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A few weeks back, a reader linked me to some article - can't seem to find it now, but, I assure you, it exists - about a financial proposal that was similar to some of my (Lily's) Florenovian ideas. The article outlined an economic blueprint that would see everyone receiving a certain living allowance, regardless of whether or not they also had a job to earn income on top of it. This would, of course, have the benefit of ensuring that even the most destitute never fell below a certain standard of living, while also not removing the incentive for people to find gainful employment, as people often accuse welfare programs of doing.

The problem, though, that I immediately saw with the proposal as it was stated was that it would have distributed these benefits by the household, not per capita. It actively disincentivized young couples from moving in together.

Think about it - let's say there's two people who love each other and want to live together, but who rely on these benefits. They'd never in a million years formally move in together, since it would effectively cut their income in half. No, the logical thing for them to do would be to rent the cheapest possible apartment they could find and have one person formally "living" there, only showing up once a month to fetch the check out of the mailbox.

And then, of course, you've unintentionally created a whole industry of slumlords, renting out shoeboxes designed to stand empty but legally serve as "households" for the purposes of collecting government money. This is not, I think, the intended outcome of the proposal.

(Wednesday afternoon, INT: EB and JH's living room.)

JH: I guess I've just never thought of myself as poor. I eat well. I don't get hassled by creditors.
EB: Granted, you manage your money, but economic class is determined by income, not by lifestyle or amount of debt.
GU: It's income per household, though, not per individual. Otherwise, all children would be considered to be in poverty. JH: There we go, Ellen! I'm not poor. Living with you makes me not poor!
EB: Oh God, if you're going to start getting sappy on me, I'm leaving.
JH: Wait, does that mean that if hundreds of people are all living together in an abandoned sports stadium, all making minimum wage, that, collectively, they'd be considered super wealthy?
GU: There may be some issues with the metric.
JH: Maybe we should petition all the other tenants in this apartment building to reclassify as a single household. We could all get one one-hundredth of a membership into a yacht club or something.
EB: Even if it did work that way, we would also all be in a higher tax bracket, so that's probably gonna be a hard sell.