The left’s solution to “poverty in America” is to “spread the wealth”.
Paul Ryan put out a proposal yesterday that still gives out free money, but because the money has strings attached to the money, along the lines of performance audits, the left doesn’t like it much.
…..the Opportunity Grant, would give participating states a lump sum of money rather than funding virtually all the current anti-poverty programs. And states would be instructed to hand that money down to community groups that work with poor people, because, as Ryan writes, “They are more effective than distant federal bureaucracies” and have “intimate knowledge of the people they serve—as well as their ability to take the long view.”
The underlying thesis is that those who are closest to actual poor people will be best able to figure out how to help them.
In describing what this would look like, Ryan outlines the minimum requirements:
• A contract outlining specific and measurable benchmarks for success
• A timeline for meeting these benchmarks
• Sanctions for breaking the terms of the contract
• Incentives for exceeding the terms of the contract
• Time limits for remaining on cash assistance
There would be bonuses for people who meet their goals ahead of time, such as finding a job before the time allotted, although the bonus wouldn’t likely come in the form of cash but in something like a savings bond.
Imagine that! Incentives for what you want to happen (good behavior) and disincentives for what you don’t (bad behavior).
No, no, no, say the folks at ThinkProgress. Free stuff must be handed out without reservations to be used in anyway the recipients see fit!
But Ryan fails to take this idea to its end conclusion: that poor people themselves, being the closest to their own situations, are the most knowledgable about what they need to improve their lives. Instead, his proposal calls for low-income people to meet with providers to create a “customized life plan,” a contract that includes goals and benchmarks, as well as penalties for missing any steps.
Because having goals is such a bad thing. You might begin to think you can do stuff all on your own without leftist politicians holding it over your head. Gaia forbid!
While I seriously doubt that Ryan’s plan is the be-all, end-all of the welfare state, it is a damn sight more intelligent than anything the government has done to “alleviate poverty” in nearly 100 years and we as a nation would be better off with it in place.