House GOP tries new approach to beating back poverty

Rep. Tom Price speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, February 2013.  (AP Photo)

Rep. Tom Price speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, February 2013. (AP Photo)

America’s longest war — 52 years and counting — has long been gauged by the munitions deployed rather than the ground gained. Consequently, the enemy in this conflict, poverty, has hardly retreated: Since Washington launched the offensive in 1964, the official poverty rate has hovered between 11 percent in good times and a touch over 15 percent in bad. Never higher, but never lower, either.

Some $22 trillion has been spent on scores of programs. Those figures are considered badges of honor by “hawks” who think the fight itself represents compassion. The “doves,” skeptical the fight is being fought well, tend to point to these same statistics, combined with the stubborn persistence of poverty in this country, as failure. And, importantly, as evidence the effort should be scaled back so it’s less costly.

Breaking a stalemate requires a new approach, and House Republicans have spent the spring re-imagining strategies in six key policy areas. First to report was a task force on poverty, and the most striking change ordered was this: It’s no longer about cutting spending. The new anti-poverty plan is designed to be budget-neutral.

“It may be a rhetorical shift,” one of the task force’s members, Rep. Tom Price of Roswell, said in a phone interview this week, “but it certainly is a shift in focus from our perspective, and that is we’ve simply got to change the metrics that we use to measure success from a federal government standpoint: real people, real lives, real success in people’s lives, instead of simply how much money we’re throwing at the problem and how many programs we have.”

The House Budget Committee chairman then drilled down more specifically into what ought to be measured:

“How many folks are we assisting in getting off governmental assistance?” Price began. “How many folks are we able to move them from a position of having no skills or a lack of education to having marketable skills and having an education? How many folks simply need a targeted assistance in the area of either nourishment for themselves or their family, or transportation to an endeavor or activity?

“Taking specific individuals and asking what is it that allows you to live your dreams,” he continued, “have to be the metrics. The metrics are defined by what people need, as opposed to what government measures easily – which is how much money are we spending, and how many programs do we have.”

The task force broadly outlined ways the federal government ought to move in that direction. One clear aim is to emphasize the importance of work and leading those on federal assistance toward self-sufficiency, requiring a job or job training for more welfare recipients. And the reason is not to save money in the short term — although that ought to come later — but to encourage what Price called “the earned success of employment and a satisfying life.”

“There are so many, as you know, great by-products just from a self-respect standpoint that flow from being a part of something greater than oneself,” he said. “And for many of us, that is the work endeavor that we select. So we ought to be encouraging and rewarding and incentivizing that activity, and the by-products of that are important in incalculable ways.”

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123 comments
AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

From 1948-1973 worker productivity and worker compensation increased together. As company profits increased, so did worker compensation - at roughly the same percentage. From 1973-2013 productivity increased 74% and worker compensation increased 9%.  http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/why-the-gap-between-worker-pay-and-productivity-is-so-problematic/385931/


Paying workers based on productivity does not seem to be supported by republicans. There is no push for a higher minimum wage, no support of collective bargaining, no shifting of tax burden from workers making less and less to companies making more and more. The trickle down has never trickled and never will. It was always "tricky down" and folks are still falling for it.


AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

How about we stop the deduction for mortgage interest? Surely you are not poor if you can afford a house.


Also, why not treat capital gains like labor income in terms of taxes?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 There's renewed talk in some Republican circles to find a way out as Trump lags big time behind Hillary Clinton in several new polls, and he has the highest unfavorable rating of any candidate for a major party on record -- 70% in this week's Washington Post-ABC poll.


http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/16/politics/donald-trump-republican-anxiety/index.html


The Trump train is close to coming off the tracks completely. 


 In the primaries they could play white identity politics and that works in an all white GOP. They are finding out the hard way that a general election is a far different game.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

I'm all in on new ideas emanating from the local level up to Washington, D.C.

Since Johnson's war on poverty "initiatives," we've been caught between two stale mates that have "served" to bring us ALL down.

Though inconceivable to many, it IS possible to run out of or through other people's money and patience. 

