Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Thinking About Tomorrow: Guaranteed Minimum Income vs. Right to a Job

In Economic Planning, Economics, Full Employment, History and Politics, Inequality, Liberalism, Living Wage, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Welfare State on October 25, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Introduction:

The Realignment Project often focuses on the furthest reaches of public policy – the big picture, the long term, the very edge of the Overton window – because these are the places where the true character of any political movement is manifest. Paul Ryan’s now-infamous roadmap is important, not because it’s a “serious” attempt by a conservative to honestly grapple with the reality of the Federal budget (it’s not), but because it reveals what conservatives actually care about – privatizing Social Security and Medicare, lowering taxes for the wealthy and spending on everyone else – and what they don’t care about, namely balancing the budget or reducing deficits. For all the protests to the contrary, these long-range visions reveal us for who we are, or at least who we’d like to be.

If the American left produced a report that got the same kind of attention – it would reveal a curious division of sentiment between two of its most cherished dreams of the future, namely the dream of a guaranteed minimum income, and the dream of a right to a job.

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21st Century Social Minimum

In Budget Politics, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, Full Employment, History and Politics, Inequality, Liberalism, Living Wage, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Social Democracy, Social Security, Welfare State on October 21, 2010 at 1:00 am

Introduction:

There is something fundamentally schizophrenic about the way that conservatives claiming that poverty doesn’t matter because of material advances in standard of living, and then attack the poor for owning luxuries like cellphones. After all, cellphones are as much a sign of material progress as refrigerators, washing machines, or indoor toilets.

However, when debating with conservatives, it never really helps to focus on contradiction or empirical refutation – that a single parent with one child living on $40 a day in Los Angeles isn’t materially secure when the EPI estimates that a basic family budget in LA runs at $113 a day. The real point is this – social standards of what it’s necessary to live like a civilized person change with time, and the poor change with it.

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