S.M. of the Economist: Barack Obama and the economy: Growth and inequality:
THE Wall Street Journal is deeply unhappy with Barack Obama’s recent speech on the economy at Knox College in Galesburg…. A pair of disingenuous arguments fuel the Journal’s claim that Mr Obama’s policies have put a brake on the recovery. Here is the first: "The food stamp and disability rolls have exploded, which reduces inequality but also reduces the incentive to work and rise on the economic ladder."
The Onion has exposed the oddity of this proposition as well as anyone, and recent research into the relationship between the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme (SNAP) and work incentives belies the Journal’s claim. It stands to reason that a few hundred dollars in food stamps for you and your family every month would not turn you into a beach bum or deter you from searching for a job. (There are other bills to pay, after all.) I suppose some people might descend into lethargy if their daily bowl of Cheerios were covered by a federal programme, but according to a recent study, this rarely happens…. The president promises to provide detailed proposals for a long-term solution in the coming weeks, and his ideas should be scrutinised carefully. But dismissive, fact-blind critiques of Mr Obama as an “inequality president” are no help at all.