In the United States, we have far too many social services. All these social services cost money in terms of actual money spent on the services, as well as administration.
Social security alone in 2013 cost the taxpayer approximately $814 billion. In 2012, welfare, not including social security or medicare, cost about $950 billion. By 2024 the Affordable Care Act is expect to cost over $200 billion in today's dollars (currently $38 billion in 2014).
These numbers are pretty big. With only about 316 million people(2013 estimate), why are we spending over $1.1 trillion on these services?
For those unfamiliar with the Canadian Mincome Experiment. Back in the 1970's, the Canadian government funded an experiment to study the effects of simply giving poor people money. They took the city of Dauphin's poor and provided them with a basic level of income.
Unfortunately, due to changes in government, the project was shut down early, and no one studied the results until 2005. Without going into too much detail, Mincome was a success.
We need to fund more studies like Mincome in order to find solutions to our growing social programs. What if we simply gave every American citizen over the age of 18, who meets certain low income requirements, $15,000 a year? If every American over 18 qualified, that would be approximately 243 million people, so about 3.6 trillion.
That sounds like a lot of tax dollars, but remember that we are already spending more than 1.1 trillion, and that doesn't include every American. The advantages, however, could be amazing. All of that $1.1 trillion of social services could easily be replaced by a system such as this, and probably cost less to administer.
How much paperwork, government jobs, court costs, and other administrative expenses could be removed by rolling all these programs into one service? How many loopholes will be closed?
Why apply for (and employ people to run) food stamps, housing, income credits, welfare, social security, energy assistance, and whatever else we have when we could apply for one benefit that gives you a base income to cover it all?
It's hard to find numbers on administration expenses, but at least social security made it easy. They claim to have spent about $3 billion on admin expenses in 2014.
The amount and complexity of benefits is astounding. So much money is spent on simply having a hundred different service that all are trying to do one part of the same basic thing: provide a way for the downtrodden to get a leg up. Having less systems also makes it easier to focus resources on helping people.
So what do you think? Should we start funding studies so we can find better alternatives to social services? Perhaps even minimum wage itself could be abolished if we had a minimum base income. The job market would easily balance itself. How many people would work at fast food for low wages if they would get $15,000 by not working at all? The job market would have to compete with the base minimum income in order to stay in business.