You Grew Up in Poverty? Okay, Here's Some Money
By Bryan Caplan
A modest proposal for fans of social justice: Have the government give money to adults who grew up in poverty.
The goal of the program, of course, is to (a) help people who are statistically likely to be poor, and (b) partially equalize cumulative lifetime well-being by making adult income higher if your childhood income was low.
What’s special about the program: It closely targets the statistically poor with minimal disincentive effect. Poor parents can’t make money by having extra kids, because minors receive nothing. The checks start coming once the poor kids are legally adults. The recipients retain normal incentives to acquire skills and work, because the size of the checks depends on their family income when they were kids, not their current income. The program might slightly discourage teen labor, but that’s about it.
I’m against this program, of course. But why would normal people oppose it?