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America is the greatest country in the history of the world. The unparalleled success of this country is sourced with a handful of simple policies and ideas like freedom, private property rights, and the rule of law. Among those traits that made this country great is work. Work gives individuals dignity. It teaches life lessons to young people, develops the skills of workers with entry-level jobs, and it perpetuates more opportunities for success.

Those concepts inspired the text of Senate File 2366, a bill passed on the Senate floor this week. This bill requires individuals receiving taxpayer-funded health care or food assistance to work, volunteer, obtain job training, or other schooling. This bill only applies to able-bodied adults and includes a series of exceptions for those who are not able to work, such as someone who is pregnant, medically exempt, or a caregiver.

The goal of this bill is to encourage work. It is designed to ensure taxpayer-funded social programs exist for those people truly in need. It aims to encourage those individuals on public assistance to move to self-sustaining careers for them and their families.

In addition to the moral and social benefits of work, Iowa’s economy needs more workers. The unemployment rate in this state has been below 3 percent for more than two years. Industry after industry is looking for more employees and trying to grow. Banners hang from many storefronts boasting of high starting wages and quickly escalating benefits. A period of nearly full employment is the perfect time to reform public assistance programs to encourage work and keep Iowa growing.

A few thousand years ago the writer of Ecclesiastes said, “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil.” A quote as true then as it is now.

Author: Amy Sinclair