Dr. Alexander Ruder of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta testified on this “benefits cliff” during recent state budget hearings. Speaking on workforce development, he noted that we are having difficulty moving entry-level employees up a career ladder because many can’t afford to take a pay raise.
He has agreement from “both sides” that this is an actual problem. Both the right-leaning Georgia Center for Opportunity and the left-leaning Georgia Budget and Policy Institute have written extensively on benefits cliffs.
Georgia became a national leader on criminal justice reform because the right and the left were willing to put down their partisan talking points and address some fundamental and basic problems that were incarcerating non-violent citizens and permanently inhibiting their contributions to society well after their public debt had been paid.
Breakthrough 2019 – What Makes Communities Thrive?
American civil society is broken. So many Americans live fragmented lives, disconnected from the institutions and associations that once characterized American life and brought people of all economic classes together—everything from churches and synagogues to rotary clubs and bowling leagues. Today, so many Americans—particularly from the poor and working class—face life alone.
But what can be done to change that dynamic?
Defining Social Capital
Tim Carney, best-selling author of the new book Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse, shared some solutions during a keynote Q&A at Breakthrough 2019.
The problem of alienation in America extends far beyond economics—as crucial as economics are. The problems are deeply social and relational. “It’s a lack of belonging, but it’s more than that. People are disconnected and they don’t even see the point of being connected in the first place,” Tim shared.
The solution? It must come locally and through individual lives. This admonition from Tim was the perfect setup for what we heard the rest of the day during Breakthrough—from local, on-the-ground organizations in Atlanta and across Georgia that are renewing civil society one life at a time.
Check back soon for more video content from Breakthrough 2019!
Breakthrough 2019 – Creating Conditions For Change
“The secret is in the soil.”
That’s how Georgia Center for Opportunity President and CEO Randy Hicks opened Breakthrough 2019.
Randy shared the story of how Moses Coleman discovered Vidalia onions purely by accident in 1931. These onions can only be grown in a 20-county region in southeast Georgia where the soil conditions are perfect.
Randy encouraged Breakthrough attendees to consider a different kind of soil: “The conditions of our homes and our communities.”
“It’s easy and important for us to be very aware of Georgia’s macro issues—statewide economic numbers, student performance, and criminal justice issues,” Randy said. “But we can’t just look at those issues and not consider the conditions that often have more to do with our well-being than anything else. That’s the soil.”
Watch the video and then check back soon for more content from Breakthrough 2019!