Bring Back the WPA

Bill Neinast

“‘Want to get rid of poverty, lessen inequality, and provide financial stability in a world precarious work?’ asked Elizabeva Fouksman in  Why not just give everyone enough money to live on?  That’s the idea behind universal basic income-UBI for short.  There’s no ‘bulky bureaucracy,’ paperwork, or ‘onerous reporting requirements.’ It gives people more choices than traditional anti-poverty programs, and ends up costing ‘far less than you think.’  The ‘no strings-attached payments’  idea has been ‘gaining traction,’ said  John Byrne in the Chicago Tribune.  Last week outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel  announced a task force to study whether no-strings cash grants can work in the nation’s third-biggest city.  One proposal for a pilot project would start with $500 a month for 1,000 families.  The ultimate hope is a program that’s not just for the ultra poor but also a way to cushion the loss of many higher-paying jobs to automation and offshoring.” (The Week, 9/28/18, p.36)

Any summarization of this quote would weaken the warning imbedded in it.  This is what Democrats envision for our future.

It is one more step in their march toward socialism/communism and their desire to control and redistribute the wealth of the country.

If they had any knowledge of history, they have forgotten or misinterpreted it.

Take, for instance, the current history of Venezuela, one of the wealthiest nations in natural resources.  Under its version of socialism, Venezuelans are literally starving and leaving their homeland by the thousands.

And where is the Soviet Union, the darling of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, today?  Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union have abandoned that wonderful sounding “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” slogan for old fashioned capitalism of letting workers keep what they earn.

This unique concept of self-sufficiency has even transformed that huge land mass called China.  The ruling class there is still the Communist Party, but the current leaders are smart enough to recognize that, if the country is to survive, it must operate on capitalist principles. Free enterprise has been unleashed.

Closer to home, the Cuban experiment with socialism/communism appears to be following the Chinese lead.

So why are the Democrats in Stockton, California,  and Chicago so adamant in tagging along with Marx and Lenin with this universal basic income program?

Stockton was once known as America's foreclosure capital and had to file for bankruptcy. Now, however, it will  become the first in the country to participate in a test of UBI. Stockton will give 100 residents $500 a month for 18 months, no strings attached.

Who will provide this income?  In Stockton, the initial phase is reportedly being paid for with  anonymous million dollar donations from a few of the super rich in nearby Silicon Valley.

The article in The Week from which the opening quote was taken did not include a source of money for the Chicago UBI experiment.  Presumably it will come out of the city’s already strapped treasury.

Not to worry, though, the pipe feeding the treasury will just be increased in size by raising the property tax, sales tax, and income tax on those who choose to work for a living.

Moreover, UBI is guaranteed to work because it is based on the pattern of the Great Society.  Under that dream of the Lyndon Johnson Democrats, the poor would be lifted up with  “welfare” dollars from Uncle Sam’s deep pockets.

Just look how that has worked.  Now we have single Moms who are the “breadwinners” by having more babies to bring in more welfare checks, Medicaid, etc.  And do not overlook the hordes of homeless men and women living on and under the streets who would rather live that way than work for their needs.

So here’s the perspective.

A lot of heads are now shaking in disbelief.  They are thinking, “How can one be so hard hearted?  How can he ignore the poor, down, and out?”

Actually, I want to help the down and out in a meaningful way.  Consolidate all existing welfare programs into a single work for pay program.  All abled bodied men and women claiming they need aid would be provided a government  job with a life supporting wage.

This would be a recreation of the depression era  Works Progress Administration (WPA).  National Parks  and military installations could be improved and maintained, low cost housing could be built, the crumbling transportation infrastructure could be refurbished, and hundreds of other public works projects could be dreamed up. 

If no program of this type was available locally for one in need, he, she, or the family would be moved at government expense to an area where work was available.

All on the program would qualify for Medicaid.

The only ones who could qualify for government welfare under this program would be the truly disabled, physically or mentally.

Imagine a society in which all children grow up in families where the parents work for their income.  With such models, would they grow up willing to work?

Let’s try it.  



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