As I said in the introduction, I don't believe that either capitalism or socialism work in a pure form. I think what is needed is a balance between the two. I do not believe in putting ceilings on how high people can climb but I do believe in putting in floors in terms of how far we let people fall.
I believe that the $1,000 / month taxable income plan that I wrote about in October is the best approach. I still haven't figure out how to pay for it all, but I've gotten close enough to know that it's do-able and scrapping a number of targeted programs would pay for a good chunk of it.
This approach is also ultimately less expensive than many social programs in that there is very little bureaucracy involved. There is nothing for people to apply for, no paperwork to fill out and process - a minimum income just shows up like clockwork. So for those people who just need a temporary boost, or even longer term assistance the money will just show up.
This means that there are more social services resources for those people who need additional assistance for whatever reason (special needs kids, people with health issues etc). Social workers would have much lighter case loads and would be able to devote additional time and effort to individual cases. It also means that the working poor and people who experience seasonal unemployment would have a steady (if small) additional source of income.
Another thing that would help pay for this is the economic stimulus provided. In the 80s and early 90s we tried trickle down economics but in the end not much trickled down, the rich got richer, and the poor fell below the poverty line. The reality is that the lower someone's income the more likely they are to go out and spend any additional income. If you give a rich man $1,000 he may save it, or invest it, or buy a bottle of wine. If you give someone with no money $1,000 they will go out in search of food, clothing and shelter - spending all of the money and creating economic activity.
Again for details of how it would work go here.
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