Liberals predictably beg to differ but a White House push for work requirements in welfare programs is being defended as a positive path forward.
After it was obvious Congress would fail to address the issue, President Donald Trump signed an executive order April 10 that strengthens work requirements and instructs federal agencies to review their policies and recommend changes, The Associated Press reported.
Trump campaigned on welfare reform as a candidate but was told by GOP leaders in January that the issue would fail to find support in Congress, the AP also reported.
"The president just sent a very strong signal to the agencies under his control that they need to review all of their programs and policies to make sure that we promote work within our welfare system," says Kristina Rasmussen of the Foundation for Government Accountability.
If there are able-bodied adults who can work, she adds, there is a "red-hot economy" with millions of jobs that can give them a pathway off of dependency.
"And we need to help people," she insists, "who have been on welfare find that opportunity that's waiting for them."
The Heritage Foundation also favors the executive order, not just for the work requirements but because it strengthens marriages and strong families.
"Which we know is important to reducing long-term poverty, using money efficiently and effectively," says Mimi Teixeira, who studies welfare policy at Heritage. "So reducing waste and fraud, and making sure that when we fund programs that they actually do something and achieve an intended effect."
The government resources, Teixeira adds, should go to those who can't support themselves including the elderly and disabled, and children.
The executive order does not impact entitlement programs such as Social Security or Medicare.
"What's really being looked at is food stamps, cash welfare assistance, maybe even housing and Medicaid," she explains.
On the topic of Medicaid, concerns have been expressed that work requirements for Medicaid would result in people losing coverage and or being discouraged from enrollment.
Rasmussen counters those arguments by saying no one will come off the program unless they want to.
"The standard is work, train, or volunteer 20 hours a week," she continues. "This is really about re-engaging folks, because we know that two out of five able-bodied adults will stay on food stamps for eight years, and their best pathway forward and off food stamps is community engagement."