Rather than being a liberal turncoat or a bumbling centrist, as scores of #NeverTrumpers hysterically printed, Donald Trump took office immediately set to work on an agenda that is by no means perfect, but has been far more aggressively and effectively conservative than even many of us who voted for him were predicting. And now comes word that America’s most unlikely president has identified a new pillar of statism he wants to upend.
The Associated Press reports that Trump said this week that the next priority on his list, after the Republican Congress (maybe?) passes tax reform, is an overhaul of federal welfare.
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“People are taking advantage of the system,” Trump said, and so change is “desperately needed in our country.” The White House didn’t reveal any details of what those changes should look like, but Trump said the administration has some ideas in the works.
Paul Winfree, director of budget policy and deputy director of Trump’s Domestic Policy Council, told a recent gathering at the conservative Heritage Foundation that he and another staffer had been charged with “working on a major welfare reform proposal.” He said they have drafted an executive order on the topic that would outline administration principles and direct agencies to come up with recommendations.
“The president really wants to lead on this,” Winfree said. “He has delivered that message loud and clear to us. We’ve opened conversations with leadership in Congress to let them know that that is the direction we are heading” […]
Administration officials have already suggested they are eyeing anti-poverty programs. Trump’s initial 2018 budget proposal, outlined in March, sought to sharply reduce spending for Medicaid, food stamps and student loan subsidies, among other programs.
Budget director Mick Mulvaney said this year, “If you are on food stamps and you are able-bodied, we need you to go to work.”
It’s fantastic to have a president who agrees with the quintessential conservative goal of a more self-sufficient citizenry, rather than a liberal Democrat hellbent on addicting more and more voters to Uncle Sam, or a moderate Republican too scared to even touch the issue for fear of looking “heartless.”
As TFPP has previously covered, the Trump era has already seen some positive developments on this front, with 1.5 million fewer Americans on food stamps as of last month than there were when Trump took office.
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And as I covered on TFPP this summer, several states this year have seen significant reductions in their welfare rolls simply by instituting work requirements, despite eight years of Barack Obama skyrocketing them.
Obama opened the floodgates by letting states waive work requirements at the beginning of his presidency, doubling the food stamp rolls. Yet the simple act of requiring people to take a measure of responsibility for their own fortunes was enough to start reversing eight years of acclimation to government dependence and atrophied work ethics in a matter of months.
In that report, I mentioned that congressional Republicans Mike Lee and Jim Jordan had proposed legislation to require able-bodied and childless adults to participate in “work activation” programs if they want food stamps, which would also be subject to a new time limit. That sounds like a great start to President Trump’s latest initiative; what other ideas do you think he should consider? Sound off below!
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