By giving each individual a certain amount of money each year, all other welfare programs could be eliminated and any uncertainties about the necessary amount of yearly spending could be taken out of the equation. Additionally, the system is praised for its promotion of social and individual responsibility by forcing those who would otherwise wholly rely on welfare to find additional income or face the consequences, while also making those who may not usually concern themselves with the poor far more aware of the poverty around them. However, the system is not all positive.
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One major issue is that of funding as, in order to provide each person with an amount that can feasibly offset living expenses, the amount needed may well exceed the amount that can be transferred from the discontinued welfare programs. If this is the case a rise in taxes or inflation could be close at hand.
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Let it be clear that I have full faith that individuals would be willing to assist those around them to a certain degree, but if we transitioned from our current system to the UBI, there would still be a large number of people that would need additional assistance and it is likely that the amount of help provided by the rest of society would not be enough to offset that disparity, leading to worse poverty. Herein lies my own personal confusion. In a country that prides itself on problem solving and choice, a country in which people crave access to hundreds of different models of cell phones even though they all do the same thing, why are we limiting ourselves to two models of welfare?
Why are there more options for breakfast cereal than there are for helping the less fortunate and strengthening the economy? In response to this question, the popular thought is to begin to combine the two ideas. Perhaps we could scale back our welfare programs and implement a small yearly stipend that is given to every American. While this may or may not be a better system than the one we already have, I believe we need to think outside the box we have created for ourselves. Perhaps it lies in increased technical training or new types of mandatory education.
Maybe it consists of new redistributive taxes or no taxes at all. Instead, it is time for America to get creative again and begin to explore alternative ways to solve the problems with the safety net system that we have muddled through for some time. We live in an era where we can make milk out of every nut imaginable! There are many states that over time have come to rely much more on federal social benefits, and yet are sending to Congress people who want to scale back these same policies.
Kentucky is a state that epitomizes that. By , that was up to 23 percent. As recently as the s, Kentucky was sending mostly moderate Democrats to Congress.
These included some who were known for really steering progressive legislation through Congress. By the early s, Kentucky was sending moderate Republicans to Congress. And then by the mids, the Republicans from Kentucky became more and more conservative, and in time the state was sending members of the Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus—people who are trying to introduce work requirements in food stamps and that kind of thing.
And the former are less likely to be supportive of expanded social provisions.
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What type of program, then, is best to promote? AARP does this for retired people who are using social security and Medicare. Labor unions did that for a large portion of the American public in the middle of 20th century—about one in four Americans belonged to them. But now labor union membership is greatly reduced, to less than half of what it once was.
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And so people are much less likely to have those experiences. There is a great irony that conservatives, starting in the s, began to really campaign against government, particularly against social policies. All of these decades have passed in the meanwhile, and they only succeeded in really decimating one policy Aid to Families with Dependent Children, which became Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Ultimately, I think democracy itself is endangered by these anti-government views.
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