Do zoning ordinances limit inner city prosperity? Where will political support for increased federal spending for the poor come from? How much money spend on the "War on Poverty" was wasted? Why is inner city education so poor? How would inner city work programs be implemented? Will this summer's welfare reforms help or hurt the inner city? Is a "race war" on the horizon? How can inner cities be reconnected to the rest of Amercian society? Viewer comments James Botto of Sugar Land, TX, asks:
I recently purchase and read your book titled "The Truly Disadvantaged" and found it to be interesting reading. In your book you discussed issues of welfare dependency in the poor urban areas. Do you feel that the new welfare reform package will in any significant way help this problem?
Dr. Wilson responds:
I think that the new welfare will exacerbate the problems of dependency. People go on welfare not because they do not want to work. Welfare is an anathema to an overwhelming majority of welfare mothers. They hate being on welfare. The problem is findings jobs that allow them to move off welfare and that prevent them from falling deeper into poverty. As I pointed out in chapter 3 of "When Work Disappears," many mothers who take low paying jobs after being on welfare are stripped of medical care and fall deeper into poverty (because their minimum wage jobs do not carry health insurance, and they have traveling costs to and from work, child care costs, and work related expenses). Since the new welfare bill does not provide work slots for welfare recipients who reach the time limit, we will be facing a major problem in our inner cities -- where welfare recipients will be flooding a pool already filled with jobless workers. This could result in the creation of a huge number of homeless families -- the worst kind of dependency.