Idea alert -

Idea alert


Erin Anderssen considers the merits of guaranteed income.

Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, one of the more vocal proponents of no-strings-attached aid for the poor, points out that the guaranteed-income program for seniors has greatly reduced poverty, especially among women.
“There’s a bias that when given the chance people will be lazy,” he says. “That’s not my sense of reality.” Mr. Segal argues that giving money with no conditions removes the stigma and shame around poverty, allowing people to focus instead on how to improve their lot.


Idea alert

  1. I don't think comparing seniors with the guaranteed income supplement to a person who is young and capable of working is a real comparison. We expect the latter group to work and support themselves. The other group is basically retired and unable to work for a living (age or infirmities).

    I am not sure that simply handing somebody a cheque is the answer to poverty. It may be part of the solution. There are many reasons that people cannot find work or are unwilling to work i.e. lack of education, drug problems, single parent family etc etc.

    I don't profess to have the answers but there are plenty of people out there who I am sure have ideas that would work. However, any discussion needs to be pragmatic with realistic costs attached to it so that Canadians can understand that the strategy will work and how much it will cost them.

  2. But what if they spend it on beer and popcorn!

  3. Being a senior citizen isn't contingent on an inability to work, it's a wholly arbitrary measure based solely on age. Restricting public benefits to those without ability or opportunity to work is one matter and a defensible position, but the distinction you draw isn't warranted.

  4. I have been supporter of guaranteed minimum income since I read Capitalism and Freedom years ago. I think Hayek was also supporter.

    Anyways, I don't think it's ever going to happen because that would mean bureaucrats have to give up control over the unfortunate and bureaucrats would never do that willingly because they fancy themselves to be superior human beings who know what's best for everyone.

    I would set income at around $1,500 a month which would be enough to pay rent, food and bills.

  5. Mulroney suggested GAI…Guaranteed Annual Income….years ago.

    It would be an ultimate cost-saver because it does away with all the provincial variations, and the separate allowances for housing, travel expenses, food and so on. It would also get people back on their feet faster.

    The permanent solution to poverty is education though. People are poor because they're uneducated, and that part has to change before we make any headway.

  6. Hard to belive his party-mates would support this, or even the Liberals. Not sure my feelings on it, but poverty is something we need to take more seriously in Canada.

  7. " because they fancy themselves to be superior human beings who know what's best for everyone"

    Whereas you only fancy yourself superior to all bureaucrats. I think you're suffering from irony-itis.

  8. "The permanent solution to poverty is education though."

    Up to a point this is true.

    But anyone who has attended public school should be aware that mother nature does not give us all high functioning brains that are just waiting to be filled with knowledge. I read article about year ago looking at today's society, how technologically advanced it is, and the author was arguing that people need iq of at least 90 to be able to function in society.

    And about 15% of people won't be capable of getting along in society because their brain is inadequate and this is only going to get worse as we rely on technology even more.

  9. It's true in all cases.

    The standard IQ is 100 btw. Anyone with 90 would be in special classes, and never able to work as such.

    Lots of people are able to be trained in a trade though, and won't make a living unless they are.

  10. Guaranteed Income/Negative Income Tax ONLY works if you simultaneously eliminate ALL government social spending. Get government bureaucrats out of the business of delivering services completely, lower taxes to pre-WWI levels, guarantee everyone enough income to pay for the social services they actually use, and let the private sector compete to provide those services.

    Guaranteed Income ON TOP OF a cradle-to-grave welfare state is just bat-s**t crazy.

  11. Your rent figures must be based on a community with which I am not familiar. Certainly it would be an interesting palce to live. That aside, what do you figure is adequate for food per month? Which bills are you thinking will be covered and in what amount?

  12. No less a conservative economic figure than Milton Friedman supported a Guaranteed Income, or Negative Income Tax as he called it.

  13. I suppose it depends on how many people are out there that fit the description of being young and capable of working. How much leeway are we will ing to ascribe to emotional or mental disabilities, which aren't always visible or obvious?

  14. Guaranteed Income would be in place of 'welfare'….that's the whole point.

    And there is no way to reduce tax to pre-WWI levels unless you're prepared for the living standards of that era as well.

  15. With thirty seconds of googling, I have found a bunch of Vancouver apartments – I think that's the most expensive city in Canada – that rent for less than $1,000 a month and include utilities which would leave more than $500 a month for food and other things.

