People love hearing the stories of hard workers who lifted themselves up by their bootstraps and pursued the American dream. Whether it’s people wanting a fresh start in life or a proverbial rags-to-riches story of our greatest entrepreneurs, these stories are woven into our national identity and an ideal toward which we all strive.
Despite this common drive for success, we continue to allow millions of people to languish on welfare. For many who want to rise out of dependency, we’ve made it too easy for them to remain trapped. And for those who have gotten too comfortable or have defrauded our programs, we’ve made it easy to go unchecked. Thankfully, this grim outlook on welfare is coming to an end.
Since the historic 1996 welfare reform, we’ve required able-bodied adults on welfare to work, train, or volunteer at least part time as a condition of receiving food stamps. We’ve seen incredible success for people in states such as Arkansas, Mississippi, and Florida, who implemented these requirements, but that hasn’t stopped a steady drumbeat of activists and bureaucrats in past administrations working to undermine these requirements and create loopholes that allow people to stay on welfare indefinitely with no expectation they’ll try to move off.