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Commentary

Have 91% of Gains During the Recovery Gone to the Top?

Scott Winship | Forbes | January 27, 2015

Forgive me for going out of order and not taking up the Economic Policy Institute’s productivity/compensation chart as promised in my inaugural column in this series. But Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez has published the latest estimates on income concentration in the United States, extending a series he has produced with Thomas Piketty.

http://www.economics21.org/files/pdf/e21_03.pdf

Welfare in America, 1998–2013: The Case for Further Reform

Diana Furchtgott-Roth | Economics21 | January 13, 2015

This paper examines the evolution of major U.S. welfare programs since 1998—shortly after the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), the 1996 federal welfare reform signed into law by President Clinton, went into effect.

The paper chronicles the average amount of aid provided, as well as length of time on public assistance, focusing on the following programs: SNAP; Temporary Aid to Needy Families, or TANF (established by PRWORA); Medicaid; and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV). The paper also reports on how welfare eligibility and enrollment have expanded significantly since the Great Recession began in late 2007.

Indeed, while the U.S. economy has since improved, participation in such programs has generally not declined. This paper concludes that there is ample scope for states to reform welfare, and it proposes two substantial changes: (1) cap welfare spending at the rate of inflation and the number of Americans in poverty; and (2) allow states to direct savings from welfare programs to other budget functions.

While politically challenging, such changes would allow states greater flexibility to better target the neediest, as well as stem the increasing flow of money into such programs. For instance, this paper finds that federal savings through 2013 would, after accounting for inflation and the number of Americans in poverty, total $1.3 trillion had welfare funding remained at 1998 levels.

November 3, 2014
| Video

Caroline Baum and Marvin Goodfriend discuss the Shadow Open Market Committee's core principles and monetary policy.

 

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November 13, 2013
| Podcast

Matthew Hennessey, associate editor of City Journal, interviews Nicole Gelinas, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor of City Journal, on what to expect from tomorrow's confirmation hearing for Federal Reserve Chair.

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