« The Weeds

Means testing our patience

2021-09-21

Dylan, German, and Jerusalem discuss means testing and work requirements after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) suggested their inclusion in one of Biden's legacy priorities: the expanded child tax credit. Right now Democrats in Congress are trying to hammer out a 10-year, $3.5 trillion budget that includes an extension of the federal child tax credit; expanding Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing aids; additional resources for home care workers; a slew of climate change measures; and much more.

 

Resources:

“The Time Tax” by Annie Lowrey (The Atlantic; July 27, 2021)

“We’re Still Here” by Jennifer Silva

“‘Neoliberalism has really ruptured’: Adam Tooze on the legacy of 2020” by Zack Beauchamp (Vox.com; September 9, 2021)

“Are we automating racism?” by Joss Fong (Vox.com; March 31, 2021)

“AIs Islamophobia problem” by Sigal Samuel (Vox.com; September 18, 2021)

White Paper: “New Evidence on Redlining by Federal Housing Programs in the 1930s” by Price V. Fishback, Jonathan Rose, Kenneth A. Snowden, and Thomas Storrs

Hosts:

Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), Senior Correspondent

Jerusalem Demsas (@JerusalemDemsas), Policy Reporter, Vox

German Lopez (@germanrlopez), Senior Correspondent, Vox

Credits:

