In 2013, reports a new CEA study, there were about 17.2 million adult Medicaid recipients who were neither disabled nor elderly. The comparable figure for SNAP was 18.6 million beneficiaries. In both cases, about half the recipients didn’t work at all and nearly another 20 percent worked fewer than 30 hours a week.
This strikes Trump officials as bad and unfair. It’s bad because it isolates low-income workers from the labor market and makes it less likely that they’ll develop the skills that will enable them to improve their living standards. It’s unfair because it violates popular norms.
“Society generally expects . . . non-disabled working-age adults” to work, the CEA report says. At another point, the report notes: “As women’s role in the work force [has grown], so [have] social expectations of work for single mothers on welfare.”