The US and its puritanical roots is the basis for many of its problems and racism. The idea that some people might get one dollar more than they deserve according to Jesus Christ is enough to make some people cut off their own nose to spite their face.
I’m using that grotesque cliche, because it so accurately explains the US.
In countries where the population is more monolithic and less attached to the most heinous interpretation of the bible in the developed world their social services are universal.
There is this idea that other people aren’t evil leeches trying to squeeze an extra dollar out of their fellow human for sheer entertainment value.
There is a belief that making sure we have a society where people aren’t afraid all the time is a better society. A society where people aren’t living on the street, hungry and unable to go the dentist is a bare minimum that a civilized society can provide.
The affordable healthcare act is great, but single payer would have been better.
In the US we have a means based safety net. It’s problematic for many reasons. I’ll use the reasons from the Beveridge Report it was written by Sir William Beveridge in the 1940s and its mantra was to abolish want.
According to that report a means based safety net is problematic, because:
1. It has a stigma: It is for poor people only, so everyone knows you’re poor if you’re using it and in the US that’s a very bad thing to be.
2. Lacks broad political support: since everyone isn’t getting the same amount of help it can be used as a political bargaining chip
3. Access: It’s amazingly hard to access. By the time you get it you’re very far down the economic rabbit hole
4. High administrative costs
5. Poverty trap: It’s so hard to get and to keep instead of encouraging those to look for work it discourages it, since the wages are so low in the US that work would mean an even worse quality of life, you’re essentially trapped owing to lack of choices.
And now we have corporations involved in poverty means based safety nets i.e. building houses, under-funding outsourced formerly government services at nonprofits and administering health care costs. They are jacking up rents, adding administrative costs and keeping communities poor, so they can make more money and take the money that is supposed to be going to poor people and funneling it to themselves.
Means based has been a mess in the US and it really took off owing to the War on Poverty. The War on Poverty essentially outsourced America's safety net.
What we need is a universal support program. This is what they have in Scandinavian countries.
We need family leave, universal childcare for ALL incomes levels, a single payer national health system, a national housing service for ALL income levels and free higher education for everyone.
The market has shown itself to be a barbarian. The people must civilize our society against the beast of the market.
And maybe that’s not even good enough. Maybe we should take the creativity and energy that we have applied to technology and be creative with our economic policy.
The means based welfare state has failed for 50 years. We’re going to need more than just universal programs.
We need a pro-mobility program.
In the CBC article“1970s' Manitoba poverty experiment called a success”stated from 1974-1978, 30% of the people in Dauphin, Canada were provided a guaranteed income called a “Mincome.”
Evelyn Forget, a health economist at the University of Manitoba findings found that school completion rates went up, hospitalization for mental health issues went down significantly and of course there was no poverty.
Imagine a society where we didn’t have to worry about being homeless. That’s how far we have fallen in the US. We’re not wondering if we’ll have enough for vacation, we’re wondering if we’ll have enough to not live on the streets.
The pendulum has swung too far the other way.
I’m waiting for the party of the people the Democrats to come up with some solutions to our economy beyond job training. We’re all trained now and ready to work, still no jobs and low pay for those of us who have jobs.