Sofi LaLonde, Producer & Engineer

Amber Hall, Deputy Editorial Director of Talk Podcasts

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Accessible, affordable broadband internet hops communities reach their dreams for students like Susanna Chavez. It means pushing against the constraints of poverty becoming valedictorian of international high school at Langley Park thanks to access romanian t dreams like these can become a reality. That's why they're, making it billion dollar commitment over three years to help closed the digital divide and give more Americans a chance to succeed. Where more visit atp dot com, flash connecting communities.
This episode is brought to you by Verizon. The experts have spoken horizon has been named America's most reliable network, my route metrics, proving there's only one vast network best and most reliable, based on rankings from the roof. Metrics. U S route score report dated first, have twenty twenty one nor results may vary low and welcome to another, observe the weeds I'm done Matthews, I must respond in a fox is here with me. Today are regular leads posts from on Lopez interests than fences, and today we are going to be taught about means testing. So as recording this Democrats in Congo are trying to hammer out there big social spending plan for the fall of twenty Twond.
One initially in the budget. They were promising three point: five trillion dollars and spending over a decade on everything, from climate measures to pre K, to child care, to care for the elderly and disabled people and a big flashpoint that has come up as they try to negotiate this and try to get the package to allow Well, where moderate Democrats will agree in and get it to violence desk is who gets these benefits, that its it serve? A grab bag of expansions to the social safety net and a recurring question in all such expansions is who? Whom is it? A universal programme is a limited programme and I think in particular we live dispute. Here is what
child tax credit, as listers name may recall. For the first time ever poorer Americans without any working, come qualify for the child tax credit and have been getting monthly payments of up to three hundred dollars per month per kid. And it seems like there's some democratic resistance to that. Continuing which raises a bunch of questions about the future means testing Herman walkers through what's happening there sure so right now, the biggest point of contention cease to be Joe Mansion, essentially saying that he knows a bunch of people who are very high income and we're still getting the child tax credit. On the other end of that, he also thinks that some of the people who are getting the child tax read it should be meeting work requirements. There should be trying to get a job in the way he framed as like. Should we make it so these kids have working parents I wouldn't be that that be the best thing for them in first of all child tax? Going to think about this? If a child taxpayer that you want to help the children and parents their basic
providing for those children, there's no work required whatsoever. There's no education requirements whatsoever. Better skill set you think. If we want to help the children, the people should make some effort, and essentially this is like going back to like an old style of politics, with which I think this kind of goes back to the nineties. In some ways where there are just like saying, like look, people should be trying to work. There should be really narrow bands here on on who qualifies for these programmes, but I think it is worth putting it in contacts of like what this child tax credit expansion was supposed to be in the first place, which is that there was supposed to be pretty close to universal, especially for these low income families. It kind of goes into how the child tax, what it used to work, but essentially, you had to meet certain income thresholds before to get the full credit and what Democrats changed with the US economic relief package earlier this year? Was that look now?
matter your like how low your income as you will get at least like you will gets this and then they be like it phases out. The higher income goes and the idea really was universality for at least these low income people. Even then, it's worth noting some people still miss child tat shortest by some estimates and the Melians, because the federal government just does not have records for them whether it saw because it in file taxes before something else. That means that, even though the goal was universality, some people are still being missed one day I just fine Interesting here is, if you look at the republican proposal on a child allowance for Mitt Romney. I'm I don't know how you can describe if you can necessarily describes the republican proposal, because not all Republicans are on board but like this is a plan from the twenty twelve republican presidential candidate, who is now a senator from Utah and he's his plan does not have work requirements like it is this
strange world where Joe Manton is in many ways be more conservative than Mitt Romney and Adam that the watching this conversation on foreigners in kind of frustrating, because it seems like it in some ways- is trying to like step back from what the child extra was supposed to like the. U expanded. One was supposed to accomplish originally, and also just I mean this is this is supposed to be a big part of violence legacy now like this is something they got done, thinking that they be able to regularly extended into the future. They thinking when you talked to Bonnie Ministration officials are Leon was like what we get this done for a year before, going to see the benefits to running to post on Tik Tok, how much they love this thing and like we'll, have the public support for it, but I think mansion has just essentially said like look if, if kids parents aren't working,
then I guess, like these kids should suffer, because they too should not have as much income, because the parent can't made some work requirement or much more likely, which, we'll probably talk about later. Is they can't fill out this paper work? They don't know how to fix this paper if they can't beat the bureaucratic hurdles for it. And that that's put us in a really strange spot, where not all is, like a key part, binds legacy threatened by Democrat now. But it's like a part of the legacy that, like a Republican in the Senate, would like to be such a more liberal than Joe Mansion on yeah, and I think, looking at their actual interview that mention dies with Dana bash. It happened like a little over a week ago and she's asking. about this. He kicked you repeat slight, quite frequently. What's the urgency like? What's the urgency we have here, watch the urgency, what's the urgency that we have is not the same urgency we have with american rescue plan. We got that out the door quickly, is about two billion dollars to join and on top of
in all the things we ve got with cares package. Everything leading up to that I kept watching afterwards and she immediately after interviews Bernie Sanders, and the interesting thing is he immediately on his own immediately goes there's a sense of urgency, the computer, here. There doesn't matter, but there is of urgency and the south Some urgency is that we live in free trade with a wealthy, its people and the large corporations phenomena, we well while working class people are struggling all over this country. I think a lot of this is like temperamental and kind of extends beyond the policy specifics, and it really feels like the ancient doesn't understand why so much is changing so fast and in some ways he's right. I was like going through old. You know vocs episode, the other day, and I saw this as reclining view that was done with Paul crewmen, and there are taught me how Hillary Clinton Democrats were talking, but how would be ridiculous to pay for free College for Donald Trump children? I'm a little
