Poor residents will be rewarded for good behavior - like $300 for doing well on school tests, $150 for holding a job and $200 for visiting the doctor - under an experimental anti-poverty program that city officials detailed Monday.
It’s not really a new concept. Everyday millions of people go to work and hold a job for a financial incentive… called a paycheck!
As long as the program is supported by private funds, I’m cool with it. Especially given the reasons to support such a program.
The theory behind cash rewards is that poor people are trapped in a cycle of repeated setbacks that keep them from climbing out of poverty. A person who doesn’t keep up with his vaccinations and doctor’s visits, for example, may get sick more often and struggle to stay employed.
Seems to make sense. And besides, free money to poor people for doing the basic tasks most people already do sounds like something Democrats would be lining up to support, right?
But some critics have raised questions about cash reward programs, saying they promote the misguided idea that poor people could be successful if they just made better choices.
The criticism is probably driven from the fact that Bloomberg isn’t dipping into the public till for this one:
In New York, the two-year pilot program with about 14,000 participants will use private funds Bloomberg has raised because he did not want to spend government money on something that is highly experimental. More than $43 million has been raised toward the $53 million goal, Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs said.
I mean, what good is a social program, designed to redistribute wealth, if it’s not built upon compulsory confiscation of income from the rest of the population that works hard and engages in good behavior, simply because it’s the right thing to do?