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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Overheard on a bus: What we need in this country

Man: "What we need is affordable housing; really, truly affordable housing."

Woman: "What we need in this country is a guaranteed income. If people want to make more, they can. But a guaranteed income, where there's no need to fight for scraps."

2 Comments:

  • Milton Friedman, a big champion of free markets, deregulation, etc. actually championed something like the woman's idea as a replacement for various jump-through-hoops social services.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_income_tax

    The closest we've come to this in the US is the EITC, which seems to have worked well.

    The key virtue of a NIT is that it provides a smooth transition from "completely supported by the government" to "fully supporting oneself", with money earned always increasing one's net income.

    This has been a bit on my mind, lately. I have a couple of friends and friends-of-friends who have moderate or severe disabilities, and they're stymied by the fact that if a job they can do will pay more than the maximum allowed but less than the value of social security benefits they receive, they have to pass on it.

    By Anonymous Eric the .5b, at 12/30/2010 4:56 PM  

  • People are crazy. I think the welfare system and massive extensions to unemployment assistance have made it pretty obvious that a guaranteed income doesn't motivate people to do anything other than sit at home and watch TV.

    By Blogger zulugrid, at 12/30/2010 6:31 PM  

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