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C. Welfare Reform: Keeping the Safety Net In Place

Gilbert: We need a safety net, all of us want a safety net in society.

Narrator: This is Science Today. As welfare reform proposals battle it out in Congress, social welfare professor Neil Gilbert of the University of California, Berkeley says most proposals are an attempt to fix a system that really isn't broken. In other words, says Gilbert, welfare works.

Gilbert: What I mean is that 50 to 70 percent, depending upon which research you follow, of the people who are on welfare get off within two years.

Narrator: The problem is that people who go from welfare to a low-income job often slip back onto welfare when an unexpected mishap upsets their financial balance.

Gilbert: That issue is really a matter of enlarging the earned income tax credit so that people who have low income jobs, their actual take-home pay will increase because they will get a refund from the government on their taxes.

Narrator: The other part of the solution, says Gilbert, is providing come kind of health care for the working poor, so that they don't have to lose their jobs in order to qualify for Medicaid. For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.