In the past, Republican efforts to reform social programs have gotten hung up on cost. When it’s time to put numbers to the budget, Republicans want spending cuts that Democrats won’t agree to. But if Republicans are serious about conducting these pilots within the existing budgetary parameters for spending on aid to the poor, they might engage in a conversation with Democrats and President Obama about how to make our existing anti-poverty dollars work better.
Ultimately, I suspect that a successful set of programs, established locally, could be implemented at lower cost than under the current, inefficient centralized system. Still, this is shrewd politically, disarming the other side of their primary objections to previous proposals.