| Opinion/The Review

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Welfare vs. work: Government's perversion.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

There's no incentive for government's dependents to work when today's patchwork of state and federal welfare programs provides more money — sometimes, considerably more — than entry-level jobs, according to a new report by the Cato Institute.

“The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013,” which follows up on a similar Cato report from 1995, shows that despite so-called welfare “reform” in 1996, the slide toward dependency has grown worse in recent years.

To wit: Why would anyone give up a government check for a job that pays less?

For example, a mother of two in New York who receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families along with other common government subsidies could accrue a total benefits package of $38,004 ($29,817 in Pennsylvania), according to Cato. And remember, that's tax-free.

In 11 states, welfare surpasses the average pre-tax first-year salary for teachers, Cato reports. In 39 states, it beats the starting wage for secretaries.

(And, no, this is not an argument for perverting market forces and arbitrarily raising them to above government-set welfare rates.)

“If Congress and state legislatures are serious about reducing welfare dependence and rewarding work, they should consider strengthening work requirements in welfare programs,” writes Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at Cato.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has reduced those requirements, subjecting recipients to lives no brighter than their next government check.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. EPA diktats: Pushing back
  2. Sunday pops
  3. The Box
  4. Kittanning Laurels & Lances
  5. Regional growth
  6. Saturday essay: Garden chances
  7. Jamestown revealed: History comes alive
  8. Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
  9. The Connellsville Redevelopment Authority: Facts & findings
  10. So, where’s the I-70 ‘Welcome to Pennsylvania’ sign on the Pa.-W.Va. border?
  11. Intrepid salute