chapter  11
Reform Work, Not Welfare (1975)
Pages 9

The distinction between those who could not work and those who could, which the social security design of the 1940s had assumed was neatly drawn, has become complex and obscure, confusing and confounding all efforts to reform the welfare system. The reform design involved in the Family Assistance Plan (FAP) and its descendants was intended to take into account the new reality that mothers could, did, and often wanted to work. But the extensive Congressional hearings and studies occasioned by FAP and by welfare generally broadcast the news that there was no way of making work, for those mothers without advanced education and valuable skills, a real competitor to welfare. Good jobs can compete with welfare; poor jobs cannot. The task of reform should be not to make welfare better (in the generous states it is good enough); it should be to make the poor jobs more attractive.