Welfare, Work, and the Stimulus

It turns out Obama’s HHS waiver of the work requirement for welfare (in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, signed into law by President Bill Clinton) wasn’t the first Obama waiver of the work requirement.  No, it’s just one more instance of the wealth redistribution in which Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama believes so much.

The Congressional Research Service has a new report out, albeit one done at the behest of an Evil Republican, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (the report can be found here or here).  This report demonstrates that the Obama Stimulus Package, drafted up shortly after his inauguration in 2009 and passed just after that also waived the requirement for work in order to get welfare.

Typically the food stamp program requires that group [“able-bodied adults” between 18 and 49 years old who have no dependents] to work or participate in a training program at least 20 hours a week to continue receiving benefits after three months. The stimulus law, though, allowed states to suspend the rule from April 2009 to October 2010—and most states did.

The CRS study showed that in fiscal 2010, the last year for which data was available, the number of food-stamp recipients in that group was at nearly 3.9 million. That’s up from 1.9 million in 2008.

Though food-stamp enrollment was already rising at the time in part due to the recession, the study noted the number in this group “increased more rapidly than the overall caseload.”

Their percentage of that caseload grew from 6.9 percent in 2008 to 9.7 percent in 2010.

This was no effort to accommodate spiking unemployment, though.  Indeed, it never was intended to—unemployment would never rise above 8% and would fall back to 5.5% by the end of 2009 with the stimulus, Obama promised us.  The waiver was, nevertheless, extended beyond 2010.

The latest CRS report noted that while the stimulus law lifted the food stamp work requirement until late 2010, the law allowing extended unemployment benefits likewise allowed most states to waive those work requirements in 2011 and 2012.

Bread and circuses.

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