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Trump’s executive order on work requirements punishes low-income people for being poor

President Trump is quietly curtailing access to social safety nets for our nation’s most vulnerable people.

The executive order he signed this week requiring federal agencies to establish or strengthen work requirements for social services — and reports that his administration is considering a proposal that would allow states to require drug testing for food stamp recipients — is not only heartless, it’s also based on false premises, including the assumption that poor people do not work.

In fact, most low-income adults who are able to work do, and many of the social programs that serve their needs already have work requirements. What’s more, most of the people who receive social services and don’t work are children, elderly or disabled.

There is no evidence that making it harder for poor people to access social programs will reduce poverty.

The social safety net is supposed to help people in times of underemployment and unemployment. Instead, the policies we are seeing just erect barrier after barrier to people getting the help they need to make ends meet. As a result, more and more people are slipping through the cracks.