Book Report

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Christopher Jencks, the author of the forward for “Making Ends Meet,” and  Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein, the authors of ”How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work,”  offer important background information on how the book came to be. Jencks claims in the forward that anyone who wants to help create programs that help single mothers needs to read the book, “Making Ends Meet.”  In fact, in his forward Jencks goes into detail about his own opinions of how to help single mothers. In this paper, I will examine the article closely and show proof that helping these mothers will only begin to lessen the problem and turn their lives around.

The article opens by discussing how welfare mothers are traditionally viewed as parasites in society who are dependent on their welfare checks because they do not want to work. However, the article presents a new view on the matter.  It states that in today’s labor market, unskilled single mothers who work are frequently worse off than those who are on welfare.  In addition, the article pointed out that neither full welfare benefits or full-time low-wage employment alone will support a family at basic levels. Jencks also shows how the statistics on poverty measured by the Census Bureau are not accurate, thus not helpful in solving any problems. The statistics are not accurate because most welfare mothers get income from odd jobs, loans, and other sources they do not report. Therefore, it is clear that helping these mothers will only begin to lessen the problem and turn their lives around.

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