Tag Archives: Dignity of Labor

What kinds of anti-poverty programs really work?

Christians ought to be concerned about poverty. Is there a way to help the poor without making them dependent on the government?

Yes! In this article, the American Enterprise Institute discusses a great program called the Doe Fund, which is run in New York City.

Excerpt:

[…][F]or more than 25 years, the organization run by George and Harriet McDonald has helped homeless men. The program they run is based on a clear contract between the shelter managers and the homeless men. “You get up every day and go to work and stay drug free-and we will pay you and house you and feed you. It’s as simple as that,” Mr. McDonald said at his shelter on 155th street in Harlem. Doe Fund facilities are funded by revenue generation from their maintenance and cleaning business, government funding for homeless services, and private donations. The breakdown is roughly one-third each.

Anyone who enters one of the four Doe Fund facilities in New York City is handed a paper entitled: “Some of the Rules that You Will hear ALL the time.” Among the regulations are Rule No. 4: No standing or loitering in front of the building at any time of the day. Rule No. 10: You must not drink or drug while you are in the program. Rule No. 11: No cellular phones are allowed while you are working.

In return for a roof over their heads and a salary, residents of the Doe Fund shelters clean and maintain commercial strips all over New York City-real jobs, with real demands and shifts that start at 6 a.m. The Doe Fund crews add an extra touch not provided by the sanitation and park employees of New York City, and every day workers face real customers who include not only local business groups who pay for their services but also residents and pedestrians who benefit from the improved quality of life.

Hourly wages start at $8.15, which gives shelter residents a chance to save, as room and board are provided. Some men accumulate as much as $5,000 while they are in the six- to nine-month program.

According to the McDonalds, over the past three years 57% of the men who completed the six-month program got jobs at an average wage of $10.86 an hour. And 65% of those retained the job for at least six months. A 2010 Harvard University evaluation found similar results. For a program that works with homeless men, many of whom have served prison sentences, those are solid results.

In addition to a strong work and drug-free requirement (enforced by random drug tests), the Doe Fund also requires the men who are fathers to provide financial support to their children and to identify themselves to the city’s child-support enforcement office to be sure they comply with their child-support orders.

What is important about the Doe Fund is that it explicitly links aid with a strong enforcement of the rules. Doe Fund managers enforce the rules by restricting noncompliant residents to the shelter, reducing benefits or referring them to another city shelter where these opportunities are not offered. The Doe Fund is not alone in its approach-there are similar setups across the country, but in most such programs it’s still rare to tie behavior to consequences.

Now, this is the kind of anti-poverty program that I support. It’s not just handing out money with no strings attached. It’s easing people into the work force in a structured environment. I think that deep down, poor people really want to work, and this program is exactly how we should be getting them started at that.

But there is one thing that might hurt this program, and the article mentions it. Can you guess what it is? Look at the hourly wages these entry-level workers are being paid.

Here’s what it is:

It is troubling that at the same time the president has announced a new focus on helping young minority men, one of his administration’s top legislative priorities is a substantial hike in the federal minimum wage-a mandate on employers that is likely to reduce job opportunities for the very young men the president wants to help with My Brother’s Keeper.

If we really wanted to help the poor, we should be LOWERING the minimum wage, and then maybe the government can make up the difference. I would much rather have the government subsidizing work by topping off lower salaries than subsidizing bad behaviors.

U.S. GDP growth slows to 1.5% in second quarter

Remember, Democrats took the House and Senate in 2007
Democrats took the House and Senate in January 2007

From CBS Marketwatch.

Excerpt:

The U.S. economy slowed sharply in the second quarter, growing just 1.5% as consumers slashed spending and businesses grew more cautious about hiring and investing, underscoring that an already wobbly recovery is losing even more steam.

In the U.S., though, new government figures showed that growth in gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services churned out by the economy, slowed sharply from the first quarter’s 2% annual rate and the fourth quarter’s 4.1%.

That downward slope in growth is worrisome to economists. As the economy loses steam, a pullback can become self-reinforcing as businesses and consumers worry about the future.

The slowing economy, along with government data showing the recovery has been weaker than thought, raises the specter that a sudden shock—such as an escalation of Europe’s crisis, or next year’s looming tax increases and spending cuts—could shove the U.S. back into recession.

[…]One of the biggest obstacles to recovery is a dearth of consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of demand in the economy.

Spending rose 1.5% in the second quarter, lower than 2.4% in the first, reflecting weaker demand for cars and big-ticket items. A big reason is the stagnant labor market. Employers added fewer jobs in the second quarter than they have since the labor market began recovering in 2010.

