Like all social experiments, there are a huge number of factors that go into why
the Kenyans chose to spend the money responsibly. This study will need to be be
replicated in MANY different cultures and situations before you could make any
conclusion such as "When you just give poor people money they spend it
responsibly (and not on any addictions)". Interesting idea. But certainly
we shouldn't jump to any conclusions based on one study. Social science
research more than any other type of research needs lots if replication before
you can make any conclusions.
Think maybe we can give cash to all these illegals flooding our southern border
right now and tell them to go home?
I wonder what would happen if the government gave each American $1,000,000 --
tax free -- with the condition that they would no longer receive ANY future
governmental benefit. No Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid -- ever. The
condition would be absolute: If one exhausted all his funds, it would be up to
others to support him (or let him "starve"), but not the government.
Expensive for the government, initially, but cheaper in the long run? Readers: What are your thoughts? Would you have the discipline to safeguard
your windfall? Would you take the $1,000,000 in lieu of future government aid?
When you live on food storage for a whale and run out of stuff, you'll need
to go to the store sometime. When you are trying ti recoup, build up everything
your your out of you need to buy the stuff you need not have someone give you
toilet paper and tooth past.
Mayhem MikeI certainly possess the inner strength to be able to shepherd
such a windfall. Then again, I have the good fortune to have been raised in an
environment that was bountiful, and was able to absorb some solid lessons in the
nature of happiness.However, when all you know is poverty, you are
not schooled in the lessons of delayed gratifications and society demeans you
based on your economic status, then it is easy to see how someone can
"blow" through a financial windfall.As a whole, this nation
has blown its windfall. We founded a country with impressive national resources
and prior to the 1980's a fairly solid middle class population. We learned
a great deal through our Civil War and subsequent global wars. . We learned
the lessons of civil responsibility to one another. Yet we are now fat, stupid
and are blowing through our collective windfallThis is the fault of
politicians and popular culture telling us we can have it all (low taxes and
high benefits). That happiness is a new car, the little blue pill, perfect
bodies and good hair. That jingoism is a political platform.
These people are wise enough to know that if they spend the money how the giver
wants them to, they are then more likely to keep getting more. Not rocket
science to realize that. A quote from the article:"There
is this growing realization that being poor is really stressful."Wow!
Talk about discovering the obvious. It shouldn't have taken a study to
figure out. Pretty much everyone else already knows this. It's just common
sense.Eventually, the givers of this cash will discover something
else quite obvious... that most recipients will develop an "easy-come,
easy-go" attitude. It's human nature that what you don't earn, you
don't appreciate as much. It's been that way since the beginning of
time.An additional old saying is also applicable in this situation.
"It's better to teach a person to fish than to give them one. Giving
one will feed them once. Teaching to fish will feed them for a lifetime."This money would be more wisely used in teaching these people how to
make their own money and subsist on their own. Otherwise they will become
forever dependent on handouts.
MAYHEM MIKE - about 2002-03 Bush gave everyone $1,000 in a refund. The idea is
people would put it in the bank and save it, gaining interest and helping to
stimulate the economy. But it majorly backfired. Literally over 95% spent it as
fast as they got it. They bought unnecessary things TV;s, Stereo's etc.
When it was all gone, we had people wondering if he would do it again. Living In
an area that is predominantly on Government assistance (California) They would
sell their mother if it meant getting something for nothing. It is all about
that "next score" So I believe that if given more money they would do
the same but then start devising ways to get more. I has witnessed this time and
time again. So nice idea? but been there.
To SCFan-- You want the illegals to leave? Stop paying them. That means no
more lawn services, building, certainly you must stop buying fruits and
vegetables. No jobs, no money, no one looking to better themselves and their
families. Why do you think the illegal population dropped these past few years?
Because of the media and government pressure? Hah, no, economic recession. So
I challenge you to figure out how to not pay these people.. You see even
farmers agree that we need people for certain types of jobs. How about you look
at solutions (green cards) that allow people to come here for work and then go
home as needed?
NEECE - The government never gives money with the intent that people will save
it. The economy is never stimulated by people saving money, only by spending it.
Jobs are only created when people buy things, be it goods or services. But what Mayhem Mike is asking if we ought to give people a one-time lump sum
amount, the acceptance of which would exempt the recipient from any future
government assistance. It's an interesting question for sure. Were we to
try that, I think we'd see a large amount of people who blew through all of
it incredibly fast; some who would save it and stretch it out over several
years; and some who would actually take that money and grow it into something
more, actually putting more money back into the economy.
There are many groups of people in this country who have received a ton of free
money, and are still in poverty.
A negative income tax (cash) instead of social programs, was a good idea from
the Nixon administration and it is a good idea now.
I served my mission in Africa and this study doesn't surprise me. That
being said, unfortunately, I would bet results would be different here in the
states. We are too entitled. I'd like to see the study done here.
@dalefarr: We have a negative income tax--it's called the Earned Income Tax
Credit. Conservative pundits regularly insist that it should be done away with.
