Another cog in the wheel known as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to combat the Extreme Left-Wing Media.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

NYC to pay for good behavior?

New York City's Nanny (oops, Mayor) Michael Bloomberg is starting a program to supposedly address the poverty problem by paying people to perform various behaviors.
NEW YORK (AP) - Poor residents will be rewarded for good behavior - like $300 for doing well on school tests, $150 for holding a job and $200 for visiting the doctor - under an experimental anti-poverty program that city officials detailed Monday.

The rewards have been used in other countries, including Brazil and Mexico, and have drawn widespread praise for changing behavior among the poor. Mayor Michael Bloomberg traveled to Mexico this spring to study the healthy lifestyle payments, also known as conditional cash transfers.
I was initially vehemently opposed to this goofy idea for several reasons. They partially addressed one concern by by raising private funds for the pilot program rather than using money confiscated from people already making good life decisions.

I have to question my opposition further because of the arguments made by someone else opposed to the idea.
But some critics have raised questions about cash reward programs, saying they promote the misguided idea that poor people could be successful if they just made better choices.

"It just reinforces the impression that if everybody would just work hard enough and change their personal behavior we could solve poverty in this country, and that's not reflected in the facts," said Margy Waller, co-founder of Inclusion, a research and policy group in Washington. Waller, who served as a domestic policy adviser in the Clinton administration, said it would be more effective to focus on labor issues, such as making sure wage laws are enforced and improving benefits for working people.
Actually, Margy it is not a misguided idea that people can be more successful if they make better decisions. In fact, most human failure can be traced to lousy decisions. Noted economist Walter Williams has correctly identified four things (apologies to Williams if I don't quote him properly) that people can do to stay out of poverty.
1. Finish high school
2. Get and hold a job before getting married
3. Get married before having children
4. Don't abuse drugs or alcohol

I'm still opposed to Bloomberg's idea, but Ms. Waller's argument against it almost changed my mind. Main opposition is because of cost and an understanding of how hard it is to kill a government program once it is implemented. The pilot program may be privately funded, but that only covers a tiny portion of New York's poor. I have no doubt that after they game the system to ensure they get the desired results they will expand it to cover a lot more and will start using tax dollars to fully implement it. Beyond that, there will always be people poorer than others. We will just redefine poverty to a different level.

Separately, keep this idea (as well as his edict banning transfats, and his order that all NYC cabs must be hybrids) when Nanny Bloomberg makes an expected run for the presidency as an independent.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

GHWB is bloomberg giving you Perot flashbacks from 1992?

12:23 PM

Blogger Ben said...

good to see you back, Bill!

10:22 PM

Anonymous george herbert walker bush said...

He will hurt the Dems if he runs. I look at 2006 as the moderate exodus from the republican party. These people tend to swing elections, because they generally are only concerned with a few currently dominant issues-presently the war in Iraq obviously & illegal immigration (less publicizied but still pertinent)- The dems made a mistake by not opposing the war funding and again appear either unable to govern or sinister by trying to run as anti-war again in '08. They squandered the rocketfuel that let them sweep the legislative branch.
Bloomberg will appeal to these voters, which would have casted a vote for the dem under other circumstances. Obama would minimize this effect HRC would exarcerbate it. I still think a fiscal conservative anti-war candidate (Hagel although bilbo hates him) from the R's would be the strongest candidate currently, but he has to be smarter than the nincompoop I fathered.

I wish Barbara would just admit to screwing the mailman so I don't have to accept responsibilty for this fartknocker

6:44 AM

Anonymous george herbert walker bush said...

Oh and I think Romney and Rudy will get skewered by each other if the primary is close, and will get mauled in the genereal, they ae both bad press magnets. Romney will appear as an intellectual carpetbagger, and rudy has done and said some really weird things that will be manipulated in the general. McCain has the same shot as Ron Paul.

If I was still in the party I would be doing all I could to get Hagel up and going, he is a decorated war vet pro-life (i think), and opposed to ridiculous government spending-plus his positions have been far more consistent so he engenders trust, something that romney does not do.

as much as I bash my son and this asinine war and its conduct, I prefer a realist with a brain over somebody who tries to tell everybody, "don't worry the govt will do it for you" which seems to be a big thread from the dems. Unfortunatley if a pro-war candidate runs I have to vote against them. The best thing the Rs can do is play up that war funding bill, dump all blame on BUsh CO, wash hands of his ilk and get back to the hallmarks of republican party. Sober judgement, support free markets and lower taxes. This cultural morass has been a boondoggle for the party and has alienated many who long for leadership from elected officials. As the dems have been correlated with feckless leadership, we have become synonymous with militant evangelicals-to our peril if you ask me.

6:54 AM

Anonymous george herbert walker bush said...

hey william, why do you never engage in discussions in your comments section?

6:29 AM

Blogger LargeBill said...


I respond occasionally when there is something to refute or expound upon, further clarify, etc.

However, I don't feel compelled to respond when someone is pretending to be a historical figure and saying stuff about his son being the result of an affair with the mailman.

Bottom line, if you want to be taken seriously then be serious. You may have some political analysis to be considered, but it gets lost in the childish comments.

6:12 AM

Anonymous Prescott Bush said...

I will make sure he behaves, sorry

6:20 PM

Blogger LargeBill said...

Okay, now that is funny.

6:51 PM


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