Work for welfare is a tried and true means of helping folks who need a hand up and further for helping them get out of the government-dependency cage. Wisconsin is applying an interesting twist to the thing.
Wisconsin is relying on an unusual argument to tie new work requirements to food stamps: it says it needs the workers.
[Wisconsin’s] labor force grew 1.2% in 2017, and the state’s jobs listings website shows nearly 100,000 positions unfilled. Mr Walker believes some of the 925,000 people on the state’s FoodShare program could help.
Governor Scott Walker (R):
We can’t afford to have anybody on the sidelines. This is as much as anything a workforce issue.
This could work. The program will, though, in addition to helping Wisconsin’s poor and worker shortage, invite movement into Wisconsin by (oh, say) Illinois citizens. To the extent that jobs remain available from Wisconsin’s historically low unemployment, this would be good. A risk, though, is that the program might lead to overshooting the jobs available, leaving the costs of the program expanding while its benefits—employment of welfare recipients—stagnate or fall off.