Ivy Saves the World in Five Steps - a how-to series on the world's big, scary problems, and what I would do to fix them, if I had any power whatsoever and were a motivated individual
Pt. 1 - How to Solve Poverty
Get together an assembly of citizens for a given area - whether it’s a municipality, a State, a Province, a country, or a whole democratic alliance. Then decide among those group members which things that people from said area should have, regardless of their circumstances. Such things might include clothes, and food, and maybe shelter and wifi and healthcare and aspirin. The details are debatable and up to each assembly. Then, based on a majority vote, you tax accordingly and make sure that everyone in said area has said things, regardless of income, age, or ability. This should be done through a governing body, like the Government. And then everyone has the stuff that everyone thinks that everyone needs to live. Done.
Not convinced? Well, then, I’ll continue. Proportional taxes do not punish the rich (in fact, losing 20% of your income sucks a lot more when your income is low), and socialism has never, ever encouraged poverty or ‘laziness’ - in fact, education and health care and the likes are known to increase people’s chances of participating in society. In Canada, we’ve said that everyone deserves health care, but we haven’t followed through - because apparently not everyone deserves nutritious meals, or housing, or dentists, or band-aids, or prescription pharmaceuticals. We assume people will have such things due to theirs jobs, or family, or localized non-profit societies, but that really isn’t enough. If you want health care, the government has to be directly responsible for it - all of it, including supported housing, seeing eye dogs, and Segways, if need be.
If we expect every single person to have a computer or telephone, for example, (and many of our government agencies do expect that), then the government needs to be responsible for making that happen. Otherwise, people will continue to slip through the cracks. Look at the current post-secondary education system - or the fate of anyone with a debilitating illness and no family to care for them - and suddenly our egalitarian society feels a bit more elderly-on-ice-floats-to-die. (On the note of post-secondary education - our government already foots most of the bill (60%?), so the elimination of tuition is actually not a huge percent increase in spending. However, keeping tuition ensures that some people will never have the option of getting a degree, and that others will drown in government-mandated cesspool of student debt.) I’m willing to foot my share of the bill for universal food, water, shelter, health care, education, basic cable, whatever….and if most other people are willing to do the same, then why isn’t it happening already?