    Do you live in Canada?

  16. Here's a weird one.. bergkamp arguing for a socialist scheme, and me arguing against him.

    While I don't mind the idea of guaranteed minimum income, I do have concerns that some people simply aren't in a state to be able to handle direct cash infusion well. I'm thinking folks who are addicted, etc, and that 1500 just goes straight up their nose or into their veins.

    I'm more in favor of a voucher-stamp type of system, where the money is given as vouchers and redeemable by landlords or grocers in exchange for rent/food. Any left-overs from that can be distributed as cash a couple months down the road.

    However, Be_rad does point out a valid concern, I think in that there's a lot of regional variation to prices. What might get you a squalid one room with shared washroom in Vancouver could possible get you a 3 bedroom house elsewhere. Is this equitable? Or if it isn't.. does it matter?

  17. Ignoring the snark, since my question was actually sincere, I had about a grand in mind for rent, maybe a bit less. So, how do you parcel out $500 over 30 days for food, public transport, etc…?$500 gives you about $16 or so per day after rent for everything else. In Vancouver, a one zone pass is over $80 per month (2 zones $110 and 3 zones $150). Maybe they don't need a pass, which only pay for themselves if you use them both ways every day of the week and don't miss more than 4 days, since they don't have a job. But you still need to get around for appointments and stuff. Sounds though like you need about $4/day every day you need to get out and about.

    I suppose $1,500 isn't horrible, but it would take quite a bit of planning and strategizing to make it work over a whole month, given your rent estimate. Are the typical people who will need this going to have those skills and impulse control? Remember, in normal economic times we are talking about those who are usually marginalized; in difficult economic times we could include those who are employable and wnat to be employed but are in search of work. Their needs woudl be different and arguably more expensive to keep them on track for finding work.

    You appear to have taken my initial query as being fascetious – I was just trying to sound out how your amount would work.

  18. And what happens to prices when you so grossly increase the cost of low-skilled labour?

  19. Regardless of whether people want to work or not, the part of the social services bureacuracy that doesn't work now is the supposed discouraging of so-called cheats. We obstruct, frustrate and demean 97% of recipients in a failed attempt to catch the other 3%, and at enormous cost.

    A negative income tax system for distributing welfare removes the stigma, and the artificial barriers to going to school, working part time, or temproarily living with someone else who may or may not also be a recipient.

    There will still need to be social service agencies for the homeless and hopelessly addicted who aren't organized enough to file income taxes, but the majority of the social services apparatus would be gone. The financial assistance workers behind the bullet proof windows where you take a number to have your life examined as if you are a specimen would be reassigned to help people with mental health, housing and social issues.

    It would be a massive improvement for most recipients and a much more efficient and less costly distribution system.

  20. indirect public subsidy to brewers and corn producers!

  21. Median IQ is defined as 100. But 90 is in no way abnormal. By some definitions the standard deviation of the distribution of IQs is 15; by others it is 18. Given the mathematically determined characteristics of the normal distribution (popularly called the "bell curve"), 84% of the population has an IQ above 85 (using 15 as the standard deviation). Special classes for the intellectually challenged are generally restricted to those with !Qs below 75.

    The entire concept of IQ has been justifiably criticized as an oversimplification of the complexities of cognitive functioning, and two individuals with the same IQ can have very different cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

  22. "lower taxes to pre-WWI levels" and lower the quality of roads, sidewalks, sanitation, schools, hospitals, libraries to pre-WWI levels too? who likes commuting to work your grade-3 education in a dangerous and filthy factory waling along a mud track while trying to avoid catching typhoid or cholera from your fellow citizens or the open sewer running beside you?

  23. There is no way the Liberals, NDP, and Bloq would support this, as it would mean less government involvement in Canadians lives.

    Regardless of how much sense it makes, this will never fly in a minority situation.

  24. Problem is, folk like John Baird just found it just too much fun to "frustrate and demean 97% of recipients in a failed attempt to catch the other 3%" and didn't care that it was "at enormous cost" (socially and financially) when he was minister of social services. Some people are just jerks, and given the choice they'll support other jerks as their leaders just to watch them implement jerky policies. This isn't exclusively the territory of the right either (although Joe Heath wrote a compelling article about right wing jerks and left wing bleading hearts, and the problems both factions pose for good government in this country, but I digress) there is a long history of jerks on the left too, e.g., those folk who have revelled in helping people who w/couldn't help themselves regardless of the harm they inflict in the process.

