As regular readers of this blog know, I recently published a book titled Living Together. After a survey of various elements of our society that I identified as “broken,” I drew on a variety of research to propose an expanded social contract. An important part of that new social contract was a Universal Basic Income.
The book was an exercise in utopianism–most of my proposals won’t be adopted in my lifetime, if ever. But a girl can dream…
Be warned: Even the following, abbreviated explanation will make this post longer than usual. (But hey–it’s a holiday…)
Social scientists point to the ways in which America’s obsessive focus on individual responsibility and achievement obscures recognition of the equally important role played by the broader community within which we are embedded. A much-cited remark made by Elizabeth Warren during her first Senate campaign reminded listeners that communal infrastructure makes individual success and market economies possible:
“There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there – good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory… Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea – God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
The fact that Warren’s observation garnered so much attention suggests that Americans rarely see individual success stories as dependent upon the government’s ability to provide a physical and legal environment within which that success can occur.
The importance of hard work and individual talent should not be minimized, but neither should it be exaggerated. When the focus is entirely upon the individual, when successes of any sort are attributed solely to individual effort, the importance of that infrastructure–and the effects of social and legal structures that privilege certain groups and impede others– become less visible.
Policies intended to help less fortunate citizens can be delivered in ways that stoke resentments, or in ways that encourage national cohesion. Consider public attitudes toward welfare programs aimed at impoverished communities, and contrast those attitudes with the overwhelming majorities that approve of Social Security and Medicare.
Social Security and Medicare are universal programs; virtually everyone contributes to them and everyone who lives long enough participates in their benefits. Just as we don’t generally hear accusations that “those people are driving on roads paid for by my taxes,” or sentiments begrudging a poor neighbor’s garbage pickup, beneficiaries of programs that include everyone (or almost everyone) are much more likely to escape stigma. In addition to the usual questions of efficacy and cost-effectiveness, policymakers in our diverse country should evaluate proposed programs by considering whether they are likely to unify or further divide Americans. Universal policies are far more likely to unify, an important and often overlooked argument favoring a Universal Basic Income.
What if the United States embraced a new social contract, beginning with the premise that all citizens are valued members of the American polity, and that (as the advertisement says) membership has its privileges?
Contracts are by definition mutual undertakings in which both sides offer consideration. In my imagined “Brave New World,” government would create an environment within which humans could flourish, an environment within which members would be guaranteed a basic livelihood, a substantive, excellent education, and an equal place at the civic table. In return, members (aka citizens) would pay their “dues:” taxes, a stint of public/civic service, and the consistent discharge of civic duties like voting and jury service.
In my Brave New World, government would provide both physical and social infrastructure.
We know the elements of physical infrastructure: streets, roads, bridges, utilities, parks, museums, public transportation, and the like; we might expand the definition to include common municipal services like police and fire protection, garbage collection and similar necessities and amenities of community life. Local governments across the country understand the importance of these assets and services, and struggle to provide them with the generally inadequate tax dollars collected from grudging but compliant citizens.
There is far less agreement on what the social infrastructure should look like and how it should be funded. The most consequential element of a new social infrastructure, and by far the most difficult to implement, would require significant changes to the deep-seated cultural assumptions on which the current economy rests. Its goals are to ease economic insecurities, reduce the gap between rich and poor, restore workers’ bargaining power and (not so incidentally) rescue market capitalism from its descent into corporatism and plutocracy. The two major pillars of that ambitious effort are a Universal Basic Income and single-payer health insurance.
The defects of existing American welfare policies are well-known. The nation has a patchwork of state and federal efforts and programs, with bureaucratic barriers and means tests that are expensive to administer and that operate to exclude most of the working poor. Those who do get welfare are routinely stigmatized by moralizing lawmakers pursuing punitive measures aimed at imagined “takers” and “Welfare Queens.” Current anti-poverty policies have not made an appreciable impact on poverty, but they have grown the bureaucracy and contributed significantly to stereotyping and socio-economic polarization; as a result, a number of economists and political thinkers now advocate replacing the existing patchwork with a Universal Basic Income.
A Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a stipend sent to every U.S. adult citizen, with no strings attached– no requirement to work, or to spend the money on certain items and not others. It’s a cash grant sufficient to insure basic sustenance; a number of proponents advocate $1000 per month. As Andy Stern, former President of the Service Employee’s International Union has written,
“A basic income is simple to administer, treats all people equally, rewards hard work and entrepreneurship, and trusts the poor to make their own decisions about what to do with their money. Because it only offers a floor, people are encouraged to make additional income through their own efforts… Welfare, on the other hand, discourages people from working because, if your income increases, you lose benefits,”
With a UBI, in contrast to welfare, there’s no phase-out, no marriage penalties, no people falsifying information–and no costly bureaucracy. Support for the concept is not limited to liberals and progressives. Milton Friedman famously proposed a “negative income tax,” and F.A. Hayek, the libertarian economist, wrote “There is no reason why in a free society government should not assure to all, protection against severe deprivation in the form of an assured minimum income, or a floor below which nobody need descend.” In 2016, Samuel Hammond of the libertarian Niskanen Center, noted the “ideal” features of a UBI: its unconditional structure avoids creating poverty traps; it sets a minimum income floor, raising worker bargaining power without wage or price controls; it decouples benefits from a particular workplace or jurisdiction; since it’s cash, it respects a diversity of needs and values; and it simplifies and streamlines a complex web of bureaucracy, eliminating rent seeking and other sources of inefficiency.
