The Corner

Politics & Policy

Work Requirements for Welfare Works — Politically

Democrats have predictably complained about the Trump administration’s decision to permit states to impose work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients. They’ve complained even though the only state request approved so far defines “work” to include volunteering, searching for work, attending school, or undergoing treatment for substance abuse, among other things.

They should think twice about their opposition in light of a new poll released today by the Foundation for Government Accountability. That poll shows overwhelming public support for requirements like this, even among Democrats. Between 75 and 90 percent of the public supports work requirements for programs like welfare, food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid. Among Democrats, support for work requirements ranged from a low of 59 percent (for Medicaid) to 82 percent for welfare.

Kristina Rasmussen, FGA’s vice president for federal affairs, notes that President Trump’s State of the Union address included a call to “lift our citizens from welfare to work.” “The best way to do this,” she says, “is through welfare reform that focuses on the dignity of work.” Republicans should heed her call: Work requirements for social safety-net programs are fair and popular.

Henry OlsenMr. Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an editor at, and the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.


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