We all know President Joe Biden wants to dismantle the accomplishments of the Trump administration. We all know this includes massively expanding welfare to keep more Americans out of the workforce and dependent on government.
And we all know he’s not afraid to schedule a controversial announcement on a big anniversary. (See “September 11 Withdrawal Date, Afghanistan”)
But who knew he was such a movie buff?
On June 10, the Biden administration announced that it would reverse one of the Trump administration’s most significant welfare reforms—closing the “Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility” (BBCE) loophole in the bloated food stamp program.
The Trump administration argued that states must at least check the financial assets of food stamp applicants to make sure they’re actually eligible for welfare. But that commonsense measure to reduce fraud is apparently too radical for Democrats these days.
Instead, the Biden administration is blowing the loophole wide open once again, pressing the gas pedal of welfare enrollment to the floor and disabling the brakes of common-sense integrity checks.
Why did Biden sign the order on June 10? Maybe someone in the administration has a sense of humor.
Exactly 27 years earlier, Speed hit theaters. You may remember it: Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock find themselves scrambling to save the passengers on a city bus rigged to blow up if it moves slower than 50 miles per hour.
It was the perfect day to announce that the Biden administration plans to treat big-government welfare programs the same way—a rolling, non-stop, no-exit machine rigged to explode.
The BBCE loophole—through which states have enrolled millions of individuals onto food stamps without checking their assets at all, including millionaires and lottery winners—was born during the Clinton administration just a few years after the original Speed came out in 1994.
By 2012, it became an issue in President Obama’s re-election campaign. Rival candidates like Newt Gingrich called President Obama the “food stamp president,” pointing out that, despite economic growth, the program didn’t shrink in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Instead, food stamp enrollment reached all-time highs.
BBCE, in large part, drove this. What else can you expect from a policy designed to increase enrollment and dependency by purposely not checking eligibility?
Even as fewer and fewer individuals qualified under federal guidelines, BBCE prevented checking their eligibility, accelerating dependency at maximum speed—and maximum cost to hardworking taxpayers.
Biden’s reboot is true to the original. At one point in Speed, Keanu Reeves’ character warns another police officer that “there’s enough C-4 on this thing to put a hole in the world.”
That’s BBCE. It blew a massive hole in America’s safety net—and in the federal budget—and we’re still picking up the pieces.
But there was hope for reform during the Trump administration. After decades of this destructive growth in the welfare state, Trump’s Department of Agriculture finally put forward a serious plan to close the loophole.
President Biden could have admitted that the Trump administration’s rule would reduce wasteful spending and extreme cost, while protecting food stamps for the truly needy.
But blinded by his determination to undo President Trump’s accomplishments and to grow government any way possible, he didn’t.
Instead, BBCE will go on. Taxpayers will keep spending billions on benefits for ineligible welfare enrollees. And businesses will keep searching for more able-bodied workers.
Early on in Speed, Sandra Bullock says to Keanu Reeves, “just tell me what the plan is. Is there a plan?”
In President Biden’s reboot, nobody’s asking that question. Nobody is playing the hero. And welfare enrollment just keeps picking up speed—and passengers.
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