I think it’s time to bring back two old programs started under The New Deal: with the Civilian Conservation Corp and the Works Progress Administration
The benefit was that people that were unemployed were given meaningful work to do. That way they weren’t just on the dole and doing nothing. I have four main suggestions.
1) Get people to do work improving infrastructure, cleaning up cities and towns, and building public amenities, like they used to do in the 30s and 40s.
2) Remove the marriage penalty for getting welfare, to discourage the decline of nuclear families on benefits. In some states, marriage means you get fewer or no benefits, making parents more likely to split up or not live together.
3) Remove the welfare cliff so people on benefits don’t get punished for working as you earn more money. Instead of dropping off welfare completely and suffering a net loss for working, have the benefits gradually step down so you are encouraged to work and actually able to build up a savings.
4) Eliminate the ability to use food stamps for pop, fast food, and unhealthy snacks that are bad for developing brains. Fucking duh.
The real question is something along the lines of: “why do the wealthy political elites allow the status quo to continue?”
The answer is because they can pat themselves on the back and say, “Look at all the programs we’ve created for the poor! We’re doing something!” In reality, the poor are ghettoized and cordoned off from middle and upper class society so that the rest of us don’t have to face what their lives are like.
Then the welfare system keeps those on benefits dependent and desperate, so it is a virtual guarantee that they will always vote (if they do vote) in favor of the politicians that promise to keep the benefits flowing. It’s learned dependency because you aren’t able to get a good job and keep your benefits and you aren’t able to build up a savings or ever have enough money to buy your own home. You have to keep your benefits to survive, so you’ll toe the line and keep voting for those who are not a direct threat to your survival, even though these same people offer you no hope for advancement or chance to move up in society.
The rich get richer. It’s the law of the land.