Top Ten Ways to End Poverty in the U.S.

The Top Ten
1 Enact a Federal Job Guarantee

The best way to escape from poverty is to have a decent job that pays you a livable wage. No amount of welfare or social services can compare to this. To help combat unemployment, many have proposed a federal job guarantee. Under this type of program, the federal government would be the employer of last resort. If one is unemployed and wants a job, but nobody in the private sector will hire them, then that person can apply to work for the federal government. Basically, employment would become a right. Almost everyone who is willing to work can work. Franklin Roosevelt proposed adopting a second Bill of Rights, and one of those rights was a right to employment. Also, many economists believe that if we enact a program similar to this, wages in the private sector will rise. The theory goes that if the federal government pays it's employees a better wage than the private sector, then the private sector will have to compete to continue to gain workers. One of the ways they would have to compete is to raise wages. So, basically, we would possibly see the effects of raising the minimum wage without actually raising the minimum wage.

2 Enact A Universal Basic Income

A universal basic income is basically a floor on the minimum amount of earnings a human being can make. Let's say we have a basic income of 12k. Everyone would receive a 12k check from the government. Many support this system because, one, it is less intrusive in people's lives and shrinks the power of the federal government. Two, everyone would receive a raise, which could act as a stimulus to the economy. Three, and most importantly, this system would encourage work, which the current welfare system does not. The current system strips one of their benefits when the begin working, but this system would actually increase their earnings if they work. The main problem is the cost. It would cost around 3 trillion a year to provide every adult with a basic income. Because of this, some have proposed taxes such as a Land Value Tax, which I am in favor of, which could raise that amount of revenue. Others have instead supported a universal guaranteed income, which is similar to a basic income, except that only people making less than the floor get any money. Everyone else would be unaffected. This would be much cheaper, but also much more complicated. It's a simple case of trade-offs.

3 Abolish the Minimum Wage

This is controversial, I know. It is my opinion that if we abolish the minimum wage for the private sector, this will lead to more employmemt, which will lead to less poverty. Wouldn't this allow employers to exploit their employees? Yes, but not if we either increase the ease of unionizing in the workplace, or enacting a federal job guaruntee. This will prevent the exploitation of the employees. A couple countries never enacted a minimum wage and still have small amounts of poverty because of mass unionization. This would be a much better system than the one that we currently have.

4 Increase Accessibility to Education

It's no secret that the education system is heavily flawed in the US. It's also no secret that there are many differing solutions to fix the education system. You might be on the side of increasing funding for public schools and colleges in order to provide free access to all. You might be on the side that we need to increase private school vouchers and weaken teacher's unions in order to bring back prosperity. You might be in the middle. But we can all agree that there is a fundamental problem, and that fixing the problem will lead to increased opportunity for all.

5 Fix The Justice System

The majority of people that are jailed are those with low-incomes. I think that we are all in agreement that anyone who creates a serious crime should be punished. But the main problem with the current justice system is that punishment is all that we care about. We should be trying to help those who are released integrate back into society, but instead these people are shunned and usually cannot find a job inn order to provide for themselves or their family. Justice reform could help squash poverty very effectively.

6 Increase Access to Healthcare

Again, I know we are all polarized on the issue of healthcare, but we can all agree that our current healthcare system is disastrous. The people who are hurt the most by lack of healthcare affordability is the poor. By increasing access to affordable healthcare, this would prevent thousands of people from going into poverty each year.

7 Cut Taxes

Payroll taxes disproportionately affect the poor and middle class, while high earners spend a small fraction of their income on these taxes. By repealing payroll taxes, and all other forms of regressive taxation, this will help low income earners have larger disposable incomes and can also lead to an economic stimulus as well.

8 Enact Paid Leave Laws

My mandating that employers must provide workers with paid paternity and sick leave, this will help prevent people from losing their pay and also possibly lead to a healthier and happier population.

9 Shorten the Working Week

Many economists believe that the current maximum working week of 30 hours should be reduced. This would lead to higher productivity, which would lead to a better economy and more job opportunities for those that are in poverty. It would also lead to a much less stressed population, and would allow people to spend more time with their families.

10 Encourage Private Charity

We should do more to encourage people to donate to charities that help people who are below the poverty level. While this alone probably can't end poverty, it is a fundamental step that is very important.

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