Aug. 22 marks the 20th anniversary of President Bill Clinton and congressional Republicans’ bipartisan Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). This landmark welfare reform law substantially changed the U.S. welfare system for the first time in more than six decades. PRWORA instituted work requirements, imposed time limits, and allowed states to craft their own welfare programs through the newly formed Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
John and Donny continue their weekly exploration of think tanks across the country in episode #52 of the In The Tank Podcast. Today’s podcast features work from the Nevada Research Institute, the Cato Institute, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, and The Heartland Institute.
Critics of libertarians seem to worry most about our full-throated endorsement of and enthusiasm for the proven benefits of unhindered free-market competition. They believe that we are cynically defending a corrupt system of power and privilege, carrying water for capitalism’s exploiter class. There is, they argue, a need for governments, ostensibly pledged to “the greater good,” to intervene to counteract some of the perceived undesirable side effects of the free market system, which they say moves society toward inequitable accumulations of wealth in the hands of a few.
First Lady Michelle Obama touted the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 as a way to make school meals more nutritious and accessible to reduce childhood obesity rates. But after more than five years, the program has few positive results: a recent study shows childhood obesity levels haven’t declined (and in some demographics, have increased), food waste at schools is way up, and kids from families that don’t need subsidized meals still get them, courtesy of federal taxpayers.
John and Donny continue their exploration of think tanks in episode #43 of the In The Tank Podcast. This weekly podcast features (as always) interviews, debates, and roundtable discussions that explore the work of think tanks across the country. The show is available for download as part of the Heartland Daily Podcast every Friday. Today’s podcast features work from the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, the John Locke Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute.
In a free-market economy, people have healthy incentives to work and save, to form businesses and invest, to explore, innovate and invent, in these and other ways “to truck and barter.” The incessant desire of man to do better, whether through profit or achievement or goodness, when governed by the rule of law, leads to a progressive society.
Why have prices fallen so low? Because government subsidies created a glut – and the market is flooded. This government money warps and distorts the marketplace – as otherwise productively-directed time and effort is instead spent chasing the government coin. Producers produce not what the marketplace needs – but for what the government pays.
The world is threatened with a renewed wave of anti-capitalism and anti-business sentiments and policies. Many who cheered the demise of Soviet communism in the early 1990s, presumed that this meant that, by default, the case for free markets and competitive enterprise had won in the battle of ideas. Over the last twenty-five years it has become clear that the same misguided arguments against free market capitalism constantly reemerge, like an ideological vampire waiting to rise from the intellectual grave and drain market freedom of its lifeblood by more government regulations and controls.
There have been numerous stories, rumors, and outright falsehoods reported in the media and by detractors regarding state Sen. Arthur Orr’s (R-Decatur) recently proposed welfare reform bill.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan signed into law on April 5 House Bill 1696 to modify and renew through 2018 the state’s Medicaid expansion program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which state lawmakers first adopted in 2014.
The news is filled with the everyday zigzags of those competing against each other for the Democrat and Republican Party nominations to run for the presidency of the United States. But one of the most important issues receiving little or no attention in this circus of political power lusting is the long-term danger from the huge and rising Federal government debt.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has often talked about his desire for the United States to emulate the socialist welfare states of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden by providing free college and health care and expanding Social Security. Sanders also wants to ban oil, natural gas, and coal production on lands owned by the federal government, and he has called for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, which has dramatically increased production of oil and natural gas in the United States.
Mississippi took a step in the right direction when, at the beginning of the month, the Mississippi Department of Human Services announced it would implement work requirements for single people between the ages of 18 and 49 who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly called food stamps. Although this is a positive development, there is still much that could be done to better help the State of Mississippi move people in poverty from government dependency to self-sufficiency.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, managing editor of Budget & Tax News Jesse Hathaway talks with Jonathan Williams, Vice President of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Center for State Fiscal Reform, about how welfare reform and economic reform go hand in hand, and what states can do to help the needy back onto their feet and into society.
Thus far, the Saudi royal family has maintained its highly oppressive form of government by pacifying its people with an extensive welfare state funded by oil money. But low oil prices brought about by hydraulic fracturing in the United States are forcing the monarchy to give the Saudi people more freedom in order to remain in power.
If advocates of freedom were to make up a list of New Year’s resolutions for 2016, one of the most important items should be ending government’s monopoly control over money. In a free society, people in the marketplace should decide what they wish to use as money, not the government.
At this annual time of good cheer it might seem Grinch-like to challenge the spirit of Santa Claus, but the reality is that there is no jolly, bearded, rotund man in a red suit who brings us goodies for free. And the Congressional Budget Office has recently reminded us of this in reference to Social Security.
Democratic Party hopeful, Bernie Sanders, recently outlined what it means for him to be a “democratic socialist.” The problem is that the same label might be applied to most of the other candidates running in both the Democratic and Republican parties running to be the nominee for presidency of the United States.