Unfortunately the writer of a recent commentary misunderstood why I’ve proposed reforms to our nation’s welfare system — reforms I believe would offer a better way to fight poverty.
During my two terms in office, I’ve learned from and worked with many nonprofits and public agencies dedicated to helping our neighbors in need.
By working with them, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the many caring people who work in our communities to fight poverty, and I’m proud to have supported federal programs that help them. But that doesn’t mean we should be satisfied with the results of our nation’s War on Poverty.
Washington has made many promises, created many programs and spent trillions of taxpayer dollars fighting poverty. Yet today in America, if you’re born in poverty, you’re as likely to remain in poverty as you were 50 years ago.
The problem with many of our welfare programs is that while they’ve helped people cope with poverty, they haven’t helped people escape poverty. That’s because our welfare system is designed to replace work, rather than encourage work.
Our plan is guided by the aspiration that federal programs should empower poor Americans to achieve self-sufficiency, dignity and upward mobility through work. And requiring able-bodied, working-age people to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving benefits has proven highly effective in increasing employment and reducing poverty rates.
I’m glad my proposals have started a conversation about poverty because struggling Americans deserve better. Learn more about our plan at: http://betterway.gop.
U.S. Rep. Andy Barr