  25. 90 is very low…what they used to call 'borderline retarded'.

    Anyone below 75 isn't generally teachable.

    And yes, I'm aware of all the arguments surrounding IQ.

    However, the point is we won't solve poverty until we use education.

    And technology is no more advanced now than it ever was.

  26. Most things won't fly in a minority situation, but yes others would support it.

    Cons keep trying that old 'less govt involvement in Canadian lives'….as they try to ban abortion, SSM and so on, but it doesn't work. What Cons mean is a reduction in taxes….not a lessening of involvement in people's lives.

  27. I'm not sure I understand you here, Em. Are you saying that the sole reason for the difference in living standards between now and 1914 is the increase in government revenues from taxation over that time? Does this mean that the only determinant of standard of living is taxation?

  28. Pre-WWI people had outhouses, no showers, very little education, dirt roads, and almost non-existent medical care.

    It took taxes to install municipal water and sewage, set up free public schools, and provide hospitals and a decent medical system, along with paved roads to facilitate travel.

    "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization"
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  29. We increasingly pay less for things like computers and cell phones, yet, astonishingly, the quality unfailingly improves.

  30. If only we could get them to buy potash and light rail systems…

  31. If you are going to link to a Wikipedia article, perhaps you should read and understand it first. The link contains no reference to a category of "borderline retarded". If an IQ of 90 is the criterion for being "borderline retarded", fully 25% of the population is borderline retarded. IQs of 50 to 75 were called "educable mentally retarded" in an earlier era.
    In the field of special education, educable (or "educable mentally retarded") refers to MR students with IQs of approximately 50–75 who can progress academically to a late elementary level. Trainable (or "trainable mentally retarded") refers to students whose IQs fall below 50 but who are still capable of learning personal hygiene and other living skills in a sheltered setting, such as a group home. In many areas, these terms have been replaced by use of "severe" and "moderate" mental retardation. While the names change, the meaning stays roughly the same in practice. <a href="http:// <a href="http://(“” target=”_blank”>(“ target=”_blank”> <a href="http://(” target=”_blank”>(

  32. Has anything delivered in the private sector improved in quality over that time as well?

  33. I don't intend to get off on one of your tangents. I've dealt with IQ issues all my life and am quite aware of the arguments as I said. My link was not intended to refer to borderline retarded, only the number 100.

    Now kindly return to the topic.

  34. Of course it has….they also depend on electricity, water, sewage, transportation and a healthy educated work force.

  35. Because they are made in low-wage countries, and increasingly by robots.

  36. I'm not sure I agree that seniors are 'deserving' while all other Canadians are not, but I do like the idea of knowing before we get into it both the costs of doing such a thing, and the costs of not doing such a thing.

  37. *swoon*

  38. The issue is what is the PURPOSE of the income support. Is it to make up for a weak social safety net? Is it to compensate for a weak job market? Expensive housing? Or is its purpose to enable individuals to take control of their own well-being?

    There are other jobs I might pursue if the 30-40% pay cut were offset by an income supplement. Maybe I'd be better off. Maybe my community would be, too.

    If the PURPOSE of an income supplement or minimum guaranteed income is to enable people to quit a dead-end job and go to school, or take a job that pays less but is nonetheless important, or to become an entrepreneur and start their own business … then cost of the program might be cheap compared to the economic liberation it could generate.

    As a capitalist, I like that.

  39. Well, if this $1500 is considered to have been earned over a 40 hr work week, it would amount to $9.38/hr. In BC, the minimum wage is $8,00 so you have a point. And that poor b*stard has to pay for the monthly transit pass. Best go on the dole.

  40. sure, a metre of PVC sewer pipe is of much higher quality and is likely less expensive to produce and install than a metre of wooden sewer like the ones used a century ago, but the level of sanitation we provide to ourselves with such PVC pipes costs a lot more to install and maintain than the amount of wooden sewers deployed pre-WWI. I think most would agree that near-universal sanitation is a good thing, and worth paying for, even though it costs more and requires higher taxation levels.

  41. If by "welfare state" you mean things like food banks, House of Friendship, out of the cold programs and that kind of thing, I think it is an interesting and relevant point. If you mean welfare payments, well yeah, I would hope a person doesn't get both!

