Universal policies recognize that nearly everyone, not just the poor, needs help with the big-ticket items in life. They give support to all with these needs, providing considerable financial relief to the middle class while helping lower-income people in a stigma-free way. In addition, they make it easier to leave poverty, because they don’t have the benefit cliffs and phaseouts that means-tested programs do. Additional areas in which such a program design might be used include universal child care and preschool, universal paid family leave, and universal health insurance. To this list I would add a social insurance program for long-term care so that the disabled of any age don’t have to impoverish themselves to get assistance.
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