My employer, the Georgia Center for Opportunity, is partnering with the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Louisiana’s Pelican Institute to work on policies that will lift people out of poverty in our three states. The CEOs of the three organizations explain:
A team of economists at the Georgia Center for Opportunity have for the first time published a study that demonstrates how people receiving government assistance from multiple programs —such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, free school lunches and Medicaid — face a difficult benefits cliff if they were to find work. The study calculates “benefit cliffs” for families in 888 counties across eight states. For example, a working single mom with two children in Memphis, Tennessee, would astoundingly lose more than $8,000 in combined earnings and benefits if her pay were bumped up less than $2 to a $15 hourly wage.
Efforts to fix these government programs must be results-driven, transparent and fully accountable to the people they are supposed to serve. We can’t fall into the “shovel-ready jobs” trap of the Obama administration’s economic policies.
We must find more effective ways to retrain American workers for the future—with the active participation of the private sector and community organizations. We must also again measure the success of welfare programs by how many people are successfully transitioned into the workforce, rather than by how many remain on the programs.
For a demonstration of GCO’s safety net cliff model click here.