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In 1961, 81% of working age men in this country were employed in the workforce. In 2012, that number dropped to less than 63%— nearly a 20 percent decrease. While a tough economy can be partly to blame, many of those unemployed have simply given up on looking for work or furthering their education. Just as troubling is that many government policies have removed incentives for the able-bodied to work, making it easy to remain idle. America is a compassionate society with a safety net to provide basic necessities of life to those who've hit hard times. But social programs like food stamps and section 8 housing were never meant to be a permanent way of life. Instead of being a safety net, government has entangled far too many from achieving full human dignity that comes from work and productivity.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center