Which US Democratic presidential candidate has the most effective plan to reduce poverty?

Vox has an in-depth analysis, also discussed on the most recent episode of The Weeds podcast:

All of them cost a lot — but they all cost about the same or less than the recent round of Republican tax cuts. All five are more ambitious than any cash proposals during the 2016 primary, or any other Democratic primary I can remember. And in a head-to-head matchup of all five, two plans (surprisingly) stood out as doing the most to reduce poverty at the least cost: bills from Cory Booker and Kamala Harris subsidizing rent for low-income households.

(Emphasis mine.)

The journalist worked with researchers at Columbia to do a bunch of interesting analyses. The bills have somewhat different goals (e.g., some are targeted at fixing childhood poverty specifically) and cost different amounts. But the article looks at how many people in poverty and in deep poverty would be helped by each proposal, as well as the approximate return on investment (holding cost steady). In all analyses, subsidizing the rent of people paying over 30% of their income to rent is highly effective.

As a Bay Area resident, I think a lot about how hard it is to live here unless you’re fortunate enough to have a very high household income. And I know we’re not the only US housing market that’s tough for renters. Still, I didn’t realize that subsidizing rents nationwide would have such a high impact on US poverty.

Also, an important note: most of plans are not mutually exclusive! Several could be combined, and some of the same folks are sponsoring multiple bills.

Leave a Comment