Will ‘Free Money’ Really Help Anyone Trying to Climb Out of the ‘Great Recession’?

Written by Candace Hardin on April 19, 2018

Today’s economy is in flux as jobs change and evolve, often leaving low skill workers behind. Not only are low skill jobs becoming obsolete, so are factory jobs, middle management and other livable wage employment.

Most of this was caused by the policies of the previous administrations that allowed companies to outsource their jobs to low wage, third world countries, lay off their workforce, eliminate company benefits and enjoy profits without consequence to the impact on the US economy.

Employers learned during the “Great Recession” that they could work fewer people twice as hard as jobs were scarce at the time. They took advantage of people’s need to support themselves and their families at that time of crisis. It was a bad habit that still has not been erased.

This era of taking advantage of the American Worker put more people on welfare and disability, lowered the number of homeowners, took workers out of the job market in historically large numbers and possibly contributed to the opiate addiction in the country as more and more people were unable to find a job with a living wage. It decimated the middle class, which is the backbone of American prosperity.

The current administration is creating an environment that is repatriating jobs back to the United States by lowering corporate tax in order for these companies to be competitive in the world market. It is also imposing tariffs on cheap labor goods that come in from other countries, thereby leveling the playing field for US business. More jobs have been created than in many years and the economy is growing at a normal rate again.

However, for some, the struggle is still ongoing as their previous livelihood was eliminated and slow to return to the level it was prior to the recession.

So, is free money from the government the answer?

Assuming that this free money would take the place of all other social welfare programs, would it be enough to push people over the top, so to speak, or would it just encourage the sloth that society is facing today?

A young mayor in Stockton California seems to think that this is the answer and is conducting his great experiment with a fund that is philanthropy based to see if he is correct.

He proposes paying one hundred lower to middle class families the sum of five hundred dollars a month free money, no strings attached, for eighteen months.

Having come from such a family himself, and managing to get his education and pull himself up to his current position, he feels that people who are working more than one job or are under employed will be inspired to finish a degree or have a cushion to make ends meet.

Two previous experiments in Alaska and Canada have revealed that drug use goes down and productivity goes up as people feel happier and more secure.

Perhaps, a monthly lump sum is an answer to better living, but the questions it brings are many.

Would it be taxed?
Would one be required to work to qualify for the payout?
If one became unemployed, would unemployment still be available?
How much could one make and still receive the payout?

Condition controlled experiments are the first step in learning new ways and proving ideas.

How it could be equitably applied and function in society is a question that will take more time and observation.

Image: CCO Creative Commons; Excerpted from: https://pixabay.com/en/dollar-gift-hand-keep-give-3313761/

Candace Hardin
Candace Hardin resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She is fluent in Spanish and a student of Latin and history. She is a columnist on PolitiChicks.tv. and has a blog, kandisays.blogspot.com. Originally from North Carolina, her writing and beliefs have been heavily influenced by the Appalachian culture and tradition.