Welfare, Work and the States

Can states move welfare recipients into jobs?


In one bold stroke, the federal government has terminated its 61- year-old welfare program and given the states the leading role in charting welfare policy. But Washington also has made clear that it expects the states to help many more welfare recipients go to work. This adds up to an enormous challenge for states. Welfare-to-work efforts and public employment traditionally have cost more than simply writing benefit checks for welfare recipients. But federal spending for training and welfare promises to decline over time. Moreover, states will have to face the prospect that many welfare recipients could eventually lose welfare benefits completely, even though they may be unable to find jobs that pay enough for them to become self- sufficient.

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