New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's experimental program to pay poor people to make good decisions is intriguing and I look forward to seeing the result. It's especially laudable that the project is being funded privately rather than with public funds. One of the most interesting bits of that article, though, is the perspective of a former Clinton Administration official who thinks poor people are somehow inherently incapable of bettering themselves.
But some critics have raised questions about cash reward programs, saying they promote the misguided idea that poor people could be successful if they just made better choices.
"It just reinforces the impression that if everybody would just work hard enough and change their personal behavior we could solve poverty in this country, and that's not reflected in the facts," said Margy Waller, co-founder of Inclusion, a research and policy group in Washington.
Waller, who served as a domestic policy adviser in the Clinton administration, said it would be more effective to focus on labor issues, such as making sure wage laws are enforced and improving benefits for working people.
How insulting, not only to the poor but to the American Dream itself! I hope this dehumanizing attitude isn't as common among leftists as I fear.