“Taking specific individuals and asking what is it that allows you to live your dreams,” he continued, “have to be the metrics.

For those who have come to accept government welfare as "earned" income, it'll be nigh on impossible for them to separate their wants from their needs. Hopefully someone will be willing to point to the differences. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@FIGMO2 agreed, and my point posted earlier on welfare having become a Social Justice project for the Left.

They will never voluntarily give it up, it will have to be taken from them and it will be a big fight to do so.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@figmo2,

Of course there are a few people who think like that but the others,such as people who work but still need welfare to make ends meet,these new approaches will help

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@JohnnyReb @FIGMO2 It isnt a social justice project.


Lots of people depend on that to make ends meet.


You want to remove a lot of people from welfare. Have Wal Mart pay their employees more than 9 bucks an hour.


All while the Walton children sit on their backsides and count thier billions.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

re, gun control debate.

I hear Obama now is using Hillary's line about war weapons in reference to the rifles they have identified as assault rifles.

Do the people know they are being brainwashed?

An old term but very appropriate.

I am soooo sick of the Dems.

And just about as sick with Repubs who keep finding one fault after another with Trump.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@JohnnyReb

At the risk of making you sick, Trump is unreliably conservative OR Republican. I fear he's the joker in the deck...a real wildcard. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@JohnnyReb  And just about as sick with Repubs who keep finding one fault after another with Trump.


It isnt hard to do. Face it your party nominated a racist misogynistic reality tv star. And they are going to pay for it dearly.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@FIGMO2 @JohnnyReb Trump has his warts but he got the votes.

It's insane for the Repub establishment and conservative talking heads to be trashing him.

It's a supreme temper tantrum that will give the election to Hillary.

The establishment wants him to do as they say, which will never happen.  They are in denial the voters in the primaries want him more than they want the establishment. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb as opposed to your party nominating a serial liar with a demonstrated lack of good judgement and poor decision making ability who has contributed to the unstable world in which we now live.

Not to mention a criminal for the foundation shenanigans. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@JohnnyReb @FIGMO2

Aside from immigration and trade, It's likely he'll do what the dems say, JR.

He'll likely concede ground on immigration and trade as well.

Mustang100
Mustang100

I figured out in jr. high unless I worked I would be poor. 

So I educated myself and went to work.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

"Reform" to leftists means taking more from people who work for a living and handing it out to loser Democrats.

This will go nowhere.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

A new approach soundd refreshing, but some republicans must open their minds and change their mindset towards poor folks.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Jefferson1776 And Dems must open their minds and change their mindset towards poor folks as many of them are not really poor.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Have we thought how the US economy/work has changed in the 50 years? As I recall, there was a more paternalistic attitude of employers to employees.  Employers invested in their employees, and did things that supported them.  They were not looking only at the bottom line. Jobs were not being sent overseas. Profits were not sky-high.  Stashing money overseas to avoid taxes was not prevalent.  How this has changed over time?  How have our laws evolved/devolved that send money and hope upward instead of spreading more evenly?


At the same time this divestment in human capital has taken place, the role of education in advancement has changed.  A high school, even a college education is no longer a guarantee of a good life.  


Add in the availability of drugs and alcohol and the acceptability of "premature family formation"and dissolution,  and you have the types of things that lead to the continuation of higher than should be expected poverty.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Wascatlady Studies have shown a person needs to do three things to avoid poverty:


graduate high school

get a job

do not have a baby outside of marriage


It's amazing how many people can't get three things right.

And its even more amazing that taxpayers have become complacent to paying for other people's bad life choices.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Caius @Wascatlady @Lil_Barry_Bailout @JohnnyReb


A big reason most Republicans hate any kind of safety net is they think all that money goes to minorities. 


When in fact far more white people are on welfare and would be effected by cuts.


Of course they have no idea that is actually the case.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Democrats have worked their magic on eliminating poverty just like they have with "improving" education.

They've been unmitigated failures at both.

