A new study finds that a New York mother of two is eligible for $38,004 in welfare benefits–a sum more than the annual salary of a New York entry-level school teacher.
The study, conducted by the CATO Institute, says in many states welfare pays better than work. Topping the list of wage-equivalent benefits for a mother and two children was Hawaii at $60,590. Idaho came in last with $11,150.
The study found that 33 states and the District of Columbia offer welfare benefits that pay recipients more than an $8-an-hour job would. Twelve states and the District of Columbia offer welfare packages that pay better than a $15-an-hour job does.
“There is no evidence that people on welfare are lazy,” writes CATO senior fellow Michael Tanner. “But they’re also not stupid. If you pay them more not to work than they can earn by working, many will choose not to work.”
In total, the U.S. federal government now has 126 low-income programs. A full 72 of those welfare programs offer individuals cash or in-kind benefits.
Since President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared “war on poverty,” U.S. taxpayers have spent over $15 trillion on anti-poverty programs–a total nearly equal to America’s national debt.