    I'm initially supportive of this idea, depending on the practical applications of it. For instance, I would want a fairly substantial amount on top for those who are working to get to keep. No practical reason to work if you make the same not working. And I've noticed not everyone has the same ethics as me. But Guest is right that if we're giving to people so they can afford the housing and the food, we can't then provide housing and food–in spite of the fact that many will use the money up their nose or injected into their veins. I think we as a society would have to be okay with a few dead bodies on the sidewalk as people froze to death or died of starvation if they didn't spend wisely. But I also think that should be their choice.

  42. I think the idea is that it would be combined with a flat tax. As a simple example, suppose the guaranteed income was $10 000 and the flat tax was 40%.

    Someone could choose not to work and the government would pay them $10 000. Someone who earned $25 000 would pay 40% ($10 000) in tax, but would get $10 000 in income, so basically they earn $25 000 tax free. Someone who earned $100 000 would pay $40 000 in tax and get back $10 000, for a net tax of $30 000. This works better than a welfare system, where every dollar earned is taken off of the welfare cheque.

  43. I've dealt with IQ issues all my life

    I wouldn't touch a straight line like that for two weeks vacation in Pismo Beach.

  44. "things like food banks, House of Friendship, out of the cold programs" are run by charities and are NOT part of the welfare sate. They arise when the state has failed to serve its most vulnerable citizens.

  45. Unfortunately, I cannot agree that education is the cure here. We put two boys through honours degree programmes at university. The first took four years from graduation to find employment in his field and the second is currently a barrista at a local Starbucks. I heard on the radio today that there are many more young people in the same predicament – large student loans and minimum wage opportunities.

    I think the real problem is that the job market just doesn't exist relative to the need. I know people, very qualified people, that have sent out countless resumes, but are still waiting for one reply.

    As anyone who has attended a 'get a job' seminar or course will tell you, your best chance is knowing someone who has a job available or knows someone that is looking for someone who does and will recommend you. This is problematic for a lot of people who don't have good social skills, but who may otherwise have a basket load of skills to offer.

  46. Yup, sounds like you've been around in the real world.

    Here's my prediction for the very near future: too many people finishing higher educations, such as university, will be "book smart' on outcome but not very smart (IQ wise or not) regarding understanding life as it is. (Copying capacity aspects will be stronger than their coping capacity aspects!)

    But since our future society will have so many university graduates in need of proper fitting "professions" those "professions" will be created somehow. Rest assured: our future societies will be filled with "book know-how" and societies in general won't be better for it. The opposite will be true in fact.

    BTW: Conventional IQ measurements are highly overrated. However, wheelbarrels to get you through the door are not………….

  47. Good. Education and development are what I do for a living, so I'm aware of all the issues involved.

  48. It amazes me how often people want to hold others back from education….and who regard 'book larnin'' as some temporary foible.

    Yup, let's all go back to log cabins and grade 5 level, while the rest of the world gets on with the knowledge economy.


  49. A bachelor's degree is only entry level today….there are thousands of jobs in Canada we can't fill….same in every other western nation.

    The UK has high unemployment…..and 450,000 jobs they can't fill. Germany is squawking about immigrants….but need 400,000 skilled people

  50. The great thing about a GAI is that you can work and benefit from the GAI at the same time. So you won't see people quitting their job to go on the dole (but they might work a bit less).

    All that said, $18,000 is probably way too high. We can add on some more conditional GAI elements, like a transfer for children (which we already have), disability, etc. But for an adult of working age and no dependents, $18k is pretty generous. I'd start it off closer to $10k. Remember, the goal isn't to make it easy for everyone to quit their job. It's to eliminate the welfare trap, so we help people who have fallen on hard times get back in to the labour market.

  51. This is just more paternalism. Addicts don't need paternalism, they need treatment. And just because a few percent of people on benefits now are addicts is no reason to subject the vast majority of struggling low-income Canadians to the indignity of the government telling them which house they can live in, etc. The vast majority are imminently deserving of our trust and those that are not should be treated as an exception.

  52. The level of GAI would have to be much higher to be equitable if we were to eliminate the welfare state (education, health care, CPP, EI, etc.) than it would need to be if we retained these features. GAI works just fine if you retain most of the welfare state, but eliminate welfare, reduce EI to a genuine insurance scheme, reduce/eliminate social housing, shelters, etc. But there are still compelling public policy rationales for public health, education and pension schemes.

