Rethinking Welfare Reform

Rethinking Welfare Reform

Reform of the nation’s primary system of cash aid to the poor—Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)—is again on the political agenda. That this is happening so soon after the last wave of reform (which resulted in the Family Support Act of 1988) suggests the intractable nature of the problem. This time, the centerpiece of reform is the idea of a two-year time limit on the welfare rolls. Does welfare really need reform? How do liberal and conservative notions of reform differ? Where have past reforms failed?

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Lima