Although urban problems extend far beyond the welfare system, policymakers persist in linking inner city problems with the Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) program. Hence, the rhetoric blames teen pregnancy, high school dropout rates, urban slums, and drug use on the availability of welfare benefits. Furthermore, in recent years the recessionary economy and the impact of reduced federal spending on state budgets have led us to embrace the notion of no-cost solutions to complex problems. In combination, political rhetoric and budget constraints have nurtured the belief that we can solve the intractable problems of urban decay and poverty by simply withholding welfare benefits.

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