Efforts to promote work have been the centerpiece of welfare reform over the past ten years. In signing the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, President Bill Clinton pledged that the sweeping overhaul would "end welfare as we know it" by promoting work, responsibility, and family. To accomplish these goals, policymakers relied on two sets of tools: strict limits on eligibility for traditional benefits and a set of programs designed to make work pay. When Work Is Not Enough presents the first comprehensive analysis of the work support system. Drawing on both state and national data, Robert Stoker and Laura Wilson evaluate a broad range of policies that provide cash or in-kind benefits to low-wage workers, low-income working families, and families moving from welfare to work. These programs include minimum wage rates, Earned Income Tax Credit programs, medical assistance programs, food programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families earned income disregards, childcare grants, and rental assistance. Stoker and Wilson break new ground by examining the adequacy and coverage of the work support system in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. They address the prospects for reforming the system, as well as its impact on the politics of redistribution in the United States. Rich in analysis, When Work Is Not Enough will be essential reading for anyone interested in the impact and future of welfare reform.
Robert P. Stoker is associate professor of political science and public policy at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA. Laura A. Wilson is the executive director and division chair in the School of Public Affairs and a research associate at the Schaefer Center for Public Policy at the University of Baltimore, Maryland, USA.