Camden Residents' Views on Employment and Welfare Reform:

Preliminary Findings from Focus Group Interviews


by Ted Goertzel, Ph.D.

The city of Camden is often viewed as a prototypical example of an impoverished, underclass urban community. Perhaps only East St. Louis, Missouri, has been used more frequently when national television programs want to illustrate the failure of American society in meeting the needs of its least advantaged members. In its sensationalized article on the city Time magazine asked "Who Could Live Here?" and answered "only people with no other choice."(1) The democratic leftist journal Dissent headlined its report "Collapse of a City: Growth and Decay of Camden, New Jersey."(2)

Of course, this dismal portrait of urban desolation does not apply to all neighborhoods in Camden. It fails to recognize the strengths which many Camden residents have shown in coping with difficult conditions. Nevertheless, if the term "underclass" can be applied to any American city it must include Camden's poorest neighborhoods. If social science theories are accurate models of urban decay in the midst of American affluence, they should fit life in Camden's poorest neighborhoods.

Theories of the urban underclass are conveniently summarized by Paul Peterson in the Brookings Institution's study of The Urban Underclass.(3) Peterson outlines four principal explanations which have been offered for the persistence of poor ghetto communities in American society:

1. The economy has changed so that jobs have moved away from older center cities to suburban areas.

2. There is a self-perpetuating "culture of poverty" in these communities.

3. The welfare system is inadequate to meet people's needs.

4. The welfare system provides perverse incentives so that many people feel it is not worthwhile to work.

Focus Groups. The Forum for Policy research recently conducted five focus group interviews with unemployed residents of low income Camden neighborhoods. We didn't explain the four theories to the participants, but simply asked them for their own explanations of why so many people in Camden were out of work and living in poverty. Based on their own experiences, the Camden residents came up with many of the same ideas as the experts from Brookings. They also had some new ideas of their own.

Here is a summary of some of their key ideas:

There are very few jobs in Camden. This is what the Brookings experts call "The Inner City in a Changing Economy." Jobs have moved to the suburbs, and they are not easily accessible to inner city residents. Here are some quotes from Camden residents:

"There are very few opportunities in Camden itself for's so bad that even McDonald's is not hiring."

"I look but it's not here in Camden. Anyplace that I go it's farther out."

"I'm a young, healthy able bodied 29 year old. I've been looking since the time I got home, everywhere that I can possibly get to and some places I had to ride to and get someone to take me, and I still don't have a job...I'm looking for a job."

"I mean what's in Camden? You have these private stores, a big Pathmark, things like that. You walk into these stores, they say they don't need anybody."

Many of the focus group members concentrated their job searching in the City of Camden itself. Some ventured into the rest of Camden County on occasion, but almost none ever crossed the river into Philadelphia. One respondent, who had gone to school to learn keypunching, was asked if she had ever looked in Philadelphia for work. She exclaimed, "oh, no!" apparently finding this idea quite a shock. She had, however, tried a temporary agency in Cherry Hill. She found that the economy is so bad that "even the temporary agencies aren't hiring."

Some respondents searched much more broadly for jobs. This was particularly true of hispanic respondents, many of whom had worked in different parts of the country. One remarked:

"I look all last job I had was all the way down on Rt 70, it took me 20 minutes on the bus just to get there. Here in Camden the only people they hire are either related to them or close friends..."

Available jobs don't pay much better than welfare. Conservatives such as Charles Murray(4) argue that the welfare system provides an incentive for people to stay home and draw benefits instead of working at low wage jobs. A surprising number of unemployed Camden residents agreed, many of them speaking frankly about their own situation:

"You see, I can't work while I'm on social security, and I'll be darned if I'm going to lose my benefits, I'll be darned if I'm going to lose my benefits."

"A lot of people say, `I work for nothing,' when they take a pay check home because it's so little. It brings people down."

"It gets boring, especially when you want to go out and do something and you can't because you'll have your benefits taken away from you by the social security. That has been my gripe."

"I do not want to go back to food service...I had the opportunity to go back to McDonalds and I'd rather be on welfare. I'm tired of it."

"By the time you lose your food stamps, your check, by the time you pay your car fare and lunch, you are back in the same spot again."

"People can live forever just sitting around and not doing nothing, just drawing checks, they're not helping themselves."