current than those who say free for everybody, I am not in favour of making college free for Donald Trump, kids. I am in favour of making college free for your grandson by having no debt to wish and- and I remember this moment rather than a government which is like yeah, that's crazy, like how could we allow that to happen, and I think that the shift here I think it's not sometimes on offer appreciated- I think, is it's very good, like Democrats have moved really quickly and, in my opinion, the right direction towards understanding that There are a lot of people left out when you try to implement programmes like this, but I think that when you're talking about In particular, I mean if you walk through a lot of these interviews. It's not really specific policy argument. Often articulating. It's this just general sense of discomfort with the speed at which we ve changed on these issues and the feeling that like the loan sane individual and is caucus, which you know that's true. I have my doubts.
but you I mean. I think, if I wanted to have some cognitive empathy for four mention an end as many there's will now I've I've been arguing for a fully refundable child tax credits from for many years now, so I definitely disagree retirement age and on this, but but as dressed in the same Hillary Clinton position and twenty. Sixteen was not a fully refundable child tax credit; it was one that was bigger and would phase in faster for poor people but there was still excluding people with zero dies and cashing, come and be clear, like PETE that sometimes described as non working people. But it's a lot of parents, its lot of unemployed folks, people on disability. We have kids in so it's including a pretty big chair and population. That was the democratic opposition five years ago, Joe Mention caught sold on an expansion of this temporarily for aid genuinely unprecedented pandemic, related economic emergency and
and suddenly year later, everyone's life sake. We want to make it like a bellies parts, permanent in and extend other parts of it. For for many years with the but stated intention of making it all permanent- and I can- understand how he feels a little tired cited by bad, both there is also some interesting. Are political incentive cease responding to hear one like beard fact of of american political life that like I've? in its on my reporting on us for going to rural communities and talking about disability insurance that you see in books like general, sell those were still here, which is server and ethnography of a working class. Community in in Pennsylvania, there's a lot of like paranoia about welfare programmes and its paranoia. That's not like rich people worried that were
subsidizing, the underclass its by working class middle class, often actively poor households worried that other people are getting one over on them. So I was in Tennessee working a story on on disability insurance. A multiple p who were on disability insurance would tell me you know, I don't support expanding it. As you know, I know these people were just like hooked on on oxy who got on disability and like they don't deserve it it. It should be limited to like deserving people like me, and it's really unfair and silver. Her book, like talks to multiple people talking about how their people in their town you get on food stamps and by stakes and feed. The stakes to their dog and I have no idea where that comes from I'd like I've strongly doubt that is a common phenomenon by sometimes he will have on our model of mansion where he's through owned by wealthy donors- and I don't want to minimize
The effect that campaign donations and corporate influence can have in part expecting some of it is- is an authentic expression of this Kyle Line of public opinion, especially in serve poor parts of Appalachian like the ones you represents where, instead of a kind of solid aristocrats, we should all come together and fight for benefits. We all get theirs there's a by Serbs splitting in placing impulse to try to exclude people were getting one over on you. I think another thing is just up. The politics of the moment Right now are largely about bringing that three point: five trillion dollar price tag down, and obviously, if, if some people can't get the child tax credit now the thinking is theirs. I think there's a reason to doubt the same, but the thing is that they would bring the price tag down to sir we're just be fewer people benefiting from the
ram the thing that kind of throws a ranch and all that is their legitimate questions about like whether the administrative costs of like all this bureaucratic paper were again like making sure people actually meet. Work requirement is actually cheaper than like getting some people. laugh the rules there and then that there are also questions about how politically sustainable programmes are when their universal versus not I'm honestly, not I don't think there's like very good research, either way or like evidence either way. I'm like with a Mickey a program universal makes something much more sustainable. The thinking basically is like look. If everybody in the? U dot S is benefiting from this program, then, like everybody's, going to support it the end, that's better than low income. People supporting it. That kind of comes into conflict with the fact that, like medical
is definitely a means tested programme mainly for low people and people with disabilities, and it has massively expanded over the decades Republicans how tribe- and they have just completely failed at doing anything close to repealing or really cutting down on the medikit expansion as much as they would like. But the general point is that the politics here are like bringing down the price tag from that three five trillion dollars and one way of doing that is by having less money to send out essentially because fewer people are qualified and I think that's a big part of what mansion. Goal. As German during the CNN interview where he talked about all this refused to give a number ass to like what specific price tag he wants for the conciliation bill, but he was clear that he does. He thinks three point. Five trillion is too high, and I think there's this like part of this, too, is just a lax,
of understanding that what either governments gonna spend a lot of its administrative capacity trying to help people who are on the fringes who do qualify for these programmes and who do need the help getting it or its coasts. It's time trying to vet, make sure you like really deserve it, and often I think that people like one there to be be like perfect way to implement some sort of like means, testing or figuring out whether people actual dessert claims. These government benefits in a way that you know that results at the people who deserve it and getting it like that, doesn't happen to people who deserve the most or who need it most and I'm not gonna make like moral claims you people who need them most based on their income level or like what it would do to raise their welfare of themselves and their children are the ones you end up missing out and like I was looking through. All the things at the White House is trying to currently do to make sure that the child tax credit reaches eligible families like you can school, the page like thirty second it's so long about how many different methods are going through hard to access people,
in support of housing. Their launch of Persia Butt head start doing all these different things to try to make sure that there are thousands of trained individuals. Who are you? No trial tax, credit, navigators or things like that, and all of this Is the administrative state deciding that when it to this tax credit, the goals are going to be ensuring that the marginalized populations get access to these benefits and the response of oh. What, if Some people higher up on the income ladder who don't deserve it get. It is weird because, like is it we, the optimal use of government, time and policy to be vetting if a few extra people who I didn't really needed. However, you wanted to find it don't get that money, and I think that people often are not being presented with this trade off. In this way, and there being told like no, we did it make sure that people can get it the right way, but when those things get implemented, that's not what happens like what happens. Is that a bunch of poor people dump accessed they need? add one point that I would
