• Welfare reform?

    By e-mail, a reader asked,

    My gut tells me that – for a long time, until there is better balance in wages across this planet – the government will be forced to create jobs at blue collar levels.  But white collar taxpayers will no doubt be reluctant to fund this through the tax rolls.  So, I am wondering what welfare reform ideas would at least try to employ people who are underemployed instead of simply paying them to sit home (and look for jobs that will never materialize)?

    Any good references that you might be able to direct me towards?

    I’m likely no more expert in this area then many readers of this blog. So, share your thoughts in the comments. Also, should Tyler Cowen, Matt Yglesias, or Kevin Drum focus on this they’d probably do a better job than I could at putting together some thoughts of value.

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    • WPA worked well and built a lot of vital infrastructure (much of which is still in use). The US has a pressing need to upgrade infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, transportation) across the board. These are primarily blue collar jobs.

    • How are we defining welfare? The question assumes people are not required to work to receive some forms of aid. I think the question is loaded and needs to be re-asked with further research into the forms of “welfare” available in the united states. To start, look up AFDC and tanf. Some poor people pride themselves on not receiving welfare, even though they may receive food stamps. Welfare to some means a very specific benefit.