Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has, predictably, described the Trump administration’s tightening of rules for food stamp recipients “draconian.”
Well, it all depends on the meaning of draconian.
The new rules will affect only one group of recipients: ABAWDs, or able-bodied adults without children, aged 18 to 49.
People in this category are eligible for benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) for only a limited time , three months every three years, if they do not meet the work requirement of 20 hours a week.
However, many states are permitted to waive the work requirements because of high unemployment. States often gerrymander the results, combining different areas into one area that has high enough unemployment to waive the requirements.
The work requirements have been “waived into oblivion,” according to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. The Trump plan aims to fix this.
Under the new rule, states can only issue waivers if a city or county has an unemployment rate of 6 percent or higher. The waivers will be good for one year and will require the governor to support the request.
The final rule will be published in the federal register Thursday and go into effect in April.
SNAP rolls will be reduced by only around 2 percent, or a little under 700,000. No one who is disabled, a parent or over the age of 50 will be affected.
This is draconian?
With the economy doing well, this is a good time to reduce dependence on food stamps. Unless you think it is a good thing to have more able-bodied people dependent on the government. The Wall Street Journal concludes:
Always there are difficult and sympathetic cases. But if Democrats oppose even this modest step—a part-time work requirement, applied to childless, able-bodied adults, in an economy with unemployment at 3.6%—then they might as well say that getting food stamps is a permanent way of life.
Progressives used to claim that welfare would be a hand up, not a handout. Today their only measure of policy success is how many more Americans they can make dependent on government.
They also overlook the value of work in an individual’s life.
It is not draconian to require able-bodied people who have no dependents to work for government benefits.