Could public policy possible fix our ills? Look, here in pragmaticland, we have very good ideas on how to make both sides of any argument happy, unless one's goal is simply to be victorious. I am currently registered on one side, and my first perception of the other side is that they will do or say anything opposite of us, even if it is also opposite of them!
Example 1: How can those who are so adamant about owning guns call themselves pro-life?
Example 2: How can those who fight for marriage & family equality not fight for fetal equality?
Well, luckily, I know the answers, and they lie in psychology.
Give me an issue.
Entitlements. OK. The right hates them, the left feels they are necessary. (segue- plenty of those on the right are actually on welfare, they are moral rightists as opposed to fiscal rightists.)
Here is the solution: If you receive assistance, you have 6 years to complete some kind of vocational training. Some form of public service will be required. No contribute, no mooch. You will not receive additional assistance for new children conceived or not disclosed after the day you asked for assistance. Birth control will be available free as part of the assistance. If you need 3 years of assistance and after that get your act together, you may ask for the remaining 3 years at a later date. The amount of assistance you are eligible to receive will be based on the number of children you claimed on your original request, because if you can't afford them, don't have them.
~What if you are doing well and get laid off?
Then you file for unemployment, food stamps, and rental assistance. Situational poverty is more easily alleviated than generational poverty. You'll be OK when it turns around. Also, we can incentivize savings accounts by requiring a minimum balance before qualifying for assistance. That way, it is more likely you are a responsible person and the assistance will be temporary; and we will help each other not have to deplete our savings accounts during a recession every 8 years. Your neighbor might have lost his job this year, you might have lost yours in 2002...
Also, monetary benefits will be taxable at a rate of 10%. I know I know that's mean. Here's the rationale: Those who contribute to their own welfare feel a sense of empowerment. Many of the people who ask for help have learned helplessness. Take that away by giving them something to be proud of, and to be less ashamed for accepting "hand-outs." (Bloomberg agrees, look it up.)
See this way, the left is happy because they get to help people have a better life, and the right is happy because people will be earning that better life.
Next post we can solve another issue. Let me know what you think about this proposal, we can work with any concerns you see, and submit your vote for the next topic.