Monday, September 10, 2012

the simplest way to end poverty


"How much would it take to bring all the officially poor up to the poverty line? Surprisingly little: about 1% of GDP, or not quite 10% of the Census Bureau's estimate of the income of the richest 5%. It's about half the increase in the military budget since 2000. . . . the solution to ending poverty is pretty simple: you give poor people money, preferably taken from rich people."
—Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer #134, 2/17/12

Anyone who inherited anything has no right to complain about giving money to people.

9 comments:

  1. It would be easier and much more effective to remove the word poverty from the English language and replace it with the word wealth.

    You can't end poverty by giving lazy people money any more than you can end stupidity by educating people. You will actually have to stop and think about that last sentence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous, most people who are poor work very hard. Many people who are rich are very lazy.

      Now, if you're suggesting that everyone should be paid the same amount of money for the same number of hours worked, I might by sympathetic to your argument. But personally, I think the people who sweat for long hours at their work deserve more pay than the people in comfortable offices who have nothing worse to fear than paper cuts.

      Delete
    2. I'll agree with the first statement with a modification. most people that are poor work very hard to avoid working. Many people that are rich are very lazy. very true.

      I am not nor would I ever suggest that everyone should be paid the same for the same number of hours worked. number of hours worked is no indication of productivity, worth or talent. If it takes you 40 hours to do what I can do in 8; we should not be paid the same. Equal wages would only encourage me to be less productive.

      Delete
    3. I am suddenly reminded of a remark by Mr. Twain: "His ignorance covered the whole world like a blanket, and there was hardly a hole in it anywhere."

      Delete
    4. Anonymous, do you expect to inherit money?

      Steve, plus one hundred.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous, are you suggesting that we should take the money away from lazy rich people and give it to the working poor? I wish someone would do the math on that; I might be able to support it.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for pointing that site out. Very interesting. The amount needed to raise people out of poverty is even more surprisingly less as Henwood points out that the Census Bureau lumps together incomes over 1 million.
    So, it would take a pretty small increase in taxes to uplift people out of the poverty level.
    Of course, that is a pretty low bar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a very low bar, but it would effectively end economic desperation in the US--especially if you added universal health care and improved our unequal public education system.

      Delete
    2. Universal health care and good equal public education and a decent amount to live on would be a tremendous start.
      Instead, many of those in the upper income reaches seem intent on going in the opposite direction.

      Delete