Why Is Welfare the Enemy of Middle-Class Mobility? The Case of ‘Leia’ Explains in a Nutshell

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Buried under the pandemic, elections, violent riots, and social media shutdowns, an obscure report issued in January by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (FRBA) never had much hope for oxygen. But as we catch our breath and consider the best way to dig out of our national messes, we should revisit our assumptions about the report’s topic—the negative effect of welfare on economic mobility.

For the last 10 years, income inequality and wage growth have dominated economic debates. The pandemic has only sharpened the divides.

In the search for villains and scapegoats, some attack the wealthy. Others point to a decline in entrepreneurship and slowing productivity rates.

But as we tell kids, when you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you. The root causes of the economic problems for lower-income Americans are complex. But one of them, surely, is the rest of us.