The New Democrat Online

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Brookings Institution: Up Front: Melissa S. Kearney & Benjamin Harris: Fighting Poverty Should be a National Priority

Clinton Initiative on Poverty

Brookings Institution: Up Front: Melissa S. Kearney & Benjamin Harris: Fighting Poverty Needs to be a National Policy Priority

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

This blog covers and writes about poverty a lot as it should. But writing about something a lot can make it difficult to put things in a new an interesting way and makes it difficult to sound repetitive and boring. So this post will be different in the sense and look at poverty simply and purely as an public investment pure and simple. "We as taxpayers give people who aren't able to make it on their own in life this amount money and this is what we expect in return from the money that we give you". Instead of looking at public assistance almost entirely from a public charity perspective.

The question for me at least as a New Democrat and Liberal is not whether or not we should have public assistance in America. But what is it for and what we should get in return. Yes what we should get in return that public assistance is a hand up and not a handout. Again "we give you money to help you sustain yourself in the short-term and this is what we expect you to do while you are getting our money". That is where the hand up and public investment function kicks in. The money people on public assistance yes receive money to survive in the short-term, but they are also getting help improving themselves as people.

Preparing themselves to not only reenter or enter the workforce, but reenter or enter the workforce with the skills needed to get themselves a good job. Which is what Welfare to Work from 1996 was about at least from the Clinton Administration and other New Democrats. "You get help to pay your immediate bills and cost of living with a wide variety of assistance. But what you do in return is finish your education and making sure your kids are not only in school, but getting a good education as well. So you get the skills you need to get yourself a good job and so do your kids if you have any".

If we simply look at public assistance from the perspective of public investment and investing in human capital included in that immediate cost of living instead of looking at simply, or mostly as public charity then public assistance would be popular in America. Because hardworking Americans who perhaps struggle just to pay their bills, but who are not poor would support these policies. Because they would not only see them as public investments in their fellow Americans, but the country as a whole.