The Niskanen Center’s approach to U.S. poverty policy reform for both markets and the social safety net blends ideas from political traditions that are often seen as antagonistic. From classical liberalism we take the idea that a commercial, cosmopolitan social order is unrivaled at promoting tolerance, innovation, cooperation, and prosperity. Accordingly, we believe a “presumption of liberty” ought to apply to basic economic activity. At the same time, modern liberal thought has established that justice requires robust social insurance systems that guarantee to all the dignity and autonomy of broadly shared prosperity. Our view is that these two traditions were never in tension, and indeed combine to form a more coherent theory of a free and just society. Take a look at some of our research on U.S. social security and tax policy proposals, poverty policy reform, health care, family policy, and more below.
Defenders of free-markets must transcend the politics of austerity.