Tag: Poverty

This week on Banter we’re joined by AEI Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies Robert Doar. Robert contributed to a new publication titled “This Way Up: New Thinking About Poverty and Economic Mobility.” The  booklet of short essays, published by Opportunity America in conjunction with AEI, showcases some of the best new thinking on issues such as welfare reform, wage subsidies, workforce training, school choice, and family formation. Contributors include Speaker Paul Ryan, AEI President Arthur Brooks, Charles Murray, Robert Doar, Tamar Jacoby, and a number of other prominent researchers on the right. More information on the report can be found at the links below. If you’d like a complimentary copy of the report please send your name and email to banter@aei.org.

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On this AEI Events Podcast, Katharine Stevens hosts photojournalist Chris Arnade, who has spent the past six years documenting the stories of those living in the “forgotten” towns across America. From Portsmouth, Ohio, to Ohatchee, Alabama, he captured the stories of “forgotten America.” These are the areas hit hardest by job loss, income stagnation, and drug addiction, yet they are often overlooked by policymakers and the press. Arnade’s reporting illuminates gaps between the reality experienced by millions of struggling Americans and the frequently abstract policy discussions in Washington, DC.

Arnade argued that the greatest divide in the country is education. His photo presentation revealed how kids who grew up in the “front row” — those who are mobile, are well-educated, and have large social networks via colleges and careers — have experienced a vastly different America than kids from the “back row” — those who stay in the town where they are born, usually lack any education beyond high school, and generally view their lives as worse off than their parents’.

Perspective, Thankfulness, Patriotism, and Personal Responsibility


We dodged once again, the latest hurricane Nate. I manage properties on the Gulf Coast so I prepare. My helper Carlos is a painter by trade. He helped me secure outdoor furnishings, haul in breakables and put it all back, post storms. It’s been a busy season. So busy, he said that all the checks totaling thousands that I gave him from my property owners, he’s not had a chance to deposit.

His sister has a housekeeping team that I use, one of several. One of 13 children, she told me she has no sympathy for illegals. She has been legal in this country for decades, owns property and her children are in college, one studying to be a lawyer. One of Carlos’s daughters is the secretary for our local St. Rita’s Catholic Church. The example of the American Dream. No taking a knee, no victims here.

Their elderly father has throat cancer. They take turns caring for him. He still drives. He loves Mexico. He’s having panic attacks, realizing his independence and self-reliance is slipping away. He lost his wife. My friend Carlos that helped me secure my properties lost his wife. Laurajia his sister, who runs the housekeeping team’s daughter-in-law in her 30’s, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I sponsored her – fundraisers. They don’t sit out a challenge. They meet it head on as a family and community. They are the best this country has to offer and they inspire me.

Victor Davis Hanson looks at the hobby horse issues of various identity politics groups—Black Lives Matter, LGBT advocates, modern feminists, and Hispanic activists—and explains how each of them are overlooking more dire threats facing their communities.

In this AEI Events PodcastWendy Wang and W. Bradford Wilcox presented their new report, “The millennial success sequence: Marriage, kids, and the ‘success sequence’ among young adults.” This joint report from AEI and the Institute for Family Studies investigates how the sequence of graduating from high school, working full time, and marrying before having children is linked to economic mobility and reduced poverty among millennials.

This podcast features the first of two panel discussions. In this discussion, experts discuss the importance of teaching young adults the benefits of creating stable, married households and having children inside marriage. Panelists include Ron Haskins (Brookings Institution), Annie Lowrey (The Atlantic), and Ian Rowe (Public Prep Network). The discussion is moderated by W. Bradford Wilcox (AEI).

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In a statement that the left-wing media have ripped out of context, HUD Secretary Ban Carson (who was raised in severe poverty and rose to become the nation’s foremost pediatric neurosurgeon and is, therefore, approximately 50,000 times smarter than the average journalist) said that poverty is largely a result of a person’s own choices and […]

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Today’s Sermon: Whose Compassion?


Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 23)

A story: “In the middle of the Great Depression, the mayor of New York City was the five foot tall son of Italian-Jewish immigrants, Fiorello H.  LaGuardia. LaGuardia was a seriously energetic little guy.  It was not unusual for him to ride with the firefighters, raid with the police, or take field trips with the kids from the city orphanage. On a bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself—-something a quirk in New York City law enabled him to do.

To kick off 2017, we bring you a special story of hope.  When Crystal Jenkins got pregnant with her daughter in the projects of Washington DC, she had no home, no job and no hope for a better future.  Drugs, crime and poverty plagued her life, but her daughter gave Crystal the strength to dream.  Now she says her daughter “will have what I never had, she’ll know she can do anything she wants in this life, she’ll know she can soar…”  Listen to find out how she did it.

Crystal’s testimony was taken from Little Lights Urban Ministries.  Head over to their website to donate.

“Godfather of the grassroots” and civil rights leader Bob Woodson speaks on a life well-lived, his personal interactions with President-elect Trump, where the Conservative movement is heading under the new administration, and how neighborhood initiatives to fight poverty and decay are changing the face of the nation.  Woodson also talks about changes taking place at the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, which is soon to undergo a very special name change.  Finally, we break down expectations for Trump’s cabinet.

