The Atlantic: Welfare Money Is Paying for a Lot of Things Besides Welfare
Note: This is an excerpt of my text published in The Atlantic on June 13, 2019. You can read the full version here.
What do a Christian overnight camp, abstinence-only sex education, and pro-marriage advertisements all have in common? They’ve all been funded with money that used to provide cash assistance to low-income families.
In the United States, the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program—often known simply as “welfare”—is administered by the 50 states, which have considerable leeway in how to spend the money. The choices states make are unmistakably correlated with race. The higher the proportion of African Americans in a state, the more likely officials are to try to change the way poor families run their lives, rather than simply help them with basic expenses.