Lefty Resource Library

Posting articles as I go

Tag: welfare

Great summary of flaws in the way Conservatives have misinterpreted Moynihan (re: universal minimum wage research)

‘Gobry is right that the negative income tax experiments are the best test we have of this policy to date. But “best” does not equal perfect. My concern is that Gobry reads the experiments to be saying more than they are in fact saying, given both flaws and limitations in their methodologies and other conclusions they came to that Gobry failed to mention. Here are a few concerns worth raising.

1. “Worked less” sometimes means “the results were underreported.”

2. “Worked less” does not necessarily mean “dropped out of the labor force forever”

3. “Worked less” sometimes means “got more education”

4. “Worked less” is sometimes a good thing

5. You can only know so much from short experiments

‘So here’s my takeaway: a negative income tax or basic income of sufficient size would, by definition, eliminate poverty. We still don’t know if there’d be much of a cost in terms of people working and earning less. If there is, the effect is almost certainly small enough that a negative income tax can offset the lost earnings and remain affordable. The worst case scenario is that we eliminate poverty but see a modest decline in employment. The best case scenario is we eliminate poverty at even lower cost and don’t see much of an effect on employment. That’s a gamble I’m willing to take.’


A basic history of the US war on welfare

LBJ set up a lot of welfare, but already by Nixon the government and people had turned on it, blaming it for the massive deficits obviously caused by the war effort.


‘Who is dependent on welfare?’

Ananya Roy testing apart ideas about welfare an an amazing video.

‘post welfare generation’ – grew up at a time when the welfare system was systematically dismantled. A time when ‘welfare, rather than poverty, had become the problem to be solved’

Reagan literally invented the concept of the welfare queen

The middle class ‘enjoy a host of hidden government subsidies that bolster opportunity and mobility, but they do not think such subsidies should be available to the poor

‘…the rich have state help, the poor have self help

‘…fretting the welfare dependency of the poor while failing to realise that they are dependent on welfare

‘I live in public housing, because the tax deduction I enjoy on my mortgage is a more substantial handout than any money spent by the US government on what has come to be stereotyped and vilified as public housing’

Corporations are the real welfare queens e.g. wal-mart pays its workers so little that the government has to give them welfare i.e. its business model hinges on leaching from the government.

Poverty is not only economic, but also a poverty of power. Part of this is to be defined as dependent.

Research on the positive effects of the social safety net

‘powerful evidence for a three-pronged counterattack against this conservative narrative, which has come to play a dominant role in Republican politics in the post-Bush/Obama/Tea Party era: 1) The safety net works in the short term, producing measurable improvements in newborn health; 2) it works in the long term, improving health for both men and women, and reducing dependency among women in the next generation; and 3) it works currently in much the same manner as it has worked in the past.  The long-term effects findings are clearly the most remarkable, which is why they’re worth looking into more closely.  But it’s the overall combination of evidence — along with the work of others working on other aspects of the safety net — that provides a robust picture of what the real-world safety net actually does to build better lives, pushing back against the onslaught of right-wing lies.’


Welfare as overall economic good, despite what the right says – a case study on youth in England

Austerity politics potentially crippling a generation economically, creating a bleak-looking future


Living poor

Personal story about the extreme unlikelihood of escaping your situation when you’re poor. Some parts are specific to the US, but many aren’t.
So much worth reading here, e.g. –

‘Nobody gives enough thought to depression. You have to understand that we know that we will never not feel tired. We will never feel hopeful. We will never get a vacation. Ever. We know that the very act of being poor guarantees that we will never not be poor. It doesn’t give us much reason to improve ourselves. We don’t apply for jobs because we know we can’t afford to look nice enough to hold them.

‘”Free” only exists for rich people. It’s great that there’s a bowl of condoms at my school, but most poor people will never set foot on a college campus. We don’t belong there.’

‘I smoke. It’s expensive. It’s also the best option. You see, I am always, always exhausted. It’s a stimulant. When I am too tired to walk one more step, I can smoke and go for another hour. When I am enraged and beaten down and incapable of accomplishing one more thing, I can smoke and I feel a little better, just for a minute. It is the only relaxation I am allowed. It is not a good decision, but it is the only one that I have access to. It is the only thing I have found that keeps me from collapsing or exploding.’

‘I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor, so what does it matter if I don’t pay a thing and a half this week instead of just one thing? It’s not like the sacrifice will result in improved circumstances; the thing holding me back isn’t that I blow five bucks at Wendy’s. It’s that now that I have proven that I am a Poor Person that is all that I am or ever will be. It is not worth it to me to live a bleak life devoid of small pleasures so that one day I can make a single large purchase. I will never have large pleasures to hold on to. There’s a certain pull to live what bits of life you can while there’s money in your pocket, because no matter how responsible you are you will be broke in three days anyway. When you never have enough money it ceases to have meaning.’

‘Poverty is bleak and cuts off your long-term brain. It’s why you see people with four different babydaddies instead of one. You grab a bit of connection wherever you can to survive. You have no idea how strong the pull to feel worthwhile is. It’s more basic than food. You go to these people who make you feel lovely for an hour that one time, and that’s all you get. You’re probably not compatible with them for anything long-term, but right this minute they can make you feel powerful and valuable. It does not matter what will happen in a month. Whatever happens in a month is probably going to be just about as indifferent as whatever happened today or last week. None of it matters. We don’t plan long-term because if we do we’ll just get our hearts broken. It’s best not to hope. You just take what you can get as you spot it.’

etc. etc. I just want to quote it all.


Public housing tenants in New South Wales with spare bedrooms are about to receive a letter in the mail asking them to move, or pay higher rent.

The message is clear – nothing is yours when you are a dirty poor person. Oh, but you still have to be a productive human or you’re even more pathetic than we thought (we all know conditions have nothing to do with optimal functioning)

“In the UK a similar policy has led to chaos. After two months of this policy being introduced, tenants have fallen into arrears, facing eviction.”


Depriving people of human decency by depriving them of citizenship

”I don’t expect the Australian government to pay for us or our children because it is our responsibility, but it’s frustrating considering for five years now we’ve paid taxes, we are contributing to the Australian economy, we’ve bought a house and have remained good, law-abiding people yet we can’t get any form of government assistance whatsoever.”

Permanent residents who can’t get citizenship but have all of its responsibilities and none of its rights or support. Questions of how the state should be treating people.