Why is it important to attach work mandates to welfare checks? One reason is that it weeds out people who are poor because they prefer not to put up with the demands of an employer. Weeding those out saves money.
Another is that it pushes recipients to do something that may be unappealing in the short run—take a low-wage job—but will serve their interests in the long run. Even in today's slow economy, writes Steve Chapman, only 12 percent of the nonworking poor say they can't find a job.