talk about like how there was like the politics of change on this really quickly and in some ways mansion feels blindsided, and I think that's true, but I think it's also important about this in the context of the covert dynamic leg, if there is a reason to speed up your politics in the last year and a half, it is a fact that, like the country just went through like a complete, yet storm of disease outbreak and as a result of that, like lots of people, felt huge, huge problems in their lives from like parents not having a reliable place to drop off their kids, while having to work at home while, like they're gonna, lose their jobs or actually losing their jobs and not feel they can keep up with them.
On and on and on. I mean a large point of this reconciliation bill. If you just look at all these measures is to respond to covert and say, like look. These problems became very obvious in the last year and a half. We need to do something about it and like given the like the actual urgency the problem that were still in the middle of this pandemic, the bind administration lot of Democrats said like yeah. We're gonna, take big steps here but like given what we all just went through its roughly one pointed mansion. Doesnt seem to agree with that, obviously, but it is worth putting in that context, because Democrats are justly trying to take advantage of the situation to pass stuff that they like believed in all along a lot of the carcass. I think would not have supported this three years ago, two years ago, but, like things changed a lot last year, Have you anything it's it's kind of a raises is bigger philosophical question about how you understand what happened with cove it. I remember when
when the Cares act passed those that the first serve checks going out bill in March twenty, I was oriented think about it and and reserve arguing that giving unrestricted checks to two almost everyone in the country was. Was this big, unprecedented thing that the nights are permanently change? The way we do social welfare policy? and there are two schools of thought on that others that the very exuberant school I was a part of having Adam Twos and economic historians. Colombia has a whole book on and how could it be NEO Liberalism act. Each one is an area with him. They can read on advanced. I come, but I think There is another school of thought which some turf, sociologists and economists attack to their echoed, which was is an emergency people, do weird stuff in emergence, is like America set up a universal day care system during world war. Two because men were at the front, women were expected to do factory work needed somewhere depart for kids and
and served in moments of like extreme, honest to God emergency. You can serve writhings things dramatically for a few years and then go back to the way things were. we do not have a universal, take care system growing out of a world or to an I saw, where this you are coming from and, having mentioned to some degree, is of that school of thought, but it doesn't have to be true. Like the counter point of the day. Care example is that set up a national system of german owned hospitals in part in response to the blitz, irresponsible, but they had like genuine emergency medical needs in the midst of role or two, and instead of standing, that called it the National Health service, and it continues to exist to this day, and I think that the big philosophical quest for Democrats, Do we want to do that? Do you want to use this as a chance to institutionalize these emergency measures in and make them part of a new govern in order coming out of the emergency or like mansion, seem
you do you want to say like this is an experiment in an extreme time. Let's go back to normal the break, and when we come back, let's talk more about serve. Where means testing goes from here in and what we can learn about means testing for covered accessible, affordable broadband internet Hobbs communities reach their dreams for students like Susanna Chavez, in its pushing against the constraints of poverty becoming valedictorian of international high school at Langley Park. thanks to access romanian t dreams like these can become a reality. That's why they're making it billion dollar commitment over three years to help closed the digital divide and give more Americans a chance to succeed where more visit ATP dot com, flash connecting communities.
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How much do you mean by that and observe? How much does that considerations are de facto you think about this bill? I think that the politics of this feels like in some ways it unverifiable and we're gonna have this argument for the rest of our lives. How this- and I honestly think part of it- is just that I dont really care about whether or not that that's true and that you know It's not really relevant. I mean it obviously is relevant in terms of whether or not these things end up, you know being vest we support it, but I think that matters a lot more and how their message than anything else like you have polls that show hey like. Is it really good to mix? for that you know we're reducing child poverty and the different like yeah child poverty want to reduce debt and the people like. Should we give unrestricted checks to parents, whether not their working people? I know they should work and its just like really hard to tell from issue pulling like this. What the tipping point is for people supporting or not supporting a programme, and so like
wonder poles and either direction here. I think that, like for a long time, universality was kind of like what thought others is general thought this was better. There's like now more recent. Like stuff, I mean especially when we're looking at what Dylan on your talking at last segment, about how we know a lot of the working poor kind of get upset at the idea that non working poor are benefiting from these programmes, and you know I don't think those things happen in a vacuum that only those things happened, because you know you're inundated with messages all the time for decades about like welfare, queens and like racist assumptions, but who benefits from welfare and even to this day when people are asked about the proportion of individuals who benefit from these programmes, their vast arrests made how many black people are, or are of our benefiting relative to fact that, mostly to why programme, just based on the populations to sticks of United States of America, and so I think, there's something here- it's almost inextricable from the messaging that's been done by both the democratic and republican Party for decades on this sort of thing, and so to me, it's like. I think it's very likely that if you had a concerted effort from a unified democratic party to talk about what these,
we do for the economy that you could change a lot of these assumptions on the ground about who this is helping, and I also think that you know we saw during covered this kind of willing. To say that, like in emergencies these these are you know we should everyone should come together this something where, like you know, ones responsible for the deadly pandemic coming into play. I think trying to take that into other things like no one's risk, I mean, I think, that they are not responsible. If your homework Europe responsible. Have you know if the housing market is price you out for whatever reason, and so I think that, like that, something that politicians have a lot of control over and often we treated as like this kind of like natural artifact like whether or not people support something it's like very dependent to what we are saying at from the federal level, and you know the factory rebel, doing covert you just in bold must realise that we could do with more things. I agree with everything tourism, just said, but just to add a bit too that is like having sat. That's fine,
