Posted by Joseph Semuta on 4/2/2020
The massive unemployment numbers released today clearly illustrates the need for government intervention in the economy moving forward. We already know Congress is aware, but the argument will evolve as we move forward as to exactly what the government is supposed to do. There are hardcore libertarians out there who are not enthused about government bailing business out for any reason. Technically, it's part of the risk of opening up a business they believe. Remember when we did our reading objectives into fiscal policy, government can try to stimulate either demand side (Keynesian) or supply side (Trickle down). The mechanism they choose should be reflective of how they are trying to stimulate the economy.
Is it fair to really call what the government is doing a "stimulus". I mean, we don't actually want to increase spending becasue the likely means reducing social distancing. No, we need government to pay the bills for those who have been forced out of work...that includes small business...for the duration of this mess. That's really the only way we can make it.
Thoughts? Am I over-reacting?
This post is about more though. During normal times, America has been know to shame people for receiving welfare. However, the federal government is massive and everybody on every level of society receives free or reduced prices for goods or services...the definition of welfare. Check out the two articles in the Social Redistribution readings section to get a feel how the government supports different levels of society in different ways and how we tend to shame the poor for receiving aid, but not others.
My favorite elements of Everyone is Still on Welfare have to do with how we provide money back to upper classes via taxes which hides the fact that they received a reduced burden. We just saw it with the Trump tax cuts in 2017, yet most do not care that the government decided to redistrbute cash at much greater levels to the upper class than to lower classes. It just doesn't cause the uproar that social welfare does; Perhaps it is because the wealthy control the media and do not want to push the story. Who knows why, but it's a very real phenomenon.
Another element of the article that I appreciated is the idea that we shame people for receiving food stamps, but the other beneficiaries of that policy choice make out like bandits because of the program. Selling more food means more people working all throughout the supply chain for the store. It means more profits for the store. It means a greater demand for jobs. Yet, we frame it as theft be a class of people with no real benefit, and that is wrong.
I am not saying that you should support food assistance programs, I am saying that if you believe that these welfare programs are bad then you should also judge all the other welfare recipients that same way.
The Washington Post article How the Poor Pay More describes the difficulties of urban poverty and the difficulties and importance of choices. We know that choices have consequences. Sometimes however, the choices are out of your hands and that is when the difficulty arises. You know, the structural deficiences of some places. Parts of this article remind me of when I lived outside of Pittsburrgh and had to take my clothes to a laundry mat. Make no mistake about it, laundry mats are otherwordly at times. There are characters upon characters and drama and insanity!!!! You get waaaaaaaay more done at home when you can wash and dry your laundry in your basement. Imagine trying to study in a laundrymat. It can be done, but it is clearly harder to get stuff done in a quality fashion inside a laundry mat, not to mention the limited worhtwhile activites one can complete in a laundrymat.
What are your thoughts on these articles? They both ususally generate wonderful discussion. I would love for that to happen here.