In 2008, safety net programs cut child poverty in half in Georgia, Illinois, and Massachusetts.

via The Effects of the Safety Net on Child Poverty in Three States.

As the debate over the federal budget and reduction in the nation’s debt continues, questions regarding which programs should be cut and the appropriate levels of de-funding will be central to the discussion.  While it is certainly necessary to debate which programs are most essential in our society, the criteria used to determine which programs remain unscathed will become paramount.

What I wonder is whether measures of effectiveness will included in this discussion.  While entitlement programs are usually fodder for these politically charged debates, reports such as those conducted by the Urban Institute demonstrates that these programs work.   Do we then dismantle federal safety net programs simply because a small minority in America thinks they promote laziness and apathy?  Or do we instead conduct a critical examination of all budget categories, seeking to determine which programs “work,” cutting the dead weight no matter what the implications?  It remains to be seem, but I for one am not optimistic.