Cogan and Heil: L.A.'s new basic income program ignores everything we know about welfare

The belief that this program will help the poor runs counter to centuries of experience with welfare. It ignores our common sense understanding of incentives, and is rejected by a rich body of academic work.  

CALIFORNIA COUNTY HELPS FUND UNIVERSAL BASIC INE PROGRAM RESTRICTED TO WOMEN OF COLOR

The no-strings-attached promise is a sharp departure from centuries of welfare policy. Down through the ages, a hallmark of successful welfare policy has been that recipients must undertake efforts to improve their situation in life in return for aid. Charities, mutual aid societies, religious organizations, and, until recently, all levels of U.S. government have embraced this policy. 

The policy recognizes that welfare assistance given without responsibility discourages personal initiative for achieving self-sufficiency through work and a better life through family formation.  

FILE –Los Angeles, Calif.: A view of downtown Los Angeles skyline and traffic on the 110 Free-way. (Photo by Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

FILE –Los Angeles, Calif.: A view of downtown Los Angeles skyline and traffic on the 110 Free-way. (Photo by Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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