Basic Income and Choices

Most recent Duke Energy payment

Notice the key to the image on the left, this account has a remaining balance. I, like so many others, have to make this kind of choice every month; do I have groceries, OTC medicines, and dog basics, or do I keep the lights on? With Universal Basic Income, this would not be a choice, as there would be enough money to keep the lights on, and have a cash payout that would replace SNAP and not penalize a North Carolina resident for being, well poor, unlike what happens now. This is not unique to NC, of course, but with political aspirations of being the “new Alabama”, this is what sanity is up against.

Since I can not get an answer from the state level, maybe someone that reads this can explain this to me.

How does a person, who borrows money for graduate school and thus have “no income” gets the full SNAP benefit while in school (less BS deductions done at NC level because they could) but becomes disabled and has “income” that is about 1/3 less has to beg for a few crumbs in SNAP?

I have had at least 5 conversation attempts from my end about this discrepancy and drama just this year, and none of them have even come close to resolving this. If I/we had Basic Income, none of this would have mattered as SNAP and the people that administer it would have to do something else for a living and not exist only to provide drama, but could actually do something worthwhile with their social service “skills”. Consider me naive, but isn’t the point of digital government services is effective and efficient communication to the constituency?

Mecklenburg DSS response

This is the official policy of at least NC, and possibly the whole US that receiving SSA Disability is different money than Student Loan/Stipend money. I guess the Student Loan lobby is much more powerful because I thought dollars were dollars and didn’t distinguish between entities since it all spends the same. Elections have consequences, and the lack of voting allows representatives to condone this type of policy. Basic Income is paid to everyone independent of Disability, Social Security, retirement, employment, or even dividends. Basic Income does not place value judgments on cash, it just straightforward.

As this post was being edited and put to virtual paper while thoughts emanating from my head, I did hear back from NCDHHS in my county, while not answering the question above, did state that being a student had no effect on SNAP benefits while being Disabled.

The non-food portion of the EBT/SNAP side is a Federal-State program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Since states administer it, the name and benefits vary based on locale. In North Carolina, where I live, it’s called Work First. The goal, at least to TPTB here is to encourage work for families so the “temporary” part of the program is emphasized.

Highlighted search field {without children} is key

Leave it to the US Government to define a family as having children. This is not to diminish the importance of child raising, but to those of us that do not have any, we are left out. So much for American choice!

A Basic Income replaces these programs with cash upon which there are no restrictions on how it is spent. With this also comes responsibility, in case a person does not spend the money to live on, finds themselves homeless or worse, and then expects the Government to bail them out. This is not to penalize a person who plays by the rules and S__t/Life happens, but to discourage the reckless behavior.

…and with Universal Basic Income, it may not be in most months.

Advertisements

Democracy for $ Broadband edition

One of the towns listed in this article is some 215 miles NNE of where my story originates. It is one of the few relatively populated places that I haven’t visited in North Carolina. While it’s not surprising that the North Carolina General Assembly passes laws in direct conflict with most of the constituents, this one seems especially egregious. There are some opinionated hints to why this may be the case.

https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml


As you can see, this is a smallish type of community. Also one that is majority minority, according to official government numbers. A bill that is being debated on address this: http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/Senate/HTML/S208v1.html. Now that the recent #HB2 “semi-repeal” got done, there may be hope full that it, with a Democratic governor will pass as well. However, the legislature is still in the control of the party that opposes such measures, so don’t hold your breath for change just yet.

http://www.infoworld.com/article/3189828/internet/only-in-the-usa-isps-get-tax-dollars-to-build-weak-broadband.html#tk.twt_ifw

As Charlotte faces poverty and violence, CMS seeks more counselors and social workers | Charlotte Observer

It will be interesting if they are able to pull this off in the anti-tax sentiment that has invaded the city, despite current Democratic control of local government.

Superintendent Ann Clark’s budget plan calls for $27 million more from Mecklenburg County, part of it to hire more school counselors, social workers and psychologists. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is making the request as the community grapples with poverty and violence.

