The Trump admin and their allies in Congress are trying to add work requirements to anti-poverty programs. A number of excellent sources explain why this won’t work, where “work” means help poor adults move closer to self-sufficiency. Of course, if the goal is to simply kick people of the rolls, which for some legislators, I’m certain is the case…well, then I guess it could work.
First, this efficient WaPo editorial gives you the facts and the numbers behind why this pursuit of work requirements is folly, either in terms of budgetary savings or improving the poor’s living standards.
Next, for a deep dive into the issue, this testimony by the Urban Institute’s Heather Hahn is one-stop-shopping for granular evidence, down to the level of caseworkers, as to why work requirements are so ill-advised.
Finally, there’s my piece on this in WaPo this AM, which gets into the fact that we’ve got better evidence than every before (see Hahn’s piece, along with the links to my CBPP colleagues) that, in fact, able-bodied poor people already work. Given the nature of the stressors and labor market barriers they face, their connection to the job market often needs to be strengthened, but work requirements likely will, as Hahn shows, have the opposite effect.
My broader point is: Despite some of the best evidence we’ve ever had showing that neither trickle-down tax cuts nor work requirements will work, conservatives continue trying to solve the problem that the poor have too much and the rich have too little.