Social Welfare Programs and The Culture of Dependency II
David W. Brown, Amanda E. Kowalski, Ithai Z. Lurie present evidence of long term beneficial effects of Medicaid available in childhood. They consider the expansion of Medicaid and note that increased availability of Medicaid to children is correlated with higher earnings as adults. They note that this means that the Federal Government recouped part of the cost of the Medicaid.
Via Margot Sanger-Katz via Paul Krugman (so I guess my linking adds little).
They can identify the effect because Medicaid expanded at different times in different states. This strategy is the same as that in the study of the long term effects of food stamps.
The empirical result is the same too and it is the opposite of the social safety net is a hammock hypothesis that social welfare spending creates dependency and leads to a culture of poverty. This is another study providing convincing evidence that social welfare spending helps break the cycle of poverty.
Making sure your “safety net” people are healthy and secure increases social welfare. Making sure they are suffering may increase your personal feeling of superiority, but the net effect is deleterious to society. People who are comfortable enough to take risks without fear of dying of starvation means that there will be more entrepreneurship in a society with good social safety nets. Children who are well taken care of and well nourished are more likely to be net contributors in the future because they will be more educated and probably more “intelligent” and more integrated into the social fabric.
The unChristian amongst us thrive on Scrooge-like sentiments, but Scrooge was wrong, and so are they.
Not to mention that when you live in a society do you really want a bunch of people with contagious diseases not getting proper medical attention? Given the frothing over a couple of case of Ebola in this country, do we really want a situation where a highly contagious and deadly virus goes untreated in 20% of the population? I am not a big religion guy but is it Calvinism or one of the other Protestant religions which suggest that if you are not constantly working you are doing the devil’s tasks? Personally, while I enjoy a movie, book, sporting event,or game with friends or family as much as the next guy, if I was not ‘working” I would be very depressed. I really wonder why some people think indolence is a good thing.
I’m not sure what your point is. The problem is that “working” from a psychological sense, is not the same as “being employed” in an economic sense.
Now I’m a long time supporter of a basic income (which I prefer to call a “national dividend”), so I’m a little biased on this issue. I’m like Stephen Gordon of Worthwhile Canadian Initiative – I think the best anti-poverty program is to give money to poor people.
When we have an economy that is improving and the number of people that’s listed as living in poverty has increased by almost ten million over the past year. I find it hard to believe that indolence is the cause.
The only people who have gained ground in the past 35 years is the top 10%, while the middle class has been decimated.
I would suggest their is a serious problem with our union.