just just out a bit too that it is this Essentially, the structure and culture of these programmes matters a ton and this this idea that like, answer the poor poor programs. Like I don't know, that's generally true but what I do know is like there are often examples that run in the other direction, so like just one example, obviously came to ask in the. U S is universal. There are definitely really bad schools and a lot of that has to do because property tax structures like these programmes are built on like local, property taxes, and all of that, and that means that there is a lot of these low income schools which are in areas with houses that just are valued as high as other houses. They they just get less money and less revenue, and so the schools as a result, are worse off on the other side of that I went to region a few years ago to see their medicate programme is doing so suffered. Opiate addiction just like essentially making it so they're paying treatment providers more food
or addiction treatment, and the idea was that they would essentially be able to get more people under medical coverage because they were offering higher payments one of the things I thought was interesting, as I heard this repeatedly from official after official is that they said I would rather be on medicate than my private health insurance and its lake. Ok, I mean that's that speaks of out a botched. The solar system is because all the sun, like even like private health insurance, is competing with medicate by like at the same. It shows that like yes, this can go in the other direction if the people overseeing the programme are taking it seriously that this should be a good programme. So I think it is the only reason I emphasise this because I think means testing in general is not going to go away any time soon, so that goal should be until
and just make everything universal if that ever happens should be too like just make these programmes good and the fact that there are examples of like me, Sesar programs, like medicate? That can be pretty good thanks to the fact that, like we can do, this should do this, and maybe we should just give up on the entire concept, because in the meantime, until you get to Medicare for all a lot of people going to suffer, if you dont like actually improve the structure of Medicaid, If you know that depends where we're the means testing is happening, we ve servan speaking in the same breath of of means testing at the bottom, and so you have to meet a work requirement. door or make a certain amount of money to qualify for for attacks? Credit say as the way that the child tat credit used work or the earned income tax credit works right now, verses serve top ends. testing, sullen and Medicaid
sir. You lose eligible to pre fast. My things around the poverty line and in most places, are a hundred and thirty three percent of the poverty line. If you you did the oak upon the care, expansion, and then you have like very top and means testing, which seems to be only getting more popular, so the child tax credit actually has to top end means tests under under what Bitin dead, so under the existing law that that Trump servant at the time, tax bill created the credit started to phase out at around two hundred thousand and income for single people for two thousand and income for four Mary people are very very high, and you you were very comfortable if your strengths see a phase out and fight in, In writing. His caucus in Congress didn't want the expansion, costume much so the expense virgin actually feel that way before that. I think it's at seventy. Five thousand. Three hundred fifty thousand fur for married couples, something between those who are afraid of household, and so that has not attracted a tunnel
anxiety? I think they're people over sensitive zone Anti Poverty programme if you're making six figures: you're you're, probably not that the target Days, fur for Anti poverty programme we think it matters in matters for political reasons. I, like from on observed sceptical of the d blanket so programmes are more politically sound. Then that means tested programmes philosophy, but it might benefit to have more for middle class people in your coalition defending a programme but also its just very administratively complicated. I write articles about the child tax credit I want to say when it faces out, but it its genuine. We there are like thousands of scenarios for when you would stop getting benefits. Based on how many kids you have based on what your income, based on your marital status, its just like not summarize apple in an article of non tedious length and die
it's real administrative difficulties and you ve seen this in various efforts to dues or monthly payments. For instance, I think you might see a lot of situations. People who ve been getting the full credit monthly over the past few months, see it Claude backup slightly over a limit back to create political problems. There was briefly an attempt to pay out the earned income tax credit about a decade ago on there is a program called advance ye see. It was a debacle because people roundup, owing money back to the government, because it was really hard to estimate precisely month to month to what benefits we get because of this complicated phase and phase out schedule, and so I think there, where I worry about what those top ends means tests, is, it's a sword, administrate ability and and the ability of people to do so,
Rely on a certain number of benefits, rather than getting into these serve claw back patterns that just decrease their trust in government yeah mean so like in. Me early twenty tens, or something like that Steve tell us, is a political scientist at I think Hopkins University. He coins this term called clutch accuracy and it's kind of like getting out this kind of large. You know morass that the american government bureaucracy has become that it's like basically almost impossible for anyone to understand really how different levels of government are, of changing them, would change outcomes and that untangling different programmes, developments happens for a variety of reasons. Some of it is kind of like what has been a democratic impulse, to you know you can't get something popularly past. Let us create some kind of back end protein and that works in the existing
sort of law, state to tat. You can help some people so can come from good impulses. But then you know all of a sudden. You have this like means tested work of climate and that you can only submit to one department on Tuesdays at three p m has to be a paper application and that's the only way that you can get it and just like what is happening here, and I think that, like the Like Marie their. Unlike any lowries written a really good article about this for the Atlantic called the time tax, a you know, it if so, this lake tacked on people's time. Like this hours and hours of time, or expecting people to fill out to figure, this stuff out felt these forms to call to wait on hold with our people at agencies with trying to get someone who speaks the languages you do with someone who is able to walk you through this process and on the other end you how the line you have you no federal or state or local official, who may be also extremely confused, but how their own programme works and like has like thanks and thousands of cases of trying to get through and does not have the time to walk you through. Every piece of this was not even like an easier
