Monday, October 14, 2013

Matt Bruenig on cutting poverty

Matt Bruenig reflects on Sasha Abramsky’s The American Way of Poverty and breaks down the program for reducing poverty to three lines...
Dramatically cutting poverty can be done fairly easily by efficiently altering the income distribution so that the poor get a larger share. If we take the above list, trim down some of the more marginal programs, and collapse all the jobs items into "full employment," we can squeeze a program down to three lines:
  1. Full employment (i.e. getting to NAIRU).
  2. Basic income.
  3. Negative income tax.
These three things alone are capable of doing all of the heavy lifting necessary to greatly slash poverty rates. They may be politically hard to achieve, but it’s best not to confuse political difficulty with policy difficulty. We can, as Abramsky notes, shrink the ranks of the impoverished if we really want to. What’s hard is not how to do it, but how to get people to do it.
We won't inspire people to do it by sending the utterly clueless to talk them into it.

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