Massachusetts’ welfare program pays each recipient the equivalent of $24 an hour in pre-taxable income, ranking the state the third highest spender in the nation.
In a study conducted by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington D.C., the “typical” welfare assistance program includes cash, food, housing, and healthcare. This runs the state about $50,540 per welfare recipient; an income which is far more than that of most entry-level jobs. Before tax, this amounts to $42,515 a year for the typical recipient in the 2013 fiscal year. Washington D.C. comes in second with $43,099. Hawaii takes first place with $49,175.
The study concludes that the system acts like an incentive to stay on welfare rather than pursue a job. Welfare, the study argues, is a program that works to eliminate the very need for its existence. Excessive welfare, however, is a self-reinforcing system.
A counterpoint to this conclusion might argue that unlike entry-level jobs, there is no “promotion” or anticipation of greater pay with welfare. But, of course, this presupposes the recipient would prefer to start working for a marginally higher income.