"The pay rate around here, I'll be perfectly frank if you live in someplace like down in Camden and have to go out in the suburbs, regardless of how much supplemental they give you with a voucher, don't you know until you get that check you're not going to make it, and you's got to eat, you's got to have a pack of cigarettes, you might want a soda, you're laying there in bed trying to contemplate on that little bit of money coming..."

"To be honest with you, I'm a little bit lazy, I probably could be working in a gas station right now rather than sitting at home, even though there's doubts because they've been held up so much now."

"Most people choose not to work because it about evens out."

"I know girls that get pregnant at 14 or 15 years, I'm like what are you going to do when you have the baby, they say, "oh, welfare." I don't think that's right. It doesn't encourage them to work. When you're receiving a check every month who's going to want to go to work."

Young People Don't Want to Work. Our Camden respondents didn't believe there was a "culture of poverty" which was passed on from generation to generation. They thought the older generation was much more industrious, but that many young people today just aren't interested in working if the conditions are less than ideal. They especially blamed the drug business for tempting young people away from honest work. This opinion was held just as strongly by our younger respondents as by the older ones. Some quotes:

"The younger people just want to get out and have money in their pockets so they can go party. They have this idea in their minds that we can go to work whenever we want to."

"I would say the majority [of young people] are pressured into finding a job, most likely they live at home with their parents, with the recession the parents are pushing even harder."

"Kids don't like to get dirty. You will find some teenagers who don't mind getting dirty, but if you go down to the Pennsauken mart you'll find lots of kids working there, in sneaker stores, places like that."

"You only have one life and if you can't enjoy it, and all you do is pay bills, why work? Somebody told me that. But I know I have responsibilities, I'm not happy with myself to be honest with you because of the situation I'm in now not working and being on assistance. I was never bought up to be on assistance."

"The school board has made it possible for kids to work during school hours, it's like a co-op thing, which is good, real good. Some of the kids don't think the money is good, though."

"You see somebody driving a car like that [points to a luxury car parked outside the window] and I can't even get a little Toyota or something like that, it's easy money and these kids like it. I don't pay taxes on it, the only risk I take is I get caught."

"My mom is a hard worker, she's worked every day of her life, I wish I could be more like her."

The Welfare System is too Complicated and Pays too Little. Some of the experts argue that the United States has an "inadequate welfare state" which doesn't give enough benefits. Many of our respondents agreed that benefits were too low:

"I'm receiving welfare now and when I do the little things I need to do, that's gone." [How much do you get?] "One hundred and forty dollars a month, plus $105 a month food stamps."

"Welfare is not enough money to go in the house. They only gave me $488. That don't even cover bills."

Some respondents also thought that the social programs in Camden were too complicated, confusing and uncoordinated:

"From food stamps they send you down to Federal Street where you register for work...the system is so complex there is no network between for example food stamps, municipal welfare, office of employment of New Jersey...everybody works independently, independent bureaucracies."

"There are programs here but the programs are crowded themselves."

Interpersonal Problems at Work. Several of our respondents said that their unemployment resulted from difficulties on the job. Some had trouble with alcoholism, others got into fights with co-workers or felt they were not respected by other people in the organization. Some quotes:

"I left the hotel [where she was working] because you can't talk to me any way you want to and then think that I'm still supposed to respect you. I have a title just like they do. It may not be the same title that they have, but I still have a title behind my name."

"I was working with alcohol and I became an alcoholic. I asked to go to a program for alcoholism, they sent me and paid for it and fired me while I was away."

"I get in trouble with a lot of the supervisors...when people came to me I was too blunt, I speak my mind too quick, it gets me into a lot of trouble... I got kicked out of two unions for fighting with my fellow employees, a supervisor, stuff like that."

"I worked for that raggedy chicken factory down on was alright but it it was a mess and the people was a mess in there, they talked to you anyway they wanted to, we didn't know if you would cut yourself or not."

"I've been to many jobs, and I just keep losing jobs here and there because of my disposition."

Ethnic Differences in Job Expectations. Many of our black respondents felt that Puerto Rican and Asian immigrants were willing to work for lower wages than they were. They thought that these recent immigrants were accustomed to a lower standard of living and to sharing expenses with large family groups. Some quotes, all from black respondents:

"You have the Puerto Ricans here, they accept the jobs cheaper...the Vietnamese, they will take the jobs cheaper. The chicken factory is 90% Puerto Rican and Vietnamese."

"You also have people at these workplaces who will work cheaper than they are supposed to pay. They will hire them first."

"If you have a fifty dollar job, and someone will take it for twenty dollars, who are you going to hire?"

"We are used to working and making a good rate of money. They will take less money, work hard, because they are about survival..."

"They come from a foreign country where they always had to work hard, where we have been spoiled to the United States society where we are used to getting a good rate."

"That is mainly because their standard of living is lower, in their culture they have more people living under the same roof, it is cheaper for them to live per person."

"To them this is like living in the Ritz."

When we shared these observations with a group of hispanic respondents, they tended to agree with the black respondents about some of the differences between the groups. They placed as much stress, however, on economic necessity as on cultural differences. After hearing an excerpt from a discussion by a black group, one Puerto Rican respondent commented:

"Some of it is true and I have to admit it. A lot of Puerto Ricans come from Puerto Rico, do not know the language, and they have no choice they have to work for whatever they can get. My mother had to work for 4.60 an hour because how is she going to eat?"

Another respondent commented that "people from the U.S. they think they should get a certain rate, people from the Island they don't know no better...they work for $3.35 an hour in Puerto Rico."

The Latino respondents also believed that hispanic families felt more obligation to help each other out. One respondent remarked that:

"That's why we have a lot of black bums out there, they won't pick them up in their houses. If we have family and they don't have no place to live, we wouldn't leave them homeless. We don't have the heart for that. If you have someone in Miami who are in the street living and they need someplace to stay in New Jersey you're going to help them out."

Racial Discrimination at Better Paying Jobs. Many black respondents reported that they experienced racial discrimination when they sought out better paying jobs with prospects of advancement. Many of them had difficulty finding jobs where they could use their professional skills:

"I have been to jobs where I know the only reason I wasn't hired was because I'm a minority... I can get lower level positions, but why should I do that? Sometimes you want to do that if you have a chance to go up the ladder, but if you go into a position and are stuck there forever, why should you bother going?"

"I think this is primarily the minority community, not the City of Camden. I think the City of Camden can do more to help the minority community than it is currently doing."

"I have three strikes against me, I was born black, I was born a woman, I was born poor...I have to work hard, the more education I have the further I can go."

"People don't expect black people to have too much education."

Puerto Rican respondents also felt that they were discriminated against in the job market:

"Every time I go look for a job and I see five white girls and me I say to myself they're not going to hire me, they're going to hire one of them. Every time I go interview they never hire me they hire one of the white girls."

"I think if there is a white gentleman who has the same schooling as me, I think they are going to hire him ahead of me. Unless it's labor, they'll always hire a Puerto Rican for labor."

Our white respondents agreed that minorities tended to be discriminated against, one remarked that when she was on a job another employee told her that they didn't hire blacks because they were once robbed by a black person. They also felt that Camden residents were discriminated against even if they were white. One said, "when you apply for a job and say you live in Camden, they don't trust you the same....there's a lot of prejudiced people."

Job Training Does Not Lead to Jobs in Camden. Several respondents had gone to school or training programs to get a credential, only to find that they couldn't get the kind of jobs they expected:

"I went to cooking school for three years, and I waltzed in with my resume and the head chef told me you can take the papers and wipe up with it, all I want to know is can you cook...that made me feel I wasted three years going to school and getting all these papers and all this man wanted to know was can I cook and make him an omelette."

"If you get into a program where they train you for something, there is no guarantee you will get a job here. You have to go somewhere else."

Lack of Casual Labor Opportunities. Many of the respondents, however, were less concerned with career opportunities or advancement than with the opportunity to find short term employment when they wanted to work. They were accustomed to a labor market where one could find a job quickly when one needed to work, then quit and move on when one tired of working or some other problem or opportunity came up. In Camden, especially during the recession of 1991-1992, they simply can't find these jobs when they need them:

"If I need a job to get some money, I keep that job for three weeks because I need the money...I never liked to stay in a job for too long, for some reason I just get tired of working and start to look for a new job."

"Since I've been in Camden here I can't compare it to any major city I have lived in. I could always go to the employment services and get a job right away but it's not like that in Camden. I find myself doing things I never thought of doing like applying for food stamps and welfare. I really do want to work."

"I'm a jack of all trades and a master of none. I've done it all just to survive in Camden. I was born here but I've always done better other than being in Camden. Everyplace else I go I've done well but Camden is just the pits." [So why are you here?] "My family is here, they all like it know how a salmon always swims upstream back home? This is where I was born at."

