An analysis conducted by a conservative think-tank in southeast Iowa concludes welfare reform, not a booming economy, has done the most to get folks off welfare rolls. David Hogberg of the “Public Interest Institute” at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant conducted the study.Hogberg reviewed caseloads from 1977 to 2001, and concluded new rules for welfare recipients have had the biggest impact on declining caseloads.Starting in 1993, Iowa’s “Family Investment Program” required welfare recipients to sign an agreement that they’d try to find a job, and if they didn’t, their benefits would be reduced or cut-off.Hogberg says the 1996 federal welfare reform put time limits on welfare, and forced recipients to get a job. Hogberg did not analyze how childcare aid or transportation assistance helped welfare recipients get a toe-hold in the work world. Other researchers have concluded America’s economic boom has helped reduce welfare caseloads.
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