Author: bina patel

Poverty Is About People, Not Money

Bina PatelCascade Commentary

Summary

Journalist Andrew Gumble recently wrote in The Independent (UK): “Poverty deepens when the wealthy don’t care. Poverty deepens when the super wealthy simply get greedy. No other explanation is possible.” In fact, many other explanations are possible. (more…)

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The SMART Way To Save Social Security

Bina PatelCascade Commentary

Summary

For over 25 years, an increasing number of other countries have established some form of personally held accounts in response to their own social security and pension crises. Following their lead is a smart and sustainable way to reform our own Social Security system before it is too late. (more…)

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Freedom for All

Bina PatelQuickPoint!

A recent article in Resurgence Magazine (December 2007) makes the claim that our free-market economy “lacks a moral compass” and is “value-free.” The author proposes a moral compass for the economy based on values pointing towards the environment and fulfilling human needs.

However, this sort of economy overlooks the (more…)

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Empowering Health Care

Bina PatelQuickPoint!

While the debate continues over top-down, government-provided health care vs. consumer-driven, grassroots health care, here are some interesting points to consider.

First, the government- provided approach. Many say that affordability would not be an issue, given a payroll tax to pay for universal coverage. However, any time a tax is levied, more of “middle America” loses earned income. This leads to an increasing burden on working families, without any guarantee of (more…)

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Opportunity Inequality

Bina PatelCascade Commentary

Summary

“Income inequality” is a central part of the debate surrounding poverty and economic growth. However, a better alternative to the term “income inequality” is “opportunity inequality.” Poverty is not about what or how much you consume but about limited opportunity and freedom. (more…)

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“Assets” Are More Than Just “Stuff”

Bina PatelQuickPoint!

Poverty, economic development and fairness are words often used when speaking about income inequality. “Income inequality” refers to the gap in consumption between the rich and the poor but fails to illustrate anything about well-being and long-term self-sufficiency.

The term “income inequality” is not particularly helpful. It focuses more on (more…)

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Advocate for Ownership

Bina PatelQuickPoint!

Presidential hopefuls, policy wonks and advocates from the Left have given the idea of ownership a bad rap. These are many of the same folks working on poverty alleviation. Unfortunately, they are missing a crucial element to helping the poor: Property rights and possession of assets are instrumental to poverty alleviation. Contrary to claims by critics that focusing on ownership breaks down communities and fosters an “everyone-for-himself” attitude, research shows asset ownership results in greater community and civic participation by the poor. (more…)

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Asset Ownership Is Life-Changing

Bina PatelCascade Commentary

Summary

An expansive amount of research from across the political spectrum demonstrates the importance of owing assets, particularly for minorities, women and low-income populations. Owning assets fosters better citizens. (more…)

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Who Owns Your Social Security? (hint: it’s not you)

Bina PatelCascade Commentary

Summary

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that retirees do not have an ownership claim to future unpaid Social Security benefits. Because you do not have a property right to your mandatory contributions, you may never be able to benefit from them. In over 30 countries, however, personal accounts are increasing long-term security and ensuring retirement benefits. (more…)

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The Tax Burden of the Working Poor (and a way to help)

Bina PatelCascade Commentary

Summary

Protecting the earned income of low-income families is a proven method of concretely reducing poverty and increasing economic equity. The Earned Income Tax Credit, first enacted in 1975, encourages individuals to remain employed rather than depend on unearned income such as welfare programs. Within the asset building field, it is essential to advance the concept of “making work pay” via public policies and community programs. (more…)

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Health Insurance for the Few: The “Lexus” Model of Benefits

Bina PatelCascade Commentary

Summary

Government health insurance mandates intended to increase health care coverage for all, especially for lowerincome Oregonians, actually make insurance coverage more expensive and reduce low-cost benefits available to low-wage workers. Basic packages should be offered to allow more individuals to have some level of insurance, rather than mandating “deluxe” insurance packages employers and employees alike cannot afford. (more…)

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Testimony on HB 2700

Bina PatelThe Cascade Policy Institute, a non-partisan free-market think tank, would like to present information on the economic impacts of increasing health insurance mandates. This question is focused not only the economic consequences, but also on the larger question facing policymakers: are we seeking universal health insurance, or expansive benefit coverage for the few?

  1. Insurance by definition is designed to provide security against unpredictable risks that a group of individuals share and pay premiums for in the event such a risk may occur. The principles of insurance include that risks covered are unpredictable and unintentional. Insurance is not an effective mechanism to provide maximum coverage to all for every foreseeable event. When predictable and regular costs are billed to insurance, in addition to occurrences for those experiencing an unpredictable risk, the cost of insurance increases — that is, more funds are needed to cover both risks and predicted events. In this case, health insurance in fact appears more as a “health benefits package”.

(more…)

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(In)security and Safety Nets

Bina PatelCascade Commentary

Summary

Public benefit programs to support families in crisis have become distorted into entitlements, and yet government has little, if any, obligation to pay out future benefits. Policy ideas like individual asset accounts offer common ground for policymakers to collaborate on revamping outdated programs, while concretely enhancing the financial security of individuals. (more…)

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Assets and Inequality

Bina PatelCascade Commentary

Summary

While instrumental in maintaining some degree of stability for lower-income persons, the traditional welfare system was not designed to promote inclusion or self-sufficiency. In contrast, building assets allows those once marginalized to become self-sufficient and provides hope for the future. (more…)

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