ON-Lion Letter
Thanks to work requirements, poor Americans on welfare have seen their incomes more than double, according to two groundbreaking studies of Kansas and Maine. 

"All of us are here because we want the same thing:  to help as many families as possible escape poverty as quickly as possible," Tarren Bragdon testified to the House Ways and Means Committee in May.  "The best way to do this, and to solve many of the other challenges welfare programs currently face, is through a simple but powerful tool that must be core to any welfare reform conversation:  work."

Bragdon is chief executive officer of The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) in Naples, Fla.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports FGA.

"Before Kansas restored work requirements[, r]ecipients received an average of nearly $200 in food stamps each and every month, whether they worked or not," according to Bragdon, and "the vast majority did not work -- just one in five were working at all -- and most were in severe poverty.

"Those who didn’t meet the work requirement were transitioned off welfare after three months," he continued.  "But guess what happened next?  They went back to work in record numbers and are now better off.

"Half were working right away and nearly 60 percent had found employment within a year," Bragdon said.  "Not only did they go back to work, but incomes skyrocketed, increasing by an average of 127 percent," and "[t]he average income for those working is now above the poverty line."

And in Maine, "Thousands of able-bodied adults leaving food stamps found jobs and increased their hours, leading their incomes to rise by 114 percent on average."

The hearing can be viewed here, and Bragdon's written testimony is here.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |