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  • Commentary posted November 21, 2014 by Romina Boccia, Robert Rector Weakening an Asset Test Could Expand the Welfare State

    Before Congress recessed for the midterm elections, lawmakers announced plans to use the current lame-duck session to work on passing a bill called “The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.” Supporters describe the bill as a way to eliminate “barriers to work and saving by preventing dollars saved through ABLE accounts from counting against an individual’s…

  • Issue Brief posted November 17, 2014 by Robert Rector How Welfare Undermines Marriage and What to Do About It

    Historically, marriage has played a critical role in the raising of children. In most cases, the economic benefits of marriage are substantial. Marriage among families with children is an extremely powerful factor in promoting economic self-sufficiency: the ability of families to support themselves above poverty without reliance on government means-tested welfare aid. The…

  • Backgrounder posted November 10, 2014 by Robert Rector, Romina Boccia How the ABLE Act Would Expand the Welfare State

    This summer, a 14-page bill with 379 co-sponsors (193 Republicans, 186 Democrats), which is little known outside the halls of Congress, was reported out of the House Ways and Means Committee.[1] The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647) would establish tax-favored savings accounts, similar to “529” education savings accounts, for individuals with…

  • Commentary posted September 23, 2014 by Robert Rector The War on Poverty: 50 years of failure

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's launch of the War on Poverty. In January 1964, Johnson declared "unconditional war on poverty in America." Since then, the taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson's war. Adjusted for inflation, that's three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution. Last year, government…

  • Commentary posted September 18, 2014 by Robert Rector Miscounting Poverty Again: The War On Poverty After Fifty Years

    Today the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual poverty report. The report is noteworthy because this year is the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s launch of the War on Poverty. But this morning, the Census Bureau reported that 14.5 percent of Americans were poor in 2013. This is essentially the same rate as in 1966, two years after the War on Poverty was…

  • Backgrounder posted September 15, 2014 by Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield The War on Poverty After 50 Years

    This week, the U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release its annual poverty report. The report will be notable because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. In his January 1964 State of the Union address, Johnson proclaimed, “This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in…

  • Commentary posted August 6, 2014 by Robert Rector Welfare State Grows as Self-Sufficiency Declines

    For the past 50 years, the government's annual poverty rate has hardly changed at all. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty, roughly the same rate as the mid-1960s when the War on Poverty was just starting. After adjusting for inflation, federal and state welfare spending today is 16 times greater than it was when President…

  • Commentary posted January 7, 2014 by Robert Rector How the War on Poverty Was Lost

    On Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson used his State of the Union address to announce an ambitious government undertaking. "This administration today, here and now," he thundered, "declares unconditional war on poverty in America." Fifty years later, we're losing that war. Fifteen percent of Americans still live in poverty, according to the official census poverty…

  • Commentary posted September 23, 2013 by Robert Rector News Flash! Food Stamps Need Reform

    In a recent NRO article, Henry Olsen charges that the Heritage Foundation is leading a “conservative war on food stamps” that will take “food from the mouths of the genuinely hungry.” He declares this the “most baffling political move of the year.” A bit of background is in order. Food stamps are merely the tip of a much larger iceberg. In 2012, government spent $916…

  • Issue Brief posted June 24, 2013 by Robert Rector, Jessica Zuckerman Schumer–Corker–Hoeven Amendment Fails on Securing the Border and Halting Illegal Immigration

    On Friday, Senators Bob Corker (R–TN) and John Hoeven (R–ND), joined by Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY), introduced an amendment to the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill (S. 744). The amendment, which when incorporated into the bill ballooned it to nearly 1,200 pages, is touted as putting teeth into the border security provisions of the Gang of Eight’s amnesty…

  • Play Movie The $6.3 Trillion Cost of Amnesty: Rector on Lou Dobbs Video Recorded on May 9, 2013 The $6.3 Trillion Cost of Amnesty: Rector on Lou Dobbs

    Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector discusses the $6.3 trillion cost of amnesty on Fox Business Network's 'Lou Dobbs'.…

  • Special Report posted May 6, 2013 by Robert Rector, Jason Richwine, Ph.D. The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer

    Executive Summary Unlawful immigration and amnesty for current unlawful immigrants can pose large fiscal costs for U.S. taxpayers. Government provides four types of benefits and services that are relevant to this issue: Direct benefits. These include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. Means-tested welfare benefits.…

  • Issue Brief posted March 11, 2013 by Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield How to Get Welfare Spending Under Control

    Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, government has spent nearly $20 trillion (adjusted for inflation) on means-tested welfare assistance for the poor. Means-tested programs provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income Americans. Another name for these programs is assistance to the poor or anti-poverty spending. Currently,…

  • White Paper posted January 22, 2013 by Robert Rector, Jennifer A. Marshall The Unfinished Work of Welfare Reform

    Among the public-policy achievements of the past two decades, welfare reform may simultaneously be the best known and least understood. It is now remembered as a bipartisan triumph that ended “welfare as we know it,” to use President Clinton’s phrase, transforming the character of federal anti-poverty policy. The true history, however, is less august: The struggle to…

  • Play Movie The New "Poor": Big Houses, Flatscreen TVs, AC - Robert Rector on Fox & Friends Video Recorded on December 1, 2012 The New "Poor": Big Houses, Flatscreen TVs, AC - Robert Rector on Fox & Friends

    Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector discusses the difference between the perception and the reality of poverty in the United States on Fox & Friends.…