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Universal Scholarship/ Preemptive Welfare

At the age of 21, everyone gets $10,000 given to them.
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(+5, -7)
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How many times have you thought that if you could just scrape together a few thousand dollars (or pounds), you could start your own business or patent a brilliant invention, or invest wisely and make your first million?

In my high school, every year a team of students got together and played a game called The Stock Market Game (very imaginative title, eh?). Anyhow, we competed against teams from other schools statewide. What you do is, you imagine that you have 10,000.00, (use play-money if you like) and you then pretend to invest with the "broker", who is actually the competition coordinator for the state. You play for one month, checking stock prices evey day in the paper, and at the end of the month, there are small prizes for the team with the most money, the team with the fastest gain, the team with the most stable portfolio (fewest drastic net gains/losses).

Anyhow, my team won the state championship 3 years running. Furthermore, after the second time we won, my mother invested a small amount of money according to our advice, and her broker called her up to ask her how she'd chosen that selection of stocks - he said that he was using it as a model for investment for some of his other clients!

The point is not to brag on myself, but just to say that if, when I was 17 or 18, I'd had a bit of capital to work with, I think I could retire now at 26.
The point to our free market, capitalist, competitive economy here in the USA is the idea that everyone has a chance to succeed. But that's not true. Sam Walton's kids have a better chance at a good financial start than my neighbor's children do.
The idea behind taking funding away from militray funding and any other areas we can stand to cut and giving it to this program would be that everyone has an equal chance. The ten thousand would be given to the children of rich and poor alike. You would have to attend a semester long class on financial management to receive it - just like you have to take driver's ed. and pass a test to receive your driver's license. The money would be legally yours and non-transferable to any other party, to prevent unscrupulous parents trying to appropriate it.
Whether you pay for college, buy a car, start a business, invest the money, buy some land, put it in savings, make a down payment on a house, or blow it on a trip around the world or for that matter on drugs - it would all be up to you.
The hope here is that it would provide a chance for those who might otherwise have to work decades in minumum wage jobs in order to scrape together the capital for any venture at all.

submitinkmonkey, Mar 23 2005


       Not a bad idea. I'd recommend funding this with estate taxes. Of course, I'm not sure I trust 18 year olds with their own money. Car sales would go way up, and college applications may actually go down.
Worldgineer, Mar 23 2005

       Notionally fine, but practically this is electoral suicide. Giving a large slice of taxpayers' money to the most politically apathetic section of society for whatever purpose they want can only result in a massive middle-age outrage and political swing to the opposite the next time the nation decides.
calum, Mar 23 2005

       Fine, but there should be some challenge factor to the handout. You'd otherwise see gangs sitting on big banks and emancipated youths spending their monies slowly, if at all, on themselves.
reensure, Mar 24 2005

       Hah, silly americans, we win.*   


       Currently, the labour government are doing something like this (the child trust fund). Every baby born gets a small amount of money put into a saving fund on their behalf. Family members are encouraged to add extra money. Children from poorer families are to get some sort of top-up later. When they turn 18 they get the money.   

       However, it's not £10,000, nor even $10,000. More like a few hundred pounds, maybe a thousand plus with interest. And I wouldn't be suprised if labour lost one of the elections in the next 18 or so years, and the policy were cancelled before anyone involved turns 18.   

       Incidently, I'm in favour of it, provided there is enough money for education as well.   

       *Sorry. I just get slightly amused when an american has an idea, people go 'hmm, that's good, but it can't possibly work due to human nature', and then it turns out it already exists somewhere else. The NHS is my favourite example of this. Still, I'm sure it's the same for people anywhere.
RobertKidney, Mar 24 2005

       In yesterday's news they were showing that a young driver's brain is different than an older person's, more willing to take chances in general. How much work would have to be performed to create $10,000 of pure profit? I'm projecting that $1,000,000 in retail sales would have to be transacted to freeup $10,000 for such an idea.
mensmaximus, Mar 24 2005

       In the hard work pays off department: That translates into 1% shrinkage.
reensure, Mar 24 2005

       [calum], perhaps part of why American youth are so apathetic is the (partly correct, partly incorrect) sense of not having any stake in participating in politics or economics. If they were given a stake in it, perhaps that might change the apathy a little.
And as for gangs of youths sitting on huge piles of money - what is a corporation but a gang of ADULTS sitting on huge piles of money? Sure, some people are going to squander their money, but the idea was to give people a chance. If they screw up that chance, so be it!
submitinkmonkey, Mar 24 2005

       [submitmonkey] there are currently nearly 30,000,000 people in the US in the 18-24 group. Assuming 5,000,000 people turn 21 in any year, that would be a liability of 50 Billion Dollars.   

       Any kid growing up in the States is already starting with a significant advantage as compared to, say, a kid from Bangladesh. A kid can "gain" much more than the 10,000 by simply going to a state school, for instance. Do that and invest the other money.   

