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  • Issue Brief posted May 26, 2016 by Rachel Sheffield, Daren Bakst Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Time for Serious Reform, Not Tinkering

    Congress is currently working on reauthorizing the federal child nutrition programs, which include school meal programs. The last time Congress reauthorized these programs, it passed the controversial Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010,[1] a major priority for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.[2] The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act made a number of…

  • Commentary posted March 22, 2016 by Rachel Sheffield Welfare Reform Must Include Work Requirements

    How can we ensure that welfare acts as a safety net for the truly needy and not as a handout to able-bodied adults who can work? It’s a question that has long vexed federal and state officials, but there is a good answer. House Speaker Paul Ryan recently announced the members of a task force who will be responsible for building an anti-poverty, welfare-reform agenda.…

  • Issue Brief posted February 24, 2016 by Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield Setting Priorities for Welfare Reform

    The United States’ means-tested welfare system consists of over 80 programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and lower-income Americans. Total annual spending on these programs reached $1 trillion in 2015.[1] More than 75 percent of this funding comes from the federal government. The last substantial reform of welfare, enacted…

  • Backgrounder posted February 8, 2016 by Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield, Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D. Maine Food Stamp Work Requirement Cuts Non-Parent Caseload by 80 Percent

    In 2015, the U.S. government spent over $1 trillion on means-tested welfare aid, providing cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income individuals. The food stamp program is the nation’s second largest means-tested welfare program.[1] The number of food stamp recipients has risen dramatically from about 17.2 million in 2000 to 45.8…

  • Backgrounder posted December 4, 2015 by Paul Winfree, Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield, James Phillips, Diane Katz, Nicolas Loris, Katie Tubb, Roger Severino, Sarah Torre, Lindsey Burke, James Sherk, Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Brett D. Schaefer, David Inserra Important Policy Riders for the FY 2016 Appropriations Bills

    The Constitution unequivocally grants Congress the exclusive power to appropriate funds for the “necessary and proper” operations of government.[1] James Madison wrote in The Federalist No. 58 that providing budgetary powers to Congress was a critical element in maintaining individual rights: “The power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and…

  • Commentary posted July 28, 2015 by Rachel Sheffield, Christine Kim We can’t ignore culture if we want America to thrive

    A thriving society needs a strong economy. The reverse is just as true: A healthy economy is built on a vibrant culture that promotes individual and social well-being. It’s helpful to think of a society as an ecosystem — one in which cultural, political and economic spheres greatly overlap. As in any ecosystem, change in one sector reverberates across the entire…

  • Issue Brief posted March 27, 2015 by Martin D. Brown, Rachel Sheffield The Moynihan Report 50 Years Later: Why Marriage More Than Ever Promotes Opportunity for All

    In 1965, Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who later served as a U.S. Senator from New York, introduced what has come to be known as the Moynihan Report.[1] His report focused on the increases in disparities between white and black Americans in terms of income, standard of living, and education. Moynihan boldly asserted that the root cause of these…

  • Commentary posted December 15, 2014 by Lindsey Burke, Rachel Sheffield The Preschool Mirage

    The Obama administration has just announced a new $1 billion initiative ($750 million in federal grants and the remainder from private funding) to enroll more children in government preschool programs. The new measure is being announced formally at the White House Summit on Early Education this morning. The push comes on the heels of President Obama’s speech on women and…

  • 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…

  • Issue Brief posted April 7, 2014 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield The “Heat and Eat” Food Stamp Loophole and the Outdated Cost Projections for Farm Programs

    In February, Congress passed a new farm bill that lacked meaningful and necessary reform. Making matters worse, Congress made critical mistakes that will have a major impact on both food stamps and farm programs. The most significant attempt at food stamp reform was to close the “heat and eat” loophole, which allows states to artificially boost the amount of food stamps…

  • Issue Brief posted March 7, 2014 by Lindsey Burke, Rachel Sheffield New Preschool Spending an Unnecessary Burden on American Taxpayers

    President Obama has proposed spending $75 billion over the next 10 years to create a new federally funded preschool initiative. His fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposes spending billions to expand access to “high quality preschool” for every four-year-old child in the country. Legislative proposals in the House and Senate mirror the President’s plan. Proposals to…

  • Issue Brief posted December 4, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield Eight Things to Watch for in the Farm Bill

    The House and Senate are working out differences between their farm bills.[1] Since both bills are seriously flawed, any bill that the negotiators produce is also likely to have major problems. The following is a list of major questions to consider if the negotiators do come up with a farm bill. 1. Will Congress Continue to Play Politics with the Farm Bill by Combining…

  • Commentary posted November 4, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield The 'farm bill' is costing Americans billions

    The "farm bill"? Hardly. What the House and Senate are working on now, as they iron out the differences between their respective versions of this legislation, has little to do with agriculture. And it's proving very costly for every American. Based on projected costs, these massive bills are about $150 billion more expensive than the Obama stimulus bill. And about 80…

  • Commentary posted October 9, 2013 by Rachel Sheffield Making food stamps more than a handout

    A few months ago, Washington buzzed with talk of “doing something” about the food stamp program. The congressional spotlight has now turned to the debt ceiling, but the food stamps program still merits a serious examination. It is ripe for reform. Food aid is one of the largest and fastest growing of the federal government’s welfare programs. Over the last four years,…

  • Issue Brief posted October 8, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield A Comparison of the House and Senate Farm Bills

    Congress continues to treat agriculture as if it were 1933 instead of 2013. Agriculture is a cutting-edge sector of the economy that continues to innovate and produce more food with fewer resources. Yet, every five years when the farm bill is up for renewal, many legislators, including those who claim to be pro–free market and limited government, push a farm bill that is…