What is really holding American workers back?

(By Helen Raleigh, Centennial Fellow) Even though the official unemployment rate fell below 5%, most of us who live in the real world know better: there are still an estimated 30 million Americans who have

When welfare beats work

(By Joy Overbeck, '76 Contributor) With multimillionaire Democrats such as Hillary Clinton predictably accusing mean Republicans of ignoring the poor, and the upcoming election sure to hinge on “who cares more” about struggling Americans, it’s

Obama’s failed war on poverty

In his bow to holding a “conversation” about the poor, supported by two other progressives at liberal Georgetown University against one lone conservative, President Barack Obama’s big idea was to “invest” more to combat poverty,

At the intersection of race and poverty

(Centennial Fellow) When I was in law school, I had the privilege of working at the Institute on Race & Poverty. IRP was focused on issues that were found at the intersection of race and poverty. IRP recognized that while race and poverty were concerns independent of each other, when they intersected, it raised a different and more complex set of concerns. I appreciated that perspective as a law student, but as a professional and a community member, the realities of that perspective have deepened over time.

Work ethic or entitlements: Americans must choose

(Centennial Fellow) On this Presidents’ Day it’s worth recalling the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933: “Our greatest primary task is to put people to work.” Although sometimes considered the father of the American entitlement state, FDR understood that our sense of achievement and self-sufficiency comes from our work.

President’s cutesy speech omitted entitlement crisis

Unbelievable. President Obama, among the most divisive presidents in our recent history, gives an also divisive State of the Union speech, taking credit for things he did not do, producing a laundry list of mostly bad things he plans and at the end sounding oh, so nice. This country of ours? We’re a “tight-knit family.” Republicans? He wants to get along with them. To repeat a question he asked, really?

Take government benefits? Sure, why not?

(“76 Contributor) A few weeks ago, I came across a challenging post on a conservative blog asking whether conservatives should ever use welfare programs. The author explained that he and his wife were expecting a child and that because their finances were tight, they were seriously, if compunctiously, considering the option of taking government money through a program called WIC, which hands out food stamps for families with young children. The author pointed out that as a conservative he had never thought of using a government program but that “now, with a child on the way, the idea of a little help sounds attractive.” Feeling guilty about the prospect of betraying his principles, the author countered that “if it would help and if [he didn’t] intend to continue on welfare after [he got] a full-time job, where’s the harm?” But was that a valid point? Hence the concluding question: “Should conservatives ever use government safety net programs and if so, under what circumstances?”