They should quit the government and let Real Americans take over.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Lil_Barry_Bailout  Democrats have worked their magic on eliminating poverty


Yes they have. Reducing it by as much as 40 %.


And yes they improved education as well. The GI Bill being a prime example of how government can do this.


Historians and economists judge the G.I. Bill a major political and economic success—especially in contrast to the treatments of World War I veterans—and a major contribution to America's stock of human capital that sped long-term economic growth.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.I._Bill


When you make those kind of investments in the American people they pay off BIG time in the long run.


One wonders why the family values and religious GOP cares so little about the poor ?


Maybe that is what Jesus would do ?

lvg
lvg

@Lil_Barry_Bailout

RACISM ALERT!

""They should quit the government and let Real Americans take over."


So who is a real American? Donald Trump? Rush Limbaugh?


I think Hitler had same phrase for real Germans. 


Lil Barry and Donald have big plans for the rest of the people living in USA.

lvg
lvg

@Hedley_Lammar @lvg @Lil_Barry_Bailout Hedley- you left out a few objectionable categories of unreal Americans to be eliminated - Muslims; the 49% getting government checks;Mexicans, reporters who are not pro-Trump; women who had abortions, women on birth control, fat women, ugly women. I am sure Lil Barry can help us out here.


What about  native Americans? Are they  real or not real Americans?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@lvg @Lil_Barry_Bailout  Lil Barry and Donald have big plans for the rest of the people living in USA.


Yup. And those plans have a lot to do with the color of your skin.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar @Lil_Barry_Bailout the big difference, just in case you missed it Hedley, is that to receive the GI BIll you first contributed, did some work, as being in the military.

Today, there is an entitlement attitude where a person thinks s/he is due govment help.

Heck, have another baby and get more money.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@lvg @Lil_Barry_Bailout

No, you idiot, Real Americans are people who trust their fellow citizens to solve their own problems and live their own lives.  Real Americans know that the best way to do this is to keep government small and out of our business.

Democrats are people who completely miss the fact that the more government we've built up, the worse our health care system has become, the worse education has become, the more screwed up our retirement planning has become, etc etc.

Democrats are failures.  In government and in life.  They can't get along without taking the earnings of others.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

  If virtually any other Republican were running for president, Hillary would be in trouble.


Examples being Rubio or Bush. Cruz wouldn't work because he is just as nuts as Trump


I disagree. I just think it would be much closer. More like a dead heat.


But GOP voters chose the racist. So she is going to win easy.


Its getting so bad I honestly have to ask myself if Trump is throwing the fight.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I am in favor of many of these things. Women with children who get federal assistance should be working or in job training.  They should be required to name (accurately) the father of their children to get assistance.  They should be required to go on 99% reliable birth control to get assistance.  Children's fathers should also have requirements. 


People who have babies on Medicaid should be required to repay the costs, even if it is $2 per week for decades.  Their trips to the doctor or for medicine also should have small copays.


There is a large group of people where I live that have never developed any reliability.  They have not been held accountable.  They pass these same "qualities" and attitudes on to their children (whom I have taught).  The children think this is a fine way to get on with life, with lots of free time.  That needs to change.


The only way we are going to break this cycle is to require things of recipients--the same kinds of things you and I are required to do to take care of our families.  To break the cycle, you have to teach responsibility, and not reward irresponsible behavior.


We need stricter requirements for disability.  Look at families--when mom and dad are "disabled", and the children they raise are on disability before they are 50, you generally have a learned behavior.  If you are unable to, say, walk easily, then you get trained for a seated job, rather than go on "disability."


We need to stop paying people to have children with a "disability." It is ridiculous to pay someone $700 per month for a disabled child. What other child, non disabled, brings in $700 a month in income to the family? Why should a disabled child designation contribute money to a family?


At the same time we are making these changes, we should have expectations of businesses beyond what they currently do. People working full time at Walmart, for example, should not be supplemented by taxpayers.  Walmart needs to provide for its employees.