Reactions to the Anticipated Welfare Reform. On January 13, 1992, the New Jersey legislature enacted a sweeping welfare reform package which will include the following provisions:(5)

* additional non-medical benefits will be denied to a mother for any child born after the woman is already on welfare

* able-bodied recipients with children over two years old will be required to work or participate in job training programs

* mothers on welfare may marry without losing benefits provided the husband is not the father of her children and earns less than 150% of a poverty level income

* the 30% reduction in benefits now imposed on married parents will be eliminated.

This measure was passed largely at the urging of Assemblyman Wayne Bryant, a black legislator representing Camden. The measure is quite controversial and has been strongly opposed by groups as diverse as the Catholic Church, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women. It has not actually gone into effect because it needs to be approved by the federal government. Two of our focus groups were made up entirely of mothers receiving public assistance and we focused the discussion focused on the welfare reform. One group was composed entirely of hispanic women and was conducted in Spanish, the other was mixed and conducted primarily in English.

Only a few of the respondents had heard about the proposed reform, and they had only a partial view of it. One respondent thought that it was aimed as giving welfare recipients self-sufficiency:

"They want to give parents that's on welfare outlook of being self-sufficient, they don't have to sit around and wait on welfare, they gonna get out, go to job training school, or they'll put you in school.

They all thought this was a fine idea if it would work, but many respondents were skeptical that sufficient jobs could be found. One said, "I don't think there's enough job opportunities out there for all these welfare mothers."

The respondents also questioned whether child care would be provided. Many felt that the system was obligated to compensate them for the extra effort and expense involved. One asked: "If they're going to do that are they going to supply the baby sitter services? ... What are you going to do for me if you tell me what do?"

The mothers universally felt that two years of age was too young to leave their children with baby sitters or day care and go out to work or job training. They knew of cases when children had been abused by baby sitters or day care services and were very apprehensive about leaving their children at such a tender age. Comments included:

"That age is too young, all baby sitters do not treat your children as you do, sometimes they mistreat them. They should raise the age to five."

"One day when they brought the baby home [from day care] she had bruises all over."

"If you are concerned for the safety of your children your mind won't be on your studies."

The hispanic mothers thought that mothers should not have to go out to work or school until the children reached school age, while the black mothers were willing to consider leaving children in day care at three since they get some educational advantages from it.

In general, the hispanic respondents seemed to be more oriented towards home and family and less interested in going out to work. They said that they loved having large families and had strong family values. One woman said "in my opinion it is a pleasure to have children, I have twelve children and I am very happy with them...I have to wash clothes by hand, I don't have a washing machine, but I am happy with my children. `Where one person eats everyone eats' [an idiomatic expression] and clothing is always available. The money we get from welfare is not enough, but I've learned to stretch it."

Although the welfare benefits are low, the women found it possible to supplement them. One women commented that:

"We go on welfare because we need the assistance. The government knows the money we get is not enough to live. They force us to lie because to live we must find other ways of supplementing our income. We are forced to lie about a husband or boyfriend who helps with the expenses."

They were unhappy with the fact that the fathers tended to be discounted by this system. Their remarks included:

"Fathers don't exist as far as school goes."

"Children learn to discount their father as the system does."

"Fathers lose authority as head of household."

"Fear of DYFS [Division of Youth and Family Services] also diminishes the father's authority."

"Only the mother has responsibility for the children."

The respondents were very skeptical about the provision which will allow women to retain their benefits if they marry a man who is not the father of their children. They saw this as another assault against the family. One woman commented:

"If I'm going to marry anybody if I'm still with my kid's father I would prefer to marry him than go with some other man so I can keep my benefits. That's stupid right there."

Another remarked: "If a man's gonna marry a woman it's because he's going to take care of those children." After some discussion, however, one of the respondents observed that: "a lot of men when they marry say 'that's not my child I don't have to give him anything.'" She felt that benefits should continue for the child but not for the mother. Several respondents observed that the man might already have children of his own to support, or might not have enough income to provide for an new entire family.

Although the initial reactions were negative, the respondents seemed to have more enthusiasm for the new welfare system after talking about it for awhile. One said "the law is good. We will learn to plan our children and consider how many children can I raise and give them what we want for them." Another said:

"I agree with the new law but I feel the ones to suffer will be the children. Still I feel that it will motivate people to help themselves and not depend on anyone. Government should provide more employment. Many women would prefer to work. We should be able to provide for ourselves. What they give us in a month we could earn in a week."

