White House Declares ‘War On Poverty’ Is Almost Over In New Report

“Based on historical standards of material wellbeing and the terms of engagement, our War on Poverty is largely over and a success,” the CEA says in its report, published last week.



The Trump administration is preparing to kick poor people off food stamps because they are doing really well.

No, really.

President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) said they have won the “War on Poverty.”

“Based on historical standards of material wellbeing and the terms of engagement, our War on Poverty is largely over and a success,” the CEA says in its report, published last week.

The report cited an alternative to track poverty; to look at poor people’s spending instead of earnings. According to the report, the poverty rate fell from 30 percent in 1961 to 3 percent in 2016, the latest numbers available. The government’s official rate is 12.7 percent for 2016.

The findings are highly contradictory of the Republican’s stance over anti-poverty program with House Speaker Paul Ryan referring to the “War on Poverty” as a “failure” to “stalemate” in the past.

The White House’s claims of a successful take on poverty has confused top Republicans, with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) calling The Huffington Post’s question regarding the changing stance as “click-bait headlines.”

“Obviously, we want to make sure everybody’s taken care of,” the conservative House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said.

The White House, with its “victory” declaration has called on for “increased requirements” to get food stamps, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Getting food stamps would become increasingly difficult with newly imposed work requirements. The Congressional Budget office said it would decrease the number of SNAP beneficiaries by over 1 million.

The House will meet with its Senate counterparts and is expected to pass a more lenient version of the bill which Conaway is the lead author of. He will try his hardest to get his version approved.

“Getting support out of the White House, for whatever reason, is something I’m very much appreciative of,” Conaway said.

Ryan, who has been a constant critic of anti-poverty programs, is yet to comment on the report. However, he also maintained with the economy “boosting,” more people should depend on work rather than welfare.

“In this economy, with all of the opportunities available, there could not be a better time to help more people move from welfare to work,” Ryan said in a speech.

Although, it would be justifiable the White House used alternate poverty measure, since the official count does not include benefits like food stamps. However, according to the U.S. Census board, a supplemental measure that counts those benefits and also factors in the cost of essential goods found a poverty rate of 14 percent for 2016, as opposed to the CEA announced 3 percent.

Food stamps have helped eliminate starvation in the United States. But the spending-based report by CEA implies it might not be worth spending billions on food and health care for the poor but the report acknowledges that studies do not suggest all poor children would be benefited if their parents stopped receiving government aid.

But SNAP already has work requirements.

The strictest of those, fall on to people younger than the age of 49 with no minor children, which under the new bill would be raised to 60 years of age and with children older than five years of age.

It is unlikely though the bill would be passed through Senate, because it would need Democrats’ support, who have advocated against increasing work requirements for food stamps.

The bill is said to help people replace government income with work income but recent research by the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that most working-age SNAP recipients actually do work within a year of receiving benefits. However, getting jobs is not as easy for poor Americans as the report makes it sound. Many of the jobs offered to poor people are unstable without many substantial benefits.

The report argues that working is good because it is a “norm” and — usually over-worked than their peer countrymen — working-class citizens is what “makes America great.”

“Expecting significant workforce participation from non-disabled working-age recipients of [food stamps, Medicaid and housing assistance] is consistent with these norms,” the paper said.

Banner / Thumbnail : Thomson Reuters Foundation / Gregory Scruggs

View Comments

Recommended For You