RE: capitalist religion

From: Barbara Lamar (
Date: Tue Jul 24 2001 - 14:50:53 MDT

 Brian D Williams wrote:

>>And for the record [guaranteed income] has been tested
>>empirically, it was called welfare, and it created a series of
>>much bigger problems in addition to not solving the one it was
>>created for.

Brian, guaranteed income isn't the same as welfare as we know it in the U.S.
I'm sorry I don't have time to write more about it at the moment. I'll try
to when I have a moment, maybe next week. For now, take a look at

As you'll guess from the excerpt below, it's a negative article. But rather
than conclude, without further thought, that a guaranteed income would never
work, it might be more useful to make an effort to see WHY there would be
problems with it in the present-day U.S. Given the high likelihood that many
people will find themselves without jobs in the near future, it might be
especially helpful to critically consider the idea that most people in our
culture find a purpose in life only from working for wages or a salary, and
that getting a paying job is the only purpose of education.
With respect to families, as a former volunteer for a women's shelter which
provided emergency help for battered women, I find it interesting to note
that families broke up as a result of the guaranteed income. Given the large
number of women and children I've seen trapped in unimaginably horrible
marriages for economic reasons, I'd venture to suggest that the breakup of
families can often be a very good thing.


Excerpt from "Fatherlesness and Poverty go Hand in Hand"

Mr. Chrétien's guaranteed annual income isn't merely a bad idea. It's a bad
idea that has been put to the test -- and flunked. Proponents of the
guaranteed income take pleasure in pointing out that it was devised by
Milton Friedman. What they neglect to add is that it was actually tried by
the Nixon administration in 1969. A large sample of poor working families in
Portland, Ore., were divided into two. Half were provided a guaranteed
income; half were left to use the state's existing social-welfare programs
if they needed and qualified for them. The author of the experiment, Daniel
Patrick Moynihan, then Nixon's favourite domestic policy adviser, admitted
later that he was shocked and horrified by the extent to which the
guaranteed-income families quit working and -- soon after -- broke apart.

Nixon tried to solve the Portland problem by setting the guaranteed income
at a very low rate, so low that work would always be more attractive. But
this solution doomed the program politically: When it finally came to a vote
in Congress in 1971, conservatives voted "nay" because of the Portland
experience and liberals voted "nay" because the post-Portland Family
Assistance Plan (as this family-wrecking plan was euphemistically rebranded)
was too stingy.

What Mr. Chrétien needs to grapple with is that the poverty problem in
Canada is the product of too much government, not too little. Does he really
imagine that if $5-billion a year in handouts has brought only misery to
Canada's native people, that an extra billion or two or five will make
things better? If our economy is failing to create enough well-paying jobs
because business is over-regulated and overtaxed, is it plausible that
regulating and taxing it more severely to pay for a grandiose new welfare
program will produce more good jobs?

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