“About That ‘Gutting the Safety Net'”

That’s the title of a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Critics are accusing President Trump’s 2018 budget of “gutting the safety net” with cuts to food stamps and disability insurance. In reality, the White House is proposing long-needed reforms that would fix a dysfunctional disability system that traps Americans in dependency.

The editor is right as far as he goes, but he doesn’t go far enough.  It isn’t just our social security disability system that is a welfare trap, it’s our entire welfare system.

There is no incentive for folks to get off welfare; in fact, there is a “welfare cliff” designed in that throws up terrible obstacles blocking folks from getting off welfare.  Those obstacles are more concretely illustrated by this:

The less-noticed harm is that a mere 1% of beneficiaries return to work every year….

One reason so few return to the labor force is that payments are essentially a tax on work. A 55-year-old who previously earned about $30,000 a year at work could receive more than $15,000 a year in disability payments, plus health-care benefits and perhaps other cash transfers such as food stamps. That means any job would have to pay more than what he loses in subsidies….

It’s not a safety net.  It’s the Progressive-Democratic Party’s seine, with which it seeks to trap our poor so they can continue trading handouts for votes.

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