Dueling statistics

The libertarian Cato Institute has issued a report claiming that Nevada ranks 15th among states in the value of all welfare benefits available to family of a single parent with two children. Such a family would be eligible for cumulative benefits worth $31,409 a year, if that parent availed her family of all available benefits. The institute also said that such recipients would earn more than the state's minimum wage.

But the Reno Gazette-Journal used census figures to show the state has the lowest welfare payment levels in the nation, and critics of the Cato report said no family is likely to use all available benefits, or even to know about all of them.

One mother who previously drew welfare for her family told us payment levels are so low that people are often trapped in dependence, and that she got off welfare only because she received a small inheritance.