The Surprise Blessings of Reform

The experts who built the welfare system didn't intend to create a toxic culture of dependency. And it turns out the reformers offering antidotes didn't anticipate some of their own side effects either.

Certainly Lisa Van Riper didn't. Three years ago, her friend David Beasley, then the Republican Governor of South Carolina, gave the Greenville civic activist $200,000 of private money left over from his inaugural and asked her to help make the state's new work requirements for welfare recipients stick. Van Riper's mission: to persuade every church, synagogue and private civic group in the state to adopt one welfare family...

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