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April 26, 2024

Washington, District of Benefit Cliffs

As the welfare state expands while policymakers struggle to contain its costs, one unintended result is the creation of significant benefit cliffs. A little-noticed September 2023 report authored by Elias Ilin and Alvaro Sanchez of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (“Mitigating Benefits Cliffs for Low-Income Families: District of Columbia Career Mobility Action Plan as a Case Study”) explains…

February 29, 2024

Recalling Pandemic Lessons on “Self-Certifying” Eligibility

Sometimes what is left unmentioned can be far more important than what is said. A good example is obscure guidance issued last week by the US Department of Labor (DOL) encouraging workforce programs to allow beneficiaries to self-certify their eligibility. That guidance directly affects a handful of programs with limited funding that offer a variety of employment-related…

December 7, 2023

The White House Council of Economic Advisers Contradicts the President’s Poverty Talking Points

Before Thanksgiving, the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released a blog post titled “The Anti-Poverty and Income Boosting Impacts of the Enhanced CTC.” That’s a reference to the temporary—and now expired—expansion in the child tax credit (CTC) enacted as part of Democrats’ March 2021 American Rescue Plan Act. In its FY 2024 budget proposal earlier…

December 1, 2023

Making the Child Tax Credit “Fully Refundable” Converts It into Welfare Checks

In what is becoming an annual ritual, news accounts and DC sources suggest liberals’ end-of-year legislative wish list once again includes reviving the worst part of Democrats’ partisan 2021 child tax credit (CTC) expansion. That proposal would convert the pro-work CTC into new federal welfare checks for nonworking parents, which Congress should flatly reject. Here’s how the respected Committee for a Responsible Federal…

November 20, 2023

The Next Time States Are “Swimming in Money” Make Them Repay Their Federal Loans

The pandemic was full of firsts, including the first time states received hundreds of billions of federal dollars they could use to shore up their depleted state unemployment insurance (UI) programs. The March 2020 CARES Act provided $150 billion in a flexible “Coronavirus Relief Fund,” whose potential uses included covering states’ “unemployment insurance costs.” Then the March 2021 American…