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On the Biden CTC, Expert Endorsement Rings Hollow

American Compass’s Oren Cass and Wells King discuss the pitfalls of “evidence-based policymaking” and the importance of prioritizing work and long-term effects in designing the Child Tax Credit.

Keep the Child Credit Tied to Work

Americans want creative policymaking that better supports families, but always with the expectation that families receiving public support are also working to support themselves.

Unemployment and the Labors of Love

As I was reading sociologist Sarah Damaske’s new book, The Tolls of Uncertainty: How Privilege and the Guilt Gap Shape Unemployment in America, I was struck by a realization: though I’ve spent a good deal of the past 11 years interviewing working-class young adults in Ohio, I have met relatively few who have received unemployment insurance (UI).

The Surprising Nordic Lesson for U.S. Welfare

Before the arrival of COVID-19, the U.S. was seeing growing numbers of people, especially men, dropping out of the workforce. Given the far-reaching effects of the pandemic, this will likely continue, even when labor demand is back to normal. The strong pull of streaming, video games, and social media will only make that trend worse. In this environment, one possible downside of cash payments is an additional incentive not to work.

Why Do Libertarians Support User Fees but Not a Family Wage?

Wages are to workers’ output what user fees are to highways and toll bridges.

Making It Easier to Make Ends Meet

6 a.m. is much too early for this tired mama. But nonetheless, I hear that little pitter-patter of onesie-covered feet coming down the hall into our room. With a soft “Mom, can I have a banana?” my day begins, whether I’m ready for it or not.

Social Security Was Supposed to Be Secure

I thought Social Security was supposed to be secure. But we often are warned that the dollars allocated for this purpose are running out. Why are politicians so eager to spend money on everything but maintaining this contract?

Is Sweden a Free-Market Welfare State?

While it is true that Sweden adopted some neoliberal reforms after an economic crisis in the early 1990s, Sweden is not, and never has been, a free-market welfare state.

Breaking the Spell

Executive director Oren Cass looks back on the history of welfare reform and explains why fighting poverty requires more than just sending money to the poor.

The Left’s Welfare Extremism

Executive director Oren Cass on how left-wing critics of our family-benefit proposal are sorely misguided.

Put Working Families at the Front of the Line for Help

American Compass executive director Oren Cass argues that a policy that sustains people in joblessness is not ultimately anti-poverty.

Toward a Family Wage (Subsidy)

An important insight deep within the structure of the Fisc is that much of the trouble ailing families right now is not strictly poverty; it’s fatherlessness.

Is A Child Allowance Pro-Work for Poor Parents?

An injection of cash to poor families might be less of a handout and more of a hand up, acting as much-needed capital for families by allowing them to afford the things necessary to stay employed.

For Pregnant Mothers, Make Payments Lump-Sum

Lump-sum payments will decrease the incentive for fraud while eliminating the inequity regarding length of pregnancy.

Setting a Goal for Family Support

It is time for conservatives to look beyond discrete proposals and to approach family policy as an orienting goal that can enable other political goals and as an investment in the nation’s long-term prosperity.

A World Tour of Family Benefit Programs

American enthusiasm for a per-child family benefit has grown, but details matter and proposals differ widely—as do the programs already established in other nations.

Support Families Because They Are Families

Conservatives have a persistent problem: they often don’t know what it is they want to conserve. This bears on the burgeoning discussion of family policy.

Is a New Entitlement Program the Solution for Working Families?

How does the Fisc stack up? Better than a universal child allowance, though I still have concerns.

“It’s My %$!#ing Money” and the Hollow Populism of Stimulus Checks

“Checks” risks becoming the rallying cry for a hollow form of populism, one that seeks to merely extract value for the masses rather than build something new and permanent.

Families Deserve Dedicated Relief. Senator Hawley to the Rescue?

The pandemic has placed an enormous burden on the lives of parents and children in particular.

Paid Family Leave Can Help Combat the Coming COVID Baby Bust

International evidence shows Paid Family Leave programs can boost fertility rates.

Time to End the Race-to-the-Bottom on Unemployment Insurance

While the unemployment rate had fallen to 6.9 percent in October, the employment-population ratio was 3.7 percentage points lower than in February. 6.7 million workers were no longer looking for work and 3.6 million workers were unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

Tales of Bureaucratic Incompetence and the Sins of the Left and Right

After working as a manager at Chick-Fil-A for four years, Elizabeth Nowowiejski, a married mother of two living in Toledo, began a new job as a patient coordinator at a Read more…

New Deal Social Security
No, the New Deal Wasn’t Racist

Save for the Civil Rights Act, no single federal policy or program has done more to advance racial equity than Social Security.

A Trailer in the Country: Working-Class Attitudes About Redistribution

At the beginning of a lane of public housing units pink balloons mark the mailbox and a disposable tablecloth flutters in the wind, held down on a plastic table by a box of sprinkled cupcakes with high-topped icing and another box of assorted party favors.

Could Baby Bonds Help Reduce Wealth Inequality in America?

American Compass’s Oren Cass, Senator Cory Booker, and other experts discuss the feasibility of government baby bonds.

More on Social Insurance and Conservatism

In his latest contribution to our ongoing debate over social insurance and conservatism, Oren Cass clarifies some of our points of disagreement. One of them concerns the meaning and nature of “social insurance” itself. Another is whether certain proposals are sufficiently “conservative.”

Beware “Social Insurance” Salesmen

Redistribution is a vital topic for conservatives as we question stale orthodoxies and reexamine how first principles can help to address modern challenges. In this respect I agree entirely with Read more…

Social Insurance and Dependency on Government

In a recent essay for The American Conservative, Oren Cass criticizes a viewpoint, which he attributes to the Niskanen Center, among others on the center-right, that places a central emphasis on free markets and economic growth even when doing so “necessitate[s] a much larger safety net, widespread government dependence, and the loss of a baseline expectation that people everywhere can become productive contributors to their communities and form stable families capable of self-reliance.”

Rethinking Welfare Capitalism

Since the neoliberal era began in the 1970s, many public policy thinkers have assumed that America’s employment-based benefit system of welfare capitalism is doomed to extinction by the growth in freelance or gig workers. To replace employer benefits, the left tends to support welfare statism and the right tends to support welfare individualism, in the form of portable, individualized tax credits or savings accounts.

Should Congress Extend the $600 Federal Unemployment Benefit?

In March as Ohio began to shut down, Emily—a thirtysomething mom who asked that I not use her real name—worried about her family, her neighbors, and especially the elderly. She posted on her town’s Facebook page offering to grocery shop for those unable to go to the store, or to share a meal with anyone who might be hungry, saying that she’d feed them whatever she could out of her own kitchen.

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