Thursday, April 06, 2017

Big Government Policies that Hurt the Poor and How to Address Them

Here is a link to a report by the Heritage Foundation.  It provides useful perspective about how Government efforts that are supposed to help the Poor often hurt them.

Here is a snippet.

Concern for the poor is often equated with expanding government programs. In other words, expanding government is frequently seen as good for those in need, and limiting government is often portrayed as hurting them. The reality is that, in many cases, government policy can make it more difficult for those striving to make ends meet. This Special Report identifies nearly two dozen big government policies that particularly hurt the poor. These policies, at the local, state, and federal levels, are just the tip of the iceberg. The report does not address the harms imposed by the distorted incentives of the current welfare system, which discourages work and self-sufficiency, or cover some critical areas, such as education and health care policy. This Special Report covers many other issues, with a particular emphasis on the harmful impact of economic regulation on poorer Americans.

There are some common threads that run throughout most of the identified policies. A significant number are classic examples of cronyism; it is quite illuminating how government policies supposedly designed to protect vulnerable workers or consumers wind up, in reality, helping dominant producers or politically favored special interests. Many of the policies drive up consumer prices, such as for food and energy, which disproportionately hurt the poor. (See Chart 1 analyzing low-income household expenditure patterns.) There are also numerous policies that create artificial and unnecessary obstacles for the poor when it comes to obtaining the jobs that could lift them out of poverty.

All Americans should have the opportunity to get ahead, and opportunities abound in the U.S. market economy when it is allowed to function freely. If the government would just get out of the way by curtailing cronyism, eliminating unnecessary regulations, and eliminating other government interventions that needlessly drive up prices, those in need would have a better chance to succeed.

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