“The economy is kind of being strangled,” said Bob Baur, chief global economist at Principal Global Investors. “We underestimated how much uncertainty may have contributed to a lack of desire to expand and hire.” Mr. Baur expects 2% to 2.5% growth in the second half of the year but has “grown more cautious,” he said.

[…]Businesses, meanwhile, appear to have grown more cautious about spending. The new GDP report showed that nonresidential fixed investment expanded 5.3% in the second quarter, less than the 7.5% in the first, though spending on equipment and software was healthy. Joseph Carson, an economist at Alliance Bernstein, said: “Uncertainty surrounding U.S. tax laws has created confusion and concern among companies, which has probably depressed investment spending.”

Remember, the Obama administration thinks that higher government dependency “stimulates” the economy:

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that food stamps and unemployment insurance are the two “most stimulative” things you can do for the economy.

During a pen and pad briefing with reporters on Capitol Hill, Hoyer was asked if any Democrats are “reconsidering the wisdom” of letting the Bush tax cuts expire at year’s end for the top income earners given the still struggling U.S. economy.

“I haven’t talked to any who are of that mind,” said Hoyer. “If you talk to economists, they will tell you there are two things that are the most stimulative that you can do — one’s unemployment insurance, the other’s food stamps, okay?”

Of course, all that spending on unemployment and food stamps costs money, so they just borrowed that money from future generations of Americans – your children. The national debt is nearly $16 trillion, but they just keep borrowing. They don’t know what else to do, because they have no idea how jobs are created in the first place.

Republicans think that the best way to stimulate the economy is to create jobs by encouraging businesses to risk their capital in business ventures. But the Republicans aren’t in charge, so we are following the Democrat playbook. Many companies have responded to the Democrat plan to punish “the rich” by expanding their businesses in other countries that are less hostile to job creators. When you introduce burdensome regulations (EPA, Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, etc.) and high corporate taxes (35% – highest in the world!), that means that businesses can hire fewer people at home, and they are forced to expand elsewhere.

Democrat Steny Hoyer: unemployment checks and food stamps stimulate the economy

Why are we in a recession? Maybe it’s because the people running the country believe that unemployment checks and welfare are better than earned paychecks for “stimulating” the economy.

Here’s CNS News to explain what Democrats are trying to achieve:

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that food stamps and unemployment insurance are the two “most stimulative” things you can do for the economy.

During a pen and pad briefing with reporters on Capitol Hill, Hoyer was asked if any Democrats are “reconsidering the wisdom” of letting the Bush tax cuts expire at year’s end for the top income earners given the still struggling U.S. economy.

“I haven’t talked to any who are of that mind,” said Hoyer. “If you talk to economists, they will tell you there are two things that are the most stimulative that you can do — one’s unemployment insurance, the other’s food stamps, okay?”

“Why is that?” he said.  “Because those folks who receive those resources must spend them. And they’ll spend them almost upon receipt. Most economists with whom I talk believe that those with significant discretionary income, that that’s not the case.”

Unless action is taken by Congress, the Bush tax cuts will expire on Jan. 1, 2013.  Originally enacted in 2001 and 2003, President Barack Obama and Congress renewed the cuts for all income-brackets for two years in 2010.

[…]The Congressional Budget Office (CBO has projected that if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of 2012, coupled with the defense cut sequester, it will lead to a 1.3 percent contraction in GDP after Jan. 1, 2013.

If the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, it is expected that 710,000 people will lose their jobs. This will achieve the Democrats goal of “stimulating the economy” with higher unemployment and more food stamps. This continues the Democrat plan of increasing the record number of people on welfare and food stamps. They will pay for this “stimulus” by adding more debt to the $8 trillion they have already run up since January 2007. The debt will be paid by young people and children. The real plan behind making millions of people dependent on government is, of course, to be able to buy their votes and to control them. Democrats are the anti-freedom party. You have too much freedom when you have a job. It leads to “inequality”. If everyone received their daily bread from the government, and rode on mass transit to labor camps instead of driving in cars, and slept in identical apartments with identical furniture and identical television programs to watch, then the world would be more equal. And equality is what Democrats want most.

So what is the Republican alternative plan for the economy? To let job creating businesses keep their own money and hire people to do work. Republicans want to stop taxing and regulating job creating businesses so that people can be put back to work, and have the confidence to spend money. That’s how you stimulate the economy – we know this because it has worked for Reagan and Bush before. Obama’s approach has never worked. The Democrats have been running the show since January 2007. And that’s why we are down 5 million jobs since Steny Hoyer became the House Whip in January of 2007. This is not going to end until the Democrats are voted out.