Workfare

Commentary by Pete du Pont

Host intro: As welfare reform goes into effect, states will be deciding how programs should operate. Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis says some states are already on the job

Critics of welfare reform argue that the cost of education, child care services, tuition and training programs is so high that it's actually cheaper to make welfare payments than to create workfare that gets single mothers and others off the dole.

But work-fare programs in some states have already been successful in Oregon, Mississippi and six other states.

Here's how the pilot program in Oregon worked:

Money welfare was used to subsidize on the job training. Recipients got more money than they'd have gotten from a welfare check, and they learned a trade.

If these new workers weren't offered permanent jobs when the training subsidies ran out, they could go back into the system at another company or get help looking for work.

In Oregon, 80 percent who took jobs didn't even need the government subsidy, saving the system millions in welfare dollars. Of those who took subsidized jobs, four out of five moved on to unsubsidized jobs within 14 months. Others found regular jobs in the marketplace. Predictably, some simply stopped filing for welfare rather than look for work.

Because of the work incentives, welfare recipients are leaving the system and fewer are signing up for benefits. The state saves money, and former welfare beneficiaries make money, learn to be self-supporting, and break the welfare cycle.

Well, those are my ideas. And at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Host outro: Tomorrow, Pete du Pont has some ideas on what the real terrorist threat is, and what we should do about it.