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Commentary

COSM’s commentary page is home to timely analysis of pressing topics.

Recent Contributions

By Angela Rachidi and Thomas O'Rourke

Sugary Beverage Consumption Among SNAP Recipients

March 21, 2024

SNAP households consume a disproportionate amount of sugary beverages compared to other low-income households. Nutrition assistance policies should better support low-income Americans health by disallowing the use of SNAP benefits on sodas.

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By Angela Rachidi and Matt Weidinger

How Many Forms of “Wage Insurance” Do We Need, Exactly?

March 11, 2024

Although advocates of a recent CTC reform proposal tout its aid to families with a temporary drop in income, the safety net already includes several overlapping programs that provide such assistance.

By Kevin Corinth

Social conservatives who care about marriage should think twice about a “per-child” refundable Child Tax Credit

March 4, 2024

If social conservatives want to encourage marriage, they should focus on increasing the maximum CTC benefit rather than increasing the CTC’s phase-in for families with multiple children.

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By Angela Rachidi

ADDRESSING THE FALSE CLAIMS FROM INDUSTRY GROUPS ON PILOT TESTING SNAP RESTRICTIONS

February 29, 2024

Despite pleadings from industry leaders, recent efforts to make unhealthy foods ineligible for SNAP would benefit low-income households.

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By Kevin Corinth, Leslie Ford, Angela Rachidi, Matt Weidinger, and Scott Winship

Options for Improving the Child Tax Credit Provisions in H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024

February 27, 2024

Policymakers concerned about deficits and ensuring the safety net promotes independence should reject the bill and focus their attention on the bigger tax reform debate over the horizon in 2025.

By W. Bradford Wilcox and Michael Pugh

Marriage is Key to Living Your Best Life

February 16, 2024

Marriage is a social tie that binds us to one another and gives us purpose. In the absence of ties like marriage and family, too many of us will find ourselves in a lonely world, bereft of meaning, prosperity, and happiness.

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By Matt Weidinger and Angela Rachidi

CTC EXPANSION ROOTED IN DESIRE TO ROLL BACK WORK-BASED WELFARE

February 8, 2024

Proposed expansions to the Child Tax Credit would increase federal outlays, not cut taxes for working parents.

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By Scott Winship

ANOTHER FLAWED ANALYSIS SHOWS THAT SINGLE MOTHERS ARE HIGHLY SENSITIVE TO CHANGES IN WORK INCENTIVES

February 8, 2024

After correcting for erroneous calculations, the existing research is in agreement: single mothers are highly responsive to changes in work incentives.

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By Angela Rachidi and Thomas O'Rourke

Solving Benefit Cliffs in SNAP

February 7, 2024

Despite phasing out like many other safety net programs, high benefit levels and several income deductions result in large benefit cliffs for SNAP recipients.

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By Scott Winship

RESEARCH BY A TOP BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ECONOMIST REINFORCES THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK INCENTIVES IN THE CHILD TAX CREDIT AND THE SAFETY NET

February 6, 2024

Some economists have disputed research suggesting significant employment disincentives associated with the Child Tax Credit, deeming it inaccurate and implausible. However, upon reevaluation of those findings, these arguments actually align with the anticipated outcome.

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By Kevin Corinth and Scott Winship

The Wyden-Smith Child Tax Credit and Work: Responding to Critics

January 31, 2024

Despite misinterpretations of a recently published analysis of the Wyden-Smith tax bill, reforms to the Child Tax Credit will disincentive many parents from working.

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By Kevin Corinth and Scott Winship

HOW SENSITIVE ARE SINGLE MOTHERS’ WORK DECISIONS TO A CHANGE IN INCENTIVES? CORRECTING MISPERCEPTIONS OF THE EVIDENCE

January 30, 2024

Despite being described as outliers, the employment elasticities used in a recent analysis assessing the impact of the Smith-Wyden tax bill on labor supply align with nearly all existing research.

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By Scott Winship

HAS INEQUALITY MADE AMERICANS POORER THAN BULGARIANS, RUSSIANS, AND FILIPINOS?

December 11, 2023

A recent column claiming that America has higher levels of extreme poverty than other nations is based on flawed data.

By Scott Winship

DO 60 PERCENT OF AMERICAN WORKERS HAVE INSECURE JOBS?

October 5, 2023

American Compass has a new survey out in which it finds, among other results, that “only 40 percent of workers have secure jobs.” This is the latest attempt by the outfit to portray the American economy as in dire need of “rebuilding.” The report summarizing the findings is titled, “Labor Market Not Yet Working for Workers.” Like American Compass’s previous attempts at empirical analysis, this one is far too doomerist.

By Kevin Corinth

CHANGING THE OFFICIAL POVERTY MEASURE WOULD HELP RICH STATES AND HURT POOR STATES

October 5, 2023

Declaring the Supplemental Poverty Measure the new official measure would increase eligibility for major means-test programs in higher income states while remaining largely unchanged in lower income states. Federal aid would also be reallocated from higher income states to lower incomes states. Congress should therefore preempt the Administration from changing the official poverty measure.

By Matt Weidinger and Scott Winship

Putting This Year’s Poverty Numbers in Context

September 15, 2023

On Tuesday, the Census Bureau released its latest income and poverty estimates covering calendar year 2022, including two assessments of poverty in America.

By Scott Winship and Thomas O'Rourke

Working from Home Has Increased More Modestly Than Many Believe

September 6, 2023

Many of the most widely-cited work-from-home researchers find that working from home has increased by a factor of 8 between 2019 and 2020, we find that it rose by a factor of 3–more than 60 percent lower.

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By Matt Weidinger

Another Pandemic Legacy: Removing the EITC’s Work and Earnings Requirement

August 3, 2023

Overall, between 1975 and 2022, the EITC cost taxpayers a total of $1.8 trillion, which includes both tax relief ($212 billion) as well as its far larger benefit payments ($1.6 trillion) that exceed recipients’ federal income taxes paid, confusingly dubbed “refundable tax credits.” But despite that history of generous and growing support for work, some liberal policymakers are now proposing to pay EITC checks even for years when adults don’t work, fundamentally altering the nature of this pro-work program.

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By Leslie Ford

The Debt Ceiling Deal Refocuses TANF on Employment and Self-Sufficiency

July 17, 2023

While the safety net can deliver on its promise to alleviate material deprivation, the long-term goal should be for all parents and their children to break out of the cycle of dependence and poverty through self-support and social mobility.

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