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Everyone can get welfare benefits

Make the transition to earnings smoother and simplify the system
(+2, -2)
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Currently there are thousands of pages filled with laws and regulations about who under what circumstance can receive which welfare benefits. Often enough it is some scum bags who benefits while the ones who really need it don’t get all the benefits they are entitled to.

The idea is to simplify the system. Each benefit is assigned a "welfare tax rate" (public housing 15%, food stamps 5% etc.). If someone applies for the whole benefits package the welfare tax rates add up to something around 30% (exact numbers open to political discussion). Anyone can apply for any benefit. There are no rules for eligibility. However, if a person receives benefits and has income from other source that income is taxed at the sum of the welfare tax rates plus the regular income tax rate. Welfare status can be changed quarterly.

The whole welfare procedure would be simplified to something like "You want which benefits? OK, here they are. We will inform the IRS to add 12% to your income tax rate.". Someone who thinks s/he can start a business and make some money can still stay on welfare until the business is established. The penalty is a higher higher tax rate, but then there is some guaranteed housing.

There are still loop holes for abusing the system (like deferred payment of wages until welfare stops), but the simplification makes it easier to detect abuse. There will be significant savings in the welfare administration, even application and processing via Internet should be possible since nothing about the applicants income and possessions needs to be verified.

kbecker, Mar 17 2004

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       Imaginative idea, but I fear that this would lead to a growth in the number of people with multiple National Insurance/Social Security numbers.
hippo, Mar 17 2004

       [hippo]'s anno reminds me of some work I did some years back for the Northern Ireland Department of Health and Social Security. We found a couple of wards where more people claimed benefit than actually lived in the ward (including children!).
PeterSilly, Mar 17 2004

       I think this could be implemented quite easily and simply if the tax and benefits offices shared information fully. It's highly unlikely that would ever happen in Britain, due to the uselessness of public IT projects, but it's an interesting idea for better-organised corners of the world.
kropotkin, Mar 17 2004

       A question I have is how would the level of help be tailored to the individual's needs? For example, the parents of three kids get in a car accident. Dad is killed and Mom is crippled. The benefits they get will need to support three kids plus all of Mom's medical bills. This could add up to a very hefty sum. What's to keep a lazy man from apply for the same benefits package and not having to work? He wouldn't pay taxes as he has no income, but he'd be getting the money that would support 4 people and medical bills.   

       There would still need to be a complex set of regulations to determine the appropriate level of assistance and then you are right back to the original problem.   

       This would have the benefit of not penalizing people who get a job by immediantly removing their assistance. They would have the choice (based on what is better for them) of continuing or terminating assistance.
GenYus, Mar 17 2004

       thank, scout, most informative :)
theircompetitor, Mar 17 2004

       [scout], can you define "people who really deserve to be rich", as well as how you determine whether someone "really needs" welfare as opposed to not really needing it.
cocktaillouie, Mar 17 2004

       [scout] It's a little difficult to tell if you are being parodical or not. I recommend some English lessons so we can tell if you are an asshole or merely not funny.
BunsenHoneydew, Mar 17 2004

       damn, and here I thought I found a kindred spirit
theircompetitor, Mar 17 2004

       I think he meant about the kindred spirit being that the rich deserve to be rich by virtue of their being rich and that the poor deserve to be poor by virtue of their being poor.
GenYus, Mar 17 2004

       [marked-for-deletion] -let's all
ato_de, Mar 17 2004

       [ato] Not let's all, just the government has to do something. This idea is is about organizing the welfare system.   

       //A question I have is how would the level of help be tailored to the individual's needs?// You tailor it yourself. Since neither kids nor mom have income they could take the whole package without penalty. I agree that the lazy man would represent one of the loopholes I mentioned, but welfare is usually not so generous that people want to live on it.
kbecker, Mar 17 2004

       //You tailor it yourself.//   

       What prevents the lazy man from tailoring it to the maximum? If he has no other income, there is no tax penalty. And what is a bare pittance for 4 people with large medical bills would be quite a nice sum for a single person with no medical bills.
GenYus, Mar 17 2004

       What prevents a lazy man from abusing the current system?
Flipmastacash, May 23 2008


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