Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Welfare State

A Serious Policy Analysis of House of Cards’ “America Works” Program

I am a huge fan of Netflix’s House of Cards, which stars Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, a ruthless political anti-hero. Here’s the trailer, if you haven’t seen it. It’s really good:

I launched into the 3rd season yesterday and was fascinated by Underwood’s “America Works” proposal. Very minor spoilers here–Underwood plans to eliminate or restructure America’s entitlement programs, using the money saved to create 10 million jobs, which will apparently cost $500 billion. Now, this is a television show. There are no CBO reports to look at, no detailed policy analyses or public policy research, but I want to dig into this and take the opportunity to explore some of the issues with entitlement programs.

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Why the Selma Movie is Terrible

The movie Selma has achieved near universal critical acclaim. It has a score of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 100% among top critics.  It’s been nominated for 2 Academy Awards, and many people think it should have been nominated for even more. This is a problem, because Selma has a fatal flaw–it lies to us about how our political system works. Read the rest of this entry »

Universal Basic Income: Free Money

Today I had a lecture that introduced an interesting idea, one I think worth sharing and discussing–universal basic income (hereafter referred to as UBI). UBI is a radical alternative to the present welfare system existent in most western countries. In most societies, welfare is conditional on a demonstration of effort to gain employment–it has a work requirement. UBI proposes that the work requirement be scrapped and that welfare be provided to all citizens irrespective of need so that everyone has a sufficient standard of living such that employment becomes a life choice rather than a life requirement.

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Why the Welfare State?

There’s a set of institutions that most western countries have that we collectively call “the welfare state” and, in the drive to shrink budget deficits, it has come under attack. But why do we have a welfare state in the first place? What is its function, and what are we putting at risk when we cut funding for it? That is today’s point of inquiry.

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