Mollie grew up poor and was the first in her family to go to college where she got a degree in mathematics and statistics. She once said "If I write about the poor, I don't need a good imagination—I have a good memory.” She worked as an economist and statistician for 40 years for the federal government and died at the age of 91. To her colleagues and friends she was known as Ms. Poverty [i].
I wonder what Ms. Poverty would think of our current welfare system. One clue comes from Mr. Gordon Fisher in his history of Mollie:
One major source for Mollie's July 1963 article was a special tabulation of Current Population Survey data, which SSA purchased from the Census Bureau at a cost of $2,500. The results showed that the median annual income of nonfarm female-headed families with children was $2,340. Orshansky was horrified when she realized that half of these families had to live for an entire year on less money than SSA had paid for one statistical tabulation. She later commented, "I determined I was going to get my $2,500 worth"
That’s the spirit. We could expand that determination to all of welfare: the studies, administration, multiple programs and improper payments. We spent $630 billion on welfare last year. Let’s get our $630 billion worth.