Simple way for you to get this information, and all this adds up to a massive tax on innovation. this time, and so, like I mean someone made this clip on Twitter, I wish our member, who was that, like you know, it is Biden actually of raising taxes on people earning under four hundred thousand dollars year. If you have these types of programmes, levy and people, don't understand it that way. But you know you would think of it in your own life, if that was something that you were engaging with on a regular basis- and I think, like one unappreciative activist, is that, They really wary of people talking about how people change their incentives in a structure where it's so complicated like this, I just don't really believe that a bunch people are like. I understand that if I work x amount of ours, I will get this specific tax credit. I dont believe that's true. It feels very hard for me to like get that that on massive that's happening, especially when you have like, I think over fifty percent of people who get the IPCC use like large, tax preparers to do it, which means it like. If you ve gone through those prepares,
often you don't you don't have to, so exactly where that return is coming from. You just get a return at the end. You're like great, I just spent a bunch of money from into it like this is an anti into a podcast by the way, you know a lot of money for into it and then and then you know, I got this money back, but I dont know that the IPCC is being given to me. For this reason, I think, like you know, we're talking a lot about how we can manage people's incentives in a system that set up to confuse incentives as much as possible, and so we should have a little bit more. Like you know wariness about the idea that you know all these people can be perfectly responding in the way that we want them to just because this one specific programme has been means tested, even if it was like the court in court. Optimal means testing, I think one waiter to look at this too, is just like how people actually use these programmes when they get work. Requirements and means doesn't ask the speaks of like Annie's point in the Atlantic with time. Tax is like there is research on this question. There is search. That shows like there's a twenty,
and in New England Journal Medicine study that just look at what happened when they added work requirements to medicate in Arkansas and what they found is that they did not boost employment among, like would be applicants. What they did is just get more people off the roles of Medicaid, and it's worth emphasising that, like now five percent of people met the work requirements standards. So what this study actually showed is that people who probably met the work requirement and like the also had room like community service and looking for a job in things like that people who actually met the standard just in sign up for medicate, even though they likely qualified and there on the stories about this, you can just look this up, but it is like, if you ask people, why aren't you sign for this programme are eligible? For that most common answer is, I didn't know I was eligible for because once you start adding all these forms of means assessing or these work requirement, people just get confused stay. Do not have all the time
the world to just constantly keep up with how these programmes are changing and citizen with the medicate work requirements, but that's worth emphasising in there. Research on, like all sorts of other programmes, going back to like the nineties, welfare reform and lake very often the effect on employment is modest at best I would say, and at the end of the day, like the actual I'll come here, is fewer people are getting help that they need to like not be impoverished. To just make ends meet for me as just worth stepping back and like asking what you're trying to accomplish year, because I think if you look at just a mansion view and take it at purely face value of like well. Yes, parents should work and that would be the best thing for their children. It's like! Yes, that's technically true in. some sand, but is that actually what a work requirement does, or does it also create
these other unintended consequences from the time tax or people not being able to get benefits, are actually qualify for, and I just wish There was a little more attention to those kind of unintended consequences. When talking about this, because I mean everyone Listen to? The shall probably knows like there are lots of policies that sound nice in theory, but like once, you put them in to action in the real world- things wrong all the time and I think, from for a lot of this particular work requirements, I'm not sure about means testing in general, but at least for work requirements they just at so many complications to these systems that they often just leave people behind who you want to help that the programmes are in tended to help and it seems like a huge problem for this data. Like you know, there's this assumption that I think he just mentioned that, like you know, it is actually just better. If we do get increased work happen,
at the lower end, the ban and Nino engine that there are some studies that correlate with like working parents and likes or other life outcomes here. But when we're specifically talking about you know a potentially a single pair And stale along these are our study that looked like single moms, whether they increase the amount that they work getting a single mom working, often which is illegal, a low and retail job or like a low and job. It's going to be extremely taxing, especially like your target during a pandemic you're dealing with like people who or their master, who refused to their vaccinated even required to ask me questions like this is like shitty work, and if you want people to work, people like what more money you should make work, less shitty it that's the goal of or getting at, is like a big problem. It also leaves disorder, democracy I talked about, is that people will have these specific goals and then uses a really weird end run around to kind of like justify how it gets to tackle. If the goal is to get more people working, work needs to like sock, less and especially low. and an income utter where there is like discrimination. There's like sexual harassment hopping rapidly in some jobs, I mean a boy
ages, need to be higher and we're seeing what that's that's, inducing alot of people to come into the labour market who work previously a part of it. So We know how to do that to you and we're like actively choose not to do it, and so, like the justification, I think that is used by I mean even no mention, I think, says this in his seat, an interview to, whereas I don't you think that they should like work in order to qualify for these programmes, and it's like we're talking about, like children were kind about helping children like the idea is not even a ballot. I've known wants the kids to work it's about like some kind of moralising about whether it's ok to receive this money. Why not actively in like investing your time, delay market, especially when we know there are good outcomes to four one parent stayed home with their kids and are able to take care of them and be available to them. whatever their needs are, especially when there are really young age, though I think that there is this, you know, I think it's it's did it. It is a. It is an assumption that I think often goes on. Responded to, and people talk about this
