Everyone benefits from welfare

Sara Sternberg Greene (Duke): The Bootstrap Trap. Behind Trump’s plan to overhaul the government: Scaling back the safety net. White America’s racial resentment is the real impetus for welfare cuts, study says (and more). Do existing pay differences reflect talent and hard work? Of course not. Dylan Matthews writes in defense of Social Security Disability Insurance: When Americans get too sick or injured to work, this program helps them survive. Actually, the U.S. can afford welfare. Everyone benefits from welfare — here’s why most people don’t know that: Sean Illing interviews Suzanne Mettler, author of The Government-Citizen Disconnect, on why so many people who need the government hate it.

William M. Sage and Jennifer E. Laurin (Texas): If You Would Not Criminalize Poverty, Do Not Medicalize It. Do work requirements for federal assistance help people escape poverty? No — here’s what really happens. Trump wants to move food stamps to a new agency — that could make the program easier to overhaul. Bryce Covert on the not-so-subtle racism of Trump-era “welfare reform”. Social democracy’s staying power: Lane Kenworthy on how the safety net can survive Trump. What America could do with European levels of military spending. You can get whites to oppose welfare with this one weird trick (and more). Emily Badger on the outsize hold of the word “welfare” on the public imagination.

Thor Berger (Lund) and Per Engzell (Oxford): Ancestry of the American Dream. Monica C. Bell, Andrea Taverna, Dhruv Aggarwal, and Isra Syed (Yale): Laboratories of Suffering: Toward Democratic Welfare Governance. Do programs that help the poor really discourage able-bodied people from working? The welfare state needs updating: Its designers did not foresee ageing populations, mass immigration or the gig economy. The profound social cost of American exceptionalism: Rich and technologically advanced, the United States continues to accept a degree of dysfunction that would be intolerable in any other rich society. The Trump administration’s new poverty report builds a phony rationale to punish the poor.

Umair Haque on why America is the world’s first poor rich country. When it comes to poverty reduction, increasing employment and increasing social spending can both help — but which is the more effective of the two approaches?