This week, the Alabama Policy Institute will draw awareness to Conservative Solutions to Poverty in hopes of better communicating our perspectives and initiating more conversations around the dinner table on how we, as a state, should respond to poverty. As Alabama’s population is one of the ten poorest in the nation, poverty is an issue that underlies every election, every budget hearing, and the meetings of every study committee or task force.
Austrian economist Frederick Hayek famously stated that “freedom and responsibility cannot be separated.” API opposes policies that lead individuals into a lifetime of government dependency and leave them with diminished freedom. Instead, we choose to promote policies that bring about real hope and empower individuals. Policies that foster a free market economy, unlimited educational choice, responsible prison reform, and strong families are proven solutions to poverty.
The Left’s Energy Policies Generate Energy Poverty by Katherine Green Robertson, October 21, 2016
Though the word “poverty” typically provokes thoughts of individuals and families who lack the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter, there is another form of material poverty that isn’t as conspicuous, but is nearly as serious: energy poverty. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country’s lowest-income households spend almost one-quarter of their disposable income on energy costs (gas, electricity, and fuel). The second-lowest-income bracket spent 12%. Comparatively, energy costs accounted for only 5% of expenditures by those with disposable income of $100,000. While energy poverty is an avowed concern of both the left and the right, the federal government’s current energy policies are exacerbating the problem. . . . Continue Reading
License to Kill Opportunity by Andrew A. Yerbey, October 20, 2016
In Alabama, we expect—quite rightly—our fellow citizens to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. But what if there is a barrier between citizens and their boots, blocking them from reaching the straps? And what if that barrier is unwarranted, put there by the state without good reason? The answer, of course, is that this should offend our sense of right and wrong—and that we should feel compelled to demand the barrier be removed. Occupational licensing, as we shall see, oftentimes proves to be precisely such a barrier. . . . Continue Reading
Redemption from Addiction by Katherine Green Robertson, October 18, 2016
We need government to establish justice and to preserve law and order. And, undoubtedly, there are plenty of criminal justice reforms that should be considered when it comes to addiction-related crimes and incarceration. In fact, Alabama took some positive steps forward with the comprehensive prison reform legislation passed in 2015. But even the benefits of this new law can’t answer or provide for the holistic needs of individuals crippled by addiction. There are limitations to what government can accomplish when it comes to the restoration of those addicted to drugs and alcohol, getting down to the innermost parts of a person. . . . Continue Reading
A Poverty Program That Worked by Lawrence W. Reed, October 17, 2016
Washington, Adams and their successors in the 1800s did fight a war on poverty—the most comprehensive and effective ever mounted by any central government anywhere. It was, in a word, liberty, which meant things like self-reliance, hard work, entrepreneurship, the institutions of civil society, a strong and free economy, and government confined to its constitutional role as protector of liberty by keeping the peace. . . . Continue Reading
Conservative Solutions to Poverty in Alabama by Katherine Green Robertson, October 12, 2015
There is no shortage of ideological differences between conservatives and liberals or Republicans and Democrats, but perhaps the most divisive issue on the political spectrum is how to care for the poor. Admittedly, conservatives have done a fairly subpar job of connecting the dots between our principles and combatting poverty. While it is true that government’s bloated anti-poverty programs have not achieved the desired ends and levy a heavy cost on current and future taxpayers, the conversation should not end there. . . . Continue Reading
Ending the Cycle of Poverty Through Mutually Transforming Relationships by Jason Williams, October 13, 2016
Simply looking at poverty as merely a lack of possessions is a view that fails to take into consideration the relational aspect of poverty. Youth living in impoverished urban environments experience stressors related to poverty, community violence, drugs, and poor education that can result in poor behavior choices such as carrying a weapon and being in a physical fight. Social support, as provided through mentoring, has been shown to buffer against poor behavioral choices and create hope for the future. . . . Continue Reading
Alabama Needs Real Hope, Not a State Lottery by Katherine Green Robertson and Caleb Crosby, October 16, 2016
There are a number of policies, particularly those that stimulate economic growth, that are proven solutions to poverty. Just as easily identifiable are policies that exacerbate poverty. Sometimes these policies have good intentions of serving the poor, but then the Law of Unintended Consequences strikes. Other times, policies are promoted and adopted with blatant disregard to their harmful impact by the very politicians who hold themselves out as champions of the poor. One such example comes to mind given the ongoing conversation surrounding a statewide lottery. . . . Continue Reading
For Further Reading
The Heritage Foundation: The Economy Hits Home: Poverty
The Daily Signal: 8 Conservative Policies That Will Reduce Poverty
American Enterprise Institute/Brookings Working Group on Poverty and Opportunity: Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream
Cato Institute: Tired of Poverty? Expand Capitalism
Foundation for Economic Education: Capitalism Is Good for the Poor
The Daily Signal: 15 Facts About US Poverty the Government Hides
American Enterprise Institute: Poverty in America—and What to Do About It
Freedom Works: Harvard/Berkeley Study Confirms Conservative Solutions
The Federalist: Is There A Biblical Answer To Poverty?
National Review: Poverty, Addiction, and a New Way Forward
Check out these organizations that are serving indviduals in need.