The Problem With The Republican War On Poverty

In recent weeks, Republican notables Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, and even Rand Paul, have talked about the need to reduce poverty.  Josh Barro explains why we shouldn’t buy any of it:

Broadly there are two poverty problems in the United States. One is a cyclical trend: The labor market has been slack for the last five years, leaving many people involuntarily unemployed and limiting workers’ ability to bargain for higher wages. The other is secular: Labor’s share of national income is declining, wages are rising more slowly for low-skilled workers than high-skilled ones, and rises in family income at the bottom have come primarily through fiscal transfers, not wages.

These problems require different solutions, and Republican ideas don’t address either.

When Republicans stop trying to cut food stamps and agree to extend unemployment insurance, then we can start believing that they care about the less fortunate.

About Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

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