A growing economy reduced poverty
Over the last two weeks, important new reports were released with good news for poverty fighters across the country: the official poverty rate dropped from 14.8 percent to 13.5 percent in 2015, and both food insecurity and very low food security significantly declined as well.
The fact that we are just now seeing progress, as caseloads for major assistance programs decrease, illustrates that a strengthening economy that gets more Americans working is the most essential ingredient for fighting poverty.
As we turn to strategies for making further improvements, AEI Research Fellow Angela Rachidi makes a convincing case that our focus throughout policy should be on getting more Americans working. From disability programs to child care assistance to apprenticeship programs, a host of changes could be made to increase employment among low-income Americans.
Dr. Rachidi hopes more state-level experimentation will help us discover effective approaches for addressing our country’s work problem, which is discussed in great depth by AEI Scholar Nicholas Eberstadt in his forthcoming book “Men Without Work.”
And AEI Visiting Scholar Edward Conard argues in his new book that we should be wary of relying on increased income redistribution to help low-income and middle-class Americans move up. Conard asserts that taxing wealthy Americans to provide assistance to the middle class dulls incentives for entrepreneurial risk-taking, the key to further economic growth, and that redistribution hurts the working class by discouraging work.
As always, I hope you read this newsletter with interest and share it with friends, family, and colleagues.
Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies
American Enterprise Institute