Commentary: From Welfare To Worsefare?

The U.S. economy has worked wonders for the working poor in recent years. Companies desperate for help have pushed up wages for the lowest-skilled employees after decades of decline. Employers have even snapped up welfare mothers, often among the least employable, slashing the rolls in half, to some 2.5 million today. Taken together, it makes the 1996 welfare reform law, which limits the time families can remain on welfare, appear to be a smashing success. Democrats and Republicans alike point to the important accomplishment of having broken the cycle of dependency that welfare creates. "The drop in welfare caseloads has been one of the greatest public policy successes of the century," Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a Republican, said on Aug. 22, the law's fourth anniversary.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.