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

40 comments

Colin C
Colin C8 days ago

Cutting welfare benefits has been happening world wide

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One Heart i
One Heart i8 days ago

Thanks!!!

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Aaron F
Aaron F9 days ago

Highly unlikely...

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Joette B
Joette B10 days 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 W11 days ago

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

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Kelsey S
Kelsey S13 days ago

Thanks

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One Heart i
One Heart i13 days ago

Thanks!!!!

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Winn A
Winn A14 days ago

tRUMP is a moron without empathy.

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Mary B
Mary B14 days ago

The problem is not welfare. It's people who can't tell the difference between having plenty of money in circulation and having very little money in circulation and the difference that will make to the over all Economy. Rightwing conservatives seem determined to go back ward in time to find out how people survived before social programs. Well we already KNOW what it was like. That's why we evolved enough to create the Safety Net. We've got to stop treating these ungrounded, going around in loops people as if they have any valid points. The points that were valid, we have already saved and used to create the better world of the Social Services era. If we go back much further, even the rich will loose their comfort zone. Look what happened to the Old South when their enslaved workforce was freed. Why do you think we,ve had the rise of the ugly White Nationalists ? Their only solution to increasing their own wealth was enslaving others. That's about as primitive as it gets.

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Amanda M
Amanda M14 days ago

Twitler and the Religious Reich just eroded women's and LGBT rights further last night by expanding the "religious freedom" rule that allows employers to deny women contraception coverage in their insurance and discriminate against LGBT people, all in the name of the employer's "religious or moral freedom." Sorry, but religious freedom stops when it tramples another person's rights! Allowing an employer to say that their religion prevents women from having the full range of health care covered by insurance or letting them discriminate against LGBTs is NOT religious freedom, it's a blatant move towards a theocratic state! It's just a short step from this to getting rid of social welfare programs, and let's not put it past these idiots! In Twitler's world, the only people who would have any rights are rich white hetero Christian MEN. And we CANNOT allow the Religious Reich to turn this country into a real-life version of "The Handmaid's Tale." Scary, scary stuff!

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