I have spent 25 years advocating for the homeless. And I know that if the solution to homelessness were as simple as taxpayer supported homes, one of the thousands of smart, passionate advocates working on this crisis would have already come up with that answer.
At the cutting edge of new social innovation financing are social impact bonds (SIBs), a potentially transformative idea. The deals transfer risk from the government to the private sector and generate new capital to invest in evidence-based interventions that would otherwise go unfunded.
If we accept the position that public social support has to have some rational limits, then many more people must build on whatever that base of support will be to push their lives further forward with their own efforts, brains, energy and ambition.
This philosophical argument over the role of government has been going on in America since colonial days, and in Europe long before that. One of the most interesting debates was over firefighting services.
Why not convene a council of unconventional elders -- academics, writers, artists, technology wizards, farmers, small business owners and public officials? They would give President Obama unfiltered advice on all sorts of issues.