Tag Archives | social safety net

The Forgotten History Of A Canadian Town’s Experiment With Guaranteed Income

A town in Canada tried the simplest method to end the ills associated with poverty: give everyone a minimum sum of money. Via the Dominion:

Try to imagine a town where the government paid each of the residents a living income, regardless of who they were and what they did. For a four-year period in the ’70s, the poorest families in Dauphin, Manitoba, were granted a guaranteed minimum income by the federal and provincial governments.

Until now little has been known about what unfolded over those years in the small rural town, since the government locked away the data that had been collected and prevented it from being analyzed.

But after a five year struggle, Evelyn Forget, a professor of health sciences at the University of Manitoba, secured access to those boxes in 2009. Forget has begun to piece together the story by using the census, health records, and the testimony of the program’s participants.

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What Would A World Without Work Be Like?

What comes next? Via the Guardian, Nina Power argues that work is becoming obsolete:

As with all major institutional entities – law, prison, education – to question work is to tamper with reality itself. As with law, prison and education, it is almost always “never a good time” to talk about reform, or the abolition of existing structures.

But as wages bear less and less relation to the cost of living, it seems as good a time as any to ask if the underlying fantasy is that employers will one day be able to pay their workers nothing at all, because all those issues like housing, food, clothing, childcare will somehow be dealt with in another, mysterious, way.

Against the backdrop of rising inflation, increasing job insecurity, geographically asymmetrical unemployment, attacks on the working and non-working populations, and cuts to benefits – a debate about what work is and what it means has been taking place.

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The Myth Of Government Dependence

PolicyShop on the largely nonexistent scourge of able-bodied but lazy masses who mooch off of hardworking taxpayers:

The Great Recession has led to falling labor force participation and soaring social spending, particularly for food stamps and unemployment benefits. Never mind the economic causes of these trends; the United States, the right argues, has been drifting toward a country where a dwindling band of “makers” support a growing army of “takers,” with the most successful and hardest working people — wealthy job creators — paying much of the tab to subsidize a nation of freeloaders.

Now, the right’s Freeloader Nation critique has moved to the center of Mitt Romney’s campaign…in selecting Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney has chosen one of Congress’s most vociferous critics of the safety net.

Start with the big picture: Only a tiny sliver of overall government assistance — less than 10 percent — goes to non-working adults in their prime years, and much of that is in the form of emergency assistance to people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

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