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March 12, 2024

Why Did Food Insecurity Increase from 2019 to 2022 in the United States? 

Abstract In 2022, the United States witnessed a notable rise in household food insecurity, reversing a decade-long decline. Some observers have argued that the expiration of government relief efforts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic caused the one-year spike. However, the household food insecurity rate was higher in 2022 than in 2019, the year before the…

January 12, 2024

Small-Dollar Demonstration Projects Can’t Hide That a National Guaranteed Income Program Would Cost Trillions

Abstract While some have declared that short-term guaranteed income demonstrations (patterned on universal basic income schemes) are working almost universally, such cheerleading misses a major drawback: the enormous costs that would arise if such programs operated at a national level, as proponents intend. This report reviews the costs of some recent proposals to operate such…

October 12, 2023

Blue-State Benefits: How Federal Grants Fail to Consider Population Shift

Abstract The federal government annually awards hundreds of billions of dollars in grants to states. In this report, I examine funding for the largest federal grant programs for 2020–22, focusing on grants-in-aid that do not fully adjust for population change. For states losing population, I calculate “avoided reductions,” the difference between the grants a state…

June 22, 2023

The Cost of Thriving Has Fallen: Correcting and Rejecting the American Compass Cost-of-Thriving Index

AbstractThe Cost-of-Thriving Index (COTI), developed by American Compass Executive Director Oren Cass, asks whether families can afford a middle-class lifestyle. It compares the costs of five goods and services to the income of a typical full-time male earner. Cass concludes that the cost of thriving has increased dramatically, from 40 weeks of work in 1985…