Are Welfare Benefits Too High?

The CATO Institute has just released a new study “The Work Versus Welfare
Trade-Off: 2013”, which analyzes the total level of welfare benefits on a state by state basis.  The authors, Michael Tanner and Charles Hughes, show that welfare pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states and, moreover, in 13 states, it pays more than $15 per hour. The authors recommend that Congress and state legislatures strengthen welfare work requirements, remove exemptions from working and narrow the definition of work.  Also many states should consider shrinking the large gap between the value of welfare and work by reducing current benefit levels and tightening eligibility requirements.
Clearly welfare benefits as well as disability payments, through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program of Social Security, have grown too large and have become a disincentive for many people to find a job.  Getting something for nothing is a moral hazard which induces an attitude of entitlement and helplessness.  It also causes the labor force participation rate to shrink and therefore hurts the economy.
Tightening up welfare payments and disability income are among the many actions
which Congress could take to speed up economic growth and lower government
spending.  We need more representatives in Washington who understand that change is needed and who can advocate effectively for policies which will get this done!