This blog has already laid out why it is against the negative income tax. Handing people who up to this point at least haven’t been responsible with their lives in too many cases to the point not they are jobless and on public assistance is not a good idea and a bad taxpayer investment. So I think that would be the bad libertarian alternative to the safety net in America. The bad progressive or even socialist alternative to the safety net in America would be to give everyone a check of lets forty-thousand-dollars a year to pay all of their bills so no one lives in poverty. Which is what is called the minimum income or national basic income.
The problem with monopolies private or public is that they don’t work. Oh you want more than that. Fine I’ll give you more since you asked. But with a monopoly you give an organization private or public the complete market in whatever they are involved in. Which means they are no longer incentivized to improve and give the best service that they can. Why should they unless they are saints or angels, because their customers have no other options to turn to. And why not charge as much as you can get away with, because again what alternatives do your customers have to turn to. And that I think is an issue with the safety net in America, that it is not a total monopoly, but it does take resources that could be used in non-profit private sector.
I don’t like the term welfare state because that implies that the state meaning the government is now responsible for their citizens welfare. No longer just their safety and protecting their freedom, but their welfare as well and responsible in seeing that everyone is taken care of and has enough food, health care, housing and everything else. I like terms like safety net and social insurance. Because these are things that people can turn to when they are in need. When they are out of work or do not make enough money to support themselves, but they are working. And that you can collect from this social insurance to help you survive in the short-term. But you are also getting assistance to get on your feet and become economically independent.
The safety net in America shouldn’t be about government running it or not having government involved at all. We as a country public and private sectors should be involved in it. Government programs helping people in need run at the state and local levels with the Feds serving as a regulator and no longer as a director. While at the same time empowering non-profits and even for-profits who want to get involved in empowering people in poverty live better lives and be able to escape poverty. That we as a country help people in need not just get by, but help them get themselves on their feet. We should look at social insurance the way we look at homeowners insurance. That when you are in trouble you have money in the short-term. But also assistance to help you get back on your feet.
The American safety net should almost be designed the opposite way it was put together in the 1930s. As close to home as possible, the public and private sectors both involved and designed to help people in the short-term, but long-term help people get on their feet. Because we are such vast country with so many people and resources government shouldn’t be so centralized and instead about empowering people an utilizing all of our people from all around the country to help people in need. So they can get by and not longer have to live in need and finally be able to live in freedom.
The American Mind: William Voegeli- Ending The Welfare State