chapter  17
17 Pages

Can Welfare Reform Eliminate Poverty?


The elimination of income poverty has been an explicit objective of public policy since the early 1960s. In the past fifteen years numer­ ous policies and programs designed to improve the economic wel­ fare of our poorest citizens have been implemented. Partly as a result of this antipoverty effort, a rapid increase in the number of welfare beneficiaries and tlie value of available welfare benefits occurred. Although this growth in welfare led to a reduction in income poverty, a “welfare crisis” emerged. The dimensions of the crisis were perceived differently by politicians, taxpayers, and wel­ fare recipients, but many became convinced that the existing wel­ fare system needed reform.