Monday, June 12, 2017

Making government operate more like a business: a really smart idea

One good thing about President Donald Trump is his businessman’s approach to government. He understands that like a business, a nation cannot survive endless deficit spending and an ever-growing national debt.

To the horror of those on the left of our political system he proposes significant, but not massive, cuts to government spending. And while the cuts are not excessive, the idea still cranked up the wild imaginations and scaremongering mechanisms of Congressional Democrats and other liberals who think money grows on trees and that the national debt is a number that really isn’t important.

Trump understands what so many on the left do not: much of government spending is wasted, fraudulent and abused, and therefore unnecessary and foolish. Actually, it’s not that the left doesn’t understand this, it’s that they couldn’t care less, because they benefit at the ballot box from lax programs that waste your money, and therefore eschew fiscal responsibility, in favor of positive elections results.

Human nature plays a role here: people often will take advantage of what is available to them free of charge. As evidence, consider the recent results from Alabama.

The Daily Signal reported that when “The Heart of Dixie” this year began requiring food stamp recipients to work, look for work, or get approved job training to get food stamps, 13 counties saw participants drop by 85 percent over a four-month period from 5,538 able-bodied adults without dependents to 831 such recipients.

“Statewide, a total of 13,663 able-bodied adults without children or other dependents were enrolled in the food stamp program before the change [was] implemented Jan. 1, according to the Alabama Department of Human Resources,” the news site reported. “As of May 1, that statewide number had dropped to 7,483, the agency said.”

Clearly, Alabama was going well beyond the goal of helping those who really need it, and Alabamans were availing themselves of Uncle Sugar’s federal assistance in a welfare program that was not being operated in a sensible manner.

Other states have had this same experience. In 2013 and 2014 Kansas and Maine implemented work requirements and reduced the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps, and last year Georgia followed suit.

And when Maine imposed work requirements on food stamp recipients in December of 2014 officials reported that the number of able-bodied adults without dependents declined from 13,332 to just 2,678 over a three-month period. Maine officials concluded that many food stamp recipients would do without the benefit rather than perform a minimum of six hours per week of community service, or other aspects of the work requirements.

These results prompted Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation who specializes in poverty and welfare programs, to project that, “If the federal government establishes and enforces similar work requirements nationwide, total food stamp enrollment would plummet in a few years, possibly saving taxpayers $10 billion per year or as much as $100 billion over the next decade,” The Daily Signal reported.

Not all of that money is federal money, of course, but about 90 percent of it is. And keeping the federal portion of those dollars in the nation’s treasury certainly is a positive thing. It’s even better when you understand that those truly needing help are not part of the reductions, and that other federal programs also suffer these same problems.

It is widely acknowledged that Americans are the most compassionate people in the world, and they certainly have no objection to helping their fellow citizens in need. Even so, they do not want their hard-earned tax dollars being wasted on people who can earn their own way. Sound business practices prohibit such sloppiness; they are business killers.

Of course, with all of these people no longer getting food stamps, having available jobs for them is important, and that feeds right into Trump’s goal of bringing back jobs and creating an environment for new job production to flourish.

Trump managed to get pledges from several companies that said they would invest in America, bringing back or creating new jobs. And good things are also happening because of his effort to remove job-killing regulations.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace recently, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said, “We’ve had almost 50,000 jobs created in the mining and coal sector alone. In fact, in the month of May, almost 7,000 jobs,” Pruitt told Wallace.

Naysayers will note that this number really isn’t that significant, but the important reality is that it is a step in the right direction, and a dramatic shift in direction from the dangerous, job-killing policies of the Obama administration.

Coal industry and related jobs killed by Obama are coming back following the removal of the foolish regulations that killed them. No one expects that coal will reach its former economic glory, but a lot of people put out of work by merciless regulations will be productive again.

Obama and others on the left think they know best and will try to control every aspect of our lives to achieve their vision. But that isn’t what America is all about. Thank goodness that Trump understands that.

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