Last week, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) launched an innovative new tool in the fight to cut spending called YouCut. It allows regular American citizens to vote to cut wasteful spending in Congress. Its purpose is to challenge the culture of spending that has dominated Congressional thinking and replace it with a renewed focus on savings.
Weekly, YouCut will post several wasteful spending programs and give citizens a week to vote on which they favor most being eliminated. The results are announced the following week and House Republicans will force a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to attempt to cut that funding.
YouCut announced today, that after receiving over 280,000 votes, the first dubious winner voted to be eliminated was the TANF Emergency Fund – a $5 billion program included in the infamous stimulus package that actually rewards states with bonus money for increasing the size of their welfare caseloads.
The fund undermines the great success of the 1996 welfare reform law which gave states incentives to move people into jobs and job preparation activities. When people left the welfare rolls for jobs, the states were rewarded by keeping the savings generated from moving people in to employment and off of welfare.
This new fund created by President Obama does exactly the opposite. It rewards states for putting more people on the welfare rolls and increasing the caseload size. Not only does this program spend billions of taxpayer dollars during this time of great deficits, but it rapidly expands the size of the welfare state and the number of people dependent on it.
Voters on YouCut were wise to select this program for cutting. This fund is damaging to our economy and traps thousands of more families in the welfare system. The 1996 welfare reform moved 2.8 million families off of dependence on government welfare and into jobs and self-sufficiency. The impact of this fund will be to reverse this success and create a larger more expansive welfare state.