The Washington Post had a great expose (the second, to my count, in a short span of time) on the counter-productive aim of recent welfare reform legislation:
A decade after the government set out to transform the nation's welfare system, the limits on college are part of a controversial second phase of welfare reform that is beginning to ripple across the country. The new rules, written by Congress and the Bush administration, require states to focus intensely on making more poor people work, while discouraging other activities that might help untangle their lives.
While getting people into low-paying jobs is a decent short-term objective of welfare, it does nothing to prevent those peoples from falling right back into the welfare rut when the economy turns bad or they experience a streak of bad luck. Publically funding education is probably the most efficient and effective form of welfare this country has ever come up with. Discouraging those on welfare from going back to high school or college is just stupid and only ends up contributing to the growing income inequality in this country. Kudos to the Washington Post for its continuing work on the stupid uses of tax payer money.