       Game portfolios, btw, are notoriously poor predictors of real life performance (this in addition, of course, to the standard past performance is no indication mantra). The reason is that people feel risk differently with real money at stake.
theircompetitor, Mar 24 2005

       >> Hah, silly americans, we win <<   

       The plight of Britain and Europe is anything but enviable. The confluence of serious demographic problems is creating a "perfect storm" of potentially disastrous socio-economic consequences. High unemployment (even, or perhaps especially, amongst immigrants), an aging workforce, the dropping birthrate and declining investment in new technologies will most likely eventually cause untold havoc and heartbreak for every European who survives the next decade or two, unless some drastic changes are enacted ASAP. It will not be all Frito chips and Pepsi on this side of the pond; generational patterns indicate another major military conflagration is likely to at least partially result from the chaos. Of course the number one cause for the nigh-inevitable disaster is feel- good socialistic nonsense like giving children a thousand pounds when they turn eighteen, instead of addressing the real problems facing your nation (and your super-nation).   

       Not to be a wet shirt about it, but *nobody* is going to win. Hopefully, we'll lose a little bit less than you Europeans, but nothing can be certain when prognosticating either doom or fortune.   

       I hope I'm wrong about this.
justibone, Mar 24 2005

       I recall an article in Punch by the Duke of Windsor, maybe twenty years ago, suggesting that everyone in Britain receive some amount (I forget quite what) annually from the government. Taxes would then apply to everything else you earned.   

       For myself, though, I think welfare is a denial of people's native industry, and I prefer the idea of workfare.
DrCurry, Mar 25 2005

       give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend the rest of his life drinking beer on a boat with his buddies. invest one tenth of that 10k/person into financial education programs and it will pay-off in orders of magnitude.   

       Have a fish.
ato_de, Mar 25 2005

       //invest one tenth of that 10k/person into financial education programs and it will pay-off in orders of magnitude//

       and yet, some of our wealthiest people are the dropouts who were determined to make something of themselves rather than spend the better part of their youth acquiring knowledge they will never use.

       Not me of course, I could use the $10,000 to help pay for all my school expenses when I'm done.   

       So where do we the the 10K/head. Fine Microsoft and Walmart, that ought to make a dent.
thirdcherry, Mar 25 2005

       [justibone], yes, Canadian participation in the star wars program is being sought. This month's Scientific American gives reasons not to join but your comments obliquely point to why there is reason to.
mensmaximus, Mar 25 2005

       >>and yet, some of our wealthiest people are the dropouts who were determined to make something of themselves<<   

       Bill Gates and Paul Allen (though Ballmer stayed on to graduate). Rush Limbaugh (like him or hate him, he's inarguably successful). Andrew Carnegie, from the 19th century. American examples of the type are LEGION.   

       If I had a choice of whether to provide my (future) children with a great education or a great character, well, that's no choice at all, really. Character matters, and though it can neither be created or destroyed by government programs, it can most assuredly be either supported or undermined by bureaucratic means and measures.
justibone, Mar 26 2005

       Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Hmmm... doesn't say anything about cash handouts or welfare payments regardless of need, or anything else at all that would indicate that this type of program would be appropriate for the USA. This is yet another socialistic communistic suggestion at the halfbakery. "Let's have government take money from you and give it to me. And if you don't want to give your money to me? Too bad. You'll fork over your hard-earned cash to an 18-year-old punk or end up in jail." Fishbone for socialism.
natewill, Mar 26 2005

       I at least partially equate $10,000 with happiness. This idea just eases the persuit.
Worldgineer, Mar 27 2005

       I'm sorry I started that //Hah, we win// tangent, but I feel I ought to point out that Europe is not the same throughout. Britains economy is doing rather well, and I believe our unemployment is actually lower that that of the US. I could say more but this isn't the place.
RobertKidney, Mar 27 2005

       I can't help feeling that of all the people who dropped out of college, the vast majority went onto have glittering careers (say) packing fish. There are numerous high-profile examples of people who dropped out of college and went on to make millions. There are also lots of people who stayed in college and made millions. There are an _awful_ lot _ of people who went to college and made tens of thousands. I've met some wonderful characters who were in dirt poor jobs. Of course, I'm not claiming they'd have been any happier if they were rich, but since the argument is about whether to give them money, let's stick to the money-breeds-money argument.   

       Call me a cynical old fool, but is it not at least possible that a few, more foolish of these young people will blow the money on a kick-ass stereo, and education be damned?   

       What [ato_de] said.
moomintroll, Mar 27 2005

       >>Britains economy is doing rather well<<   

       Excellent! Like I said, I hope I'm wrong, and so, I'm sure, does everybody else. :-)   

       but if I'm not...
justibone, Mar 27 2005


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