Public assistance for the poor (Wealth & Poverty Class 10)
Welfare, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Unemployment Insurance, Food Stamps, and the EITC
Today we look at several remedies for poverty that raise the morally and politically complex question of who deserves public assistance. We’ll reach back into history — to the 14th century, as well as to the last forty years in America — to see how this question has been answered differently over time. And we’ll contrast the dominant view since the Clinton administration with a remarkable experiment America conducted between July and December 2021.
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In particular, the questions I’ll be addressing are: Which strategy has succeeded best in remedying poverty? Which has raised the wages of the bottom half? At what cost? Should we eliminate all specific safety-net programs and move instead to a larger Earned Income Tax Credit? How about a universal basic income?
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