Don't Blame Market Forces For Breaking Up The Family

It is not often that one sees an article in BUSINESS WEEK containing as many misinterpretations as "Welfare reform won't patch up poor families" (Economics, Jan. 23). To argue that free markets are a major cause of the breakup of the family, one must have a major misunderstanding of economics and/or a serious ideological bias. To dismiss the hypothesis of Charles Murray that U.S. welfare policy has tended to encourage dependency and illegitimacy ignores important and growing evidence to the contrary. To argue that more government policies and intervention will help the problem ignores 30 years of history.

Dan Coggin

Richmond, Va.

Thanks for the Economics Commentary and the article ("What to expect if welfare ends," Economic Trends, Jan. 23), challenging the assumption that welfare recipients are like the middle class, but that welfare makes them dependent. Cutting aid alone won't help the marginalized person with manual-labor skills. Republicans are right: more people should work. Democrats are right: job development and compassion are needed to assist those left behind.

Roger D. Harms


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