The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services reinstated work requirements for people who receive taxpayer-funded food assistance. The change in the law will impact about 70,000 people in 69 Michigan counties.
The article reports:
Wheaton (Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Public Information Officer Bob Wheaton) said that these work requirements had been in effect before 2002, but were lifted because of high unemployment. With the economy improving, Wheaton said, the MDHH decided it was time to reinstate the policy.
Holly Wetzel, communications coordinator at the Michigan-based, free-market think tank the Mackinac Center, supports reinstating work requirements.
“Work requirements benefit the individual, taxpayers and the economy because they realign incentives within our welfare system that encourage, reward, and restore the dignity of work,” Wetzel told Watchdog.org.
Former Democratic President Bill Clinton incorporated work requirements in his welfare reform package in the 1990s, which Wetzel said were a great success. These policies, she said, preserve the food stamp system and ensure access to the most needy while incentivizing a sustainable lifestyle. Along with a more sustainable food stamp system, she said she expects that employers will see “a more vibrant and enterprising labor market,” which will help them fill positions in an economy that has brought more jobs to the country.
“[Food stamps] exist to help the truly vulnerable,” Wetzel said.
In addition to food stamp work requirements, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is currently seeking to add work requirements to his Medicaid expansion program, called the Healthy Michigan plan. If Snyder succeeds, this will have the same work requirements as are currently required for food stamp recipients.
Putting a work requirement on food stamps provides incentive for those receiving food stamps to find employment. The fact that the state is referring people to programs where they can receive job training is also helpful. Part of human nature is not to appreciate things that you didn’t have to work for. Putting a work requirement of public assistance and training people for jobs helps the recipients of food stamps climb out of the poverty they are in. This worked in the 1990’s when it was first tried, and it will work successfully again.