Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) says welfare dependence is no measure of success when it comes to helping the poor.
“Sadly, there are some in our nation’s capital who measure success in government by how many are dependent on the government,” said the governor. “Our mindset in Wisconsin is a sharp contrast.… We measure true compassion by helping people no longer require the assistance of the government.”
That’s why Wisconsin will reform the food stamps program to require work for able-bodied recipients.
Food stamp rolls have swelled nationally, with spending doubling in the past four years. Part of the reason for the growth is connected to President Obama waiving the (small) work requirement in food stamps, which requires able-bodied adults to work or prepare for work in exchange for receiving benefits.
According to the governor’s plan, able-bodied adult recipients without young children would be required to work or participate in job training for 20 hours a week in order to receive food stamp benefits:
Previously, Wisconsin was one of 46 states receiving a waiver from a federal requirement for food stamp recipients to get job skills. However, we think it is an important investment in the futures of these individuals and our state.
Work requirements for able-bodied individuals should be at the foundation of welfare. This policy establishes the principle of work and promotes personal responsibility and self-sufficiency.
Tragically, the vast majority of the federal government’s 80-plus welfare programs include no work requirement at all, and the Obama Administration has been diligently toiling to remove work requirements from those programs that do include them. In 2009, Obama suspended food stamp work requirements as part of his stimulus package. That suspension was supposed to end in September 2010, but his next two budgets requested that the suspension continue. Rather than waiting for Congress to act, however, the Administration simply began allowing states to waive the work requirement.
To make matters worse, last summer the Administration issued another policy to waive the work requirements from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which was created by the1996 welfare reform law.
Self-sufficiency for those who are able should be the goal of welfare assistance. “It is important to give temporary hand up to those in need, but for those who are able, we should not provide a permanent hand out. Our goal is simple: transition people from government dependence to true independence,” said Walker.