Sunday, 21 May 2017

Freeing the poor from the anxiety of poverty

"In a nation so contorted at times by its Calvinistic impulses, public assistance has come to be seen not as a hand-up to struggling families but as a paternalistic mechanism for “takers” and “abusers” that contributes to so-called cycles of poverty," writes Kevin Clarke at US Catholic.

"Increasingly even modest assistance to the poor has been challenged—healthcare, for example, is seen not as a human right but as a market commodity deliverable not on the primacy of need but the ability to pay," he says.

"What if the problem of how public assistance is offered is not that it promotes dependency but that it is so parsimonious—and provided with so many confusing strings attached—that it merely maintains the misery? What if public aid could be truly liberating instead of incapacitating?" Clarke asks.

"It is hard to imagine a program of poverty mitigation that is as well directed toward those ends than a basic income. It frees the poor not only from need but also the gnawing, exhausting anxiety of poverty and the tyranny of a perplexing social apparatus that has been constructed around poverty alleviation," Clarke concludes.


Can a basic income liberate the poor? (US Catholic)

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