According to a report issued this month by the Baltimore Department of Social Services, 15 percent of the city's population received family welfare payments during the 1991 fiscal year -- a substantial jump of 5.3 percent over the previous year. When you consider that Baltimore has only about one-sixth of the state's population, and more than half the families receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the main social welfare program, it's pretty clear that this city is headed for serious trouble.
Yet by any reasonable standard, the present welfare system is the least efficient way to cope with the problem. When a woman loses her job in a government agency because of layoffs and is forced to go on welfare, for example, the net result is that the government which used to pay her to perform useful work now must pay her to do nothing at all.
In effect, the cost is simply shifted from one government payroll to another. Yet in the former case taxpayers at least got some tangible service for their dollars, while in the latter they get nothing but generational dependency.