Work & Happiness –  How Much to Get Off Welfare?

Work & Happiness – How Much to Get Off Welfare?


CHRIS: Both of my parents were very hard workers. They had a value around work, integrity, and providing for your family. If I want to support my family independently, have my own place where I pay my own rent, and I have work. BROOKS: When you take work out of people’s lives, there’s a hole that’s produced, obviously, but it’s not just a hole in their time. Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, writes and speaks extensively on what he calls “earned success.” CHRIS: “Five-Twenty-Six” BROOKS: The real hole is created in their sense of dignity, in the sense of worth, in the sense of meaning. People are created to create value. Earned success is the concept that you are creating value with your life. And you’re creating value in the lives of other people. NORBERG: Chris wants to work, but can she afford to endanger her benefits? How much I work generally will decrease my benefits. There’s a certain amount where I myself will lose Medicaid insurance, which is important because I have a history of cancer. It’s very complicated to figure out what the sweet spot is. NORBERG: The way the system works, Chris would lose more benefits if she worked an entry-level job than she could compensate for with earned income. Generally, what I come up with is if I want to support my family independently, have my own place where I pay my own rent, I have work, you know, I need to go from where I’m at now to around $60,000 a year.

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