The significant uptick in people getting food stamps and in the cost of Medicaid can be directly attributed to “poor policies coming from Washington,” Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio told Newsmax TV.
A new study by the Congressional Research Service found that federal spending on anti-poverty programs — food stamps, welfare, Medicaid, Pell Grants — has increased 33 percent since 2008, when President Barack Obama was elected, according to The Hill. The study showed the federal government spent $746 billion in 2011 on these programs in 2011, compared to $563 billion in 2008.
Watch the exclusive interview here.
Jordan, who is chairman of the Republican Senate Commission, said the increase in the number of people getting food stamps and the other programs “is because our economy is not producing the jobs it needs to produce. And that’s attributable to the poor policies coming from Washington; bad tax policies, bad regulatory policies, bad energy policies, I would argue questionable monetary policies and certainly bad fiscal policies.”
He continued, “That’s all leading to an environment that’s not conducive to job growth. So all of that together is contributing to this huge increase in the amount of money we spend on social welfare programs. But, specifically, it’s the Food Stamps program. The other thing I would say is that it is harmful for a culture when you have this much dependency, a growing dependency from so many people on the government. It’s just not good for your society, not good for your culture, not good for your country.”
Jordan said legislation has been introduced to address the need to consolidate 80-plus welfare programs being used right now.
“We’ve introduced the welfare reform bill that does a couple of things. First, every year, let’s have this kind of accounting for how much total aggregate spending we have on social welfare programs,” he said. “And then, let’s look to consolidate. Do we really need over 80 different means to have this social welfare program. We have several in the education category, several in the nutrition category, several in the job training category, several in the housing category, several in the healthcare category.”
He continued, “Maybe if we just had four or five, we would actually better meet the needs of those individuals and those families who are truly needy and we would save taxpayers money. Maybe that kind of streamlining and efficiency would be so much better in this overall program. So that’s what our bill seeks to do -- overall aggregate accounting of what’s going on and actually trying to truly meet the needs of those families who really need help.”
It’s unclear whether the programs are achieving a positive return on investment, the congressman said, and that’s part of the reason they are seeking better accounting of the program.
“What we do know is that a work component is critical for people getting to a better life and actually achieving the American Dream,” he said. “When you have an administration that’s seen this kind of growth in social welfare programs, this kind of growth in Food Stamps, this kind of growth in all of the other areas and then they waive the work requirement, as the Obama administration has done, that’s moving us in entirely the wrong direction.”
“That critical character quality you need is a work ethic to achieve real success and to accomplish real goals of meaning and significance,” Jordan said. “And when a government says that they’re going to remove that, in the long run, what it is doing is hurting the very people it’s proposing to help, and that’s the biggest problem of what we see from this administration.”
The quickest way to resolve the problem is by having a change of leadership, Jordan said.
“It starts in just a couple of weeks with the election. This election’s important for a number of reasons but certainly this is one area where it’s of critical importance,” he said. “It starts with who you have running the Executive Branch of government, who you have running your government and the attitude and the policies they are going to push. So it starts on Election Day where we make a change in leadership and, hopefully, we’re going to have Mitt Romney as the next president.
Jordan went on, “That’s going to happen and we’re going to maintain a Republican House and get a Republican Senate. Then we can put in place the kind of reforms we need in welfare to actually better serve the families who are in need and have that critical component, that work component. The very first piece of legislation that ever got done when I was in the Ohio State House was a time limits amendment when we did the welfare reform legislation. And our amendment simply said that if you’re an able-bodied adult, after two years, we will no longer pay you for not working. And what we found was that deadline truly influenced behavior. No one got cut off.”
He concluded, “What happened was they saw the deadline coming and said, ‘You know what? I’m going to get the skills I need, I’m going to get the training I need, I’m going to get the education I need to get a job.’ And no one was kicked off. They just saw what was coming and said, ‘I’m going to do what needs to be done so I can get real employment.’ And it helped so many families better their lives and better their families’ lives. That’s the kind of focus we need to really help people achieve the American Dream.”
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