Gravy Train Is Over: Trump Signs Executive Order Requiring Recipients of Federal Aid Programs to Work

President Donald Trump is moving to add requirements that welfare recipients seek work to qualify for benefits, angering liberals everywhere.

On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to add work requirements or strengthen the requirements already on the books. In his order, Trump noted that “those who rely on welfare would have an easier time achieving economic mobility through strengthened work requirements,” The Hill reported.

“The Federal Government should do everything within its authority to empower individuals by providing opportunities for work, including by investing in Federal programs that are effective at moving people into the workforce and out of poverty,” the executive order states.

The new requirements would apply to those who are able to work, according to the memo.

The Hill adds, “Trump’s executive order calls on the heads of the departments of Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation and Education to review public assistance programs within their agencies.”

At least one federal department quickly celebrated the president’s move:

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families embraced the executive order and said it will allow the agency to take “aggressive action” toward enforcing work requirements.

“Strengthening work requirements for welfare recipients is a critical element of moving welfare recipients from dependency to self-sufficiency,” Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary for the organization, said in a statement.

These moves don’t come out of the blue, though. Several states have already initiated work requirements to great success. And other states, such as Arkansas, have pressed the federal government to increase work requirement rules.

North Carolina, for instance, started its “Work First” program in 2013 and the law has succeeded in trimming the welfare roles and adding citizens back into the work force. Also as part of the program, North Carolina performs drug testing on recipients.

North Carolina isn’t the only state to require work and drug testing for welfare recipients. The State of Michigan did the same thing back in 2014.

So, essentially, the Trump administration is only catching up to successful programs that have already been tried and found true in the states.

It’s all an effort to put a dent in the problem where people on welfare get overly comfortable on the dole and then refuse to help themselves get out of poverty.

Breitbart News, for instance, recently noted that “the science is settled: welfare discourages work.”

Back in 2015, Breitbart’s John Hayward noted, “It’s an article of faith on the Left that welfare and redistribution programs have no significant negative impact on the workforce. Nearly everyone wants to work, we are told; the only reason they can’t get jobs is that greedy fat cat capitalists tuck their filthy money into treasure vaults instead of using it to hire people. The notion that welfare might make poverty worse, by providing incentives to remain poor and dependent instead of working, is anathema to our titanic social welfare state.”


Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute wrote on Monday of a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research that offers “interesting findings on the link between redistribution programs and labor supply.” With due acknowledgement of the difficulty inherent in measuring the precise effects of any given social program – there are so many of them, the population of the United States is huge, and countless other factors influence national employment – the study found a highly significant correlation between welfare and the desire to work.

“The mid-1990s welfare reform apparently helped labor supply by pushing recipients to get a job,” Mitchell writes. “Disability programs, by contrast, strongly discourage productive behavior, while wage subsidies such as the earned-income credit ostensibly encourage work but also can discourage workforce participation for secondary earners in a household.”

This is a situation that Trump hopes to limit with new work requirements.


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