False Narratives of Inequality: A Review of “The Myth of American Inequality”

"they raise a pair of problems for the relatively poor caused by the fact that government redistribution currently brings the average income of the lowest fifth of the population to a point only minimally below that of the next fifth." - Law & Liberty

220 reads

Christmas Charity Gone Bad

DD didn’t even know which Grand Rapids charity or church it was. He only knew that they brought gifts to his house every Christmas. As his mother invited the strangers delivering the toys into her house, she thanked them with many hugs and tears. Then, while the toy deliverers were present, she placed the gifts under the tree. The volunteers left the house thinking they had fulfilled the hopes and dreams of another needy family at Christmas when their generosity and kindness had actually contributed to a recurring nightmare.

For the next several days, he and his younger siblings wondered, is this the year their mother finally allowed them to open and hold onto their presents? Then, a few days before Christmas arrived, DD and his younger brothers and sisters had to face reality again. While they were sleeping, their mother gathered the Christmas presents from under the tree, unwrapped the toys, and made her way to the pawn shop, or if the store tag was present, to the retailer from where it came. Once she had the money in hand, she hastened to the drug house, where she smoked all of it on crack. The toys given to her children had become extra income to pay for her drug habit.

DD, now grown up into a man and well into his thirties, confesses that his childhood memories of Christmas have inflicted more pain than joy. As a former gang member, it’s been easier for him to wrestle through the grief and sorrow of losing several friends to the violence of the streets than to relive his childhood trauma with shattered hopes and dreams every Christmas.

1096 reads

How to Fix Work Disincentives and Marriage Penalties in America’s Social Safety Net

"these flaws in welfare policies apply with special force to those who are just at the point of making the transition from poverty to self-sufficiency. These problems have long been known. So why have they not been corrected long ago? And what can be done to fix them now?" - IFS

294 reads

On the 25th Anniversary of Welfare Reform, a Study Asks How It Worked

"Each big anniversary of the 1996 welfare reform . . . sees an outpouring of retrospectives . . . It’s long been clear that single mothers flooded into the labor force after the reform, and that their income went up. What’s less clear is whether some particularly disadvantaged families were left behind, and how overall well-being changed for the affected households." - IFS

435 reads