Source: As Charlotte faces poverty and violence, CMS seeks more counselors and social workers | Charlotte Observer

Worldview 2014

“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.” –Woodrow Wilson

That is a powerful quote, and one that endears itself to my worldview. Leaders make decisions, change agents make decisions, Followers make decisions, and even Passive existence folk make decisions. By now, it’s understood that there are winners and losers in each judgment and some people will not like it and may tell you to your face or go behind your back to change the outcome. A certain level of maturity (Grown Man) recognizes this fact and does not dissuade a leader from making these tough calls when armed with the facts and information needed to make winning choices. Teachers make decisions in the classroom continuously regarding the syllabus, lesson plans, discipline, parent interaction, pupil collaboration, and the bosses. I feel you do what is in the best interest of the child, even if they do not appreciate it now (and probably will not). In the enterprise, there are financial, regulatory, and stakeholder considerations in addition to the aforementioned; the corporation’s best interest is at stake here.

Charlotte, not unlike most areas, have scion type old money and influence families with an eye for city direction, control, leadership, and steering. The name Belk is synonymous with that. Back in 1888, William Henry Belk opens his first store in Monroe, NC (25 mi SE of here) with $750 in savings, a $500 loan, and $3,000 worth of goods taken on consignment. He convinces his brother, Dr. John Belk, to join as his partner. The business flourishes, often through store partnerships with trusted businesspersons in the Southeast (“About Us — belk.com — Belk.com,” 2013, para. 2). Later on, the Belk Foundation established in 1928 by Dr. John Belk (a freeway is named after him here as well) and later by William H Belk after their deaths, have committed themselves to improving education in their communities. The latest example is a large grant for CMS to expand and solidify Opportunity Culture models in more classrooms with base and consistent funding that reduces the ‘grant writing hat in hand” that follows most of these types of endeavors. “Schools can extend the reach of excellent teachers and the teams they lead to more students, for more pay, within budget — making significant pay increases possible for all teachers when implemented school wide. The models allow teachers to advance in their careers without leaving the classroom (Hassel & Hassel, 2014, para. 6).” The state currently ranks 46th in the nation for average teacher pay, a rating that has slumped in the recession years as the state froze pay under a Democratic administration, which should have been education friendly. Both the state and CMS are studying ways to reform the current system, which rewards only longevity and credentials. The article did not mention the contribution of the North Carolina Education Lottery, which was sold to us as a way of boosting K-12 education, again under Democratic rule (Helms, 2014). The newspaper revamped the commenting section where snark and dissent that would be associated with education and money spending stories are nowhere to be found. Granted it did not help the discourse, it is mentioned only because the enemies of CMS do not have a ready platform to spout hate.

Without over analysis, I am comfortable with the fact that I make a decision and someone will not like it, even rising to an enemy level. Not everyone can be pleased with you all the time, the only person that needs to be pleased is yourself. As a close friend stated it: I was brought into this world alone, I will leave it alone, and I will be judged alone. Not a literal definition as no one can enter the world without a medical professional in the mix and in some cases leave it that way. The judgment part is a particular religious doctrine ascribed by most but not all. Power trips are unacceptable in my view, but decision-making is part of life.

About Us — belk.com — Belk.com. (2013). Informational. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from http://www.belk.com/AST/Misc/Belk_Stores/About_Us/Who_We_Are/Our_History.jsp

Hassel, E. A., & Hassel, B. (2014, January 16). Charlotte to Expand Opportunity Culture to Almost Half Its Schools : Education Next. WordPress 3.0.1. Retrieved from http://educationnext.org/charlotte-to-expand-opportunity-culture-to-almost-half-its-schools/

Helms, A. D. (2014, January 9). Belk Foundation gives $505,000 to create big rewards for star teachers | CharlotteObserver.com. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/01/09/4597778/belk-foundation-gives-505000-to.html (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED).