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December 21, 2012


I do think it's probably the best way to give help to poor people, provided that

1. You structure it so that they don't face the equivalent of a 100% marginal tax if they get a modest pay raise and lose benefits (you need to gradually phase it out at higher incomes).

2. You make sure that when the recipients have drug addiction or mental health issues, they get monitoring and treatment assistance to go with it. Mark Kleiman (a professor at UCLA) has written about how this can work.

I'm not sure about the "basic income" argument, but I do think we ought to make sure nobody is going hungry, homeless, or sick because of money.

I can understand some of the Indiana reforms, like making people do some volunteer work in response to getting welfare money. Done right, it could be like New Deal projects that put people to work doing all manner of stuff.

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