What would Tom Paine do?

Perhaps with each new government policy measure, we need to ask 'what would Tom Paine do?'

Thomas Paine, 'Ways and Means of Improving the Condition of Europe', The Rights of Man, part II (1792), Chapter 5, part 6 of 8:

First, Abolition of two millions poor-rates.
Secondly, Provision for two hundred and fifty thousand poor families.
Thirdly, Education for one million and thirty thousand children.
Fourthly, Comfortable provision for one hundred and forty thousand aged persons.
Fifthly, Donation of twenty shillings each for fifty thousand births.
Sixthly, Donation of twenty shillings each for twenty thousand marriages.
Seventhly, Allowance of twenty thousand pounds for the funeral expenses of persons travelling for work, and dying at a distance from their friends.
Eighthly, Employment, at all times, for the casual poor in the cities of London and Westminster.

[note - £1 in 1792 was worth the equivalent in 2008 of £101 using the retail price index; or £1140 using average earnings - old money price calculator]

Paine called for the basis of the welfare state in 1792, but it took until 1911, if not 1945, to achieve.


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