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Thomas Gallatin / Aug. 31, 2017

Welfare Work Requirements Prove Profitable

News flash: People who work make more money than those who don't. Kansas just proved it again.

Sound economic policies, while often not politically popular, free the greatest number of people from government dependence, poverty and higher taxes. The class-warfare politics espoused by leftists who preach feel-good, equal-outcome based socialist economic ideology lead eventually only to greater overall poverty and human misery. Our neighbors to the south, Cuba and Venezuela, attest to this reality. It is the fundamentally sound economic policies of equal-opportunity, free-market capitalism that effectively produce and spread the most wealth regardless of social class. “Class” is thus not even an American idea — at least not in terms of being born to and stuck in one.

In Kansas, Republican Governor Sam Brownback’s program to attach work requirements to the state’s welfare program has produced impressive results. While welfare work-requirement programs are often panned by the Left as insulting and supposedly amount only to forcing people into low-income jobs, Kansas’s results have proven just the opposite. Since Kansas implemented Brownback’s work-requirement plan, known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), four years ago, the number of individuals on welfare has decreased by some 17,000. A recent study of the program also found that those individuals who gained employment saw their earnings increase by 104% from what they had received from welfare by the first year; by their second year, their incomes had increased by 247%. In other words, they were moving up the economic ladder.

Barack Obama in 2012 controversially directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to scale back the welfare work-requirement standards established by a bipartisan effort of Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996. Obama’s was bad policy, but effective political theater for pandering to his leftist base. Fortunately, Obama’s directive, which was never actually implemented by any states, was rolled back on Wednesday as Trump directed HHS to re-establish the 1996 welfare work standards.

As the old proverb states, give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. There are now at least 17,000 more individuals in Kansas who can attest to this reality.

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