Getting America Back on Track Will Require Redefining what Constitutes Success

When work requirements were established in the AFDC program nationwide, caseloads dropped by almost 80% over a few years. Now that is true success.

Getting America Back on Track Will Require Redefining what Constitutes Success

 

By J. Allen Tharp

By J. Allen Tharp

One of our most important objectives for 2017 and beyond must be redefining the meaning of success. Over the last eight years, liberals have relabeled outcomes that would previously have been defined as total failures, as being great successes.

Take welfare for example: the liberal definition of a successful welfare program is getting the maximum number of people on welfare as possible. Obviously in a conservative world, where the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west, our definition of success is diametrically opposed to theirs. For us, getting people off of the welfare rolls and independent of government assistance is what we call success.

With such divergent ideas about what constitutes success, it is no wonder that liberals and true conservatives don’t agree on solutions. We don’t even agree on the problems. Their compass points south, while ours points north. Under these circumstances, all the talk about finding common ground and reaching across the aisle is futile nonsense. Compromising with the other side only works when you are compromising on two different alternatives to go the same direction. There can be no compromise with those who are diametrically opposed to your goals. This is surrendering to defeat. It is not compromise.

This warped liberal notion of welfare success has resulted in a bankrupt nation spending $1 trillion per year on welfare, while inexplicably including many able-bodied recipients on the welfare rolls.

From 2000 to 2015, the number of food stamp recipients has risen, from 17.2 million to 45.8 million. During the same period, cost has soared by over 400%.

Even more bewildering and troubling is the fact that since 2008, the food stamp caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents has more than doubled nationally, swelling from nearly 2 million recipients, to around 5 million today. Obama calls that a great success, but I call it a miserable failure.

On the other hand, a real welfare success story was the Reagan plan in the 1990’s.

When work requirements were established in the AFDC program nationwide, caseloads dropped by almost 80% over a few years. Now that is true success.

More recently, Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, established work requirements on able-bodied recipients without dependents. All able-bodied adults without dependents in their food stamp program are now required to take a job, participate in training, or perform community service.

Interestingly within three months after the work requirement was implemented, 80% of childless adult recipients in Maine chose to give up food stamps if they had to participate in training or perform community service for six hours per week.

The reason for this dramatic reduction in the numbers of welfare recipients after the work program went in to effect was that the new work requirement eliminated fraud. Welfare recipients who were working “off the books” and getting paid cash under the table were not able to continue going to their unreported jobs while simultaneously doing required community service or training. Since they could not be in two places at once, many recipients with hidden jobs left the rolls and voluntarily dropped out of the welfare program.

Now that is a real success story!

Allen Tharp is President of the San Antonio Tea Party.

 

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