Vol. 52, No. 2

In this edition

As Republicans look for ways to lift people out of poverty 22 years after the last major welfare reform bill was approved, The Ripon Forum looks at a recently enacted proposal that is intended to help achieve that goal.

The Greatest Threat to Global Security is Our National Debt

President Trump is rebuilding our military and reengaging with the rest of the world. But if we do not deal with the debt crisis, it will undermine each of these important gains.

City on the Move, City on the Rise

Over the past 14 years, Oklahoma City has transformed itself into a thriving metropolis geared around economic growth and healthy living.

Five Ideas to Make Congress Work

The retirement of Speaker Paul Ryan speaks less to the political headwinds facing Republicans and more to the miserable conditions that many Members of Congress work under.


The best way to fight poverty in America is not through government handouts, but by encouraging investments that will help lift up distressed communities.

The Unfinished Agenda

We must go beyond the confines of thinking that has not only created a massive failed welfare system, but also trapped generations in a cycle of dependency over the past 50 years.

Wisconsin Leads the Way On Welfare Reform

A nine-bill reform package recently signed by Gov. Scott Walker is part of a continuing effort to change the culture of welfare back to what it was originally intended to be — temporary help.

The Youngest Victims of the Opioid Crisis

With more and more Americans falling victim to drug and alcohol addiction, the number of children being placed into protective custody has increased, as well.

The UBI will Help Solve America’s Crisis of Income Insecurity

The economic security provided by a Universal Basic Income would promote entrepreneurship, and provide a cushion against automation-induced job losses in the years ahead.

If You Like Big Government, You’ll Love the UBI

Almost by definition, a Universal Basic Income would vastly increase taxes and government spending because it would require an enormous redistribution of income.

Ripon Profile of Martha Roby

The Representative of Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District talks about her role as a working Mom and her responsibilities as a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

Ripon Profile of Martha Roby

Name: Martha Roby

Occupation: U.S. Representative (R), Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District

First job & the lesson(s) you learned from it: The summer after my junior year in high school I worked as a girls’ camp counselor. I really learned about the importance of developing meaningful relationships with both the people you work with and the people you work for.

Lesson(s) in life that you’re now trying to impress upon your kids: As a mother of a 9-year old and a 12-year old who are growing up in the social media age, I consistently try to impress upon them the importance of being kind to other people.  With online bullying so rampant among children their age, I always want them to remember that kindness is often the most important and meaningful thing you can give to another person.

As a working Mom, what advice do you have for others who are trying to balance their job at the office & their family at home? I believe work-life balance is one of the most significant challenges Americans face, and it’s very important that we try our best to get it right. For me personally, I try to carve out specific, set-aside time for my family to be together – without distractions – each week, no matter how busy work is. My advice for others facing the same challenge is to find what works for you and stick to it. We aren’t nearly as effective professionally if we are neglecting life and responsibilities at home.

Speaking of your job, you’re a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee & helped push through a near-record increase in defense spending. Why is it so important to invest in our military this year?  I am very grateful to serve as a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Alabama’s Second District and our entire state have a large military footprint, and I’m glad to have a seat at the table in crafting the funding that impacts the vital work they do every day. While far from perfect, the Omnibus bill – now law – restored military funding to the proper levels and provided our troops with the biggest pay raise they’ve received in eight years. The world we live in today is dangerous, and new threats to our national security emerge daily. During these times of uncertainty, it is imperative that we properly support and fund our military so that the men and women who wear the uniform are adequately prepared and equipped to do their jobs and keep us safe. I’m proud that after eight long years of damaging cuts due to sequestration, we’re finally funding our military at the appropriate level.

Looking back on some of the other challenges you’ve worked on over the past few years, what are some of the accomplishments that really stand out?  Most people who know me know that I am unapologetically pro-life, and I consider it my enduring responsibility in Congress to fight for life at all stages. I have fought this fight alongside my pro-life colleagues for the last eight years, but often we came up short. Now that we have an Administration that has taken up this fight with us, we are beginning to make real progress. I consider it a great accomplishment that the Omnibus bill that was recently signed into law contains provisions that restrict taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions and research using the tissue obtained from aborted babies. As a country, we must begin assigning greater protections to life under the law.  I’m very proud of our recent accomplishments, and I’m eager to see the momentum continue.

Additionally, this Congress I was given the opportunity to serve on the House Judiciary Committee. In this new role, I have made it a point to work on legislation that cracks down on our country’s horrific human trafficking problem. This is a very real issue right here in the United States, and over the last year we have made great strides in combatting it. Just recently, the President signed into law the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. I was proud to support this legislation that heightens criminal penalties for websites that promote and participate in the buying and selling of human beings. I look forward to continuing our work against these atrocious practices.