Solow condemns the welfare reforms recently passed by Congress and President Clinton for confronting welfare recipients with an unworkable choice - finding work in the current labor market or losing benefits. He argues that the only practical and fair way to move recipients to work is, in contrast, through an ambitious plan to guarantee that every able-bodied citizen has access to a job. Solow contends that the demand implicit in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act for welfare recipients to find work in the existing labor market has two crucial flaws. Solow concludes that it is legitimate to want welfare recipients to work, but not to want them to live at a miserable standard or to benefit at the expense of the working poor, especially since children are often the first to suffer. Instead, he writes, we should create new demand for unskilled labor through public-service employment and incentives to the private sector - in effect, fair "workfare." Throughout, Solow places debate over welfare reform in the context of a struggle to balance competing social values, in particular self-reliance and altruism.