BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Greenstein on Merging Safety Net Programs
Robert Greenstein has issued a commentary on an issue that may arise in Saturday’s Republican poverty forum: House Speaker Paul Ryan’s proposal to merge many safety net programs into a single block grant. Here’s the opening:
When various Republican presidential candidates present their views on addressing poverty at a January 9 forum in South Carolina, some may seek to align themselves with House Speaker Paul Ryan’s proposal to combine funding for numerous safety net programs into what would essentially be a mega-block grant to states. Ryan laid out such a proposal — his “Opportunity Grant” proposal — in July 2014. Last month, he reiterated his call to merge many safety net programs.
His proposal raises serious questions, however. Our analysis suggests it carries substantial risk of increasing poverty, rather than reducing it. . . .