What’s the best way to tackle poverty? California and Texas are two great case studies about the results from promoting more welfare or work. As Chuck DeVore, vice president of policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and former California state assemblyman, explains in Investors’ Business Daily:

California has the highest poverty rate in the nation at 23.4%, according to a new Census Bureau report that takes into account the variable cost of housing from state to state as well as noncash benefits such as housing vouchers and food stamps. (The official poverty measure assumes the same costs throughout America.)

This broad poverty measure shows that Texas' poverty rate dropped to 15.9%, the national average. Along with the nation's highest poverty rate, California, with one-eighth of America's population, has one-third of the nation's welfare recipients.

Its state and local taxes are a whopping 52% higher as a share of income than Texas'. In fact, California could completely eliminate its income tax, the nation's highest, and it would still pull more money from its residents than does Texas.

The states where 1-in-5 Americans call home are both minority majority states. Hispanics make up 38% of the population in both, while 12% of Texans are black vs. 7% in California.

In spite of California's generous welfare programs designed to lift people out of material poverty and its heavy progressive tax burden intended to "spread the wealth around," the Golden State has 47% more people living in poverty on a per-capita basis than does Texas.

DeVore notes that California’s job market has added 618,000 jobs compared to more than 1.1 million in Texas since 2009. What’s more, once people are working their paychecks go farther in Texas than California since their pre-tax per capita income is 7 percent higher: nearly $42,000 in Texas compared to just under $39,000 in California. As DeVore concludes:

California's big-government model is one well-worn path — and it isn't working for the poor. The Texas model offers a compelling alternative: A dynamic economy with robust job growth fostered by low taxes and a predictable regulatory environment is far better at lifting people out of poverty.

For human dignity and well-being, a job beats a government program every time.

The last major round of welfare reform was completed in 1996. It's time to revisit how best to reduce poverty in America.

Policymakers would be well advised to look to Texas for inspiration.

At a time when the American welfare state ranks second only to France, this is sound advice.