PETITION FOR CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON WELFARE REFORM
In 2014, the United States marked the 50th anniversary of “The War on Poverty.”
In that half-century, U.S. taxpayers have spent over $22 trillion on federal welfare programs, spending almost $900 billion per year.
Today, the federal government requires 13 agencies to administer nearly 80 welfare programs.
According to President Lyndon Johnson, the original goal was to “strike at the causes of poverty to cure and prevent it.”
Federal welfare programs have not only failed to eradicate poverty in America, but have, in fact, added to the causes of poverty.
Federal welfare programs have destroyed family structure in low-income communities by incentivizing unwed childbearing and fatherless households, which are proven to reduce opportunities for education, increase crime and drug abuse, child and spousal abuse, and result in generational dependency.
President Franklin Roosevelt warned of the consequences of long-term welfare. “Continued dependence upon relief is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.”
In 1996, Congress reformed the largest cash assistance program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, by instituting work requirements, which decreased child poverty significantly.
Recent polling shows that 83% of Americans believe work requirements should be included in welfare, but the Obama Administration now allows states to waive the work requirement contrary to federal law.
It is time to demand that Congress act to make welfare reform a priority by enacting legislation that provides for the following:
- Remove incentives encouraging single-parent households.
- Require able-bodied, non-elderly, non-disabled adult recipients of food stamps to work or participate in a work program.
- Require that the president’s annual budget detail current and future federal welfare spending.
- Require that the president’s annual budget provide an estimate of state contributions to welfare programs.
- Require that Congress determine whether these programs further the goal of alleviating poverty prior to approval of the budget.