"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bloomberg's Impoverished Poverty Eradication Plan

Since finally leaving his New York mayor's throne to someone far less princely, Mike Bloomberg is spending his time jetting around the world playing big shot with his bags of cash and, like all bullies, an unhealthy disdain for anyone who disagrees with him. These days he claims to be all about giving away all his dough before he dies, but if Forbes is right, Bloomberg obviously plans to live on in perpetuity: last year he gave away $465 million and his wealth grew $6 billion to top out at over $32 billion.  But then not many of our 401Ks average have the kind of inside track to "earn" a 25% return like Bloomberg's billions.

One of Bloomberg's thought disorders that he put into action before leaving New York was an unadvertised plan in Memphis to pay the poor to do things for themselves that middle class folks do as matter of course.
. . . a new kind of anti-poverty push, less a movement than a technocrat’s dream, is quietly being tested here, a modest experiment that could help redefine a static national conversation about how to deal with intractable poverty of the sort that not only has overwhelmed the old projects like Foote Holmes, but also afflicts even the shiny new places like Cleaborn Pointe. Three years ago, Gordon-Cole was one of 600 people (most of them single mothers) selected for the Memphis Family Rewards Program, a widely watched trial that provides cash incentives to poor parents and their high school-age children for completing tasks that seem, at first glance, absurdly second nature for middle-class families. A student who compiles an acceptable school attendance record gets $40 a month, showing up for an annual dental or medical check-up means a $100 check, grades are monetized ($30 for an A, $20 for B, $10 for a C) and taking a college entrance exam like the ACT gets you a $50 check. Parents are also rewarded: Adults get a $150 monthly bonus, up to $1,800 a year, simply for working full-time.
Even though Bloomberg's one or two million per year for this novelty poverty boutique plan is not enough to even pay for the upkeep on his private jet, it is enough to earn him 8,000 words or so with Politico.  It's enough, too, to keep the corporate welfare and political pumps primed in Memphis for the next gush of cash that might appear any day from the Big House well.

Meanwhile, the impoverished recipients of Bloomberg's drips and drabs thank God or Bloomberg for the extra money to pay the rent when the transmission goes out.  Otherwise, that $1,800 a year bonus could be lost for losing that job they haven't found quite yet.

Imagine what could be done if Bloomberg, Walton, Gates, Broad, and Hyde monies were committed to creating jobs in Memphis, rather than supporting predatory privatization plans to add even more wealth to the hedge funders who are making more money than Bloomberg and his pals can give away for their own benefit.

1 comment:

  1. Give the lab rats a few food pellets and see how they respond...