  53. Chretien seriously considered such a scheme before he was forced out by Martin. I don't doubt Martin would support a GAI, too. This is good policy, whether you're a liberal or a conservative.

    The only people who should plausibly oppose this policy are those on the authoritarian left who think the poor are not to be trusted and should be kept under the thumb of government bureaucrats, and the raving libertarian right who believe the government ought to be dismantled altogether.

  54. So it's your professional judgment based on experience that one person in four is "borderline retarded".

    I guess there's no point in arguing with that.

  55. There's no point in your arguing at all.

    The topic here is a GAI

  56. Emily, if you hold a university degree of any kind, you hereby prove my point: that people with a university degree in hand are not necessarily capable of holding their own in a reasonable debate.

    What exactly would constitute a "knowledge economy" if the term "knowledge can no longer be defined between the likes of you and me?

    Care to express your serious thoughts on that one? Then I would be all ears!

  57. A 'reasonable debate' as defined by you?

    Stephen Hawking is a brilliant astrophysicist…and physical problems aside….isn't likely to meet your definition of a reasonable debate.

    A PhD in Biomed, computer science, propulsion systems, evolutionary biology….somehow have to have a 'reasonable debate' as defined by you?

    Rhetoric is no longer a subject in education…the world has moved on since Ancient Greece and Rome.

    "A knowledge-driven economy is one in which the generation and exploitation of knowledge play the predominant part in the creation of wealth"

    Not steel, not widgets, not plastic doodads…knowledge itself.

  58. Why not, Emily? With outside temperatures dipping below -30C, and with no need for clearing the snow since it keeps on snowing anyway, why not proceed with you in trying to get in on a reasonable debate tonight.

    However, at this instant I am not sure what exactly it is you want to debate. Are we to debate Stephen Hawking and his teachings? Are we to debate the relevance of institutional degrees? Either one I am more than willing to take on.

    You may be right in your assessment that rhetoric is no longer a subject in education, but perhaps it should be and that then could be the focus of our debatable attention, if so desired.

    Point of Knowledge: mankind, as we currently understand it, would be lost without steel, widgets or plastic. I freely admit that I do not know the meaning of 'doodads'.

    Over to you, seriously.

  59. There is nothing TO debate.

    I said the only solution to povery is education. I don't see that as 'debatable'.

    There is no future for uneducated people. None.

    Point: We still have hunter-gatherer nomadic tribes in the world. However they are a miniscule group, and no longer the majority. Farming, once at 98%, is now only 2% of the population, and white collar workers outnumbered the blue collar workers by 1956

  60. Somehow I suspected there would be no will on your part to debate anything with me, be it Hawking, institutional degrees or anything else.

    Funny, but while writing to you I am watching CBC news, and if your understanding of a knowledge-driven economy is "one in which the generation and exploitation of knowledge play the predominant part in the creation of wealth" you should thread carefully.

    For I see "generation and exploitation of knowledge playing the predominant part in creating wealth" in Ireland's economy, in coming to terms with Hezbollah, in coming to terms with institutions such as the UN. I have no idea what you see when watching the news.

  61. I'd be happy to debate with you. I just don't see a topic.

    No, Ireland doesn't have a knowledge economy….and Ireland has no connection with Hezbollah or any UN directives.

    Ireland functioned as a branch plant economy in the production of goods.

    They weren't doing R&D on stem cells, robotics, holography, propulsion systems, computer systems or anything else.

    And in any case the bizarre development schemes in banking and real estate is what did them in.

    There is some village of 500 people, named Two Bristles or summat that planned a giant casino, a hotel laid out as the White House and parking for 8000 cars…..this has definitely nothing to do with the knowledge economy…..just stupid financial speculation

  62. You don't see a topic? I'm assuming then that you take everything Hawking says at face value? That there is no downside to an overload of institutional degrees?

    Emily, I have a suspicion that it's not your will that's holding you back in regards to debating me but that it's indeed your lack of capability (for instance, I did not suggest that Ireland has any connection with Hezbollah or any connection with UN directives; I did say that all three current issues are in relation to the 'generation and exploitation of knowledge" Perhaps you need to check your reading skills.).

    As for " schemes in banking and real estate": would you not say that our so-called age of "knowledge" has something to do with that? Perhaps a lot?

  63. LOL well if you want to argue with Hawking over astrophysics, be my guest.

    Your qualifications would be?

    No, there is no downside to degrees. Knowledge is always a plus.