Just like the EPA, the Endangered Species Act, and other parts of Nixon's
We can's compare the economy of the United States and these African nations
and what would happen to the money. The money the Africans get us under strict
banking controls where banks cannot charge fees and costs to the people who get
it. A line of credit in Africa is regulated without credit bureaus reports.In the USA we do give them the same cash but it is not documented,
regulated, under fake ID and address and names into banks. Then we offer so many
entiltments the cost of such a program sets the welfare illegals in upper class
freebies. We give the Mexican illegal cash for gas, food, rent, business, booze,
cigarettes, guns, so what else anyone expect us to provide they don't
already get? The difference in the African system it is done openly and audited
while in the US its covert and undocumented handouts where records are not
kept.We even deposit funds in mexican banks for mexican families who
receive welfare from Utah and are citizens of mexico. Welfare is unrestricted
use cash funds not limited to food or user ID or country of residence.
I have to laugh about the idea that poor people do not know how to "delay
gratification" having no experience with it. Being poor means EVERYTHING
involving money is delayed gratification. No one is better at this than poor
people because that is all that is available! Add in the idea that for many
there is no change in that status in the foreseeable future and yes poor people
not only know how to delay gratification but to forget about it entirely. Being poor does not equal being an addict either. So many stereotypes that
pervade our thinking that just are not true for most poor people. If I were
given money in cash I would fix my leaking roof, get a washer and dryer and fix
the hole in the floor in my bathroom. Those are my delayed gratifications today.
I think most poor people would do similarly.
Yes, Worf, and some of them are in prison for non-violent offenses, at the tune
of $80K a year. The poor need to be lifted, not punished. A good place to
start would be to start thanking the working poor for all the nasty jobs they
Some people use money, whether earned or freely given to them, responsibly and
effectively. Others do not. No surprises here at all.The real
question I think is not whether everyone will squander money that is given to
them. Rather, the crucial question is how do we produce enough economic vigor
to have the money to give away in the first place.There are plenty
of people in our country who would be recipients of this kind of unconditional
"charity" but who would benefit far more from and prefer a job through
which they would **earn** their income. However, the constraining effects of,
among other things, overreaching governmental intrusions into the economy
continue to hold the it back and prevent it from producing the necessary
jobs.Allowing a freer economy will always help more people more
fully than any program of hand outs.Though still far from abundant,
the incredible improvements in the lives of billions of people during the last
few decades of increased economic freedoms in places like China, India and many
other nations, has demonstrated this effect very obviously.
Imagine, giving money to people who don't have any, so they can invest in
their own education and get better jobs. What an idea. My Republican friends
won't like it.
We have data for a similar experiment in the United States.Cash is
given to people in the form of EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards,
basically credit cards paid for by taxpayers that took the place of food stamp
coupons, and SSI "disability payments".Just like your credit
card statement shows where your charges came from, that data is available for
EBT cards. What does it show? Some people actually use it for
legitimate purposes. But, a huge percentage use the cards for illegal purposes,
launder the money through fake stores, spend it at bars and strip clubs and
convert it to illegal drug payments.Maybe this is a cultural thing,
that works in Kenya, but it is an extremely flawed program in the United States.
If you and I were giving directly, we could stop giving money to
those who abuse our generosity. But, since it is controlled by government
bureaucrats the doling out of money to the criminals and unworthy continues
unabated, and without the slightest attempt to stop the fraud.Some
deserving people need help, others steal help shamelessly.
If poor people are given more money, it is easier for landlords to raise rent. I
as a taxpayer want to help out the working poor and those who can't work. I
feel better giving the poor food stamps, not money. Then I feel assured that
they and their children will at least not go hungry.As far as I am
concerned helping the working poor and the disabled is one of the best places
for my tax dollars to go. [It certainly beats sending our troups to war all the
time in wars we ought not get involved in].
A good point that China has uplifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. How
did they do that? They did it by allowing property rights so you could own and
operate your own company in other words capitalism and free enterprise normally
anathema to communists, but it worked for them as it has in the past for us.
High taxes, bureaucratic nonsense such as we have, and excess social spending
has restrained our economy.
Article title: "‘What if we just gave poor people cash?"What do you mean, "if"?That's virtually what we do
now.Is having someone else fill out your paperwork and waiting a
week for the check to be mailed too difficult for many of those on welfare?
The results of this study don't surprise me in the least. This is a private
charity, it is money that is raised voluntarily from those who choose to give
and given to those in need who are grateful for it. That is charity and it
blesses both the giver and the receiver. Things are different though
when it is run by the government where the money is not given voluntarily, it is
taken. And while most who need temporary help do greatly appreciate it, the
longer you receive the help the more you feel entitled to it.
But if you just give poor people cash, where are Public Servants'(TM)
opportunities for graft?No, far better to Administer Programs for
The Poor(TM). That way, you not only help the poor, but you create a vast,
loyal caste of administrators who will finance your campaigns. Win-win!