Friday, January 16, 2009

War on Poverty

From an article The Myth of "Failed" Policies by Robert Higgs at

"It would take little more than $50 billion to raise every poor person above the official poverty line, yet the percentage of the population classified as poor hardly budges, while annual welfare spending amounts to four times that much. Where's the money going? "

Based on a Wikipedia article the budget in 2008 for Unemployment/Welfare/Other mandatory spending was $324 billion (+1.8%). With roughly 300 million people in US, that works out to about $1000 per person. If we then figure that only 1/3 of the people pay taxes (children, retired-covered under social security), could we just give $3000 a year or $250 a month per taxpayer via the IRS tax rebate stuff and fire the entire Welfare department?

The thought with making the payment not depend on your income, then people wouldn't be faced with the choice of, if I earn another $1,000, I'm going to lose some amount in welfare. It seems like some of the time people will choose to be lazy and not lose some freebie. If we remove that, perhaps they work more.

In any case, it was just an interesting thought. Besides, the idea of gutting an entire federal agency just really appeals.

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