How Do Two Political Parties Solve the Same Problem?

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Socioeconomic difficulties has had something of an emphasis in legislation so far this year, with Congress looking into unemployment benefits and a minimum wage increase. There has also been discussions of a $9 billion cut in food stamps as part of the new farm bill. Obviously, middle and lower class Americans are dependent on Congressional action for financial and economic policy that can change their chances of success for the better.

Bookings, an organization with a focus on public policy research, examined how both Democrats and Republicans compared on issues surrounding social mobility. The basic conclusion that Economic Studies Fellow, Richard V. Reeves, who penned the post, reached, was that “Democrats see government promoting mobility” while “Republicans see government killing mobility.”

In other words, Democrats believe in combating poverty and joblessness with government involvement, aid, and policy changes. Republicans, on the other hand, believe that, “Government is the obstacle to opportunity, burdening individuals and companies with too much tax and regulation — and encouraging welfare dependency — rather than promoting independence.”

In looking at the different policy tactics each party takes on the same problem, Reeves examined Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as sample cases. “Even before the financial crisis, middle class families were fading away in a growing economic gap,” Reeves quotes Gillibrand as saying, noting her five part plan that is heavy on aid and programs for low socioeconomic groups.

Ryan, on the other hand, looks more towards fixing the economy to take some of the pressure off of struggling families. “Right now, America’s engines of upward mobility aren’t working the way they should. The question before us today — and it demands a serious answer — is how do we get the engines of upward mobility turned back on,” said Ryan, according to Reeves’s dissection via Brookings.

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