A few weeks ago, Sharon Ward explained the many problems with a report from the Cato Institute suggesting it's great to be poor in the United States. Today, Sandy Strauss and Peter Zurflieh, the co-chairs of a coalition working to improve the lives of Pennsylvania's low-income families, have a letter to the editor in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review setting the record straight about the Cato study. They do a nice job of explaining how public benefits encourage low-income people to go to work and keep at it:
Public benefit programs don't discourage work. Both SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid, for example, offer work incentive deductions from earned income to encourage work. In 2011, 86 percent of low-income children receiving Medicaid or CHIP were in working families. More than half of able-bodied adults in households with children receiving SNAP work.
Reports like Cato's unfairly portray low-wage earners and persons living in poverty as lazy and waiting for the next government handout. Nothing could be further from the truth.