At some point in our lives, we fall prey to the notion that poverty is something that people let happen to them, and that it is somehow their fault.
Nobody consciously chooses to suffer, as the choices a perpetually poor individual/family has to make daily is something you wouldn’t want to wish on your worst enemy.
The misery is so bad in many cases that even the most fortunate among us are moved to try and do something about it.
While Larry Polhill spends his days working with various companies in Corporate America, he uses his spare time to give back to the community, volunteering with local non-profits to help alleviate the symptoms of poverty.
As noble as these efforts are, wouldn’t it be great if we could eliminate it, once and for all? Certain memes suggest that it is an intractable problem, as those who suffer from it are naturally lazy people that would just slip back into their nature state, no matter what we do for them.
Empirical evidence suggests that this is incorrect, as various studies and case studies around the world have shown that various anti-poverty initiatives work well to eliminate the malaise that plagues highly unequal societies.
Wondering what we can do to stamp poverty out in the 21st century? These policy planks are the way to go about it…
1) Make all education tuition-free
In a world where the workforce is rapidly automating and being outsourced to low-cost regions and nations, the best opportunities lie with positions that require knowledge beyond what is taught in high school.
However, the cost of education is a massive barrier to entry for all but the smartest of the poor and working class, who qualify for scholarships that pay their way. The rest of are out of luck, having to grind away their life in low-paying, hour-constrained retail jobs.
By making higher education tuition-free, those with the ambition to study can easily pay for the incidentals (books, accommodation, etc) through a part-time job, and will have the chance to earn a degree that will give them a better chance to move up the economic food chain.
2) Grant access to single-payer healthcare for all
One of the biggest sources of economic worry in America these days is the expense of a sudden medical emergency.
A broken arm can clean out the bank account of a poor uninsured person, and saddle them with months of crippling payments.
Cancer either means going bankrupt, or being left to die in pain without treatment that could save one’s life.
With a medicare-for-all scheme, the government bears the cost of providing healthcare through marginally higher taxes. The overall cost would be lower than the private system we have, as individuals would no longer have to make thousands of dollars in health insurance payments per year.
3) Establish an Unconditional Basic Income
Even with these policies already in place in many other Western nations, the ongoing march of automation still threatens the jobs of many working in precarious industries.
When transportation starts becoming automated in earnest, many millions of people will lose their jobs directly, with millions more losing theirs as the spin-off effects radiate out from this massive disruption.
With no obvious industry where all these people can be re-trained, a mounting underclass that cannot find a job despite their best efforts will pose a serious problem for all nations around the world.
We were able to sweep manufacturing losses under the rug, as those left jobless were able to secure lower-paying jobs that kept them afloat. This time, we won’t be so lucky.
To avoid a spike in survival crimes, riots, and other unpleasant side effects, a government allowance known as an Unconditional Basic Income will need to be implemented.
A cash payment of roughly $1000 per month to every adult over the age of 18, it will help cover basic needs such as housing and food, blunting the biggest concerns of the poor.
Funded through the dismantling of redundant programs and through a productivity levy on companies that profit from using automated robots, it will put a floor underneath every American, regardless of status.