Publication Date

Spring 1978


As he promised during his election campaign, President Carter has proposed a major overhaul of the welfare system. Under the Better Jobs and Income Act, unveiled in August 1977, the major components of the current welfare system would be replaced by a program combining cash assistance and job opportunities. This paper evaluates the Carter proposal based on the experience under existing employment, training and welfare programs and then assesses its potential impact on the states of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In the course of the discussion, we deal with the following questions: (1) Does the proposal effectively address the weaknesses in the current welfare system? (2) Can the proposal achieve its stated goals? (3) Will the impact of the program vary in states with different characteristics? (4) How do state administrators charged with implementing the program respond to its various components? Although the answers to these questions are seldom conclusive, the weight of the evidence leads us to conclude that there are serious weaknesses in the Carter proposal. Major changes are necessary in order for the program to become a viable alternative to the current system which both improves the status quo and achieves sufficient support to be enacted.


Suggested Citation
Hurd, R. W. & Thompson, A. (1978). Welfare reform: The view from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. New England Journal of Business & Economics, 4(2), 63-75.