WELFARE REFORM

When giving a helping hand hurts

POLICIES FOR A FLOURISHING GEORGIA

Dehumanizing the very people it claims to help, the welfare system traps many recipients in poverty and is the leading driver of the ballooning U.S. national debt and annual budget deficits. This brief summary breaks down the problem and provides suggested solutions to create an environment giving all people the opportunity to flourish.

INTERGENERATIONAL POVERTY PROJECT

Research shows that poverty is often passed down through generations, and current methods of attacking poverty by working with adults is not effective. GCO and other organizations are exploring ways to break the cycle of poverty through detailed evidence and child-centric strategic planning.

EXECUTIVE ORDER REDUCING POVERTY IN AMERICA BY PROMOTING OPPORTUNITY AND ECONOMIC MOBILITY

On April 10, 2018, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility

SYSTEMIC WELFARE IN GEORGIA: PART 1 THE CASE FOR REFORM

In the first paper of our three-part series presenting a vision for systemic welfare reform in Georgia, we explore the need for a welfare system that starts with the assumption that natural support systems, including individual work and a reliance on family and community assistance, should be the primary sources of help when individuals face financial need. This report demonstrates how the current system does not meet these assumptions and points to the need for reform.

SYSTEMIC WELFARE IN GEORGIA: PART 2 PRINCIPLES AND FRAMEWORK FOR REFORM

In the second paper of our three-part series presenting a vision for systemic welfare reform in Georgia, we explore the new system as we imagine it could be, give guiding principles, provide a general framework for how the reformed system can function, and establish preliminary steps needed to implement the vision.

SYSTEMIC WELFARE IN GEORGIA: PART 3 HOW THE NEW SYSTEM WILL WORK

In the third and final paper of our three-part series presenting a vision for systemic welfare reform in Georgia, we propose the creation of new, consolidated program modules (including their structure, design, and expected outcomes) to replace current, disjointed programs. We go on to present a structure Georgia’s governor and executive agencies could adopt to effectively and in relatively short order implement a reformed system.

A REAL SOLUTION FOR HEALTH INSURANCE AND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE REFORM

Medical assistance programs have long needed reforms to address high prices and lack of access. Despite the fact that federal policy tends to dominate medical assistance programs, states do have some flexibility to enact reforms. This study explores how states – and particularly Georgia – have flexibility and can experiment with Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to improve access, lower costs, and streamline the system to better serve those in need of assistance.

DEEP RED VALLEYS

It’s widely known that the welfare system discourages work but did you know it also discourages couples from forming families? In our new report, we demonstrate just how prevalent and severe the penalties can be.

GEORGIA’S WELFARE SYSTEM REFERENCE GUIDE

The means-tested welfare system is massive and complex. To reform it so that it doesn’t continue to discourage work and family formation (as chronicled in our earlier reports in this series), we have to understand how it works. This reference guide provides the reader with a succinct description of each of the major welfare programs, including their history and purpose, along with suggesting avenues for reform.

DISINCENTIVES FOR WORK AND MARRIAGE IN GEORGIA’S WELFARE SYSTEM

Based on the most recent 2015 data, this report provides an in-depth look at the welfare cliffs across the state of Georgia. A computer model was created to demonstrate how welfare programs, alone or in combination with other programs, create multiple welfare cliffs for recipients that punish work. In addition to covering a dozen programs – more than any previous model – the tool used to produce the following report allows users to see how the welfare cliff affects individuals and families with very specific characteristics, including the age and sex of the parent, number of children, age of children, income, and other variables. Welfare reform conversations often lack a complete understanding of just how means-tested programs actually inflict harm on some of the neediest within our state’s communities.

WHEN GIVING A HELPING HAND HURTS – PART 1

Computational model exposes severe problems with the welfare system

Pop quiz: When does $9 + $1 equal –$6,000?

This may look like new math, but it is not. This seemingly nonsensical equation illustrates the challenges faced by families who receive assistance from means-tested welfare programs.

In fact, these exact numbers come from a computer model I designed, which was sponsored by the Georgia Center for Opportunity. It evaluates financial incentives, or more precisely, disincentives embedded in our nation’s welfare system.

WHEN GIVING A HELPING HAND HURTS – PART 2

Previously, it was shown how a single mom with two kids in Gwinnett County could lose welfare program benefits by earning more money. This explained why $9 + $1 can equal negative $6,000.

The Gwinnett county example showed only two wage levels. However, the computer model provides results for a large range of wage levels and family structure. This enables policymakers, administrators and interested citizens to see a more complete picture of the challenges facing a family in poverty.

The computer model can generate scenarios in any of the other 158 counties in the state of Georgia.

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