Welfare / Norplant

Tim May tcmay at got.net
Mon Aug 25 11:19:29 PDT 1997

At 5:33 AM -0700 8/25/97, Peter Trei wrote:
>Several years ago I came up with a little variation on the
>Welfare Mother problem which I thought was a lot more

Possibly more palatable to the majority not already on welfare, but hardly
an incentive to a single mother contemplating the increase in her
AFDC/WIC/etc. benefits should she add to her brood.

And the program would target the wrong people. Unavoidably, unless we have
mind-reading machines.

>Offer a 'birthday present' program, under which *any*
>female over the age of 11 who has not yet had a child or become
>pregnant, on her birthday, gets a cash award. The award should
>be high enough to encourage participation; $250 seems about
>right. A woman who can deliberatly turn down a $250 lump sum
>every year for the rest of her life is almost certainly able
>to afford to raise a child.

Hint: $250 a year is vastly too low to be an incentive to those
contemplating the additional allotment an extra mouth brings.

Second hint: Large numbers of young women who don't plan to have children
until much later anyway will of course participate! My 14-year-old niece,
my neighbor's 18-yo daughter, my 41-yo sister, and so on. Maybe 50 to 60
million, I would estimate, women would be eligible.

Third hint: This program works be rewarding _foresight_, e.g., making plans
to have avoided pregnancy. All indications are that the women presumably
intended as the targets are fairly lackadaisical about birth control, and
the prospect of $250 at the end of a year is unlikely to change this.

>* Targets young women who would be likely to become 'welfare
>  mothers'. The parents of such young women would be highly
>  motivated to have their dependent daughters participate.

Yep, in addition to some fraction (probably low) of those already on
welfare and likely to get $3000 a year extra for each new member of their
brood, there will also be about 40-60 million women of reproductive age who
would collect this "birthday present" each year, just for their ordinary
nonfecundity that year.

Question for the curious: Could we combine abortion clinics with this
payment scheme? I can imagine some crack addict really, really wanting that
fix on the eve of her birthday. If she aborts herself, or has the clinic
yank the foetus out, she can get high that night. Sounds like a plan.

>I haven't worked out the costs, but suspect that the net
>savings would be quite substantial.

See above.

But given the obvious flaws in Peter's plan, he probably has a future as a
bureaucrat in Washington. :-)

(I rarely use smileys, but I wanted to soften the tone of my criticism.
Peter's proposal has deadly flaws, easily uncovered. But so do the
proposals we all make at times.)

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay at got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
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