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Guaranteed Minimum Income Essay, Research Paper
Guaranteed minimum income is advocated by some as a solution to the problems of welfare, poverty and homelessness. Others argue that a guaranteed annual income should be a right provided to everyone without strings. Since everyone or at least their parents and grand parents shared in the creation of the wealth of today’s society, they should now receive a share of that wealth.
The guarantee income idea, found ground in the 1960’s, two extremes were opposed. Milton Freidman wrote in “Capitalism and Freedom”, that a negative income tax should be extended to low income families. Unfortunately Friedman’s proposal would have provided only about half the income needed to exceed half the poverty level. Another economist, Robert Theobald proposed a universal guaranteed income that would not be tied to acceptance of work. In the 1960’s Theobald predicted that automation would continue to eliminate jobs and therefor, income should be separated from employment. He was attacked from suggesting a jobless future. (http://coss.net.au/library/cat/2638.html)
Martin Luther King Jr. explained in 1967 why he supported a guaranteed annual income: “ A host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security. The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life and in his won hands, when he has the assurance that his income is stable and certain, and when he knows that he has the means to seek self-improvement.” Nearly thirty years later, this year’s welfare “reform” threatens the guaranteed income for the poor. (http://www.progress.org/dividend/cdking.html)
In 1996, Robert Theobald returned to the subject of a guaranteed income. Theobald believes “people would spend most of their lives on self-development, on relationships, on the arts, on finding purpose and meaning. Sufficient goods would be available and the quality of life would just be better. One would agree with Mr. Theobald when it comes to a guaranteed income. (http://www.indra.com/transform/tlc/rtpage.html)
Another big issue is Universal HealthCare. Over 42 million Americans are uninsured and millions more are at risk of losing their healthcare. The US is the only industrialized nation without a national guarantee of health care for all. The recent World Health Organization report ranked the US Health system 37th in the world based on what experts estimate could be accomplished with the resources available in the country, and only 55th in fairness. (www.u2k.org)
There are children, African Americans, Hispanics and people with disabilities that are disproportionately uninsured. Three out of five seniors do not have prescription drug coverage necessary for basic health and wellness. The solution is a health care system that is accessible to everyone.
An even bigger issue today is Universal childcare. It is imperative that we have a safe and affordable place for our children. In today’s society both parents have to work. We hear about all this welfare reform and getting parents back out on the job force. But what do we do about the cost? Most parents that are on welfare or have been out of the job force for a while cannot afford childcare because of the wages they are being offered. Those parents are forced to stay home and live off the government because they cannot afford childcare. The same could be said for a young mother trying to get ahead, maybe attending school. There are some programs out there now that help low-income parents with the costs of childcare. But who determines what low income is. Tell it to a single mother of 3 attending school and working full time making 13 dollars an hour. After paying all the bills, the rent, the car note not to mention insurance and groceries. How is that mother going to get ahead, especially when the government says she makes too much money and they cannot help unless she cuts back on her hours. Well that opens up a whole new can of worms, cutting back hours will cut the health insurance, now we have day care help but no medical insurance. It is a joke!
How is this society going to better itself when all of the cards are against us. It seems that only the rich will be the doctors and lawyers. Those of us with children that cannot afford daycare or school for that matter will apparently have to remain on welfare. Sometimes it feels like the government is planning all of this. They are trying to keep a certain amount of people from succeeding. After all if everyone gets to go to college, then who will pick the corn and clean the toilets. It won’t be the MBA graduate.
In closure, Universal Health Care, childcare and a guaranteed minimum income would benefit this country immensely. There would be less stress for one more educated people, and when there is more educated people most likely there will be less violence. The world would be a better place, no one would feel less of a person, and it would mean equality. Imagine that? Equality, has a nice ring to it.