I agree, but is this, I think, is just a kind of shows, a point that, like at face value as a slogan, this idea of like shouldn't you work, it sounds great or a lot of people is just like. What's yours, our digging into the layers of like what that work is what work requirements actually do in the real world. That's when it this whole thing start falling apart and, like, I think, that's what frustrating mansions comments generally. Is that he'll often say these things at, like I'm sure they pull peace is doubly politically savvy, he's a demo Now that one in West Virginia, like whatever he's doing politically, as is incredible, but that this in time, it's like it's a catch and with the politics here you happen like actually interrogate the impulse nations of your slogans and what you're saying out loud, and I think in this case it is really falls apart, the listing a break and when we get back we're gonna interrogate the implications of a very, very old policy as part of our white paper, calling all creators put down the tablet.
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All right way paper, the weak comes good friends at the National Bureau of Economic research. Jerusalem tell us about it yeah. So this is not a housing podcast, but when I'm on, we don't happen housing at least once so. This is a new paper that miss from price fish back who sat in Receive Arizona. Cats note in Andalusia, Greensborough Jonathan rose to the Federal Reserve Bank, Chicago and Thomas store shoes in Corcoran, department, history and Charlottesville, so they are looking at red lining, which I think is became a very popular concept or understanding of history. The past decade, or so, especially with books like the color of law and especially with these really vivid maps that people were able to see delineating neighbourhood,
based on their credit worthiness or their riskiness, forgetting mortgages. And you know, I think people know about these maps and often intuitively think that what how these maps were used is that the federal housing, registration and hope, which is the homeowners Loan Corporation, that use these maps in order to give mortgages and so on. There's been a lot of really good research coming out recently, including this paper, trying to figure. exactly what how these maps were used by whom and what the effect was, and so these researchers look at three different cities, Erika Greensborough North Carolina Billy Peoria Illinois and they look at Baltimore Maryland and the reason for those three cities is because that's where they could find the data. a lot of these maps, actually were destroyed by the F, a J in nineteen sixty internet Nixon administration, because they probably they were guilty there,
soon anyway, just where they were able to find the maps end. The baseline found that the homeowner loan corporation ups, but the whole maps, which are the map, the programme up several unseen, likely we're not being used to red line and that red lining and that kind of disinvestment having a black communities was happening previous to those maps being created, especially because No, the maps were created after Hulk did the majority of their lending Effie J there. we do know, used and was potentially able to access some of these maps and they are unable to figure out whether or not they were able to use them on mass. But the reason why this is important is because You know it really gives more power to what was happening. Previous, the 1930s and post recession, segregationist impulses in the federal government and really talks about how this was going on for decades before the federal government ever really got involved, it wasn't created one thousand nine hundred and thirty segregation is impulses at the low.
level were creating, does invested black neighborhoods under the guise of you know. If you all black people into a neighbourhood, it will lead to disinvestment only to lower property values, and you know it was just a wholesale just made up in nineteen. Thirty by hawk, and so I think, is really cool. Uninteresting researcher really underscores how much the importance of of data collection and AIDS really wild to me that these summits in pretty recent history, and yet we still have a firm grasp on exactly who is using these maps, how they were used and that the effects of them it's it's a really cool paper turns out. The next administration loves, destroying lacquered, miss very carefully I gotta go. I don't really get Levin Extension Yeah, I know this is a really impressive paper I must like, or for any time like economists and historians link up adding american historians in history and the race in America, Japan than really interested in the housing market and receive
here's this this paper sector, a couple of great recent books called threatening property in and have the suburbs became segregated by some american nests working on ass ends, yeah it is a really great case study and how you can bring quantitative evidence to bear on serve nuanced is drunk with questions, and I particularly like that. It's not just like a deflationary paper. You could imagine, avert a version of this dead, possibly records finds that hawk the agency that typically held responsible for outlining did not. affects many mortgages and practised and are declared reputation of of conventional history on a red lightning and that's not what they do. They connect this in two to be or a J policies which do, heavy lorries are marketed racially discriminatory Impact would
was it really interesting mean herein, and is there a theme in all kinds of red lining paper and workers is the way that separation discrimination is linked to the idea of credit worthiness that, though the key mecca someday site further housing administration be motivated. Red line is the day good rules that they federally back mortgages had to be economically sound, and there were just mortgages going to lower paid back people, sharecroppers low paid industrial workers in the north that we're going to be economically sound due to the realities of of racial discrimination in the workplace, rich discrimination and salary Indeed, that is built on itself and the idea that you should only ensure like financially sound loans is when you phrase it like that Surveys show erase neutral. But this is a good
a vision of how officially race, neutral rules like that can have like profoundly disparate impacts on on community is one of the London look out demand. This paper is both basically saying that, like look in some ways, it should be that surprising, because we know that systemic racism was in the U S for, like the nineteen, thirty red line, I mean just like the basic question without any of these programmes would why people have widely accepted black neighbours, and we know the answer is no. I mean people literally responded with violence. like minority groups moving into their neighborhoods. So I find that interesting, because I think we often have underlying racist attitudes to Dylan's points, and we then pass these policies that sound, faintly race neutral and they have the effects you would expect under the circumstances of our systemically races, country or society civilization and I think another example, this, like I mean obvious
read a lot about the war on drugs. If you look at the policies, a federal policies, estate policies are built up to that. A lot of the times they would be framed as like no look drugs are a huge problem and in fact we want to help these black communities where drugs are a huge problem. Black lawmakers very often went along with this, where some of the strongest supporters for drug war policies. In fact, once you get a bunch of police departments, going into these communities and essentially, especially because a lot of these police departments are predominantly white. You end up getting a lot of racist outcomes, just where black people are much more likely to be arrested, for example, for marijuana when they're, not likely to use it, and I think issues it just goes back to like this thinking about the unintended consequences. Question into some exe but also I mean there are legal stand, at play here were like the Supreme Court has especially the conservatism
