After three decades and over $5 trillion, the federal government may have lost the war
on poverty, but welfare reform at the state level is winning more and more of the battles.
In Michigan, more people than ever have broken out of the welfare quagmire to find
meaningful work. Reforms such as "workfare"which requires recipients of
public benefits to find jobshave cut welfare cases 49 percent since 1993, leaving
fewer than 100,000 Michiganians still relying on public assistance.
Further reforms, such as those adopted in other states, could ensure that Michigan
remains at the forefront of effective alternatives to government dependency. Eight
counties in Florida, for example, foster self-reliance by limiting the length of time
welfare recipients can collect benefits to 24 months in any 60-month period.
New Jersey does not increase benefits to recipients who have more children while on
welfare, which encourages parents to earn a larger income to support a larger family.
Welfare reform has already helped thousands of Michiganians dependent on government to
become productive and self-reliant, but successes in other states show that even more is
possible to restore dignity and independence to every citizen.
For the Mackinac Center, this is Catherine Martin.