Tag: Welfare Reform

Annika sits down with Robert Doar, president of the American Enterprise Institute, one of Washington D.C.’s most prominent think-tanks, to discuss the state of the American Right: what are the driving political issues of our time? What is the importance of freedom and liberty within the right? Drawing on Robert’s background in poverty studies, they discuss what the Right has done right and wrong in addressing poverty, as well as Robert’s time at our very own Princeton.

More on Robert Doar, https://www.aei.org/profile/robert-doar/

This week on Banter, Dr. Marvin Olasky joined the show to discuss the history of compassionate conservatism, what it means, and whether or not it might return in the current political climate. Dr. Olasky is the editor in chief of World Magazine and the author of 20 books, including “Compassionate Conservatism: What It Is, What It Does, and How It Can Transform America” (Free Press, 2000) and “The Tragedy of American Compassion” (Regnery Publishing, 1992). He keynoted an event at AEI on compassionate conservatism hosted by AEI’s Director of Domestic Policy Studies Ryan Streeter and AEI Research Fellow Angela Rachidi. Olasky also joined a panel discussion on how the movement fell short and its chances for a comeback. You can watch the full event video at the link below.

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The welfare state and entitlements are impossible to maintain at their current levels. So says the political Right. More importantly we have allowed these programs to cripple our society. The values of self-reliance, responsibility, and  accountability are disappearing; marriage, families, parenting, community, generosity and self-sacrifice are becoming virtues of the past. The Right has a […]

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Would Subsidizing Jobs Be More Conservative than the Minimum Wage?


shutterstock_126940808One of the problems of working is that I often I miss interesting posts and comments on Ricochet. One of them was @katebraestrup’s Free Money! No Strings Attached from April which discussed the guaranteed basic income as an alternative to the welfare state. I’ve been thinking about welfare reform — specifically, about the new pushes for minimum wage — but wonder if there isn’t an approach that might be more in-keeping with conservative views. Mind you, everything that follows I’ve phrased in relative terms; I’m offering what I hope is a least-worst alternative, not an ideal one. So, let’s begin with what I regard as the inherent dishonesty of the minimum wage:

  1. It presupposes that any occupation, if plied for eight hours a day (why not six or ten) provides social value equal to a living wage.
  2. Since the costs of the minimum wage are generally passed onto consumers, it represents a hidden tax on those buying goods and services from companies hire minimum wage employees.
  3. Companies subject to minimum wage requirements often compete with foreign competitors who are, of course, not subject to our laws. This makes the minimum wage an internal tariff on domestic labor.
  4. The minimum wage also acts as a tariff on labor as compared to automation. Thus, apart from the supply/demand effects (higher price lowers demand, i.e., jobs), an increase in the minimum wage increases the incentive to automate jobs.
  5. It provides an incentive to hirer illegal immigrants.

But real and harmful as these effects are on workers and consumers, this overlooks the harm minimum wage laws cause employers. First, the laws imply that employers are too tight-fisted to treat their employees fairly without government intervention. Second, it imposes all the burdens of implementing a minimum wage on the employer (whether to raise prices, whose job to eliminate, cajoling supervisors and middle managers to stay on without a raise to help absorb the wage increase, etc.).

So, instead of setting a wage floor, what if we subsidize job creation? To keep numbers very simple, if the employer pays $12.50 an hour ($500 a week), he or she receives a tax credit of $10 an hour. Cost-wise, this is a comparable to Kate’s suggestion of paying $20,000/year to everyone, except: (a) Nobody gets paid without working and (b) The work has to produce a value of at least $2.50 an hour plus the employer’s overhead and ROI.

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The Daily Signal (a Heritage Foundation site) released a video detailing Maines significant reductions in able-bodied welfare rolls. While Governor Paul LaPage received massive outcry from advocates of the poor, the results show an 80% drop in welfare (‘able bodied’, ‘single’) while there was a 114% increase in employment. Families with children were not included in […]

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Free Money! No Strings Attached!


As many of you already know, economics — well, anything to do with math, really — is not my strong suit. I admit that up front. And welfare is about economics, so the fact that I think welfare is a disaster (having seen its manifestations play out, in caucasian shades of alabaster, lily and grayish-tan here in one of the least racially-diverse states in the Union) doesn’t mean I know how to fix it.

Welfare! That fluorescing, metastasizing collection of expansive and expensive programs originally intended to mitigate or eliminate the immediate and long-term effects of poverty in America. Here, as in the inner city, welfare has succeeded in ensuring that the basic needs of vulnerable Americans are being met, but the cost — not just in monetary terms but in blighted human lives — is high. A program intended to serve as a safety net has instead become a trap in which families remain enmeshed for generations.