Why the war on poverty failed — and what to do now John McWhorter. 12 29 2016. Vox. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/12/29/14112084/war-on-poverty-brooklyn-great-society Does welfare cause illegitimacy? — with Charles Murray (1994) | THINK TANK American Enterprise Institute. 4 9 1994. Commentary: War on Poverty: Large
“Biden is making relief for child care centers part of his larger caregiving plan, which he unveiled on Tuesday in New Castle, Delaware. “As a first step, Biden will immediately provide states, tribal, and local governments with the fiscal relief they need to keep workers employed and keep vital public services running, including direct care and child care services,” states the campaign document outlining the plan. (The campaign did not provide specifics on the among of relief the candidate would make available if elected.)
But the former vice president also promises to go beyond the immediate crisis and invest in child care for the future. His plan would provide free preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds in the country. And for kids under the age of 3, the plan would create a system of tax credits and subsidies so that families earning less than 1.5 times the median income in their state would pay no more than 7 percent of their income for child care, with “the most-hard pressed working families” paying nothing.
The plan also includes tax credits to encourage employers to construct onsite child care facilities, something companies did during World War II that’s become harder to imagine today, as families (most often mothers) are expected to handle child care on their own.”
“The basic income suffers from a number of flaws it can’t get away from. The first is that it’s either too big, so it’s unaffordable, or it’s too small, so it doesn’t make a difference. In Europe, certainly in the UK, most of the basic income schemes that are advanced here, we’re talking about something equivalent to $85 a week. While that’s going to make a difference to some people, it’s not going to fundamentally change the life choices of the people it’s supposedly targeting.
If the objective is to emancipate people, then [a UBI] has to be close to $1,000, possibly $2,000 a month. At those levels, we’re talking about tripling the federal budget. No one’s really considering that a reasonable proposal. So it suffers from a sort of catch-22.”
“There are lots of factors that cause people not to reach their potential that are not solvable through a reasonable individual cash distribution, because they are social infrastructure.
Social infrastructure services flow naturally to basic needs. If low-cost social housing is available, it flows to people who need it rather than people who can afford a larger house. We have a free national health care service here in the UK — people don’t just turn up at the doctor for fun, because it’s free. They go when they’re sick. People go into education programs when they need retraining. Basic social infrastructure is accessed by people at the time of need.”
“We defined seven basic categories of essential services that meet three criteria. For someone to meet their full potential, they need safety, opportunity, and participation. So that is individual safety, opportunity to use their skills and abilities to improve their own lives, and ability to participate in the democracy.
What does that take, in a modern sense? They need somewhere safe to live, access to food, health care access, education, access to digital information and communication systems, and access to a transport system. Our seventh category we call legal, by which we mean access to the institutional mechanisms of democracy and society.”
“The proposal for universal basic services is not a proposal for universal [public] provision. It is not that everybody will live in highly energy-efficient, low-cost, government-provided housing. It is that access to housing is available.
If you go on to the average university campus, you will see what looks very much like a universal basic services system. The university is providing a room in a shared environment, where you share a kitchen with someone. If you’ve got more money and you want to go and live in independent housing, then you move out into a house down the street.”
“There’s still a private market and it would probably be the majority of consumption, but the expectation is that you’re creating a base floor within that market. And that would stimulate the quality of the market and enable more innovation in the rest of the marketplace.”
“We modeled our original proposal. For the vast majority of the population, everybody earning median incomes and below, there’s a net positive. People right at the bottom are having something like 60 to 80 percent of their normal costs replaced by public services. That leaves them money in their pocket.
Around the median, there’s a small net benefit, and then at the higher end, we’re talking about net contributions that are in the dozens of dollars a month. But to put society on a sustainable path, we need to get to a higher level of responsibility and pay for the society we want. That means slightly higher levels of tax.”
Policy Basics: Federal Tax Expenditures 11 18 2019. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/policy-basics-federal-tax-expenditures The biggest U.S. tax breaks Drew Desilver. 4 6 2016. Pew Research Center Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Years 2019-2023. 12 18 2019. The Joint
“programs for the poor are only a tiny portion of the U.S. welfare state. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that more than 60 percent of American households receive more in government benefits than they pay in taxes. To get an idea of just how big the American welfare state has become, consider that those transfer payments from the federal government are equal to 34 percent of all wages and taxes in the U.S.”
