inc2 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Aaron F
Past Member 2 months ago

Highly unlikely...

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Joette B
Joette B2 months ago

It was his FIRST ATTACK ON THE PEOPLE ! TRUMP NOCARE HEALTH only 23 million lives he demanded to be endangered EXPECT WORSE ! Hitler murdered 8 million and took their property .GIVE 45 a big BOOT good bye and imprison for CONSTITUTIONAL DEFIANCE BY EXECUTIVE ORDER .TAX MISUSE FOR PERSONAL GAIN CON MAN IN OFFICE! and I just don't like LIARS and cult liar supporters

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Elaine W
Elaine W2 months ago

Of course he will target the helpless. He is not mentally healthy.

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Kelsey S
Kelsey S2 months ago

Thanks

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