Search results: "welfare cliff"
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About That “Inspiring Environment”

As Anchor Rising-Ocean State Current readers know, Governor Gina Raimondo’s budget for the upcoming year refinanced a bunch of state debt.  Simply refinancing would have save taxpayers millions upon millions of dollars; instead, the governor took the money up front (ultimately costing taxpayers additional money in financing costs) in order to plug it into big spending projects, mostly having to do with top-down economic development.

Whatever else these projects accomplish, they’ll give her opportunity for many positive-sounding announcements, with the first being the money going toward school buildings.  One line in a related Providence Journal article gets to the heart of the philosophical difference:

“We know our kids can’t learn in crumbling school buildings and that they must have access to a learning environment that inspires them to do their best,” Raimondo said in a news release announcing the authority’s launch.

Upon just a little bit of thought, I’m sure, most people would readily admit that there’s more to an inspiring learning environment than the condition of the surrounding building.  Many might go as far as to say that’s among the least important factors.

One, of course, is family structure.  And in this area, progressives like Raimondo tend to support anti-family policies, like welfare programs that replace stable homes with government checks, easy divorce, and the redefinition of marriage to remove the centrality of raising children.

Another is has been more on my mind in the past week or so, though.  Between welfare cliffs and tax-and-regulatory policies that make the ladder to success difficult to climb, there isn’t much to which to aspire.  Whatever a student’s grades, the government will take care of him or her, and the odds of success are getting smaller.  The vision of “making it if you try” that President Obama articulated in 2012 was a modest living with “a little vacation with your family once in a while — nothing fancy, but just time to spend with those you love.”

Add in progressives’ reflexive condemnation of successful people (as if success indicates cheating or theft), the cult of self esteem, and high-profile battles over whether it’s fair to have objective graduation standards, and the message we send to children is crystal clear.  Fortunate children have parents or other adult confidants who hold them to high standards and push them along, but that just brings us back around to progressive attacks on the family.

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A Rhode Island in Which It Doesn’t Pay to Try

Following up his article about the welfare life in Woonsocket, Arthur Christopher Schaper has posted an interview with a Providence baker who found the story very familiar:

My family has owned an Italian Bakery/Pizzeria in Providence for 25 years.

This once vibrant immigrant built city has become a third-world wasteland of Government Subsidies and lost hope.

Our business has unfortunately had to accept EBT to survive, and the abuse and fraud I see firsthand is nauseating. If you ever needed specific examples, I could give you plenty.

It seems no one feels the need to go to work anymore, at least in my neighborhood.

One telling comment that the baker makes is gaining attention nationally, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the problem is worse than usual in Rhode Island:

[James Hallal, of J’s Deli, has] had prospective employees come right out and tell him they can’t work more than 30 hours/wk. or they will lose such and such benefits.

If I can make close to same amount of $ and not have to work in a 90 degree bakery, why would I chose to work?

We’ve set up “welfare cliffs,” over which people can actually lose money if they make more money.  In 2012, Gary Alexander ran the numbers for Pennsylvania and found that a single mother who began to earn more than $29,000 per year (about $14 per hour on a 40-hour workweek) would lose money unless she earned $69,000 (about $33 per hour).  In Cook County, Illinois, that single mother would have to skip from $12 per hour to $38 per hour for it to be worthwhile to get a raise.

Looking specifically at New York City for City Journal, Myron Magnet describes the role of welfare reform, of the kind that encourages (rather than discourages) work, plays in turning struggling areas around.  Of course, the people most harmed by these progressive policies, I would argue, are those born into challenging situations who would actually prefer to make something of themselves.  Tripling your pay to get from dependency to self-sufficiency is quite a gap.

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