For America to succeed, Americans must be secure.
One of the most basic responsibilities of government is to provide adults with economic security if the labor market falls short.
To make economic security complete, American government must ensure that every resident who wants to work has easy access to full-time employment, earns a decent wage, and ends up with an income well above the poverty line.
It is also government's responsibility to enable adults who cannot work because of a serious disability to obtain an income that lifts them out of poverty, and to guarantee America's seniors a monthly Social Security check that affords them a decent living standard.
Economic security also requires equal opportunity in health and education. All Americans should have excellent health insurance, affording them a wide choice of health care plans and doctors. Every child should have a good education, including free K12 schooling and (for students who qualify) a free college education.
Unfortunately, America’s system of economic security, health insurance, and education is deeply flawed.
There are at least 10 gaping holes and serious defects in the system, summarized in the sidebar. Turn to ->
As a result of economic insecurity's "tripple whammy"--(1) unemployed workers facing a job shortage, (2) many workers earning paltry wages, and (3) inadequate minimum payments for many adults with serious disabilities and many retired seniors--a high proportion of Americans have household incomes in the danger zone of $10,000-$30,000 per year.
At the same time, tens of millions of Americans lack health insurance, and thus have unequal access to doctors, hospitals, and life-saving medicine. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said a half century ago: "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman."
Finally, a huge share of the nation's most precious resource--our school-age children--do not receive a sound education, while millions who aim for higher education are stymied by the cost of tuition and graduate with crushing debt.
The good news: all of the holes and defects in America’s system of economic security, health insurance, and education can be fixed. Turn to ->
And as we fix the serious flaws in our system of economic security and equal opportunity, we can end welfare--not just "as we know it," but entirely. There will no longer be a need for the nation's complex patchwork of narrow, "poverty-requiring," welfare programs, which have failed to end poverty even as they discourage work and punished marriage. Turn to ->