The Republican Study Committee, a group of conservatives in Congress, has released this YouTube video to promote the Welfare Reform Act of 2011, which, among other things, would impose a work requirement on food stamp recipients. I find the voice of the narrator in the YouTube video a bit distracting, but others may react differently to it.
According to a summary of the bill by its proponents, "The legislation establishes work requirements for Food Stamps modeled on the success of the 1996 welfare reform law. States would be required to place 4% of the monthly caseload in a work activation program in 2012, and then 7% in 2013 and thereafter. In general, able-bodied individuals (from ages 19 to 62) would have to meet work requirements established by the legislation, including: Employment; Supervised job search; Community service work; Education and job training; Drug or alcohol treatment. Individuals would have to meet 60 hours per month of the above-listed activities (families with dependent children 120 hours per month)."
The political debates over welfare reform in the mid-1990s were full of dire predictions about millions of children starving in the streets and the budget being balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable. What happened instead was a reduction in welfare rolls — and an expansion of employment — that played a little-noticed role in powering the economic boom of the late 1990s.
Anyway, this hasn't gotten much press attention yet but will be an issue worth watching. Newt Gingrich got a lot of resonance last year for his memo on "paychecks versus food stamps."