Some Things Are Wrong with the System

Bernstein, Blanche
January 1986
Society;Jan/Feb86, Vol. 23 Issue 2, p10
Academic Journal
This article argues in favor of the workfare program of the U.S. welfare system. Workfare is a program that requires employable welfare recipients whose children are of school age to accept public service jobs and work a sufficient number of hours per month, generally at minimum wages, to pay off their cash grant and food stamps. It has always been one of the most controversial of all welfare issues. To some, it is slave labor; only job training for regular paid employment with wages substantially exceeding the value of the welfare package is acceptable. To others, it is a reasonable obligation to place on welfare clients in return for the grant; it has the additional advantages of improving their employability and improving the integrity of the welfare system. Given that the current welfare system does create social and economic dependency among many of the nonworking and working poor, reintroducing the principle that those who can work should work would be an important step in encouraging and assisting welfare clients to become self sufficient and productive citizens. Workfare has shown itself to be an effective instrument for implementing that principle.


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