There are 45 million people in the U.S. below the poverty line. The poverty line is defined currently at about $12,000 yr for an individual. Let's say we decided to give 45 million people $10,000. That would cost 450 billion dollars a year. We could do that if we came close to eliminating the military. There would be a political and motivation price to pay as well. How would the people making only $20,000 year feel since they feel poor but they wouldn't get anything. If they dig ditches for a living, they would probably just stop working and stay at home to collect that extra $10,000. Maybe you could give people some money on a declining scale until you get to about $50k a year and then it wouldn't be much of a problem but there probably isn't enough money to do that. I'm not saying you are wrong. I just thought I'd look up some numbers and put them out here just for interests sake. I'm guessing if I did more "research" I'd find out that there aren't enough "rich" people who wouldn't miss the extra money to fund this kind of thing long-term. I actually agree with a more socialized system. Still capitalism but higher taxes to be used for minimum income purposes (rather than for the military or corporations). There is an interesting dynamic that occurs at a certain point though. Look at the more socialized countries (even the "good" ones) and you do see less innovation and potential sustainability problems over the long haul. However, given the size of our debt, I see similar problems on our horizon anyway. It seems, human nature requires some stress for motivation and innovation to occur. There aren't a lot of global companies coming out of France and Scandinavia and there are plenty of social problem in France and the populations of Scandinavia are small enough to not be all that comparable (and Norway has large oil reserves owned by the state). I agree that we could do more and I've had similar thoughts to your comments about creating jobs for the poor even if it isn't efficient since it's probably more efficient than having them remain poor. The devil is in the details to make sure that you don't just create more people who are willing to be "poor" and work at make-shift jobs for the government. If you lose motivation and innovation then you lose the economic engine that can produce the kind of income to fuel this kind of plan.