Should we expand the social safety net? | The Tylt

FINAL RESULTS
Should we expand the social safety net?
A festive crown for the winner
#LookAfterAmericans
#KeepGovernmentSmall

For the first time in over 20 years, life expectancy has dropped in the United States. Social activists are calling for an expansion of the safety net to better protect Americans from unforeseen issues. Conservatives argue that handouts make working seem less appealing, and creates a vicious cycle that keeps people in poverty. What do you think? Vote now!

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Should we expand the social safety net?
#LookAfterAmericans
#KeepGovernmentSmall
#LookAfterAmericans

Researchers have not found any single reason that explains the decline in life expectancy. There are few possible suspects, however.

For researchers, the numbers reflect a culmination of problems: eight of the top 10 causes of death showed an increase in death rates, including those from heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease. Deaths from Alzheimer’s rose 15.7 percent, unintentional injuries rose 6.7 percent and suicide rose 2.3 percent.
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The infant mortality rate, often the marker researchers use to gauge the health of a population, rose slightly, but Dr. Jiaquan Xu, one of the authors of the study, said that the rise was not considered significant.
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Dr. Muennig said that popular theories for the cause of the decline, including an increase in obesity rates and an opiod epidemic, fail to explain a problem that feels broader.
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“If you actually dissect the data neither of those arguments hold,” he said. “This report slams it home that this is really a mystery.”
#LookAfterAmericans

Supporters of an expanded social safety net think the decline in life expectancy is tied to larger trends in the United States. The erosion of welfare and benefits have left people exposed when they need the most help. The alternatives to welfare and government assistance are not enough. 

In societies that function well, there are various safety nets in place to prevent a bad break from leading to a tailspin for particularly vulnerable victims. Compared to many other rich nations, the U.S. is not such a society — all too often, when vulnerable Americans encounter a bad break, there’s nothing underneath them to stop their slide. Instead, devastation follows, sometimes in the form of bankruptcy and addiction and death.

So if we have an inflection point signaling that things really are getting worse, rather than at least chugging along stably, part of the mystery is why. A partial answer is that while Obamacare passed in 2009, the Great Recession hit in December of 2007. But layered atop both events is the nation’s grim long-term economic reality for working people, which is that for a huge chunk of the country wages have been stagnant and economic opportunity constricting for a very long time. There are intimate connections between economic opportunity and psychological well-being, and between psychological well-being and potentially disastrous outcomes like addiction and suicide. Another finding just released yesterday? As The Wall Street Journal puts it, “Barely half of 30-year-olds earn more than their parents did at a similar age, a research team found, an enormous decline from the early 1970s when the incomes of nearly all offspring outpaced their parents. Even rapid economic growth won’t do much to reverse the trend.”

#KeepGovernmentSmall

Critics of welfare argue giving people money and benefits makes work seem less appealing. Over time, this creates a dependency on the government, which is bad for all parties involved. They fear that after a certain point, the safety net stops being the back up and instead becomes how people support themselves. 

An example of how the welfare trap works: a person on welfare finds a part-time job that will pay the minimum wage of $5 per hour, 8 hours per week. Half of the $40 earned per week, or $20, will be deducted from welfare payments leaving $20 net gain. The government will also levy a tax on their $40, say 15% ($6). There may also be extra child-care and commuting costs, now that the person is no longer able to remain at home all day, and the loss of domestic productivity. Therefore, despite performing eight hours of work productive to society (and, theoretically, themselves), the person is now worse off than before they acquired employment.

#LookAfterAmericans

Here are perspectives from people who think the government should provide for everyday Americans. 

#KeepGovernmentSmall

Here are perspectives from people who think the government should stay out of people's lives. 

FINAL RESULTS
Should we expand the social safety net?
A festive crown for the winner
#LookAfterAmericans
#KeepGovernmentSmall
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