And while I am at it--Social Security.  You should get only what you yourself have worked for.  No drawing off your spouse's record.  It was understandable that that was the rule in the 1940s, but nowadays you should only be able to get what you worked outside the home for. The only exception to that would be for a child whose parent died prematurely--they should be able to get their parent's SS until they graduate from high school or turn 18.


We need a gut-check to get a handle on, and turn around, the expectations of a set of the population that expects things to be done for them.  When they learn the value of work (not just financial), it will be passed on to their children as an expectation.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Wascatlady "You should get only what you yourself have worked for.  No drawing off your spouse's record.  It was understandable that that was the rule in the 1940s, but nowadays you should only be able to get what you worked outside the home for. "

Stay-at-home moms would dispute your implicit notion that they haven't worked. Anyway, that's not where the bulk of the problem comes from. 

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Kyle_Wingfield @Wascatlady I, as a non-stay-at-home-mom should then get MY SS and1/2 my husband's, since I did double-duty.


No one is saying SAHMs don't work, but the eligibility for SS is working 40 quarters outside the home in a job that contributes to SS. SAHM have not met that requirement.


You make the choice, you live with the consequences...

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@Wascatlady @Kyle_Wingfield

Does the same thinking apply to those who choose not to get an education, choose not to work for a living, choose to have children they can't support?

You make excuses for people who make those choices.

And it isn't Walmart's job to "provide" for their employees.  It's the job to sell us stuff at low prices and pay their employees a wage agreed upon in advance.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@gapeach101 @Kyle_Wingfield @Wascatlady So is Kyle in support of the GI Bill for those who have not served?  Unemployment for those who have not worked?  A tax write-off for those who do not own a home?


Every pot on its own bottom. If you don't meet the criteria for working 40 measly quarters in your lifetime and getting SS based on your pay/contributions, you should not draw from the reserves of those who DID work and managed to do those other things like running a household.  THAT would be taking some FAT welfare payments monthly for the rest of your life!

lvg
lvg

Gotta hand it to Ryan- he is slick and knows how to dance in front of reporters. You know he was miffed at  Trump by his responses about Trump's latest tirade . Instead of responding, he talked about separation of powers. When asked about Trump banning Wash. Post, Ryan responds by saying  that his response is  to leave last question to a Wash. Post reporter.


If Ryan were running for President, Hillary would be in trouble.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@lvg If virtually any other Republican were running for president, Hillary would be in trouble. We have in this race, as I saw in the sports context about the current Braves vs. Reds series, the resistible force against the movable object.

lvg
lvg

@Kyle_Wingfield @lvg More like sanity vs. total insanity. I have met NY cabbies with more class than Donald. He reminds me of Jackie Gleason on the Honeymooners.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

This plan is just another failure, based on hopes instead of hard reality.  It does no good to train people for work, if there are no jobs or no jobs that pay any better than being on the system.  You have to first remove the Obama restraints on the economy, get the economy moving again, and limit immigration. Once that happens, you can talk about training folks for jobs currently available.


The economy, immigration, education, and poverty is all so tied together, you have to work on all at once.  If there are more candidates for jobs than there are jobs, then who is going to hire someone with no experience, who has been on the dole for 10 years  It is just a vicious circle, that you will never solve without reinvigorating the economy.. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@RafeHollister Even in this economy, there are jobs available. There's a program in Atlanta, privately run and funded, that takes in homeless men, gets them into shape to work, matches them with employers, and eventually gets them to self-sufficiency, including paying for their own housing. It's called Georgia Works; Price mentioned it in the interview, and the AJC has published articles about it.

The key is making it "pay any better than being on the system." Which is why we have to put job/job training requirements on the benefits.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Kyle_Wingfield @RafeHollister The 94 Million who are currently out of the workforce would be pleased to know that there are all these jobs, but probably wouldn't be pleased with the salary these jobs generate.  How many of these jobs would you call "make work jobs" in which folks could be placed to get them out of homelessness?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@RafeHollister You do realize that your "94 million who are currently out of the workforce" includes teenagers and early 20s still in school and retirees (of all ages), right? The problems we have are real enough without overstating them.

