Free markets to help workers succeed


Raleigh – I have two favorite Ronald Reagan quotes about the world of work. The former demonstrates his mastery of an indispensable political tool: self-deprecating humor. “It’s real hard work that didn’t kill anyone,” he quipped, “but I understand, why take a chance?”

My other favorite quote from Reagan makes a serious point: “I believe the best social program is a job.” He was right, as mountains of empirical evidence later showed. Government actors can boost real incomes for low-income people through a variety of means, including cash welfare and non-monetary benefits such as housing assistance and Medicaid. American governments have largely done this over the past five decades, helping to reduce the real poverty rate from 31% in 1960 to less than 2% in 2021.

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