Supreme Court of generally argued that like if a policy is race neutral at face value than like it cannot be racists. But obviously that's not true. This paper shows up, but there are also more recent policies. I think that that clearly show that I think this paper too, and they talk specifically about the federal housing you may station and at how, before and after it had already had this kind of red lining methodology and so tat. Miss me he's he's professor, I Georgie Tech University and This paper called on the roots of red lining. Here's a co author, which I forget, their name apologies, but one of the one of the things that he he looks out. He looks connectivity trace the history of this idea that black people entering into neighborhoods reduce poverty values, and this is like an intellectual like movement. That's what happens right lookin like pensioners guy named I'm Richard Eli, who I know he trains tons of economists, he's he's economist himself to a bunch of historians, sociologists, including president, would,
Wilson and no surprises there and he's like coming. Is intellectual movements coming wily, eugenics and scientific races? is, I you know becoming a big- is already a big intellectual movement in the United States, and yet they are very concerned with the great my Asian. There very conserved african Americans moving to northern cities after World WAR once and he trains a bunch. These people who end up to go work at the FDA J, who have seen em race Bay, stoning, get struck down, who have seen you know island enforcement of the color line like Germano talking about it in different places and start inculcating. This idea as being in economic fact that no real terms should understand that integration will lead to lower property values, and this is really more because the way that these maps are created is that be there. government is really leaning on local, real terms to tell them what places are good and bad
and and our credit worthier, not creditworthy and hope maps themselves are like a snapshot in time of after the gateway. Fashion, and you can just see obviously that block of our concentrated very heavily in these places that are is invested. But that's because there's been a bunch of government policies pushing them to the place where they are invested, then after they congregate. They are then further, not able to access. It are public or private investment, and so I think we d like this, like historical research, is like an economic issue, just really really cool. I think it like render scores yet again. What we know is that segregation. It was
both an intellectual decision and that it had like massive government affect, because I think, primarily because bunch of who ended up going into government were given clinical rational backing for things that they are likely already believed, and also the research like this kind of points us to realize. I like how much harder this problem is to root out like it is not the case that without these redlining that you wouldn't have seen a kind of segregation is he today, like. I talked to one of the researchers newspaper earlier this week and you know He was like I've seen, can make a definitive claim either way of something like that, because a kind of actual too difficult to go would have happened, but it's unlikely that you would have seen a lot of reminisced Orient save, as that you wouldn't have seems kind of segregated activity happening even with government intervention, even without this government intervention of this whole maps and the eventual lending programmes which were already discriminatory. So I think that that something that's really important to realise when we're trying to do even more modern day. Desegregation policy is that it's going to require a full rethinking of what credit worthiness means and how you kind of do these Morgan.
is, after centuries of of disinvestment populations. What one are forward, looking thing that strikes me about this is said. The hope MAX's, as Jason said, were based in large part on surveys of real estate professionals of realtors and I think we know a lot less about where the damage a maps came from. But I think it's safe to say that is probably also source for general view. Is in the ten year in geology and in the real world influenced how they're doing these things We ve figured out a much more efficient way to launder the prejudices and impressions of individual people interested in and it's like real estate into process and its called machine learning hands, and one thing we see again and again with various a ice systems is that it
you train them on data that is created by humans were biased and ensuring systematic ways these system you produce will be biased and certain systematic ways. Might my colleague, Seagal Samuels done a lot of of great work on this, and you see this ends civic leaves or credit worthiness situations as well. There's reason and be our paper. There was a very good like academic work I don't mean to pick on the authors, but there We are showing that you will get a credit score that is more predictive of of, but Some will default answer in loans than normal credits course from psycho in their places. If you use your machine learning, but part of Why they found that is that psycho scores are not allowed to take. The risk of people is to account there not allowed to take certain protective characteristics into account for fear of repeating the kinds of discrimination that that these papers identify and
It's true that if the you you take into account that race of people that you can predicts default on loans better because of their low, wages based on race because of various other legacies of discrimination but I am worried that as machine learning picks up in you will notice that there are some of the You can't do that, because that is like clearly discriminatory objections. Washed away in the face of worlds biotechnology? Why? When we went to use baritone arch one thing that, like what your tie about to speak, there's a site we are now able to like come up with better solutions to these kinds of problems, because we have this paper, even though its about like a programme that was like ninety years ago, and it to me is just like. I don't know this isn't exactly controversial tape, but sometimes it's good to just like that. Ruth out there, even if it destroys
popular narratives, because, ok, so, like one examples, mass incarceration. If you talk to activists, they love for me, mass incarceration as a federal problem and the reason they do. That is because they would love to see federal, criminal justice reform and help me to, but actually, look at the problem. Mass incarceration was fuelled at state level and, like it most of vast majority of incarceration, the US nearly ninety percent is done at the state level. So it just like, like you, can't solve that problem unless you're willing to acknowledge that this is happening at the state level, instead of the federal level and at an eye I think you see this a lot, especially with like when people are firing. Their heartaches on twitter is, like people often bind these.
Very clean narratives, and they actively make it harder to solve problems by misrepresenting these problems. And I'm not saying that's that's what was happening a surly with red lining. This is, for example, on various particular strained. There's like a lot of good academic research on red lining lots of historians really looking at this issue, but I think for for the public perception of this. It is just I just wanted to emphasize that it's really important to get like the real story of how this happened out there. So we can think of solutions is not just like a fact finding exercise just because we find it. Trusting are fine. It is actively important to actually preventing something like this from happening again. The weeds is a is approach. Report no truthiness. Well, the years so much thanks. Romantics Jerusalem swept research Sophie ass, a view on and we'll see
on Friday.
Transcript generated on 2021-10-05.