Happy Thankindians, Grateful Not to be so Poor to Lose Respect
|November 27, 2013||Posted by Staff under Subsidies & Waste & Public Debt, Thanksgiving|
This excerpt of European Politics and Policy within the London School of Economics, Nov 15, is by Christian Albrekt Larsen.
Negative portrayals of welfare recipients in the UK press are in contrast to the positive stories which dominate Swedish and Danish mass media.
Stories and pictures presented in the mass media help shape our opinions towards the poor and welfare recipients. Media content influences our perception of who the poor and welfare recipients really are, how they behave, and what should be done to either help or punish them.
The US and the UK are caught in a vicious circle: the combination of higher levels of poverty and a targeted welfare system produces a large amount of negative stories about the poor and welfare recipients. In contrast, Sweden and Denmark seem to be caught in a virtuous circle. There, the combination of lower poverty levels and a universal welfare system reduces the amount of newsworthy negative stories and creates room for positive narratives about the ‘deserving poor’.
Ed. Notes: When the poor get something for nothing, the right is enraged while the left is OK with it. When the rich get something for nothing, the left is enraged while the right is indifferent. If only both would rally together to get rid of welfare for both the needy and the greedy.
What could replace government handouts to insiders on one (heavily laden) hand and to the underclass on the other (tight-fisted) hand? A Citizen’s Dividend. Pay the citizenry in general an equal amount, no matter their station in life. That would eliminate both the stigma hurting the downtrodden and the favoritism uplifting the well-connected.
What would fund the Dividend? A dividend, by definition, is a share of a surplus. What is our social surplus, our common wealth? It’s all of our spending for all the nature we use. It’s part of mortgages, part of resource leases, indeed it’s part of the price of every good consisting of raw material and every service delivered on some location — all goods and services. We could redirect this spending into the public treasury by levying taxes, dues, fees, and the like, and then back out again to everyone as periodic dividend check in everyone’s (e)mail. We’d all probably feel thankful eventho’ a fair share of society’s organic surplus is our basic right.