House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's latest anti-poverty plan has some good points, The Washington Post
said in an editorial, while adding overall that his proposal is not "entirely persuasive."
Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, released the plan, "Expanding Opportunity in America"
on Thursday. The proposal
includes expanding the earned-income tax credit that offers more assistance for workers who do not have children.
The EITC is the nation's third-largest anti-poverty program, the Post said, and at a cost of $59 billion per year "has a proven track record of lifting families out of poverty and stimulating work effort."
Under Ryan's plan, the maximum annual credit would be raised to $1,005 for childless workers, while lowering the eligibility age from 25 to 21.
The proposal is almost identical to one in President Barack Obama's 2015 budget, The Post writes, which projected the cost of such a move to about $60 billion over a 10-year period.
But while The Post applauds the EITC plan, other parts of the Ryan proposal are "less satisfactory," the editorial says.
Ryan does not plan reductions in anti-poverty initiatives including food stamps, public housing, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash payments program, but instead wants to fold the programs into one block grant and make it available for states wishing to operate their own programs.
States would have include a work requirement for recipients, but would get more flexibility in how they administer programs.
But Ryan's plan is, in some places, a replay of state-level projects that were trimmed following welfare reforms in 1996, the Post editorialized. While there is "no doubt" the plan would reduce bureaucracy, "whether that necessarily translates into better outcomes for the disadvantaged is a different question."
For example, rolling food stamps into a single stream would forfeit the program's ability to spend more when the nation's economy has a downturn, the Post said, and Ryan "has only tentative proposals to address that."
In addition, a work requirement could be difficult if all the programs are rolled into one, The Post editorialized.
"It’s one thing to link a single source of aid — TANF — to work, as the welfare reform law did," the editorial says. "It’s quite another to make everything depend on it, including food."
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