Others expressed fear that they would fail at job training, and thought that the real problem was providing more employment for people with limited skills. One said:

"Sometimes training is ineffective and not everyone has the capacity for book learning. Sometimes even when we succeed in the training we can't get the jobs we prepare for. The money would be better put in opening more factories and sources of employment."

There was also strong opposition to the proposal to cut off benefits if a woman has a second child while on welfare. The respondents thought that the real issue was getting the fathers to pay support. They had little sympathy for women who claimed they didn't know who was the father of their children. Comments included:

"Don't do it to the mothers who can't come up with the father, there's a lot of them who say they don't know where the father's at. If you come into my office and say you don't know where he's at, then no."

"If the father's willing to pay support, that's fine and well, but if he's not willing to pay support I don't feel they should not be able to give your child some kind of benefits because the prices are high."

"There's a lot of girls now who just want to have kids just to get the money."

In general, the respondents argued that there were two kinds of welfare recipients: good recipients like themselves who were trying to be responsible and irresponsible women who simply exploited the system. They were especially disapproving of women who did not try to maintain a stable relationship with the father of their children. They felt that these women would never join a focus group or respond to a survey.

They all felt strongly that health benefits should continue even if a woman goes off welfare, and they were concerned that the new welfare reform would cut off medicaid benefits for children born to welfare mothers [it will not]. Concern about medical expenses is a major factor which inhibits women from leaving the welfare system. Even a routine visit to the emergency room would be impossible without medical assistance. One woman remarked on a relative who had to pay $85 even though "all she did was lay there for three hours and they put a brace on her neck." They couldn't imagine coming up with the money which would be needed if one of their children needed an operation.

The Transition to Work. Unemployed Camden residents are a diverse group, and focus groups do not provide a representative sampling. Any conclusions from this study can only be considered tentative, and should be checked with other kinds of research. Nevertheless, some tentative conclusions can be suggested.

Some of the unemployed Camden residents have well defined career plans which have simply been frustrated by a depressed economy. An upswing in the economy will make things much easier for these people. For the hard core of the unemployed, however, who best fit the term "underclass," the core problems appear to be welfare dependency and a lack of opportunities for short-term, casual low skilled employment.

Although the new welfare reform has not gone into effect, previous reforms have attempted to make a transition to working easier for welfare recipients. Several respondents were aware of welfare rules which permitted them to work for as long as a year without losing much of their benefits. They all felt that welfare provided only a meager existence, and were eager to supplement their incomes. For example, one respondent said:

"I've been going to jobs, they tell me you get paid $5 an hour or $6 an hour, I don't care because that welfare's not enough for me. I need to get some things for the kids."

This woman, a single mother who was receiving AFDC for several small children, would not have considered working for $5 or $6 an hour if it meant giving up her benefits.

Welfare benefits are much leaner for single men, but several of them were motivated to go to work only when their monthly check ran out:

"I'm just getting so lazy falling back on a lot of things, I procrastinate going to do what I have to do, I'll tell you the truth, if I get up one day and I don't have that $105, which is enough, if I don't have this for a month I get up and go to work, go somewhere and get me some kind of work."

For these men, the practical problems of surviving on the job, with transportation and other expenses, until the first paycheck came in, was a significant obstacle. The welfare system provided some help with this, but they found it was often not enough:

"If you start in the middle of a pay period, it may be three weeks until you get your paycheck."

"That job search place will give you will give you $25 if you can really certify yourself as being employed."

"That only lasts you a week or a week and a half. Used to be you could get two checks to cover you the two week period until you got paid."

"You don't need $200 to start off on a job. Why would you want $200 just to start out and look for work."

Work would become more attractive to many of these people if wage rates increased, either because of a general improvement in the economy or because of increased strength of organized labor. The trend at the moment seems to be in the opposite direction, as one respondent who had worked in a "chicken factory" reported:

"They laid us off and then we came back, we was in a union, when they reopened they wasn't going to have no union or nothing. You just worked at a straight flat rate. At the time of the union it was about $6.00. That's good..."

With this cut in wages to about $5 an hour, this respondent no longer found it worth putting up with the rigors of spending her days cutting up chickens.

