Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Show Up, Enroll, Drop Your Kid Off

Sometimes I wonder if the people who make policy in the country have ever dealt with the cable company. I'm not even picking on the cable company, just a useful symbol. Anything that helps people is progress, I guess, but people working two jobs and who might not have stable housing (I don't even mean potentially homeless, just people who move) shouldn't have to worry about income eligibility and form filling and record keeping and finding a new provider and jumping through all the steps again if they move blahblahblah for every single government program they interact with. Not everything can be simple, but pay skilled people to do the complex stuff so the rest of us don't have to worry about it.

The Kids Today joke about "adulting" - actually taking the time to take care of all of the random shit they need to take care of in the adult sphere instead of taking their brunch selfies. I suspect that "adulting" is more time consuming than it used to be, that the need to check all the boxes and return the forms and return those confirmation calls fills more hours of our day, and the consequences for failing to do so appropriately are greater still. I might be wrong about that. But any time there's some new government proposal that's privatized outsourced and means tested, it means that receiving the benefits of that program are going to require a big additional burden. And can someone other than me point out that income is a flow which changes over time. Past income is no guarantee of future income. People shouldn't have to constantly worry about moving in and out of eligibility. And if you do it through the tax system, eligibility for all "middle class" friendly stuff phases out at about the same income level, meaning people face a massive effective tax rate, and unless it's a refundable credit, doesn't help the poor a damn bit.

Keep it simple stupids.