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Work Requirements Are the Newest Front in the War on the War on Poverty

On July 12, President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers released a report titled “Expanding Work Requirements in Non-Cash Welfare Programs” in response to an April 2018 executive order on reducing poverty in America. The CEA’s basic argument is simple: The war on poverty has been won — properly measured, the poverty rate is just 3 percent, a historic low. However, victory Read More


Is the War on Poverty Really Over?

The Council of Economic Advisers recently released a report that began with the startling statement that the War on Poverty is over and has ended in victory. Properly measured, says the CEA, the poverty rate has fallen to just 3 percent. Can such a low poverty rate, less than a quarter of the official measure (12.7 percent for 2017), be Read More


Does the Government That Governs Least Really Govern Best? A Quick Look at the Data.

Libertarians are fond of quoting Henry David Thoreau’s aphorism, “That government is best which governs least.” Thoreau was evidently paraphrasing his contemporary John O’Sullivan, but no matter who first said it, the quotation has become an axiom of those who love freedom. But is it true? Let’s treat this aphorism as a hypothesis and test it against the data. To Read More


More on Work Requirements: A Response to AEI

An op-ed by Angela Rachidi and Robert Doar in Real Clear Policy, reprinted on the American Enterprise Institute’s blog, challenges some points I made about the effects of work requirements in my commentary on the topic last week. Rachidi and Doar’s critique focuses on the interpretation of data from the National Evaluation of Welfare to Work Strategies (NEWWS), which analyzed Read More


Is That Government Best Which Regulates Least?

In a recent post, I questioned Henry David Thoreau’s aphorism, “That government is best which governs least.” The data, it seems, show something different. Countries with small governments, as measured by the share of expenditures and taxes in GDP, tend actually to be somewhat less free and prosperous than those with larger governments. The quality of government, as measured by things Read More