Survey Interviews. In the fall of 1992 graduate students in the Masters of Public Administration program's survey research methods class conducted a small survey of adult residents of center city Camden neighborhoods. A total of 141 interviews were completed. Sixty-nine respondents were black, 58 were Hispanic and 11 were white. Fifty-three percent of the respondents indicated that at least one person in their home was looking for work. An additional 21% indicated that there was at least one person in the home who would like to work but who was not actively looking.

We asked the respondents who were not looking for work why they were not looking. The most frequent reasons given were lack of day care (29%) and the fact that they would lose benefits (21%) or that they were retired (21%). Other reasons included disabilities, pregnancy, student status, transportation problems and discouragement.

We asked the respondents who were looking for work what kind of work they were looking for. The largest number of respondents, 38%, simply answered that they were looking for any kind of work without specifying a specific occupation or industry. The remainder were looking for work in fields such as construction, clerical work, cleaning, factory work, skilled labor and so on. Those who were currently working or who had worked before reported that they had worked in a similar set of fields, the largest number having worked in cleaning or janitorial positions. When asked what wages they would expect on a job, the largest number expected to get five to six dollars an hour, or simply said they would work for whatever they could get.

These survey findings confirm the expectation that center city Camden residents who are employed are most likely to work at unskilled or semi-skilled occupations which pay modest wages. These jobs do not pay a great deal more than welfare benefits and often do not offer medical insurance. They offer little financial incentive for women who would have to pay for child care in order to work.

Conclusions. These preliminary studies have highlighted a number of important issues which should be considered in efforts to encourage members of the urban underclass in transitioning to economic independence. Of course, each of these issues needs to be explored more fully with larger and more representative samples. At this point, we can only suggest that these points may be important for people working with this population to keep in mind.

1. There is likely to be considerable resistance, particularly on the part of hispanic women, to the idea of going out of the home to work or for training while their children are too young to go to school. Many of these women clearly prefer a role as mother and homemaker. The quality of day care which is available will be a major issue. Concerns about child abuse and neglect must be addressed.

2. Merely changing the amount of benefits may not have a major effect on welfare dependency, since most recipients seem to be able to obtain other sources of income. It seems unlikely that denying a small increase in benefits to a mother who has a child while on welfare will make enough difference to compel her to get off welfare if she did not already intend to do so.

3. Most of the respondents agreed that employment at low wages (about $5 an hour) is available for those welfare recipients who are able to function well enough to hold down a job. If recipients are faced with being cut off altogether it seems likely that most of them will find work. This is especially true for the general assistance recipients, many of whom frankly stated that they were simply not strongly motivated to seek work when they had even a small amount of money to live on.

4. Welfare mothers are concerned that taking the mother out of the home for jobs which pay so poorly may impose a significant hardship on preschool children. If the welfare reform is not to cause serious problems for small children they believe that there must be adequate funding for child care and health care services. There is also the possibility that some women will find it preferable to have more children and remain on assistance instead of risking being cut off altogether, even if the amount of the check does not increase.

4. A few of our respondents, particularly those on general assistance, seemed unlikely to be able to hold down a job because of mental or physical disability. They were inarticulate and did not maintain a presentable personal appearance and would not be attractive job applicants. Helping these people to become employable, if it is possible at all, would require a significant increase in expenditure over the cost of the very modest benefits they receive. Other general assistance recipients seemed to be simply down on their luck and going through a difficult time emotionally, but quite capable of recovery. They may require employment counseling, help with alcoholism or drug addiction, or other help in learning how to hold a job. Many of them have been able to find work, but not to make the adjustments necessary to remain employed.

5. Racial and ethnic discrimination continues to be a significant obstacle for members of urban ghetto communities, especially when they have aspirations to move up to skilled employment. There is also a stigma attached to living in certain cities or neighborhoods even if one is white. The respondents all thought that it was possible to overcome these barriers with education and perseverance, but that this kind of discrimination made it more difficult especially during an economic recession.

5. Reforming the health care system to ensure coverage for families who work for modest incomes is essential to the success of any welfare reform program which threatens poor families' medical coverage. Without this provision, a significant increase in child mortality and morbidity might result from driving poor women off welfare.

1. Time, January 20, 1992, pp. 20-23.

2. Daniel Lazare, Dissent, Spring 1991, pp. 267-275.

3. Paul Peterson, "The Urban Underclass and the Poverty Paradox," pp 3-27 in Christopher Jencks and Paul Peterson, ed., The Urban Underclass, Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1991.

4. Charles Murray, Losing Ground, New York: Basic Books, 1984.

5. New York Times, January 14, 1992.