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Handouts With a Twist: Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure

Friday, November 11, 2016 17:17
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Robert Frank:

Handouts With a Twist: Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure: …Redistributive taxation has always been a fraught subject in America. It is thus encouraging that many prominent conservatives now favor a system of basic income guarantees. …

In many ways, it’s an appealing idea. But given the realities of American political culture, cash transfers alone cannot solve the problem. They might work, though, if combined with … an offer of employment as trainees … to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. …

Previous expansions of the nation’s infrastructure — such as the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression and the Interstate Highway System initiative of the 1950s — have identified many useful tasks that could be done by properly supervised unskilled workers. Together, the earnings from such jobs plus the small basic income grant would exceed the poverty threshold. …

We could provide more generous support for those most in need, while at the same time providing them with an opportunity to contribute directly to the nation’s prosperity.

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