Callie Gable finds that John J. DiIulio, Jr., has concerns with Paul Ryan’s idea of turning anti-poverty funds to the states.
He mentions Pennsylvania’s Summer Food Service Program, a federal program intended to replace the nutrition kids get during the school year from free or subsidized lunches, to illustrate how complicated tracking aid and its impacts can be. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which gives the money to the state of Pennsylvania, which then distributes the money to three major cities in Pennsylvania, which pass it on to Pennsylvania school systems, which give it to individual schools, which then work with any number of local providers.
This money changes hands five times before finally being translated into lunches for kids. And after that, it’s hard to be sure that the community providers are using the funds efficiently and providing a quality service. That’s just one, ancillary program.
My preferred approach to consolidating anti-poverty programs is to send lump-sum funds to individuals, while limiting the use of such funds to “merit goods” such as health care, food, housing, and education. However, I do think that state and local governments must then play a role in identifying specific needs in their jurisdictions and coming up with programs to address those.
Gable point to an article DiIulio wrote in 2012, where he said
About three-quarters of non-profit organizations, including most faith-based ones, spend under a half a million dollars a year and receive little or no government grant or contract money. But the quarter of the sector’s organizations that boast its biggest annual budgets are highly dependent on direct government funding, meaning that one-third of all non-profit dollars are from government, paid through grants or contracts.
This gets back to a point that I have made, which is that I do not think we want to put non-profit organizations on some kind of pedestal.