GOOD POLICY? OR A RECIPE FOR DISASTER?
We’ve always been intrigued by reform. There’s something eminently satisfying about the notion of fixing something … and since there’s so much wrong with government these days, there’s literally no shortage of stuff to fix.
Which is part of the problem …
Anyway … one of the reforms that’s always intrigued us is economist Milton Friedman‘s negative income tax. Under this system, people who earn below a certain monetary level would not only get out of paying taxes, they would receive direct cash supplements from the federal government – money they could spend on whatever they choose.
The goal of such a program is to replace the perverse incentives of the current welfare system – which keeps millions of Americans stuck in a rut of dependency – while at the same time eliminating vast swaths of bureaucracy.
We don’t necessarily like any form of welfare, but it’s easy to see how such a system would be infinitely preferable to the current, ever-expanding maze of entitlement.
University of San Diego philosophy professor Matt Zwolinsky is touting a new version of this concept – which he calls the Basic Income Guarantee (a.k.a. BIG).
Hold up, did somebody say B.I.G?
(Click to play)
Ah, that’s better …
Anyway, Zwolinsky writes that there is a libertarian case to be made for cash grants awarded to all Americans regardless of need – with no strings attached.
“Unlike other welfare programs which encourage or require recipients to consume certain specific kinds of good – such as medical care, housing or food – a BIG simply gives people cash, and leaves them free to spend it, or save it, in whatever way they choose,” Zwolinsky writes.
He also correctly points out that while “no libertarian would wish for a BIG as an addition to the currently existing welfare state,” it might be a nice replacement – limiting bureaucracy, paternalism and “rent-seeking” behavior.
Those are all good reasons …
We would add that such a concept fits nicely within the “equality of opportunity” mantra our nation was founded on … a principle that the redistributive and regulatory state has shredded in favor of “equality of outcomes.”
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TBG feels as though he is being stalked by Hormel.
Will, did you really just write this?
the only thing I find more shocking is the current add for a “plus size” dating site on your sidebar.
I’m pretty sure that the advertisements reflect your OWN recent internet search history. Happy searching!
“There’s ads on the sidebar?”
Haven’t the rich suffered enough?
Oh good God, would you people please get a hobby! Switching the flat tire on the left front for the good tire on the right front still leaves you with a flat tire.
The only thing that will work is a no BS overhaul of the IRS = Combination flat tax & national sales tax.
If Trey Gowdy spent just 25% of his time on overhauling the IRS there would not be a need for his most recent tirade against the IRS.
He spends a shit load of time yelling and badgering and little time doing ANYTHING to FIX the problem!!!! And that goes for most of his cohorts as well
But he’s good at yelling and badgering that so why should he go out of his comfort zone????
He’s a damn good prosecuiter. He should have stayed one and not pretend to be a Congressman
You think trying to hold contemptible bureaucrats accountable for their unlawful actions is doing “nothing”? By such logic should we not just fling open the doors of the jails and prisons, is that not doing the same kind of “nothing”? Why do you really think he’s doing “nothing”, is he beating up one of your heroes?
Not a damn one of those IRS types is my hero (as referenced by my opinion for a TOTAL overhaul of the IRS) but I did think it was amusing when a while back when one of them (Lerner – I think) basically gave him the finger and told him to kiss off.
For all his bluster he didn’t do a damn thing but keep up his theatrics and so far that is all he has done.
I might be wrong but I can’t recall one single individual he has jailed since he has been a congressman and been a part of a shit load of hearings.
Sending someone to prision is something Gowdy excels at and as far as I know he hasn’t thrown a single individual in jail (as a congressman) even though he gets a boner just contemplating doing so (as does his TEAParty faithful).
As a rule, these type of “hearings” (be they liberal or conservative based) are good for only one thing = Rallying the base.
Way too much time is spent on theatrics (which some lawyers like Trey Gowdy excel at) and not enough time spent on really solving or fixing a problem. That is why the rating of this congress is so dismal and I count Gowdy as part of the reason why.
It’s not the worst plan i’ve seen
Unlike other welfare programs which encourage or require recipients to consume certain specific kinds of good – such as medical care, housing or food – a BIG simply gives people cash, and leaves them free to spend it, or save it, in whatever way they choose
I’m particularly amused because this site advocates (or, at least it did advocate) applying WIC standards to food stamps. WIC, of course, basically forces the parent(s) to buy stuff for the kids and runs on extremely strict guidelines. SNAP, itself strictly limited to foodstuffs, would be even more regulated than before under this strategy. But we’re hailing a plan that gives money with no restrictions? Okay!
Basic income isn’t necessarily a terrible idea, but the reason welfare is structured the way it is now is to guarantee that the money is spent on necessities, and, to an extent, to guarantee the person(s) covered by welfare are able to receive aid or a service at all. WIC guarantees that a lot of parents -will- have baby formula. SNAP guarantees that a family’s grocery bill -will- be more manageable. Medicaid guarantees that a lot of children -will- be able to see the doctor. Basic income is not a proper replacement for these things.
I think that some view basic income as a way to simply demolish other forms of welfare in favor for sending one check to a family, fight to make it significantly smaller overall than what they were receiving before, and expect that dismally small check to cover everything the old welfare programs did, and then some. What was a guarantee for baby formula, for instance, is now just a chunk of change that can go towards baby formula, -or- food, -or- medical care, but isn’t nearly enough to cover all three. In other words, one giant spending cut at the expense of the impoverished, under the guise of helping them.
But either way, it’ll never pass. Nope. Republicans are already pissed at the 47%, after all, for not paying federal income tax. Now you want to give them free money? How dare you! Sprinkle in some of that good ol’ GOP drug testing of welfare recipients, anecdotes of Cadillac drivers with EBT cards, etc., and you realize just how much this will never happen.
When the same crowd that gets outraged over welfare queens is pushing to turn everyone into a welfare queen, you know its a scam.
First, obviously, if everyone in America is getting the same amount of a handout as someone who is completely disabled, we are spending an order of magnitude more money- or sending the people most in need up the creek.
Then, its not even any more efficient, you still need to go through the steps of figuring out whether this person is actually a person and not the product of someone filling out mickey mouse forms all day.
No, the only reason why conservatives push this is so that it will fail and then they can get rid of welfare altogether.