Wait, What Web?
Part of the problem with policy changes are the winners and losers. When everybody works, society benefits. People work and while society is still paying for these folks, we are getting something in return. It has intangible benefits as well. If nothing else, it makes working people feel a bit better about working, it helps morale. It has economic implications as well and most businesses won’t like it. They will fight any change of this nature. Why? I’m glad you asked.
Think about it, they lose the gravy train. If you eliminate food stamps, Walmart, and a host of other stores (including local farmers’ markets) will lose a revenue stream. It is a very large revenue stream. Think about Section 8 housing, those landlords will fight any change to the current “solution” tooth and nail. It will damage their rent revenue (and alter the housing market). This is why it is so difficult to achieve change. Elected officials needed to affect change are extorted by the companies (and people) who benefit from these failed policies. The good of the many be damned, they must get reelected and to get reelected, a politician needs donors. To get donors, they need to keep policies intact. It is a vicious circle (term limits are not the solution – I’ll get to that).
How come nobody says (or does) anything? We have “pundits” on both sides, but keep in mind how these pundits flourish, divisiveness. If we try not to fight each other, we may actually solve some problems. This would kill their business model. If we agree to work together, we destroy (or at least damage) their livelihood. It is true for both sides of the aisle. Anyone presenting a new idea is ridiculed by both sides as naïve or ignorant. Any attempt at a solution or cohesiveness is an attack on the divide and conquer strategy. In this case, it’s a simple argument, you are trying to malign the poor. I want to take away their last thread of dignity. The attacking catchphrases are too easy, and a dime a dozen.
If the policy suggestion appears to be gaining followers attack it and if this is unsuccessful, attack the individual(s) suggesting it. Drag them through the dirt, or worse. Call them names, disparage their character, exploit decades old behavior and if necessary bend the truth to make them seem foolish or morally bankrupt; the goal is to make anyone think twice before ever speaking about “that” policy again. It is an old playbook, but still effective. Why put yourself in a position to get called – pick a derogative term – in an effort to facilitate change for people that can’t be bothered; and it’s not just you, but your family and associates.
Policy is supposed to benefit the whole, not some of its parts. In the long run, good policy helps everyone, but it would change the playing field. Change bad, money good is the unspoken rally cry. Unless you are paying the bill. Unfortunately, this bill keeps getting worse. Universal basic income (UBI) is coming. More benefits (e.g. Obama phone), more money, better housing should all be considered since the disparity between rich and poor grows each day. The problem is the working stiff is paying a disproportionate share.
These four seats, I’ll call it the Board (get it….2 seats on each side 2×4…a board….never mind), must come together and get folks elected in an effort to fix some of these failed policies. It is not only at a federal level but at state and local levels as well. If a state wanted to, it could change the entire entitlement landscape. It would take some innovation and a host of champions (a couple of money backers to help with legal fees would be helpful), but I argue you could substantively improve the system without spending any additional money. I am baffled by constituencies who want more government programs, they must desire more bureaucracy. The policy goal should be to have fewer government program and less bureaucracy. You can call me a Libertarian but I would not agree. I think we need government programs (at the very least to manage the people who refuse to act in a civilized manner). We need rule of law, but that law should not be ambiguous or overtly complicated. The government must have civilian oversight, it needs parents as it continues to act in a childlike manner.
Next up … an example