Donald Tackles Elephant In The Room No President Dared Touch For 50 Years
By Mick Farthing|January 10, 2018
Donald Tackles Elephant In The Room No President Dared Touch For 50 Years

If you think about it long enough, you might conclude that welfare expenditures really shouldn’t grow. At least not in a healthy economy. After all, isn’t the purpose of welfare to provide a safety net and to help people with financial problems become self-supporting again?

There will always be a percent of the population who have fallen on hard times. These families will draw government benefits until they can provide for themselves once again.

The idea that a segment of society would become permanent welfare beneficiaries is repugnant. That this segment would grow, thus increasing welfare expenditures in spite of a healthy economy demonstrates something is seriously wrong with our welfare programs themselves.

President Trump has been willing and eager to address issues and problems that lesser occupants of the White House have ignored or made worse. If reports from a recent meeting of Republican leadership with the president at Camp David are correct, we may be about to get the most meaningful reform of welfare programs in 50 years.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at his side in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans accompanied Trump to the presidential retreat for a weekend of strategizing and planning for the upcoming 2018 election year.

Welfare reform, much to the delight of conservative voters and legislators, was included in those discussions.

Trump told reporters Saturday after meeting with leadership that welfare was something they ‘were looking at,’ not going so far as to take a firm stance.

The president made it known early in his first year in the White House that he would not touch Social Security or Medicare, but his rhetoric has changed in recent months and shows a willingness to engage with reforming welfare.

Lumping Social Security and Medicare in with welfare programs is an error. Regardless of where one comes down on funding these programs, it’s important to note a vital difference.

Workers paid into Social Security and into Medicare specifically via mandatory payroll deductions. The government promised specific benefits.

To put it roughly, the idea was that people would not adequately prepare for retirement. So the government created SS and Medicare to force them to pay into programs administered by the government for their own good.

It turned out to be about 15{75726800c12fe2ebed14402fd98444a61f7eda42751f92330bc58faf20bd8821} of gross wages with half of that coming out of your paycheck and your employer matching it.

So when one retires, money received from Social Security and health care provided by Medicare are benefits paid out of funds into which workers contributed as mandated by law.

Call it what you want. Criticize the programs for poor management. But they are not welfare. At least not in the same sense as benefits for the poor paid out of general tax receipts.

Now, on to what the Republicans are planning.

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The change in Trump has signaled that for the first time in over two decades, Republicans could have a viable shot at achieving the long sought after goal of retooling welfare.

No one sees the opportunity more than Ryan, who has spent the entirety of his tenure in Washington — from think tank aide to speaker — looking for the chance.

Ryan has his eyes locked in on fundamentally reshaping the American welfare state, proposing substantive changes to funding and eligibility requirements for a number of government programs, including Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a welfare program intended to help low-income families achieve self sufficiency.

“The speaker believes he has the consensus to do welfare reform,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans For Tax Reform, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This year we are looking at Medicaid, the rest of Obamacare, food stamps and TANF—welfare.”

Norquist noted the changes will include adding work requirements to programs — a provision that polls well with voters — and instituting block grants to help curb spending.

Adding work requirements would be consistent with the purpose of welfare. That purpose being helping people over difficult times and getting them back to supporting themselves.

Failure to enact measures such as these almost guarantees the creation and continuation of a permanent underclass that draws benefits from the cradle to the grave.

Image result for seniors social security medicare

“Republicans are not going to touch Medicare or Social Security out of respect to the president’s wishes, and no one in leadership or the conference is considering those topics in 2018,” a high-level GOP source told TheDCNF under condition of anonymity.

This decision might be made out of principle or be based on political realities. There is an organization that we all know of as the AARP.

With a quick email to its membership, it can probably overwhelm and paralyze the entire DC telephone system for weeks with calls from angry seniors to their legislators.

And as pointed out earlier, Social Security and Medicare are not welfare programs. That doesn’t mean that changes might not have to be made. But you are dealing with a government pension and health care plan mandated by law, funded by workers, and with assurances of benefits.

If a private insurance company were to mishandle funds and fail to pay benefits, this would be fraud. The government should be held to the same standard.

2018 promises to be a turbulent year. Republicans look to overhaul welfare, put the final nail in the coffin of Obamacare, deal with the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure, and adjust financial regulations.

None of this will be easy. And most will require some bi-partisanship. So, leadership has their work cut out for them.

Oh, yes. And in November we have mid-term elections. Buckle yourselves in for a wild ride.

Source: Daily Caller

Mick Farthing
Mick is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and graphic designer. He is a regular contributor for the Patriot Journal.
Mick is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and graphic designer. He is a regular contributor for the Patriot Journal.
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