Category: Welfare Reform

By Ryan Streeter Do you know why most people are poor, and what would make them better off? Mauricio Miller is pretty sure you do not. In “The Alternative: Most of What You Believe About Poverty Is Wrong,” he argues that people involved in anti-poverty work today regularly do more harm than good. In fact, he fires staffers within his organization who simply “help” poor families. Low-income families, Miller says, need to be aided to solve their own problems, not temporarily rescued with outside resources. “Helping” people may sound charitable, but it keeps the helper in control, makes the beneficiary dependent and only offers short-term boosts. In Miller’s view, it doesn’t matter if someone is dependent on government aid or… View Article
The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Sunday edition on May 12, 2018, quoted Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd in a feature article by Shelia M. Poole and Michael E. Kanell on a proposal to reform public housing rent. The article, “Proposed HUD rent reforms have locals worrying, wondering,” can be accessed online here and is reprinted in full below. Proposed HUD rent reforms have locals worrying, wondering By Shelia M. Poole and Michael E. Kanell As the door to his home opens, Tony Caldwell, 58, shifts his wheelchair slightly to accommodate his guests. The former delivery driver for a concession machine company lives in Westminster Apartments, a 32-unit, generic-looking, two-floor apartment complex, fenced off from the surrounding Piedmont Park area… View Article
The nation marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr.  on April 4, 1968. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution marked the anniversary with a week of commemorative editions and a series highlighting the changes in policy over the past half-century. In a three-day series beginning April 1, the newspaper asked, “a panel of academics and policy experts to talk about the state of race relations, social mobility and segregation 50 years since the death of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. They represent a cross-section of thought and expertise.” They are: Andra Gillespie, a political scientist and Director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University. Her research focuses… View Article

Restoring the Dignity of Work

By Drew Ferguson  The American dream is our nation’s most enduring promise. But, too many people are struggling to turn the American dream into a reality. After my hometown and the surrounding area lost its manufacturing jobs, I watched family, friends and neighbors live through this scenario. Many came back from that, but others in the Third District of Georgia still live a different story. For the first time in generations, more people in the area moved into poverty than into the middle class. As this persists in some areas, failing schools, broken neighborhoods and loss of hope take hold. The dignity of work is replaced by the indignity of dependence. The once tightly woven fabric of the community is … View Article

Working Toward Welfare Reform

By Benita M. Dodd To hear progressive groups tell it, states are hurting low-income Americans by requiring “food stamp” recipients to find work or face three-month limits on receiving benefits. Many being forced off the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are unable to prove that they are disabled and need continued assistance, goes the mantra, and anyone urging these individuals off the program and into jobs has no compassion for these hapless, helpless, poor Americans. The narrative is far from the truth. Requiring able-bodied adults without dependents at home to work provides a helpful, productive path to self-sufficiency.   Time limits are nothing new to SNAP, which “helps low-income individuals and families purchase food so they can obtain a nutritious… View Article
By Bill McGahan Georgia Works! helps formerly incarcerated and homeless men become productive citizens. Since our founding in 2013 we have helped 311 men get jobs, remain clean and get an apartment, and virtually all have not returned to prison. We have an additional 170 men in the program today, all working toward full-time employment. When a man comes to our voluntary program we ask him to do three things: Be clean of alcohol and drugs (we drug test everybody weekly) Take no handouts from the government or anyone else Work Over the course of 6-12 months we work with each of our clients on their “obstacles” to employment: the lack of a driver’s license, wage garnishments, criminal history, lack… View Article

Georgia Works: A Growing Impact On The Dignity of Work

A little over a year ago, Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen’s commentary, “The Dignity of Work,” shared the scope and vision of the nonprofit organization Georgia Works. In September, Ross Coker, the Foundation’s Director of Research and Outreach, visited the organization for an update. By Ross Coker Georgia Works and its founder Bill McGahan exude a driven sense of purpose, a Spartan outlook on why they’re there and what they do. The organization occupies an old city jail facility, nestled among other justice center buildings near downtown Atlanta. McGahan is quick to point out, “There’s nobody here, you’ll notice. That’s because they’re all out working.” This is an apt summary of the mission of Georgia Works:… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Welfare Reform

Principles: Helping people move from dependency to self-sufficiency should be the primary focus of the safety net. Making work pay is essential. Working more hours or getting a pay raise should not set families back financially Programs should target benefits to the most needy. Enrollment should be coordinated to eliminate fraud and abuse and enhance efficiency. Programs should be temporary rather than permanent, with few exceptions. Recommendations: Increase public education on the availability of the Earned Income Tax Credit Strengthen work requirements Implement a cash diversion program Integrate public and private services to improve efficiency and accountability Implement commonsense welfare fraud prevention practices Facts: The federal government spent $799 billion on 129 programs for lower-income Americans in 2012.[1]Together… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd August marks the 20th anniversary of the transformative Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. This bipartisan welfare reform legislation signed by President Bill Clinton on August 22, 1996, dramatically transformed the nation’s welfare system, implementing strong welfare-to-work requirements and incentivizing states to transition welfare recipients into work. The law, which created Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and replaced the 61-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children, also implemented stricter food stamp regulations. Those included time limits for some recipients and a lifetime ban for drug felons, which states could opt out of. (Wisely, Georgia finally opted out this year, with Gov. Nathan Deal signing criminal justice reform legislation that allows drug felons to receive food… View Article
By Geoff Duncan For generations, government has tried to solve the issues surrounding poverty by adding new programs or growing existing ones.  Much to the surprise of bureaucrats, the outcomes from this approach are uninspiring. Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute found the federal government spent $1 trillion on 126 different anti-poverty programs in 2013 without making a dent in any of the key metrics around poverty. Government has led us to believe if we simply pay our taxes on time each year it will take care of the needy and we can move on with our busy lives. Remind me again: What is the definition of insanity? This past legislative session, Georgia launched an innovative approach to tackle issues… View Article

Finally, a one volume resource from an independent source that gives those of us in public life a new view on which to make public policy.

Governor Roy Barnes more quotes