Nearly three-quarters of Americans believe that the food stamps program should include stronger work requirements, according to the October Food Demand Survey (FooDS) out of Oklahoma State University.

Other surveys similarly show that Americans support work requirements for welfare.

A 2012 Rasmussen survey revealed that 83 percent of Americans favor “a work requirement for welfare recipients,” with only 7 percent opposing. (The remaining 10 percent were undecided.)

And a 2009 nationally representative survey conducted by The Heritage Foundation found that more than 95 percent of Americans agreed that “able-bodied adults that receive cash, food, housing, and medical assistance should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving those government benefits.” High levels of support were found by those on both sides of the political aisle, with 96 percent of Democrats and 97 percent of Republicans agreeing with this statement.

On top of this, a survey conducted earlier this year by Rasmussen reveals that 80 percent of Americans agree that work is the best way out of poverty.

Yet the reality today is that the vast majority of the government’s 80 means-tested welfare programs—including the large and rapidly growing food stamps program—do not encourage work. Most act as a one-way handout.

While survey after survey shows that Americans understand the value of work in fighting poverty, policymakers in Washington fail to capture this vision. The result: Welfare spending climbs, rolls swell, and self-sufficiency flounders. The success of welfare programs such as food stamps is measured by the number of American households receiving assistance rather than by a growth in self-sufficiency.

Americans understand the value of work. It’s time policymakers did, too.