“The largest transfer programs are the middle-class entitlements, Social Security and Medicare. In addition, a large portion of the third biggest entitlement program, Medicaid, actually goes to the middle-class elderly and disabled individuals, not the poor. Those three programs alone now make up more than half of all federal spending.”
“we need to understand that, in practice, when an individual pays Social Security taxes, none of those taxes are set aside for that individual’s benefits. Rather, they are used to pay benefits to those who are currently retired. Social Security is merely a transfer payment from workers to retirees. In that sense, it operates exactly the same as any other transfer or welfare program.”
“Many individuals will receive more than taxes paid plus a reasonable amount of interest on those taxes.”
“according to the Social Security system’s trustees, the program faces a future shortfall of more than $43 trillion7 (measured in discounted present value over an infinite horizon—that is, if the government put away $43 trillion today and earned 3 percent interest on those funds, it would have enough money so that, combined with payroll taxes, it could pay all future benefits). Unfortunately, however, the federal government doesn’t have an extra $43 trillion. As a result, there is simply no way that Social Security can pay future benefits without a massive tax increase.”
“A rule that creates new barriers to low-income immigrants seeking to enter the US went into effect on Monday, bringing to fruition the kind of vast restrictions on legal immigration that President Donald Trump has long sought.
The so-called “public charge” rule, published in August by the Department of Homeland Security, establishes a test to determine whether an immigrant applying to enter the US, extend their visa, or convert their temporary immigration status into a green card is likely to end up relying on public benefits in the future.
Immigration officials will now have more leeway to turn away those who are “likely to be a public charge” based on an evaluation of 20 factors, ranging from the use of certain public benefits programs — including food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, and Medicaid — to English language proficiency.”
“Trump has justified the rule as a means of ensuring that immigrants are “financially self-sufficient” and has argued it will “protect benefits for American citizens.””
“The rule, which has been anticipated for more than a year, has had a chilling effect already: Noncitizens have been needlessly dropping their public benefits out of fear that they will face immigration consequences. It’s difficult to quantify just how many immigrants have unenrolled already, but one survey suggested that about one in seven had done so as of 2018.
Many immigrants aren’t eligible for public benefits unless they have green cards or certain humanitarian protections — and not all public benefits are available to noncitizens.”
“It also makes getting into the US much harder for immigrants sponsored by family members, the phenomenon Trump has excoriated as “chain migration.”
The rule is only one of several policies the Trump administration has pursued to dramatically shift which immigrants are legally able to come to the United States. Under Trump, the legal immigration system increasingly rewards skills and wealth over family ties to the US, while shutting out a growing number of people from low-income backgrounds.”
“With the public charge regulation, Trump is painting immigrants as abusing public benefits. But they are actually “less likely to consume welfare benefits and, when they do, they generally consume a lower dollar value of benefits than native-born Americans,” according to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.”
“few immigrants would end up being penalized, under the final version of the rule, for using public assistance. But the rule has already been effective in dissuading many immigrants from continuing to access the public benefits they need.”
““When we decide how much to redistribute, how progressive the tax should be, the thinking is: I’m putting some weight on everyone in the economy, measuring how much I value $1 given to Dylan, $1 given to Stefanie,” Stantcheva told me, laying out the model. “The weight we put mentally depends on many characteristics of those people: how poor they are, how hard they work, etc.”
Voters often put a lower weight on immigrants’ welfare, which means the more immigrants they think are getting money from the government, the less likely they are to support redistribution overall. But the picture is more complicated than that. Alesina and Stantcheva’s model also assumes that voters put a low weight on “freeloaders”: people they perceive to be cheating the welfare system, as opposed to the “deserving poor,” who are getting benefits they ought to be receiving. If voters think that a higher share of immigrants than natives are freeloaders, that will also reduce support for redistribution.
“Misperceptions and biases against immigrants can interact and reinforce each other,” Alesina and Stantcheva write. “If the bias against immigrants is already high … even a small over-estimation of the share of free-loaders among immigrants can tilt preferences towards less redistribution. Similarly, if the bias against immigrants is high (or if the perceived share of free-loaders is high), even a small overestimation of the share of immigrants can reduce support for redistribution.”
And what their survey work with Armando Miano finds is that these kinds of misperceptions are incredibly common, and especially common among people disposed negatively toward immigration.”