chapter  9
Refining American Social Welfare Policy
Pages 15

PRWORA has fundamentally changed the American approach to poverty, both philosophically and in policy design. The philosophical change is more important than the specific policies that have been passed to implement the new approach (Kaushal and Kaestner, 2001; Jones, 2001). The model PRWORA is based on-supported work for able-bodied adults-is in harmony with the American public’s belief in self-reliance, equal opportunity, and limited government (Figure 1.3). Substituting employment for cash aid is likely to be the future of American welfare. It is unlikely that America will return to policies that allow large numbers of unemployed able-bodied adults to receive cash assistance for extended periods. The central question is: can this new approach be refined to do a better job of preventing poverty and helping the poor become economically independent?