On April 10th of this year, the President officially signed an executive order that will aid in reducing poverty in the United States by promoting financial opportunity and economic mobility. However, it has largely been under-reported on. The White House press office did, however, release a statement on it saying,
“By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to promote economic mobility, strong social networks, and accountability to American taxpayers, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. The United States and its Constitution were founded on the principles of freedom and equal opportunity for all. To ensure that all Americans would be able to realize the benefits of those principles, especially during hard times, the Government established programs to help families with basic unmet needs. Unfortunately, many of the programs designed to help families have instead delayed economic independence, perpetuated poverty, and weakened family bonds. While bipartisan welfare reform enacted in 1996 was a step toward eliminating the economic stagnation and social harm that can result from long-term Government dependence, the welfare system still traps many recipients, especially children, in poverty and is in need of further reform and modernization in order to increase self-sufficiency, well-being, and economic mobility.
Sec. 2. Policy. (a) In 2017, the Federal Government spent more than $700 billion on low-income assistance. Since its inception, the welfare system has grown into a large bureaucracy that might be susceptible to measuring success by how many people are enrolled in a program rather than by how many have moved from poverty into financial independence. This is not the type of system that was envisioned when welfare programs were instituted in this country. The Federal Government’s role is to clear paths to self-sufficiency, reserving public assistance programs for those who are truly in need. The Federal Government should do everything within its authority to empower individuals by providing opportunities for work, including by investing in Federal programs that are effective at moving people into the workforce and out of poverty. It must examine Federal policies and programs to ensure that they are consistent with principles that are central to the American spirit — work, free enterprise, and safeguarding human and economic resources. For those policies or programs that are not succeeding in those respects, it is our duty to either improve or eliminate them.
(b) It shall be the policy of the Federal Government to reform the welfare system of the United States so that it empowers people in a manner that is consistent with applicable law and the following principles, which shall be known as the Principles of Economic Mobility:
(i) Improve employment outcomes and economic independence (including by strengthening existing work requirements for work-capable people and introducing new work requirements when legally permissible);
(ii) Promote strong social networks as a way of sustainably escaping poverty (including through work and marriage);
(iii) Address the challenges of populations that may particularly struggle to find and maintain employment (including single parents, formerly incarcerated individuals, the homeless, substance abusers, individuals with disabilities, and disconnected youth);
(iv) Balance flexibility and accountability both to ensure that State, local, and tribal governments, and other institutions, may tailor their public assistance programs to the unique needs of their communities and to ensure that welfare services and administering agencies can be held accountable for achieving outcomes (including by designing and tracking measures that assess whether programs help people escape poverty);
(v) Reduce the size of bureaucracy and streamline services to promote the effective use of resources;
(vi) Reserve benefits for people with low incomes and limited assets;
(vii) Reduce wasteful spending by consolidating or eliminating Federal programs that are duplicative or ineffective;
(viii) Create a system by which the Federal Government remains updated on State, local, and tribal successes and failures, and facilitates access to that information so that other States and localities can benefit from it; and
(ix) Empower the private sector, as well as local communities, to develop and apply locally based solutions to poverty.””
The executive order continues to describe in great detail and length how the administration intends on curbing poverty. But most importantly it focuses on several key factors in achieving this outcome,
- improve employment outcomes and economic independence;
- promote marriage and family as a way of escaping poverty;
- address the challenges of hard-to-employ populations;
- provide more flexibility to States, while ensuring accountability for achieving outcomes;
- streamline services to more effectively use taxpayer resources;
- reserve benefits for those truly in need;
- consolidate duplicative programs;
- facilitate greater sharing of information between States and localities; and
- empower the private sector to find solutions to poverty
In the fine print of the executive order, the administration makes it clear they will be increasing work requirements for those utilizing subsidized government benefits, focusing on using taxpayer dollars for their intended purpose, as well as empowering state and local authorities to provide services to those in need.
This executive order is going to be yet another notch under the belt of the administration in curbing poverty and decreasing unemployment. For the third straight month, the United States has maintained a 4.1 percent unemployment rate which is the lowest it has been since 2000. These are near record low numbers at a time when businesses are dealing with a shortage of labor.
President Trump brought this order about because despite the labor shortage federal government assistance benefits are being used at an all-time high. In 2016 alone, a total of 16 million able-bodied individuals were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP). While in January 2018 74 million were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These numbers continue to increase and something must be done about it which is exactly why the President introduced and signed this executive order.
By focusing on creating more opportunities for Americans to work it will lead to more income in their pockets and less of a need for governmental assistance programs. That means they’ll be less likely to vote Democrat. This is what provides people a pathway to financial freedom and the middle class and that is what this administration is all about. Especially given the fact the statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that 97 percent of full-time workers eventually move out of poverty.
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