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The Science of Poverty

July 24th, 2014 - 5:31 am

POVERTY

Longtime “Universal Basic Income” supporter (and self-avowed right-winger) Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has changed his mind about the UBI. Because science:

It just so happens that the UBI is one of the very few, if not the only, domains of social science policy where we have exactly that: extensive, long-term, repeated RFTs, which are the gold standard of evidence in social science.

As RFT expert Jim Manzi writes, these experiments “tested a wide variety of program variants among the urban and rural poor, in better and worse macroeconomic periods, and in geographies from New Jersey to Seattle”; more than 30 experiments were done in the U.S. from the ’60s to the ’90s and there was another set of experiments done in Canada in the ’90s. The universal basic income is one of the few areas of social policy where we can say with some confidence “Science says…”

And science says the UBI doesn’t work.

As Manzi writes, one of the few consistent findings across all these experiments is simply this: The only type of welfare policy that reliably gets people who can work into work is a welfare policy with work requirements.

The best anti-poverty program is an unbridled and growing economy, where everyone who wants to work, can find work.

And the ones who don’t want to work? I find it hard to get excited over any potential program to lavish them with my tax dollars.

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All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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The best motivator for work is hunger. Fat, lazy people on welfare don't want to work and will not. Take away their free food and lodging, and they start working right away. The trick is to remove illegal aliens from the workforce so all our welfare cheats can get a job and keep from starving.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Paying people to breathe has never worked out well.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lack of money is a symptom, not a cause, of poverty. Expecting UBI to cure poverty is akin to expecting Tylenol to cure your flu.

What UBI *can* do, is eliminate the distortions caused by political considerations. It allows the recipients to spend their money on the things they want/need instead of what politicians and bureaucrats think they should want/need.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anytime you're getting a product or service for free, *you* are what's being sold. Even more
so for our "welfare" and other government freebie programs - they're only there to enrich government workers and government unions (and the occasional government approved IT or Telecom vendor) at your expense.

That goes double for you, Mzz Fluke.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
In the guaranteed-income example provided by Manzi , a person who earns $2000 will only get to keep $1000 of it. That is, the poorest people are effectively put in a 50% marginal income tax bracket. And we're told this doesn't work out well.

This is not serious. Try putting the poorest people is a zero (or close) percent bracket to see if guaranteed-income is a good idea or not.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
"And the ones who don’t want to work? I find it hard to get excited over any potential program to lavish them with my tax dollars."

But they're not your tax dollars, they're the government's tax dollars. So not only do you hate the poor, you also hate your government. Fie! and Shame! ;^)
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Didn't someone in American History once famously say "Those that work eat. Those that don't..."

Sounds like a workable policy.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Longtime “Universal Basic Income” supporter (and self-avowed right-winger) Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has changed his mind about the UBI"

First of all, "poverty" is not an absolute. It's relative. Virtually everyone who's poor today (and not a drug addict and/or mentally ill) has indoor plumbing and a cell phone. You know what doesn't exist (at least at Louis XIV's time) at Versailles? Toilets. Who's poorer, someone in a humble apartment with running water and a flush toilet or a king who has holes in the ground? And has to rely on messengers and can't watch a moon landing?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, I do not have a cellphone. I also cannot watch a moon landing, because we no longer go to the moon.

And does that king have a harem? And long massages? Someone to prepare him feasts? And a palace like Versailles? Beautiful art all around him? True, he has to use a privy, but there is an upside.

Yeah, poor is relative, but poverty is pretty much an absolute. You either have enough to eat or you don't. I grew up in poverty, and am poor, now. I know the difference.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, but if you get bored you can always invade England, Spain, Belgium (and who doesn't like invading Belgium? Not this guy.) Germany, etc, etc, etc. And then you can drop a deuce over there.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
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