Monday, July 5, 2010

Cash Incentives, To Do What Your Parents Should Have Taught You?

Speaking of "Cash", on the other side of the spectrum, I heard a NPR story (link here) this morning that almost made my head explode. Cindy Rodriguez had a story of how "nonprofits are encouraging social change with cash incentives". HUH?!?!?! "Some results are in from a program in New York, where the city has been paying poor families to engage in positive behaviors, like going to the doctor more regularly. The goal is to boost incomes and help these families move out of poverty but after three years, the program ends this summer." It's gone on for 3 years?? Wha-wha-whaaaa??

Paying people to go to the doctor and dentist? Paying kids to go to school? No no no!!! That is utter stupidity. It is not "encouraging social change". It's anti-evolutionary. You don't have to be a 'behavioral economist' like Dan Ariely to come to the conclusion that giving out cash payments to the poor devalues the very behaviors that humans need to do to stay alive, and to pull themselves up out of poverty eventually. It breeds dependency on the government every tiny step of the way.

80 years ago, when my relatives used to walk down the rail road tracks in East Chicago near the steel mills, hoping to find stray pieces of coal that fell off the coal rail cars, in order to warm their homes, and when they searched for one more penny in the floor boards to buy a 16 cent loaf of bread, they were not expecting a government check in the mail to pay them to do essential things like going to the doctor and going to school. If you don't go to the doctor, to get your government subsidized medicaid, then you can get sick and you can die. If you don't go to school to LEARN SOMETHING, to better yourself, to pull yourself out of poverty someday, to be able to send your children to college someday if you ever have a child, then that's your choice. Stay in your rut of poverty, don't work hard, don't learn anything - But Do Not expect a check from the government to PAY YOU to go to school.

"A bit controversial, and still unproven"? No, it's a dumb program that needs to end. It never should have been started. Upon listening to the story again, At Least it is not my tax dollars that have been used to fund it - it's been paid for by private charitable foundations. Good. "Terrence Flowers is a Junior at FDNY High School for Fire and Life Safety In Brooklyn, and over the last few years, the 17 year old has said his GPA went from a 75 average to a 90. "I just needed a push" Terrence said. Cindy Rodriguez then adds "The push came in the form of cash incentives". No, the push needed to come from Terrence's mother and father, who should have kicked his behind and made sure he was doing his school work. "Paying $50 a month for keeping near perfect attendance... it's also paying him $600 for each (standardized test) he passes. In all he's earned about $3000" - UUUGHHHH!! Must... Turn.. Off... Radio... Before.. Head.. Explodes!

My paternal grand parents and father and maternal great grand parents immigrated to the US without so much as a pot to piss in. By working hard, and instill a strong work ethic into their families, and disciplining them to remain focused and make something of themselves, without cash payments to do the things that one needs to do to remain alive and to advance through life. Yes, we did eat blocks of government cheese that my maternal grand mother gave us for a year or so after my dad was laid off from Rand McNally in the early 70s, and we did scrape by, but we never expected a government check to go to the doctor, pass a test at school, or just to go to school. What kind of twisted, misguided, social incentive is that?? It instills all the wrong belief paradigms.

"$1200 is in a savings account, and the rest has been spent on a new cell phone and plenty of designer clothes and shoes." UGGGGHHH!!! Ever hear of Wrangler, Mossimo, St John's Bay, Toughskins? They're ALOT less expensive... and how will designer clothes help to get you to even community college? "Deez are da Pradas"... This is not helping anyone out of poverty, it's perpetuating a welfare state and diving deeper into Idiocracy.

I'm gonna play my drum set now, and think happy thoughts... and never think about Cindy Rodriguez's ridiculous radio story ever again. Enough said. Rant over.

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