Welfare Reform Lessons From the Front Lines

Great welfare reform lessons from AEI’s Robert Doar, who achieved great success heading up welfare reforms in New York City.

Doar outlines the reasons for success in New York: “Welfare-caseload declines, work-rate increases, and child-poverty declines all happened largely because, for eight years under Mayor Giuliani and twelve years under Mayor Bloomberg, New York City required welfare applicants and recipients to work, or look for work, in return for benefits. We aggressively detected and prevented fraud and waste (although we didn’t stop all of them); and we enforced these requirements with a vigilance that every day led to hundreds of case closings and welfare-grant reductions as we made clear that welfare came with responsibilities.”

A few of the lessons learned:

  • Always promote personal responsibility.
  • Employment is far better than training and education.
  • Making work pay is welfare reform too.
  • Be honest about the importance of married two-parent families.
  • Caseworkers don’t cost much; benefits do.
  • Medicaid is where the money is.
  • When it comes to the disabled, trust but verify.
  • Always cheer for the economy.

Georgia and many other states have gotten away from work requirements in exchange for safety net services, despite the great success of reforms in the 1990s. (You can find specifics in the Heartand Institute’s 2015 Welfare Reform Report Card.)

Read the full article here.