Ramesh Ponnuru makes an excellent point on what Republicans are missing as they devise an anti-poverty agenda:
Much of what Rubio is proposing concerns structural poverty, the kind that persists even when the economy is good. Some poverty, though, reflects the business cycle — and conservatives should take care not to make this cyclical poverty worse.
Two days before his speech, Rubio joined most of his Republican colleagues in voting against Janet Yellen’s confirmation as Federal Reserve chairman. They think money has been too easy. But if money had been tighter over the past few years, unemployment and poverty would have been even worse than they have been.
Republican senators including Rubio also recently voted against extending unemployment benefits. Many of them have worried aloud that the benefits are making it less urgent for beneficiaries to look for work. In some cases that is surely true. But when there are three unemployed workers for every job opening, a lack of drive on the part of the unemployed isn’t the labor market’s biggest problem. It’s a good thing, then, that over the weekend Rubio took the more reasonable position that he will back the benefit extension if it is paid for.
Getting macroeconomic policy right is an important way the federal government can fight poverty. On both monetary policy and unemployment insurance, Republicans have been acting on sincerely held views about what they think is best for the economy. But if there is one thing conservatives have emphasized over the years when it comes to antipoverty efforts, good intentions aren’t enough..
Bang on. The consensus GOP take on monetary policy would likely have resulted in slower growth, higher unemployment, and perhaps a double-dip recession. And extending jobless benefits while also pushing pro-work reforms is the better path forward on unemployment insurance.