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New YorkNews/OpinionWelfare

In New York, You Can Earn $21/Hour to Start … On Welfare

Not bad (non)-work if you can get it.

A new report by the CATO Institute indicates that a mother of two in New York can collect over $38,000 annually in welfare benefits. That amount is greater than the typical annual salary for an entry-level school teacher. Adjusting those benefits to a comparable hourly wage results in a rate of over $21/hour.

In fact, welfare recipients earn more than an entry-level school teacher in 10 states plus the District of Columbia.

Via the Washington Examiner:

Federal welfare benefits pay more than minimum wage jobs in 35 states, according to a new report from the Cato Institute.

Hawaii provides the most benefits, or $49,175 a year. The District of Columbia provides the second highest welfare benefits in the country, providing $43,099 a year.

Cato’s calculations were based upon how much a mother with two children would receive from the seven most widely used welfare programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Medicaid; Women, Infants and Children Program; Emergency Food Assistance Program; housing assistance and utilities assistance.

In 12 states and D.C., the amount she would receive from those programs exceeds what she could earn working full-time at a $15-an-hour job, according to Cato.

In 10 states and D.C., welfare benefits pay more than the first year, pretax salary for a teacher. In the three most generous jurisdictions (Hawaii, D.C. and Massachusetts), welfare benefits pay more than an entry-level computer programmer.

Michael Tanner, a fellow at CATO is quick to point out, “There is no evidence that people on welfare are lazy.”

However he adds, “They’re also not stupid. If you pay them more not to work than they can earn by working, many will choose not to work.”

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is a freelance journalist focusing on the conservative movement and its political agenda. He has been writing conservatively charged articles for several years in the upstate New York area, and his writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, American Thinker,, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record. He is also Editor of one of the top conservative blogs of 2012, the Mental Recession.

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