We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Of course giving people money ends poverty, technically. (In the US, poverty stats ignore the value government benefits. Poverty stats also ignore those with voluntarily low reported incomes: clergy, grad students, hippies, criminals, the early-retired, budding entrepreneurs, aspiring actors, etc etc).
People ought to make life choices designed to meet their goals. To put it another way, in the absence of mental illness or mental incapacity, we should respectfully assume that adults' choices are guided by their goals. In America, part of poverty is electing not to do the things that prevent poverty. The best way not to be poor is to be married before having kids. Statistically, single motherhood is the best path to poverty and dysfunctionality.
I’m sympathetic to what you’re saying but understand the argument that a more general allowance would have advantages. For better or worse, we’ve already made the decision that support (SNAP, AFDC, Medicaid, Section 8 housing, jobs programs, etc) will be provided to a variety of people without requiring a judgment that the person is deserving of assistance. It’s unlikely those programs could be terminated wholesale without replacement. The existing crazy quilt of aid programs is known to create its own perverse incentives such as fatherless households and roadblocks to employment due to benefit loss, and generates a constituency of bureaucrats with incentives to keep them cumbersome. A more general assistance program like a guaranteed income or expanded EIC would, at least in theory, be less costly to administer, provide recipients the opportunity to learn responsible spending by not micromanaging expenditures, and could provide a path to exiting without abrupt benefit losses. Changing the paradigm would support resistance to additional targeted programs. Eliminating Section 8 alone would remove a huge lever the federal government has been using to encroach on individual property rights and local control of municipalities.
And Democrats will never end the current system because no only do they get to tell the poor how they will live their lives, but the middle men - the parasites really who live off poverty - are Democrat voters. You can just look at the organizations that lobby for their interests.
The Finns are considering experimenting with a second-cousin to this idea, in the hopes of simplifying and reducing overall welfare costs.
Assistant Village Idiot
Should work as planned. A lot of people will choose to become leeches and vote for the left. It will work as planned until we run out of other people's money. IMHO I think we already have. Our current recession/depression which shows no signs of ending, the incredible increase in borrowing, the printing press money and interest rates around zero percent are essentially caused by the policies of the left. But like hard drug users all we care about is the next fix and we will steal and kill to get it.
IMHO the real victims are not the taxpayers but the kids. While many single mothers (plenty NOT by choice) valiantly work and sacrifice their own dreams , putting their kids first, and raising stable, productive kids, it is still better for kids to grow up (gasp) in a home with a married mother and father. All kids, male or female, regardless of whether they will ultimately discover themselves to be straight or gay, benefit from parenting by the two genders, because regardless of PC propaganda, we ARE very different, with different strengths and weaknesses at different stages of a child's development. I was a better parent when our kids were squalling infants. My spouse frankly coped better with sullen teen aughters who thought there mom was an idiot. My point is, marriage is about the benefit of the children, psychologically, morally, educationally, not simply about economics. I know a commenter here who turned out brilliant and moral without a father in a home. But their childhood wd have been better w one.
So far as money. section 8 is to some extent all about enriching sleazy landlords. I believe it has served to push rents upwards because landlords can now charge low income people more money because they have a subisidy. This hurts ALL renters.
Also, the European child assistance programs were originally devised to promote a higher rate amongst the dominant ethnic native born population (i.e. French). It didn't work for its intended purpose tho immigrants took full advantage of it. I saw this, growing up in Europe.
The best thing for families would be trashing PC propaganda about all family structures are good (they aren't) and creating jobs for young people. In particular we need apprenticeship programs and trade schools for people who are not college material so they don't get into debt studying useless stuff they have no aptitude for then drop out unable to support a family. Also, we should not be afraid to say that it is better for kids to have moms at home when they are infants and young kids. Who, me, opinionated? Loose the hounds...
"The best way not to be poor is to be married before having kids."
Or not to have kids at all. Which is helped by programs that make it cheap not to have or to delay having kids, i.e. birth control and abortion. Unless you phrase it "the best way not to be poor with kids is to be married before having kids," which is not true for everyone nor an option for everyone, or if it simply means "the best way not to be poor with kids is to tap into a working male's income for support," which may be true, but not necessarily advisable if the point is to stop being poor yourself.