Four years ago, on the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty, House Republicans led by Paul Ryan issued a report declaring that war a failure. Poverty, they asserted, hadn’t fallen. Therefore, they concluded, we must slash spending on the poor.
.. it calls for the widespread imposition of work requirements for Medicaid, food stamps and other programs. But that would have the effect of sharply reducing those programs’ coverage.
.. This decline in coverage wouldn’t be the result of large numbers of people earning their way out of poverty. Instead, many poor Americans would, for a variety of reasons — poor health, job instability for low-wage workers, daunting paperwork imposed on those least able to deal with it — find it impossible to meet the requirements, and be denied aid despite remaining poor.
.. whatever the evidence, Republicans always reach the same policy conclusion. Was the war on poverty a failure? Let’s stop helping the poor. Was it a success? Let’s stop helping the poor.
.. And let’s be clear: We’re talking about the whole party, not just the Trump administration. In particular, Republican governors are fanatical about cutting benefits for their lower-income residents.
.. In Maine, voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But Gov. Paul LePage has refused to implement the expansion — a vast majority of which would be paid for with federal funds — despite a court order, and has declared that he’s willing to go to jail rather than see his constituents get health care.