When Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney unveiled the Trump administration's new budget, he used very important language — although they were words we haven't heard it in many years.
To paraphrase Mulvaney, the measure of budget success for the President Donald Trump administration is not how much federal assistance is given out, but how many people leave government dependency and join the private labor force as fully-fledged workers.
The last time I heard a talk like this was over 20 years ago when former President Bill Clinton teamed with Speaker Newt Gingrich to pass welfare reform. They argued that tighter eligibility, time limits, work-search mandates, and better training programs would move people from welfare to workfare. Critics said 'wait, no — tougher welfare requirements will throw millions onto the streets with no federal assistance.'
As it turns out, they were wrong. Millions moved into the labor force to work productively, grow the economy, and provide themselves with new self-esteem and happiness.
This point on happiness is one of my favorites. I learned it from AEI (American Enterprise Institute) President Arthur Brooks, who has done a number of quantitative surveys that clearly show how people who work for a living are far happier than those who depend on government assistance.