I was reading an excerpt from Barbara Ehrenreich's forthcoming book "This Land is Their Land: Reports From a Divided Nation " which oddly enough is in the WSJ
Could You Afford to Be Poor?
A 2006 study from the Brookings Institution documents the "ghetto tax," or higher cost of living in low-income urban neighborhoods. It comes at you from every direction, from food prices to auto insurance. A few examples from this study, by Matt Fellowes, that covered twelve American cities:
They are more likely to buy their furniture and appliances through pricey rent-to-own businesses. In Wisconsin, the study reports, a $200 rent-to-own TV set can cost $700 with the interest included.
Where would she get the first month's rent and security deposit it takes to pin down an apartment? The lack of that amount of capital—probably well over $1,000—condemned her to paying $40 a night at the Day's Inn.
This makes me thing ... at bottom level of society (on minimum wage, dole) surviving is hard. I'm not so sure the same social system ought to apply. Should the State organise communes for these poor ? So I'm thinking maybe 150 people in each community and a full time social worker as the commissar. The community could be in a tower block or out of town area. The commissar would have extraordinary rights over the people (e.g. would be allowed to make curfew orders, put lazy people into detention). A lot of these indigent people lack basic life skills and they could do with some help . The commissar could could organise things such as communal cooking, sharing of property etc. I'm thinking the efficiencies gained would be
- higher quality of life for the poor
- lower cost to administer them(lower total dole, gardai)
- greater security for society through reduced crime