If you’re poor and hungry, you can apply for food stamps—though the program probably won’t be enough to get you through the month. If you’re poor and sick, there’s always Medicaid—unless you live in the wrong state. For the working poor, raising the minimum wage or the Earned Income Tax Credit might help a little bit; but the unemployed are still out of luck, especially if unemployment insurance payments drop.
Continue reading.All of the programs mentioned above do something to help lower-income Americans, but they’re all selectively targeted. None of them directly addresses the one affliction universal to all low-income Americans: they’re poor. Nor do any of the above policies take the most obvious route towards mitigating that affliction: direct, unconditional cash transfers. But it turns out that the simplest way to make people less poor might be giving them more money.