    You are discussing the politics of Ireland….not the knowledge economy….perhaps you need to check your definitions

    LOL no…schemes and scams have been around since the year dot….it has nothing to do with the knowledge economy….just gullible rubes.

  64. Yes, for a moment, let's discuss Hawking over astrophysics: He may be knowledgable in a linear way of thinking regarding the universe, therefore he is capable of speculating about the where, how and when. But his particular possession of linear knowledge does not question, nor does it try to answer, the why of things.

    You see, for posing the question of "why" we need to possess a more rounded form of knowledge. Btw, this counts for all topics under discussion of which we long to come to a better understanding.

  65. Oh, are you trying to drag religion into this?

    Astrophysics is a hard science, and it examines reality.

  66. No, I am not trying to drag religion into this. Please stop putting words into my typed text.

    Astrophysics is a hard science coming out of linear thinking. And so the reality it examines is a partial reality reflecting back to what the sciences have found to be a workable understanding for mankind. Helpfull when seen as that , but harmfull when taken as complete reality. And so yes, I mainly question mankind's acceptance of taking linear thinking as being completely conclusive. I would say that linear thinking is on the increase, perhaps a phenomenon which you would call the "knowledge-driven" attitude, but I would say that such understanding of knowledge will lead to an increase of problems, not further eliminate them.

  67. Mankind doesn't do that.

    But we don't drag bronze age fairy tales into it either

    Knowledge is knowledge….something we pursue to understand the universe around us.

    What any of this has to do with degrees or the knowledge economy is a mystery known only to you

  68. No Emily, it's not really a mystery at all. It's quite clear that you and I differ in the understanding of "knowledge". And indeed we disagree on what is to be understood by this so-called "knowledge economy".

    Would you say that the 2008 economic crisis (still being played out dramatically today in countries such as Ireland) is as a result of a "knowledge economy" or would it be as a result of having too little of a "knowledge economy"?

  69. Yes, you haven't the faintest idea what the knowledge economy is.

    I've told you before that Ireland is a branch plant country and nothing to do with the knowledge economy

    The economic crisis is about the failure to deal with globalization, not the new economy that is taking shape.

  70. Ok. let's assume for argument's sake that I haven't the faintest idea what the knowledge economy is.

    Please tell me: the people and government of Ireland, did they know before the 2008 crisis that overspeculation on the market could lead to devastating results later (as in now)?

    Were people in other countries aware (in other words "did they know") that borrowing above one's capacity could or would lead them into trouble eventually?

    Do you think it to be wise for a knowledge economy for bankers, traders and investors (you and me and ultimately all of us) to spin off their responsibility toward coffers of countries and people who should have known better?

  71. Interesting. So tell me.. how does a voucher system equate to dictating which house they can live in any more than providing a specific amount does? Unless you're putting a hell of a lot more assumptions on their than I wrote, in which case, I have no argument with you.. because you're arguing with yourself.

  72. I do have concerns that some people simply aren't in a state to be able to handle direct cash infusion well
    Really? You're going with the "beer and popcorn" argument? Don't you Liberals remember how poorly that went over last time?

  73. I can easily foresee some landlords not accepting said voucher as payment. Some would do it to keep "those types" of people out. Others would refuse out of sheer laziness, the dreaded bureaucracy, logistical reasons, accounting/software reasons, etc.

  74. "I've dealt with IQ issues all my life"
    It shows.

  75. It is widely accepted that 50% of the population is of below average intelligence.

  76. There is no future for uneducated people. None.
    Michael Ignatieff would disagree with you. He sees a future generation of Canadians digging ditches, wells, and smoking copious amounts of marijuana (presumably someone in Canada will grow it as well).

  77. See, here is the rub. I agree that there are skilled positions out there that need to be filled. Unfortunately there are an abundance of university students that are studying subjects that are a complete waste of time. How many kids are wasting their time in University studying things like Womens Studies, Communications, "Management", Music, etc? Not to say that these are all useless subjects, but they're not worthy of a University degree.

  78. A voucher is inherently demeaning, like food stamps. It also dictates how much they must spend on housing.

    Maybe I don't see the benefit in humiliating the poor.

  79. You make some good points, sourstud. In the Netherlands, for instance, much of the higher learning is not done within universities. University there is mostly set up for research based learning. All the other institutions for higher learning are geared toward practical applications thereof. Smart division, if you'd ask me.