The ghost of Richard Cloward and Frances Piven’s radical dream, commonly known as the Cloward – Piven Strategy is reincarnated in the flesh of Coronavirus, which presents an opportunity for its proponents to implement the scheme laid out in a 1966 article titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty.”
The piece, written by Cloward and Piven, appeared in a liberal Magazine called, The Nation, outlined a strategy to overwhelm the welfare system to such a degree that it would collapse and usher in an era of a Universal Basic Income, or UBI. As with most radical plots of this nature, the creators disregard the reality that the fiscal burden falls on the taxpayer, who sooner or later would protest at the ballot box and demand change. Worse, corporations and job creators, would offshore their enterprises to avoid an excessive business tax hike necessary to fund it. Massive job losses, anemic GDP, and stock market losses would follow and destroy retirement accounts and business start-ups. However, these perils don’t interest socialists and Marxist leftists that populate the Democrat party. They prefer to blindly, ignorantly, and destructively employ the old idiom, “one can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”
Frances Piven, the surviving member of the radical duo, after Richard Cloward died in 2006, supports Bernie Sander’s platform and is an honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. She is a prolific writer in left-wing media and still espouses the type of radicalism found in the 1966 Article she co-wrote with Richard Cloward that most Americans find unnerving. Cloward and Piven wrote that activists should sabotage the welfare system to ignite a political and financial crisis that would cause poor people to rise and revolt and lead to “the rest of society” accepting their demands.
Cloward, in a 1970 interview with The New York Times, said that the poor could only advance when “the rest of society is afraid of them.” To the rational person, it seems Cloward and Piven were in favor of people expending colossal amounts of energy creating unrest in America rather than focusing on personal improvement, achievement, and self-sufficiency to achieve a satisfactory standard of living. The radical message has always boiled down to force the change, overwhelm, and wear them down. The strategy has always been to foment a revolution from the streets. Look around, do you see any unrest in our country presently? Cloward and Piven’s vision and today’s Democrat party are one and the same.
The spirit of the Cloward – Piven strategy is visible in the efforts of leftists who recognize the shortcut Coronavirus provides to achieve social and political aims instead of having to go the traditional route of organizing millions of people to protest and overwhelm welfare and other aspects of the social safety net system. Coronavirus has, by its very nature, has done the heavy lifting, by causing chaos and deterioration of financial markets, massive unemployment, and globally instilling fear in the hearts and minds of billions. Unfortunately, this leaves people more receptive to messages like the one issued by the Pope on Easter: “this may be the time to consider a universal basic wage,” or University of London professor, Guy Standing, who represents a large swath of academia when he said Coronavirus would be the “trigger for a basic wage” because “We’ve got to protect everybody. We are all vulnerable.” In response to Coronavirus, the minister of economic affairs in Spain is going to implement a UBI. She announced, “We’re going to do it as soon as possible, so it can be useful, not just for this extraordinary situation, and that it remains forever.”
Those who lead the charge for UBI are a retrovirus in that they attempt to insert a copy of an unsustainable utopian ideology into the body politic and society in general. When a modicum of logic is applied, Cloward – Piven strategy is nothing short of anarchy for the sake of toppling capitalism and replacing it with socialism that has never worked anywhere that it’s has been tried. Free market economies are the only vehicle in the history of humankind that has consistently elevated people out of poverty.
In the accompanying video, Frances Fox Piven advocates for a UBI without any reference to the fact that such programs have failed many times, most recently in Finland and Canada. In both of these cases, the programs were terminated because they were deemed a fiscal impossibility. Also, it was thought that the basic income would propel the people who received it to seek employment. This outcome was not realized, as recipients largely made no efforts to find a job. The United States already has its failures as well, here.
Free people are distinct, in that their aspirations and goals differ. UBI creates the illusion that it reduces the costs of the welfare state while pretending it still provides the desires and needs of individuals. The reality is our current safety net programs are not solvent or sustainable, and those Utopians math skills do not add up when one dives into the real costs of UBI rather than hypotheticals. Like all Leftist policy, fixer-uppers, the result is incentivizing negative behaviors and bad outcomes.