Lyman, I only read this because you wrote it. When I began I was in the not no but hell no camp, but you make an exceptionally good point that a social safety net, a welfare program of some kind IS a societal necessity, and this structure may do a much better job of moving people out of permanent poverty by encouraging economic migration. I do question whether more than a very small percentage of people trapped in poverty will be willing to try. I do disagree about the disincentives to move to high cost/high opportunity areas. I could easily see recent college students utilizing this program to subsidize their moves to SFO or NYC, though their long term economic rewards and GDP production might pay off for taxpayers.
Our current welfare system exacerbates poverty by disincentiving people from working, and encouraging fathers to abandon their children. We’ve spent trillions yet policy wonks tell us the numbers haven’t changed.
Early in this piece you mention you are strongly in favor of allowing municipalities to restructure or eliminate debt in order to address their economic problems. Since most of that debt was generated by politicians buying votes with borrowed taxpayer’s money for overgenerous government pensions and big white elephant boondoogles, how do we prevent current and future local politicians from doing exactly the same thing again? And how do we prevent the SFO housing cost problem that’s been created primarily through anti-development policies and the massive market distortion caused by Prop 13?