Government dependency plunging under Trump

Editors at Issues and Insights wonder why more people haven’t noticed a drop in dependency on the federal government in recent years.

Friday’s jobs report showed that the economy created 224,000 new jobs, yet the unemployment rate edged up to 3.7%.

Both are welcome news. The unemployment rate went up because 158,000 rejoined the labor market. These are people who previously didn’t have a job and weren’t looking for one. …

… The healthy labor market has resulted in something even more important yet little noticed: A sharp trend away from dependency on federal welfare and other benefits.

Take a look at the numbers:

Food Stamps. The Department of Agriculture reports that April enrollment in food stamps — which is officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — was down more than 308,000. …

… Disability. The number of workers on Social Security’s Disability Insurance program has sharply declined as well. It went from 88 million in January 2017 to 84.9 million as of May. That’s the lowest it’s been since August 2011. …

… Medicaid. Enrollment in Medicaid also has dropped sharply since Trump took office — despite the fact that Virginia decided to expand its program under Obamacare, which added some 300,000 to its Medicaid rolls over those years. …

… This is all good news, and most of it is in sharp contrast to the previous administration. Food stamp enrollment was 13 million higher when Obama left office than when he came in. There were 1.4 million more workers on disability. Medicaid enrollment exploded thanks to Obamacare. The number on welfare was only slightly lower by the end of Obama’s two terms in office, despite the fact that the recession ended six months after he was sworn in.

In a less biased news media world, the decline in government dependency would be front-page news.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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