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President Donald Trump issued an executive order last April that called for policy reforms to, among other things, “improve employment outcomes and economic independence.”
Nearly one year later, the president’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 doubles down on this goal by renewing policies to promote work in means-tested welfare programs.
Trump - Budget - Better - America - Work
Trump’s “Budget for a Better America” proposes to strengthen work requirements in programs such as food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, to help work-capable adults move toward greater self-support.
Many Americans agree with the president’s goals.
Percent - Americans - Principle - Adults - Work
Nearly 90 percent of Americans say they agree with the principle that adults who are able to work should be required to work or prepare for work in exchange for government assistance. Americans see work requirements as one important way for welfare programs to merge compassion and fairness.
Americans also broadly recognize work as a fundamental source of well-being in their own lives.
Report - Sense - Identity - Something - Living
Most report that work gives them a sense of identity, as opposed to being something they just do for a living. In fact, more than two-thirds say that they would work in a paying job even if they didn’t need the money.
Job satisfaction has been consistently high (at around 90 percent) since Gallup started polling on it in the early 1990s.
Feelings - Work - Surprise
These positive feelings toward work should come as no surprise.
As social psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes in his book “The Happiness Hypothesis,” humans have a “basic drive to make this happen,” and one way this commonly manifests itself is through work.
Words - Work - Empowers - Environments - Sense
In other words, work empowers us to connect and engage productively with our environments, and thus provides us with a sense of meaning and purpose.
Yet despite the inherent value of work, the government’s current means-tested programs generally do little to promote work. Instead, these programs often discourage work by reducing benefits as...
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