|Welfare Reform: Time To Remove The Middleman?|
Close down the bureaucracy and give these folks cash
(photo from The Atlantic)
Now I know how hard it will be for America to swallow that pill. Not to mention the politics surrounding the subjectivity of “basic”.
The inconvenient truth is liberal bureaucracy is part of the problem. Good intentions are wasted when a challenge comes along that puts their self interest and the preservation of their programs / institution against the welfare of those they are claiming to serve. In my personal experiences, they’re always an opportunity to scapegoat the failure of your program on the shortcomings of those being aided or on the funding stream.
We’ve been operating under the basic assumption, that a dollar spent by an agency does more social good than a buck given directly to the needy. But that theory hasn’t been seriously tested until recently, there’s finally studies being done comparing direct and indirect welfare spending.
Culturally, we don’t trust each other, especially the poor, ironically (imo) because they “do what they must” to keep afloat. People work the systems, try to outsmart the bureaucracy (which is easy to do, because it’s slow and dumb). All this makes it hard (and resource intensive) to sort the bad apples and those truly deserving.
What I like about universal basic income is it controls an extremely important variable: where / when the next paycheck is coming from. It will be steady and will cover one’s basic needs making any taboo social behavior (fraud, slinging, crime, etc.) much less rationale / justifiable. And with that we can address / sort what might social ills are rooted in individual habits / mental health issues and what might be hard circumstance.
A good social worker, one who is honest about their intentions, knows their goal is to work themselves out of a job. Unfortunately, what I often encounter are self-preservationists.
Still, this policy will not solve issues like drug abuse, crime, employability, even homelessness, because undoubtedly not all people will use their basic income appropriately because of whatever (but I’d be confident in saying there would be a hell of a lot less of those problems) so their still be a place for social workers and social service agencies.
Lots left to say but there's my start. Anyone want to talk about incentives to do x, y, or z if I have sure money coming my way should bring tested facts not assumptions. I’m going to get back to my grad school app."
My Note: You can follow my good friend at twitter.com/nosaintjoe
Some additional and provocative thoughts from Tasiyagnunpa Livermont "My only concern is for people who have never had money of their own, even those who have, and don't know how to manage it. In third world settings, influx of cash often ends up in drug problems, especially meth and according to law enforcement I've heard that it can lead to first time use. The stigma would also need to be eradicated somehow. Fortunately there are many good economic development entities and credit unions working in our communities who could perhaps be worked with to provide opportunity for financial education. They are already doing the work, but often people have no freaking money to manage! Trust me, you can't budget if you have less than you need. I also don't think this will work if we eradicate housing vouchers and low income housing or count this towards it. Rents have skyrocketed and many developments count on low income cash and loans as part of their business. Those would need to be left in place. I do think this is probably the BEST thing for those who want to start their own businesses and yes, employers may need to offer more money to entice people (women especially) to leave home to work for them. However, the more people with time the more we have opportunity to rebuild our communities through volunteer work. People could return to school or otherwise skill up, start businesses, etc. I also think we should run a cash incentive for not having children. Sounds crazy, I know, but I think we need to provide a basic income to young people if they don't have children. If they choose to do so, then the family type basic income comes into play, but perhaps there's strings attached (for daycare assistance or something). IDK. I think we live in a post-child society and need to make adjustments without leaving children and their parents in the cold. Young people who know they want children could save that income and receive matching grants for when they do have children...a dowry of sorts for men and women. Child support, mostly for men, is also crippling our society and forces parents to sue each other often to receive basic government services to begin with. That must stop. The war on poverty (and against welfare) became a war on fathers."