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Project Syndicate: Here’s how to reduce inequality and poverty in America

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Project Syndicate) — With a new American president and Congress taking office just six months from now, the time has come to rethink the government’s programs aimed at helping the poor. The current election season has reflected widespread concern about the issue of inequality. Reducing poverty, rather than penalizing earned success, is the right focus for dealing with it.

The United States government now spends more than $600 billion a year on programs to help the poor. That’s about 4% of America’s total gross domestic product. Half of those outlays are for health programs, including Medicaid and the health-insurance subsidies under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (so-called Obamacare).

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