Months after proposing to gut funding for food stamps, health insurance, and other subsidies for low-income Americans, Donald Trump has signed an executive order that will make it harder for people living in poverty to access government assistance programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and pubic housing subsidies.
The Washington Post reports that on Tuesday, Trump formally asked federal agencies to introduce stricter work requirements for low-income individuals, including a “review all policies related to current work requirements as well as exemptions and waivers and report back to the White House with recommendations within 90 days.”
The administration has characterized the plan, called “Reducing Poverty in America,” as welfare reform. “President Trump has directed his administration to study policies that are failing Americans,” Trump’s domestic policy council Andrew Bremberg told reporters.
But the plan shows a fundamental misunderstanding of poverty. Valerie Wilson, director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy at the Economic Policy Institute, told the Post why Trump’s plan will is ineffective and damaging:
“Work requirements are inconsistent with the realities of poverty in America and are unlikely to provide any resolution,” she said. “The truth is that a majority of poor people who can work, do work — more than 60 percent.”
Wilson said low-wage workers are working more hours now that they did nearly 40 years ago.
“The problem is that their jobs don’t pay enough,” she said. “People who are on public assistance and don’t work are not choosing between a six-figure salary or staying at home. Taking a low-paying job gets no one closer to economic stability.”
Unfortunately, this plan is just one of many ways the Trump administration has found to shit on low-income Americans, which include cutting heating and energy subsidies, allowing states to mandate work requirements for Medicaid recipients, and a proposal to hike tariffs on steel and aluminum that will raise prices on affordable housing, food, and common household goods.