Mississippi took a step in the right direction when, at the beginning of the month, the Mississippi Department of Human Services announced it would implement work requirements for single people between the ages of 18 and 49 who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly called food stamps. Although this is a positive development, there is still much that could be done to better help the State of Mississippi move people in poverty from government dependency to self-sufficiency.
Federal, state, and local governments spend well over $1 trillion per year on nearly 130 means-tested programs for lower-income Americans. Most of this money is intended to help the 46 million Americans living in poverty, yet we have achieved only minimal advances in getting people on sound financial footing since the “War on Poverty” was declared more than 50 years ago. Instead of helping people become self-sufficient, many states have implemented policies that actually trap people in a loop of government dependency.