For almost all of American history, hard work and opportunity melded to create individual and national growth. Hardships occurred and were weathered through perseverance and local charity. It was not until the 1930’s, when an expansion of federal aid programs (under the New Deal), began a federal assistance network. These program had some positive impact, but also expanded the scope of federal authority and increased individual reliance on government. However, the New Deal did not end the Great Depression by any means. The rapid war production needed for World War Two and the resulting jobs created, put an end to the economic suffering in America. Again, it was hard work and opportunities, not a handout that showcased America’s resilience and might. In the 1960’s, federal welfare programs expanded yet again with profoundly negative changes.
Universal Basic Income is being proposed again and this time the concept looks to gain traction through policy. Another government aid program recently popularized by failed Democratic Presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, U.B.I. is a guaranteed monthly income sent to (citizens?) and would address what liberals see as economic inequality and widespread poverty.
Yang’s plan was for up to $12,000 annually per adult and his proposal has strongly influenced more recent plans. Under a Biden plan, a guaranteed payment would be sent to families with children only with per child payments of approximately $300 monthly. A similar plan by Senator Mitt Romney would be up to $350 monthly. Both plans have income caps and payment levels based upon the age of the children. All of this is in addition to the trillions already budgeted for welfare programs nationally.
Plan summaries sourced from the Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/universal-basic-income-could-be-coming-for-kids-11613574528?mod=e2twe&mod=djemCapitalJournalDaybreak
Plans to provide Universal Basic Income tout trials in European Countries and some states, but avoid the hard questions:
-How will these programs, if passed, be paid for?
-Will this encourage a new welfare baby boom, wherein parents have more children, to collect increased payments?
-Will this program disincentivize employment and further strain national child care shortages?
Clearly, an increased dependency on the federal government for economic support will occur. Social Security started as a safety net and has morphed into the sole retirement income for many Americans while simultaneously collected by the uber-rich. Recent stimulus (covid) programs have helped millions of Americans in dire circumstances while also indirectly breaking down the handout stigma that so many American’s have avoided at all costs.
Do we really want most American families to rely on a federal check as a monthly source of income or should such programs be limited in scope and duration, if created at all?