The New Democrat Online

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Brookings Institution: Video: An Enduring Social Safety Net: How to Have a Strong Safety Net in Times of Deficit Reduction



In times of deficit reduction its easy to cut the areas of the Federal budget where most Americans don't depend on. Benefits that don't directly effect them at least in the short term and this goes to the area of anti poverty programs. That effect roughly 1/5 Americans, as well as tax credits for middle class workers where most of the country does benefit from. But actual programs like Welfare Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, Food Assistance. Public Housing and so fourth really only benefits people who don't have a big say and power play in Washington. To speak up for them and a lobbying effort to see that their benefits are protected unlike corporations and labor unions to use as examples. So these programs are easy to cut because whose going to stop Congress and the President from doing that. And even though just cutting them to save money may save money in the short term. It costs us more long term because now we have people who've lost their benefits that they have to have to survive. And become desperate and do things they wouldn't normally do.

Myself as a Liberal I want the safety net to work better and be more cost effective. That is people who are on public assistance, don't stay on it as long as do not collect as many. Benefits and are paying more into the system instead because now they are working instead. With a good job because while they were on public assistance they were improving and educating. Themselves so they have the skills to get a good job and not have to depend on public assistance in order to meet ends meet. That the safety net becomes a way for people to build their lives up and improve themselves, not just there to collect public assistance checks. Which means investing more up front or investing differently which would save the country a lot more money down the run. Then simply cutting peoples public assistance checks or kicking them off of programs.

I would go further then that actually and change the way the Federal Government operates in the area of social insurance. And simply get the Feds out of the business when it comes to social insurance and not have them run a national system. But instead treat social insurance like it treats public education where the states and locals. Would have the main responsibility when it comes to running these programs but with basic national standards in place. To see that these programs remain in place and are serving the people who need them. Which would save the Feds somewhere in the neighborhood of one trillion dollars a year. And the Feds could just concentrate on doing the things that we need it do to. National security, law enforcement, justice system, foreign policy, regulation and the currency. And providing resources to states and locals who come up short financially and we could not only save a lot of money. But make these programs work a lot better for the people who need them.

There are ways to cut the debt and deficit just to cut it and make it look like you are saving money. At least in the short term and then there are ways to cut the debt and deficit that actually solves the problems. Both short and long term and a lot of times you can cut your debt and deficit by simply making programs work better with the resources that it has. And decentralizing how they are run which is my approach.