New data on anti-poverty effectiveness…

May 7th, 2015 at 3:48 pm

…and why there are few falsities that some politicians repeat that are more invidious than the one about losing the war on poverty. Over at PostEverything.

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6 comments in reply to "New data on anti-poverty effectiveness…"

  1. Tammy says:

    “So how about when the job market persistently fails to provide gainful, living-wage opportunities, the government steps in as employer of last resort?”

    I reside in Erie, Pennsylvania. During the Great Depression Franklin D. Roosevelt government initiative created work in land development and we now enjoy the lovely Presque Isle. I just finished a commentary in Foreign Affairs that I’ll link. It’s of interest to me what jobs will now replace the manufacturing base that left port cities–be they freshwater or saltwater–like Erie, Detroit, Baltimore, etc., etc.

    I mention the FA commentary because of its focus of what Argentina experienced and how Pope Francis might have valuable input for the seeming disagreement among the Catholic community re Rep. Ryan’s position on government and poverty.

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/review-essay/2015-04-20/what-caused-capitalism


    • Smith says:

      So much of Marx’s main policy proposals are either completely or partly imbedded in what we mistakenly call capitalism, that no survey of economic systems should ignore his triumph. State control of industry and collectivization of agriculture, obviously not. But free public school education and the end of child labor, national bank, progressive income tax, check, check, and check. Suburbanization, well yeah he anticiapted that too (unfortunately). Amtrak, government air traffic control, federal interstate highway system, yeah, certainly sounds like government control of transportation systems to me, not to mention MTA and other government services, like bus lines and light rail. FTC, public utilities, guarantee of universal service, regulation of rates, kind of hybrid Marxist Capitalist deal. You don’t have to read a tomb like Das Kapital to check this out, he put it in a power point presentation with bullet points, a manifesto of sorts, you may have heard tell.


  2. Smith says:

    It is wrong for those on the right to say we should cut the safety net which would make the effects of poverty worse. It is wrong for those on the right to say the safety net causes poverty, as if food stamps causes people not to work, or unemployment causes them not to look for a job.

    However, where is the logic or common sense in saying that the disbursement of safety net benefits reduces poverty, and therefore is a successful poverty reduction program?

    Single parent Ellen with two children makes $17,500 a year working 35 hr weeks at $10/hr. The official poverty threshold is around $19,000. She gets a $5,000 EITC, a lump sum after the taxable year. I’ll digress to note only people in the finance industry get as large a lump sum payment as a percentage of their salary each year. But I guess the government figures if anyone can afford to save nearly a quarter of their salary every year, it would be the working poor with children. And if they become hedge fund managers later on, the compensation system will be old hat to them by then. http://www.frbsf.org/community-development/files/Holt_Steve.pdf
    Food stamps add another $5,000/year.

    Raising the minimum wage to $9.75 adds as much as EITC does for Ellen. Make it $12.25 and you’ve doubled what she gets out of EITC, still worth $4,000. Though ineligible for food stamps, she ends up with $31,500, (including $4,000 EITC) vs. $27,500 ($5,000 EITC + $5,000 SNAP).

    Neither minimum wage hikes nor safety net benefits actually constitute anti-poverty programs, but at least one actually reduces poverty and also costs the taxpayer nothing.


    • Smith says:

      Ok, Ellen is already making $10, so lets hope she gets a raise above the minimum when it goes up or my figures are going to be somewhat off.


  3. Tom in MN says:

    And did you see we solved homelessness? Turns out if you give people a home they are not homeless and it’s cheaper for the rest of us too. Who knew?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/06/meet-the-outsider-who-accidentally-solved-chronic-homelessness/


    • Smith says:

      Homes for the homeless are different because it saves money according to the program, whereas the increased safety net benefits for people in poverty has not demonstrably saved money. Quite the opposite, the benefits themselves are being cited as the only provable result. Admittedly, the safety net may prevent the before-tax-and-benefits poverty rate from becoming worse, but that is not what’s being claimed. It would be very difficult to make that case because the before tax-and-benefits poverty rate is the same as it was since the 1960s.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/22/us-poverty-level-1960s_n_1692744.html

      Those on the left claiming EITC and SNAP reduce poverty by the amount those benefits raise income above the poverty rate are not making any more sense than those on the right who say nothing can be done.

      We had a war on poverty and poverty won. Reagan was right, and in a self fulfilling philosophy ensured he would continue to be. Where is the left, have they no better ideas to actually help people?

      Defend the safety net, yes, it offsets poverty, it does not reduce it. Try something that does.


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