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SC Food Stamps: When Will Nikki Haley "Get It?"




Last fall, we reported on S.C. governor Nikki Haley‘s failure to enforce work requirements on able-bodied, childless adults who are receiving food stamps.

“Far too many South Carolinians remain on food stamps – and Palmetto State leaders aren’t taking the necessary steps to get them off of the federal dole,” we wrote at the time.  “While other ‘Republican’ state leaders – like Kansas governor Sam Brownback and New Mexico governor Susana Martinez – are pushing their states to restore the work requirements for able-bodied, childless food stamp recipients, South Carolina continues to reward those unwilling to work with benefits.”

Brownback and Martinez aren’t the only ones …

According to a report in The Daily Signal – which is run by the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation – Maine’s governor Paul LePage “recently established work requirements on recipients who are without dependents and able-bodied.”

LePage’s logic was simple: There were tons of available jobs in Maine, people were simply refusing to do them because the government was picking up the tab for their food.

That is the very definition of incentivizing dependency …

So, what happened when the spigot was turned off?

“In the first three months after Maine’s work policy went into effect, its caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents plummeted by 80 percent, falling from 13,332 recipients in Dec. 2014 to 2,678 in March 2015,” Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield wrote for The Daily Signal.

Wow …

Rector and Sheffield added there was “historical precedent” for the Maine results, citing similar declines in national caseloads following 1990s-era bipartisan welfare reforms (which were unfortunately eliminated via the passage of U.S. president Barack Obama‘s 2009 “stimulus”).

Have “Republicans” – who were given control of Congress with explicit instructions to fight the Obama agenda – done anything to reform welfare since then?

No.  Totally inconsequential food stamp cuts were made in 2014 – but never implemented.

As a result the dependency economy rolls on …

How bad are things in South Carolina?  A state with low incomes and a small labor force?

Good question.  State lawmakers recently moved this expense off of the state’s books – meaning the Palmetto state no longer counts food stamp expenditures as part of its annual budget.  At the time this “budgetary reform” was undertaken, South Carolina’s annual food stamp cost was approximately $1.4 billion.