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More Welfare, More

Poverty

particularly for children and singleparent households. Most of those who


left welfare found work, and of them, the

Last year, the federal government spent


more than $477 billion on approximately
50 different programs to fight poverty.
That amounts to $12,892 for every poor
man, woman, and child in this country.
For all the talk about budget cuts,
spending on these social programs has
increased an inflation-adjusted 22

vast majority work full-time.


However, whatever successes welfare
reform has brought, more can be done.
And if we have learned anything by
now, it is that there are limits to what
government programseven reformed
onescan do to address the root causes
of poverty.

percent since 2001.


Observers have known for a long time
Despite this government aid, 37 million
Americans continue to live in poverty. In
fact, despite nearly $9 trillion in total
welfare spending since Lyndon Johnson
declared War on Poverty in 1964, the
poverty rate is perilously close to where
it was when we began, more than 40
years ago.
Clearly we are doing something wrong.
Throwing money at the problem has
neither reduced poverty nor made the
poor self-sufficient.
Welfare has had some positive effects.
Since 1996, roughly 2.5 million families
have left the program. It has led to
modest reductions in poverty,

that the surest ways to stay out of


poverty are to finish school. That means
that if we wish to fight poverty, we must
end those government policieshigh
taxes and regulatory excessthat
constrain growth and job creation, not
continue to increase the size of our
welfare system.