Job Creation Alone Won’t Fix Welfare

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Decreasing welfare dependency, as Florida is doing, is the way to go.

President Ronald Reagan once said that “the best social program is a productive job for anyone who’s willing to work.” The data clearly support Reagan’s claim, which is just as true today as it was in 1982.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 3 percent of people who work full-time, year-round jobs live in poverty. Even having a part-time job cuts the likelihood of being in poverty in half. Alternatively, nearly 1 in 3 adult Americans under the age of 65 who did not work over the past year live below the federal poverty line. Having a job is the No. 1 predictor of how likely someone is to live in poverty — ahead of family makeup, disability status, race, sex, and education.

There is another point that is just as true as Reagan’s claim — job creation alone is not enough to lower participation in public welfare programs. President Trump understands this. During his inaugural address, he promised to “get our people off of welfare and back to work.”