Open thread October 20, 2015 Dan Crawford | October 20, 2015 7:25 am Tags: open thread Comments (4) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Re: The Myth of Welfare’s Corrupting Influence on the Poor
By EDUARDO PORTEROCT. 20, 2015
There is a simple experiment.
This reminds me of Vladamir Putin saying there are two experiments: East Germany and West Germany/North Korea and South Korea.
Pre-welfare and post-welfare US. Didn’t you know? I didn’t really know until this month when I read:
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, Sep 1, 2015, by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer
There is no more welfare in America. No cash welfare anyway — or virtually none — not since Bill Clinton ended “welfare as we know it” which meant a two year life time cut-off — no matter what. In Chicago such cashless, homeless families are even limited to 90 days in one of the three family shelters and then can go sleep under bridges.
In spite of no cash (okay food stamps, some of which are [most?] often traded at 50 cents on the dollar for clothes or soap, etc. money — Section 8 housing; are you a fool?, how many years will it be before they open up the rolls again in Chicago so you can wait more years) …
… where was I? Oh; in spite of NO CASH welfare for almost 20 years now (it took a few years to dump most off) 100,000 out of my guesstimate (???) 200,000 Chicago gang-age males are in drug dealing street gangs. Seems the generation-after-generation-after-generation welfare stereotype wasn’t the right explanation for ghettos.
Instead of going directly to my usual missing (American born) niche in the labor market (which now includes taxi drivers and family raising-age supermarket workers) — why the market doesn’t clear — what to do POLITICALLY for the literally starving families that abound? It is a political will problem.
After reading the book I thought I had a great (magical) bureaucratic/POLITICAL trick that could turn the cashless thing right on its head. Most of the (LITERALLY) starving people in the book (representing tens of thousands or millions, more likely the latter) are children. I knew that states still provided (not badly, not lavishly) for foster children. I got the idea that if starving families could take in each others children, then, the states would be forced to follow the rules and support them (averages about $400 a month) — and then relent an support the cashless children.
I looked up the rules only to be disappointed that foster homes have to prove they can support themselves of course: catch 22 for my “slick trick.” Ditto self support for adoptive homes too. There is no way to use current rules to trick the state into feeding children from literally CASHLESS (the core focus of the book) families.
Somebody needs to cook up a demonstration equating in the public mind the equality before the law of foster children and cashless family children. Maybe every mid-month in every state hungry families could show up at local city halls to say they’ve run out of food and everything else. I don’t know right off the bat.
I’m working up a concept to take all the umph out of the unregulated market fetish: the concept recognizes that which particular way markets are structured (e.g., union/non-union) can be just a zero-sum game — as far as overall output results. And that is even assuming that a more equitably power-balanced market is not for NON-MATHEMATICAL reasons actually much more productive.
Leaving us perfectly free to structure markets with the greatest good for the greatest number in mind.
For instance, in a union free market the prices of final goods are lower, therefore leaving consumers more money to buy other goods. In a high union density (or a high co-op, that is employee owned) market consumers will buy less but employees will buy more. Same overall output. Not scientifically well stated but you get the overall idea.
I would plead that the more prices are set on the maximum the consumer is willing to pay labor — and less on the Iron Law of labor — the more equitably production will be shared around. It is more like consumer preferences v. consumer preferences doing the market clearing.
Of course, in the real world if you squeeze too much income to the top, then, you will IMMEDIATELY (as opposed to the LONG RUN; we’ll get to that) slow down the economy unless the most of the beneficiaries of the squeezing have the propensity to spend of Larry Ellison. Sort of like QE doesn’t work well if the banks don’t lend all that liquidity the Fed is forcing down their throats.
The long run is the real story — even if more equal distribution meant less efficiency; if not a zero-sum game.
Just as import substitution, etc. by underdeveloped economies would lower world output on ONE DAY — but — AFTER a couple of decades of hiding behind tarrifs, etc. the now more productive economy will raise overall world output …
… even if more equal distribution made our domestic economy less productive on ONE DAY — after a couple of decades of better education, better food, better lives for the previously poorly paid employees the economy will be more productive overall (but it really is a zero-sum game) — and life will be better all around (e.g., much more crime free).
That’s what I’m working up.
An open letter to Stephen Harper’s disappointed voters:
Dear Conservative Canadians,
I realize you must be pretty upset about the recent elections. Not only did Harper fail to win re-election, the massive victory by Trudeau’s Liberals means he doesn’t even need to form a minority government. So maybe you’re feeling like you don’t recognize your own country any more, it’s something I can relate to; I felt pretty much the same way after W got re-elected in 2004.
But maybe there is a solution. If you’re sick of the way your fellow Canadians have apparently rejected Harper’s pitiful xenophobia, his attempts to limit climate science etc. there is a home for you here in Texas. If you liked Stephen Harper you’ll love our new Governor Greg Abbott! We also have a US Senator you’ll probably enjoy, Ted Cruz who was actually born in Canada!
If you can fix it with the Canadian Immigration folks we’d love to just move up there and swap houses and passports with you. We’ve got a lovely place in a bedroom suburb of rapidly growing (Some might say exploding!) Austin TX, called Bastrop. Only 25 minutes to downtown as the realtors say and only 15 minutes from the airport! It’s just full of paranoid conspiracy freaks, and as an added bonus you can buy all the guns you want without those pesky Mounties asking a lot of bothersome questions and forms to fill out.
Our travels to your wonderful country have us often wondering at all the things Canadians have gotten right. Cost effective reliable health care, a well regulated banking system that is one of the safest in the world, a general tendency to avoid pointless military engagements veering toward empire, a general reluctance to involve the state in women’s health care, and certainly not least a reasonable approach to firearm regulation that apparently limit the kind of carnage we are living with on a regular basis (that nasty business last year at Parliament Hill notwithstanding). The list does go on and on as they say… We wish we could still believe in the viability of our country to address any of these chronic bipartisan problems but alas it just doesn’t look likely at least within our remaining lifespans.
So what about it? Air Canada even has a direct flight from Toronto every day. We will seriously consider any reasonable approach to our mutual frustrations. Yours,
P.S. FWIW I was rooting for your Blue Jays to beat the Rangers last week. As I mentioned to many Toronto fans, I cannot support any team that had George W Bush working for them. Of course now that they are trying to beat my KC Royals all bets are off. Go Royals!