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Want to end poverty? Brazil's answer: Give people money

Though controversial, Brazil's government a decade ago decided that any family under the poverty line would be given enough money to put them over it.
The transfers, which now go to 14 million people, has helped decrease income inequality in the country - incomes for the poorest are growing faster than Brazil's top earners.
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Want to end poverty? Brazil's answer: Give people money

Here is a brilliant idea for how to help poor people: give them money. Specifically, give them enough money to end their poverty.

This is from Brazil's social development minister Tereza Campello, who was in Washington this week discussing the country's first decade of experience under the highly-touted Bolsa Familia cash transfer program.

It's a discussion relevant to the U.S., involving a simple social contract that hands over cash - with no strings attached on how it is spent or who is considered part of a family - as long as any kids involved attend school.

Brazil confronted a similar political landscape when it began discussing a broad assault on poverty more than a decade ago. The poor were predominantly black, clustered in the north, and uneducated. There were strong arguments that simply giving away money would be a massive rip-off for taxpayers.
Plunged into the usual moral thicket, the response was simple: forget about all that. Though controversial, the government a decade ago decided that any family under the poverty line would be given enough money to put them over it.

The transfers, which now go to 14 million people, has helped decrease income inequality in the country - incomes for the poorest are growing faster than Brazil's top earners.

Quelle: Washington Post Howard Schneider Jan 31, 14

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