Now, to your question: The jobs I'm talking about are low-paid, entry-level jobs. No question. Some are in food service, some are working in warehouses; none of the ones I'm aware of are "make work jobs." They're with private employers.

Now, would you rather have someone working one of those jobs, or not? Isn't the whole idea that we want more people working and paying taxes? Are you opposed to requiring work (or work training) for welfare benefits? I'm not sure what you're even arguing here.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Kyle_Wingfield @RafeHollister Has any of this changed recently? We have the lowest workforce participation rate since the 70's.  There were teenagers and many young folks searching for the meaning of life in the 70's.  The point is, the economy doesn't allow for folks who wish to work and for the folks who wished they worked to get what they wish for.  We need to reinvigorate the economy and create jobs before we can put everyone back to work.  Yes, I think people on welfare should be given some things they are required to do, if they can't find work, which I think would be the case for many of them.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@RafeHollister "Has any of this changed recently? We have the lowest workforce participation rate since the 70's. "

And as I said, there is a real problem. But overstating it to the point of using a number most people won't take seriously -- because they shouldn't, because it's too large by a factor of 2 -- is of no help. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@DaltonbywayofBickley @RafeHollister The problem, as people who work in this field have explained it to me, is that the jobs that are available aren't really competitive with being on welfare. That's a short-sighted way for welfare recipients to view things, because these often are also the kind of entry-level jobs that lead to promotions and/or raises pretty quickly, if you can just show up sober and on time, and work diligently while you're there.

But it's also short-sighted on our part, to put them in a position to make that kind of calculation. If there's a way to induce them to take that job, and make their way toward self-sufficiency, we should do it, even if it means phasing out their benefits more slowly at first. 

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

@Kyle_Wingfield @DaltonbywayofBickley @RafeHollister What kind of welfare are you talking about that's better than entry level, unskilled work, that people can stay on without having to get work? Asking seriously, because I don't know. My understanding is it's difficult to get on these programs and that if you can get work you have to take it.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@DaltonbywayofBickley I think it's the combination of programs. I just know that's what I am told by people who work in the field of trying to get people (homeless or otherwise) to work.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@DaltonbywayofBickley I did a piece a few years ago about how welfare recipients face a higher marginal tax rate -- in this case, due to the loss of benefits rather than the increase of taxes -- than "the rich." But it was on our old blogging platform, and I haven't been able to find it.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield @Hedley_Lammar @RafeHollister Wrong


We're in an age when there's a real disconnect between skill sets and job openings. That's created a lot of demand in some high-paying fields.

Many of the job openings that are going unfilled require you to go back to school to get more education. STEM jobs -- which involve the fields of science, technology, engineering, or math -- are particularly hot right now.

Here's a list of the top 20 starting salaries for 2014-15 graduates, according to Michigan State University's Recruiting Trends 2014-15 report:

  1. Electrical Engineering - $57,030
  2. Computer Engineering - $56,576
  3. Mechanical Engineering - $56,055
  4. Software Design - $54,183
  5. Computer Programming - $54,065
  6. Chemical Engineering - $53,622
  7. Computer Science - $52,237
  8. Civil Engineering - $51,622
  9. Mathematics (includes applied) - $47,952
  10. Construction - $45,591
  11. Supply Chain - $45,508
  12. Finance - $44,699
  13. Accounting - $44,525
  14. Nursing - $43,481
  15. Chemistry - $43,344
  16. Human Resources - $42,495
  17. Marketing - $41,481
  18. Economics - $41,118
  19. Humanities & Liberal Arts - $39,162
  20. Agricultural Sciences - $38,854

http://www.clark.com/top-10-jobs-demand-right-now


Hiring managers are desperate for folks. Lots of jobs out there but not enough people with the skills to fill them. 


We might be talking past each other because I didn't read the whole thread.


But the point is there are a lot of jobs going unfilled because we dont have people with the skill set to fill them.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Hedley_Lammar We are talking about two different things. I am talking about the entry-level jobs available to the people who are now on welfare. They are unlikely to become electrical engineers ... although their kids might.