Wrong on welfare
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The Coalition for Low Income Pennsylvanians wants to set the record straight on the Cato Institute report “The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013” and the editorial “Welfare vs. work: Government's perversion” (Aug. 23 and TribLIVE.com) endorsing it.
Cato finds “(t)he current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits ($29,817 annually for a family of three in Pennsylvania) that it acts as a disincentive for work.” The report suffers from fatal flaws.
First, welfare benefits fall far short of Cato's claims. The $29,000 figure counts housing benefits ($8,947) only available to one in six families due to limited funding and equates Medicaid value with premium costs ($8,100) for comparable private insurance. It's not cash available for living expenses, and it exaggerates full value — most workers with coverage have some employer subsidy. Adjusting for these distortions, actual benefit value is $12,180 annually.
Second, public benefit programs don't discourage work. Both SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid, for example, offer work incentive deductions from earned income to encourage work. In 2011, 86 percent of low-income children receiving Medicaid or CHIP were in working families. More than half of able-bodied adults in households with children receiving SNAP work.
Reports like Cato's unfairly portray low-wage earners and persons living in poverty as lazy and waiting for the next government handout. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Rev. Sandra Strauss &
The writers — respectively, director of public advocacy for the Pennsylvania Council of Churches and staff attorney for the Community Justice Project — are co-chairs of the Coalition for Low Income Pennsylvanians (papovertycoalition.org).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Deer Lakes drilling OK
- Tragedy’s ramifications III
- Tragedy’s ramifications I
- Resurrection? Really?
- Paying for ‘Fayette’s Folly’
- Amazing support
- Stop currying Saudis’ favor
- Cover many stances
- In tragedy’s wake II