While most of the lawmakers responsible for these bills, and comments about potential bills, claim to have seen or been told about poor people making extravagant and unhealthy food purchases or engaged in what they see as anti-social behavior, one long-running political trope helped to drive this trend. That's the idea that America's poor are a crafty and scheming and yet deeply lazy lot.
This week, economists at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, analyzed federal data and found that despite widespread notions that the poor eat really well and work very little, the latter is indisputably false.
Among the poor, ages 18 to 64, about 35.2 don't work because they are retired, disabled or in school. An additional 64.8 percent are eligible and available to work. Among these, 62.6 percent hold jobs and 44.3 percent work full-time.
Bottom line: The majority of the nation's poor work. They just work in low-wage jobs.