I have not gotten a chance to hear Senator Marco Rubio’s entire anti-poverty speech at A.E.I., but the preliminary response from the conservative community is not entirely favorable. BuzzFeed reports that a Heritage scholar is slamming the two proposals Rubio set forth.
Reached for comment by BuzzFeed immediately after the speech, senior Heritage scholar Robert Rector trashed Rubio’s proposals, saying the wage subsidy “doesn’t really change much of anything,” and calling the flex fund “an extraordinarily bad idea.”
While Rubio argues that states should have the flexibility to address their own unique problems — “The poverty found in rural areas has some characteristics that are very different from the poverty found in inner cities,” he said — Rector contended that giving states power to create their own programs would simply enable local bureaucracies, particularly in liberal states, to undermine reforms.
“The idea that what you want to do is collect money at the federal government level and hand it out to states is the exact wrong way to produce conservative policies,” he said.
Rector went on to argue that the success of the 1996 welfare reforms — which he played a key role in crafting — was due to the federal requirement that “states run aggressive work programs.” He worried Rubio’s plan would give too much money to states without strict guidelines as to how it can be used.
While I agree that the wage subsidy is just a matter of re-branding the same program, I am not ready to dismiss the idea of a “flex fund” because I think giving the states more control is a step in the right direction. But, it does make you wonder why the federal government gets to tax the citizens first,then makes the states jump through ridiculous hoops to get that money back! I think we need to re-think the whole notion of the federal income tax! Perhaps Marco Rubio is heading in the right direction.
Let’s see how the libertarians weigh in…