By Mike Huckabee
President Trump says his proposed budget’s welfare funding is centered on expecting able-bodied people with no dependents to work in exchange for benefits, so they don’t take away “scarce resources from those in real need.” His OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said this focus on getting Americans back to work is how we’re going to return to 3% GDP growth, adding, “We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the amount of money we spend, but by the number of people we help.”
Cue Democratic politicians and the media howling in outrage about how mean this is (Hillary Clinton already decried the Trump budget for its “unimaginable level of cruelty.”) But is it really “cruelty” to expect people to work for their supper?
This is really just a return to what most Americans have believed since the nation was founded: that everyone who can work should work, and charity is for those who truly need it. Every so often, the voters put liberals in charge, but they soon realize their mistake as they institute massive government entitlement programs that come cloaked in an aura of “compassion” but really are unimaginably cruel. They undermine the initiative and self-respect of the recipients while burdening future generations with unimaginable levels of debt. We saw it in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when attempts to create a “Great Society” just created a great big mess in inner cities. That eventually helped fuel the return of conservatism in the form of Ronald Reagan, who reminded us that compassion shouldn’t be measured by how many people are getting government handouts but by how many no longer need a handout.
Welfare-to-work reform works, but somehow (possibly due to the constant liberal lectures of Barack Obama, echoed and magnified by a worshipful media), Americans forgot that ancient wisdom, even as food stamp rolls ballooned by over 40% during Obama’s term. The last time welfare reform was tried was in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act. Liberals predicted cruelty and disaster from that, too, but it not only helped reduce welfare rolls by 60% between 1994 and 2005, it helped boost the economy and give the government a balanced budget for the first time in years. The President who signed it said that it “gives us a chance we haven't had before to break the cycle of dependency that has existed for millions and millions of our fellow citizens, exiling them from the world of work. It gives structure, meaning and dignity to most of our lives." You’d think Hillary would remember those wise words, since that’s what her own husband Bill said when he signed it in 1996.
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