Dan Gilmore / Dec. 8, 2015

A Tale of Two Welfare Systems

A liberal and conservative government tackle welfare reform.

It was the best of times for Wisconsin’s welfare program; and while it wasn’t the worst of times for New York City’s dole, the waste and excess in the program is growing. Any statesman knows that running a government welfare program is tricky business. While it’s good that there’s a safety net to catch citizens when they fall upon hard times, it’s hardly a role the government is well-suited to fill. Go too far and the government will find it’s taking from taxpayers to prop up the welfare queens.

Only look to New York City in the ‘80s and '90s to see this problem. More than a million New Yorkers were reliant on the city for aid. It took the administrations of two mayors to ensure welfare was going to the people that needed it the most — and not the moochers. Under the reforms, about 20% of recipients left the government dole to find jobs, to provide for themselves. It’s a similar reform that Scott Walker’s Wisconsin recently instituted, as Hot Air describes. Able-bodied adults were required to work at least 20 hours a week, or look for a job — with government assistance, we might add. It was the way for the government to provide a safety net, but a safety net that encouraged its citizens to bounce back into the work force.

But NYC’s bleeding-heart mayor, Bill DeBlasio — despite the previous administrations’ reforms — felt that the Big Apple’s welfare was too onerous. His administration cut some of the verifications and restrictions on welfare. Now, nearly 400,000 New Yorkers are receiving state assistance, an increase of 8%.

Is it another sign of hard times? Probably not, as the economy is on a slow recovery. And if New York residents listen to their liberal leaders, then the economy couldn’t be better. But the true economic bedrock is being laid in places like Wisconsin, where more people are at work, contributing instead of relying on the government to prop them up.

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