June 9, 1997 in Nation/World

We Need An Effective Incentive Program Letter Of The Week: From May 27


The current welfare reform measures sound more like blaming the victim or scapegoating those least able to defend themselves.

The American work ethic has always been “work hard and get ahead.” Here is the deal people on welfare are given: Get a job so you are out of the home 40 hours a week while someone else watches your children. We’ll cut your benefits so you end up with no more money in your pocket than you had before you went to work. And if you are really a hard worker and put in a little overtime, we’ll cut your benefits even more.

This is not an incentive program.

An incentive program provides people with a way to improve their lifestyle by having more money. Set an income level a little above the poverty line, subsidize people who are working to ensure their income to that level and don’t start cutting back on their benefits until they have exceeded the set income level by $100 a month for six consecutive months.

That would be an incentive program.

The cost of providing before- and after-school child care programs, summer child care programs for school-age children and day care for preschool children for low-income families equals, if not exceeds, any savings of tax dollars achieved by the current reform program. V. Jo Smittle Spokane


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