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Welfare 'Credit' Won't Pay the Bills

April 02, 2002

Re "Welfare Plan Would Count Family Time," March 28: The Bush administration welfare plan, which has declared the "well-being of children" a primary concern, would allow low-income parents to receive credit for part of their work by participating with their children in organized activities. This sounds compassionate; in reality, it is shortsighted and doomed to failure.

A parent who has come off welfare, in all probability, has a minimum-wage job without medical benefits. Many single parents working at minimum wage need two jobs to barely break even. This does not allow time to participate with their children in other activities even if they are given credit for the hours. Credit for time worked is not pay for time worked. Minimum wage does not cover necessities and certainly won't stretch to meet the costs of organized activities.

Before the administration proposes another simplistic solution to help the poor, the Barbara Ehrenreich book "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America," in which the author goes to several major cities and tries to live on minimum wage, should be required reading.

Estelle Waslosky

Brea

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