Who Should Still Be On Welfare?

Thanks to tough new work rules, welfare rolls have dropped almost 50% in the past six years. Now what should we do about the rest?

Cherlyndra Wells, 21, was just the kind of welfare recipient who sets critics of welfare programs off on a rant. A single mother of four from Dallas, she left school in the ninth grade and started having children. Rather than work or marry a man who did, she relied on welfare, food stamps and Medicaid. The tough 1996 welfare-reform law spelled out in clear terms what it wanted Wells and others like her to do in the future: get a job.

Under the new rules, Wells' life changed drastically--but not the way reformers intended. She did give up welfare last year,...