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The liberal news media has been hammering us with Black Lives Matter for a while now. It seems that the best response we have been able to muster is “All Lives Matter”, and while that’s nice, it’s not going to do much good. This may seem hard to believe, but embracing Black Lives Matter is a perfect opportunity to render the […]

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Apparently, poverty in America means our morbidly obese beggars are driving around in brand new pick-up trucks. I suppose it’s plausible that this fella recently suffered a reversal of fortune and bought the truck in better times. Still, it doesn’t seem like the journey from “Buying a new pick-up” to “Panhandling at intersections” would be […]

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The First Shall be Last


Plantains in Ghana by Flixtey.

If you’ll forgive a very rough gloss, Homo sapiens originated in sub-Saharan Africa about 200,000 years ago, spread out across Eurasia and, eventually, into the Americas. In the last two centuries, the cultural and technological changes brought by the Industrial, Green, and Information Revolutions flowed back to the corners of the globe where humanity first arose. It’s been a long trip, but we seem to be approaching the end of this particular journey.

Are Many Americans Really Some of the Poorest People in the World?


Anti-poverty group Oxfam has published a report making some flashy claims about global inequality. Among them: Just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people — “the bottom half of humanity” — an estimated $1.76 trillion. Also, the richest of the rich are hiding $7.6 trillion in a “global network of tax havens.”

Now apparently one of Oxfam’s main data sources was a wealth report from the bank Credit Suisse. Note this chart from the report showing which regions have what share of rich and poor and in between:

Fighting for the Soul of the Republican Party


IMG_8070.1COLUMBIA, SC — At a time and day – 8:30 am on a Saturday – when most Americans are sleeping in, the Kemp Forum on Expanding Opportunity convened in the capacious Columbia, SC convention center. Even at 8:15, it was tough to find a seat.

South Carolina’s important primary is Feb. 20, and doubtless some of the more than 1,500 attendees were attracted by the opportunity to hear from six of the Republican candidates for President. (It would have been seven, but Carly Fiorina missed her flight.) Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee offered their views on how to fight poverty and expand opportunity. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump declined to attend.

The absence of Cruz and Trump was significant, underlining as it does one of the two competing ideas about what the Republican Party is and should be. Senator Cruz and, to a lesser degree, Mr. Trump seem to endorse the notion that Republicans can win national elections by motivating the “missing conservatives” who stayed home in past presidential election years because the party’s nominees were moderates. This is the line doggedly pushed by talk radio, but has been pretty well debunked.

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I grew up in India.  When I was growing up, we were at the peak of socialist ideas in India.  Right around the time that I moved away, the first signs on reversals on some of the protectionist policies were being implemented.  Since I left, more divestments have happened and more reforms. India is still […]

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Teach a Bangladeshi Widow How to Artificially Inseminate a Cow…


640px-A_village_women_in_BangladeshLast week, I spitballed an idea for a “Freedom Kit” to be sold to the emerging poor. It would provide them with basic amenities, additional security, and some of the means to help them grow into something more like the middle class. Unsurprisingly, members had a number of excellent suggestions about the idea and for the contents of the kit. Among other things, I’m now persuaded that directly subsidizing the kit would be a mistake, and that it’d probably be much smarter to think of it as a store where products along these lines could be sold but chosen entirely by the customers. (Yes, it’s almost as if people in the third world might know what’s good for them better than some jerk in Massachusetts with a keyboard).

Regardless, such kits (or such products) only make sense for people who’ve already climbed out of the worst dregs of poverty and have at least a little disposable income. As things currently stand, that excludes about 700 million people around the world who earn less than $1.90/day (a common benchmark for abject poverty). The number of people earning so little has dropped dramatically in recent decades: down from 1.9 billion people a quarter of a century ago, when the world had 40 percent fewer people. However, much of that progress took place in China and East Asia, which appears to have been the low-hanging fruit. Helping those last 700 million folks out of poverty is likely to be more difficult.

Via The Economist, these people generally lack the necessary capital to qualify for microloans or suffer from some other form of discrimination. They work like hell when seasonal employment can be found, but their lack of the skills and resources required for steadier employment make it very difficult for them to take the first steps into modernity. In short, they can’t pull themselves up by the bootstraps because they can’t scrape together enough for a pair of boots.

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Nicholas Frankovich has an interesting post in NRO’s The Corner this morning, which includes the following: In general, he [Pope Francis] does a bad job of integrating Christianity’s horizontal message, “love thy neighbor,” with its vertical message, “love God.” His intentions may be noble, but what he usually ends up communicating is that the horizontal […]

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I’m a big fan of Russ Robert’s EconTalk Podcast, and last week’s episode, Michael Matheson Miller on Poverty, Inc., continued one of the common themes of discussion, poverty in the developing world.  They discuss Miller’s documentary film, Poverty, Inc., which covers the dynamics between NGO’s, agricultural aid, and the barriers facing the poor. I don’t know much […]

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The Poverty Hockey Stick


A few years ago I came across a plot of the poverty rate for US families from the year 1959 to 2011. Surprise! It’s a “hockey stick” plot with a well-defined blade covering over a decade of rapid change, and a decades-long “handle” in which the rate bobbles around a bit but shows no clear long-term trend. I’ve replotted it below, but you can find the same chart (minus the red- and blue-dashed lines, which I’ll describe below, and with recessions marked in) on Page 32 of the US Census Bureau publication titled “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011”.

Poverty-Rate-FittedIn the “blade,” which runs from the beginning of the data in 1959 up to some time around 1970, poverty declined steadily at a rate of about 1% per year. Then the “handle” begins, and the decline in poverty ends. Instead, the poverty rate bobbles around 10% or so, and perhaps rises very slowly as the decades pass.