MASSACHUSETTS: Working on Welfare

Would-be welfare reformers have long raised a basic question: Why not require able-bodied people on the dole to perform worthwhile labor for their checks? Five years ago, California's then Governor Ronald Reagan introduced an ambitious program for providing chores or "training" for all healthy adult recipients, except for mothers with children under six. The legislature voted to abolish it less than three years later, however, amid charges that it constituted slave labor. Last year New York City revived a similar program targeted mainly at some 50,000 men and women without children and found work of sorts for 5,700 of...

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