Bloomberg: Give Poor Cash for Good Behavior

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has an unconventional program for ending poverty: incentives.

Bloomberg says that after years of fighting poverty, the government has little to show for its efforts. Now it's time to try something new. Why not offer incentives to poor people to do things that can benefit them, such as attend school, get a library card or go to the doctor?

Bloomberg points to the incentives the government already offers to the rich. For instance, there are subsidies to farmers to stop planting corn or energy companies to drill — or not drill — in certain places.

"You can argue that a lot of the things Congress subsidizes, people should do anyway," he says in an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep. "But the truth ... is, when you have a bonus, you tend to work harder and do more."

Bloomberg, a billionaire, says New York City will try the incentives as an experiment using private money, including some of his own.

The mayor also insists he is not running for president.

"I've got the best job in the world," Bloomberg says.



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