They spend their days cluttering park benches or watching ESPN, because they are too discouraged to look for work or lack the incentive to make an effort.
Since 2000, Congress has enhanced the earned income tax credit, and expanded or enacted new programs that provide direct benefits to low and middle income workers, including ObamaCare and Medicaid, food stamps, and rent and mortgage assistance.
Generally, benefits phase down as family incomes rise, and this effectively taxes additional income as much as 50 percent. Consequently, government benefits penalize work and skills acquisition, and often encourage one partner in two adult households to be idle.
Many unemployed men combine assistance from wives, relatives and friends with government benefits to avoid work altogether or cling to part-time employment to avoid tripping income thresholds that would result in the loss of benefits.
Similarly, many women with good skills and education, who might enjoy the fulfillment and independence of working, are encouraged to avoid employment.