- Jim Pugh argues that we should take a serious look at a basic income, while Livia Gershon examines how even a small amount of guaranteed income has made an immense difference in the lives of families in one North Carolina town. And Walter Frick observes that strong social supports are exactly what people need to be able to take entrepreneurial risks:
In a 2014 paper, Olds examined the link between entrepreneurship and food stamps, and found that the expansion of the program in some states in the early 2000s increased the chance that newly eligible households would own an incorporated business by 16 percent. (Incorporated firms are a better proxy for job-creating startups than unincorporated ones.)- Meanwhile, Anna Mehler Paperny reports on the serious restrictions on access to health food for poorer families, with a third of all single-parent families in Saskatchewan lacking the ability to count on the availability of basic food.
Interestingly, most of these new entrepreneurs didn’t actually enroll in the food stamp program. It seems that expanding the availability of food stamps increased business formation by making it less risky for entrepreneurs to strike out on their own. Simply knowing that they could fall back on food stamps if their venture failed was enough to make them more likely to take risks.
Food stamps are not an isolated case. In another paper, Olds looked at the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which offers publicly funded health insurance for kids whose families don’t qualify for Medicaid. By comparing the rate of entrepreneurship of those who just barely qualified for CHIP to those whose incomes just barely exceeded the cutoff, he was able to estimate the program’s impact on new business creation. The rate of incorporated business ownership for those eligible households just below the cutoff was 31 percent greater than for similarly situated families that could not rely on CHIP to care for their children if they needed it.The same is true of recent immigrants to the United States. Contrary to claims by the right that welfare keeps immigrants from living up to their historic role as entrepreneurs, CHIP eligibility increased those households’ chances of owning an incorporated business by 28 percent.The mechanism in each case is the same: publicly funded insurance lowers the risk of starting a business, since entrepreneurs needn’t fear financial ruin. (This same logic explains why more forgiving bankruptcy laws are associated with more entrepreneurship.)
- Michael Hiltzik discusses the growing recognition that a concerted attack on unions has resulted in worsening inequality. And Jake Rosenfeld offers a detailed look at the state of the U.S. labour movement.
- Ryan Meili and Carolyn Nowry note that ambulance fees represent a needless and significant barrier to health care in cases where it's needed most.
- Finally, Craig Forcese and Kent Roach confirm that the Cons' intended amendments to C-51 are designed to leave the worst elements of unaccountable secret policing in place. And Andrew Mitrovica is duly stunned by the possibility that the Cons would allow CSIS to operate outside the law in light of the abuses it's committed under a far more limited mandate.