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EDITORIAL: Pass work requirement for food stamps

For all the outrageous outrage and Twitter tempests coming out of Washington, it’s important to remember that the American economy is in incredibly good shape.

There are 6 million job openings across the United States. Unemployment is at 3.9 percent, which economic experts consider to be full employment. There are jobs out there for those looking. More would be looking if the government would stop incentivizing people not to work.

As Kristina Rasmussen, vice president of The Foundation for Government Accountability, wrote last month in USA Today, there are millions of able-bodied adults collecting welfare who should be brought “off the sidelines and into these available jobs.” The Trump administration and Congress are trying to capitalize on the booming jobs market “by pushing for historic welfare reform that expands work requirements for able-bodied adults receiving food stamps in the House Farm Bill and by rolling out the same work requirement for state Medicaid programs.”

The FGA, in a February report, found that 62 percent of able-bodied adults on food stamps aren’t working, and only 8 percent hold full-time jobs.

That shouldn’t be the case in this economy. Federal law says as much, requiring non-elderly, able-bodied adults without dependent children to work or participate in work-related activities for at least 20 hours per week to qualify for food stamps. However, as Vijay Menon wrote in The Daily Signal, some states are taking advantage of loopholes to circumvent that requirement.

Menon points out that California is a leader in this effort, taking advantage of loopholes to exempt more than 800,000 food stamp recipients from the work requirement. This is counterproductive. The one guaranteed cure for getting off welfare rolls is a steady job.

This is also taxpayer money that these healthy, able-bodied adults are collecting. It’s unjust to shell out taxpayer cash to people who are able to work, but choose not to. Part of the issue is politicians wanting constituents dependent on government.

Politicians and state bureaucrats never should have turned this country’s generous safety net into a hammock. With a booming economy, the time for further welfare reform — with measures that are enforced and that eliminate loopholes — has never been better. Democrats should quit stalling this reform and help President Donald Trump put even more Americans back to work.

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