|Perdue: Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependency has never been the American dream|
|Utah an example of boosting self-sufficiency|
By Secretary Sonny PerdueSalt Lake City TribuneMay 24, 2019
With hard work and dedication, you can accomplish great things. That’s the American dream. And when times are tough we pull together to solve problems, and we look out for each other, knowing that next time, we may be the one who needs a helping hand.
In Utah, you have a unique system to provide temporary food assistance. The Utah Department of Workforce Services provides SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, as well as services that help SNAP participants look for work, improve their skills, or enhance their careers. And it works closely with employers to help them recruit and hire individuals who have the skills they need.
One of the best things about Welfare Square is that it’s non-discriminatory and its doors are open to all. As part of the church’s larger Welfare Program, all aid received at Welfare Square is based on personal responsibility, thrift, and work; recipients of aid may be asked to volunteer their time after receiving help. This is a beautiful system – one that provides a safety net for those in need but encourages accountability and self-sufficiency.
We have been working to reinvigorate those values in recent years through SNAP. SNAP provides essential benefits to ensure folks facing the loss of a job or other difficult circumstances can put food on the table. But, just as important, it provides connections to employment and training in the clear expectation that folks will seek to move beyond those benefits to work and independence.
President Trump’s policies are unleashing a booming economy. He’s putting people back to work and increasing wages. Last month’s employment report – showing a national unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, the lowest since December 1969 – highlights the robust state of our economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are 7.5 million job openings in the U.S. and 5.8 million unemployed. There are more job openings than there are people to fill those spots thanks to Trump’s actions to cut taxes and remove strangling regulations.Our SNAP program should be structured to work with our changing economy, not be stuck in the past. This is why I made it a top priority to work with states and the private sector to ensure people have the tools they need to move away from SNAP dependency and back toward self-sufficiency.
Americans are an exceptional people. We are uniquely independent, but we are also a giving people, willing to help our neighbor in their times of need. Any one of us can face tough times, and as a community we come together to help others. At the same time, we expect those who we assist to in turn take responsibility for themselves. Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependency has never been the American dream. We need to move people with a helping hand, not a giving hand — promoting self-sufficiency