In "Revamp welfare to put children first" (Economic Viewpoint, Mar. 30), Gary Becker accepts the common mythology of the "welfare queen" who is getting rich by popping out another baby every year. In California, an extra child brings in an additional $60 per month in benefits. Hardly a windfall in a state whose "liberal benefits" don't even cover the rent in many communities. Furthermore, the average number of children per Aid to Families with Dependent Children household is 1.6.
What was most disturbing about Becker's article was his assumption that welfare parents don't care about or take good care of their children. Many women have chosen the welfare path precisely because they do care about their children and want to raise them themselves.
I agree with Becker on one point, the welfare system needs massive overhauling. But . . . it is not the benefits that provide disincentives, it is the punitive, backward restrictions the welfare system imposes that make it nearly impossible to move on to self-sufficiency.
Marsha Bailey, Executive Director
Women's Economic Ventures
Santa Barbara, Calif.