What Alleviates Poverty, the Market or Gov’t Programs?

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Liberals argue it’s the latter. It’s really some of both. From my new Bloomberg View column:

Republicans in Congress are trying to convince Americans that conservatism offers better answers than liberalism to the problems of poverty.

In the Washington Post, [Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels] makes a provocative argument: The free market that Republicans laud “has done nothing at all” to help the poor over the past 40 years. Government programs have alleviated poverty, he argues, but our free-enterprise economy has “failed abjectly” at that task.

That’s a thoroughly wrongheaded and counterproductive way to think about poverty.