Hammond’s point about worker bargaining power is especially important. In today’s work
environment, characterized by dramatically-diminished unions and the growth of the “gig economy,” the erosion of employee bargaining power is confirmed by data showing that wages have been effectively stagnant for years, despite significant growth in productivity. With a UBI and single payer health coverage, workers would have the freedom to leave abusive employers, unsafe work conditions, and uncompetitive pay scales. A UBI wouldn’t level the playing field, but it would dramatically reduce the tilt. And if the robots do come—if the predictions of jobs that will be lost to automation are even close to accurate—a UBI could act as a national safety-net, helping the country avoid massive civil turmoil.
It is also worth noting that a UBI would have much the same positive effect on economic growth as a higher minimum wage. When poor people get money, they spend it, increasing demand.
There have been several pilot projects meant to assess the pros and cons of UBIs. The Washington Post reported on an extensive experiment in Africa, which found positive results not just for those receiving the money, but for their communities. The Guardian recently reported equally positive results from an American pilot project in Stockton, California. As with earlier experiments, skeptical predictions were not borne out; the money was primarily spent on food, medicine and education. Studies have also reported a significant positive spillover on female empowerment, and large increases in psychological well-being of recipients.
An economist quoted in Forbes noted that when Native Americans opened casinos along the Rio Grande, they used the proceeds to deliver basic incomes to the tribal poor.
“Child abuse dropped drastically, crime dropped. Simply handing money to poor people was salutary. It really helped them. Being trapped in poverty, with the stress and insecurities associated with that, is progressively debilitating. Sometimes even the simplest kind of transfers can break the cycle.”
Counter-intuitive as it may seem, a significant body of research supports the
importance of a robust social safety net to market economies. As Will Wilkinson, vice-president for policy at the libertarian Niskanen Center, has put it:
“A sound and generous system of social insurance offers a certain peace of mind that makes the very real risks of increased economic dynamism seem tolerable to the democratic public, opening up the political possibility of stabilizing a big-government welfare state with growth-promoting economic liberalization.”
As Wilkinson argued in an article for the conservative National Review, contemporary arguments between self-defined capitalists and socialists misunderstand economic reality. The left fails to appreciate the role of capitalism and markets in producing abundance, and the right refuses to acknowledge the indispensable role safety nets play in placating the human, deeply-seated distaste for feelings of uncertainty and insecurity.
If we were a country that truly valued all citizens, these would be compelling arguments.
Tomorrow: how to pay for it.
21 thoughts on “Why I Came To Support A UBI”
Before EVERY election, everyone should review the Preamble to the Constitution, because it IS the entire purpose and philosophy of our government. The rest is just the mechanics of how to do it.
I think that your idea is excellent and well described! You didn’t say it, but I think that “logically” it would require that one be a U.S. citizen (or perhaps include those with legal immigrant status), and thus would not stoke anger that “foreigners” were flooding the U.S. to get the benefits. For me, there are 3 basic “necessities”: housing, food and healthcare, that we all should have a right to. Though I don’t see a way to add it to your basic message, I think that affordable housing is also important. When Amazon “took over” the Seattle Area, housing prices skyrocketed. There was a new class of well-paid, primarily white, male residents who could easily afford $2000/month apartments and if they stayed a little while could easily afford spending $500,000 – $1,000,000 or more to purchase a condo or house. Local taxation and zoning rules – encouraged unreasonable classist growth, as owners of small houses in areas near major public transit hubs (and planned ones) had their houses taxed as if their two bedroom bungalows instead had 5-6 story multi-lot buildings on them, devastating the local housing stock and pushing non-wealthy people out of Seattle to its suburbs. Gentrification forces poorer people to flee in other situations and other urban areas.
In addition to being “just,” consider how a Social Contract affects the economy. In Denmark, budding entrepreneurs can experiment with ideas for businesses because they don’t have to worry about paying for health care, etc. In America, with the exception of the high tech component (in which few succeed), the number of start-up businesses now, is much lower than in the past.
Very un-Randian, including the fact that you come to your conclusions using data.
Yes, well….. Community sounds too much like communism to so-called conservatives. This DISINFORMATION campaign has been the Republican meme against the freedom from wants since Lincoln was shot. Even TR advocated for the values of our nation that serve ALL our people the way the founders (and you, Sheila) idealized. But no.
I’m re-reading Jane Mayer’s disturbing book, “Dark Money” to more fully understand why Republicans and their mindless adherents still push for “me first” operations. The basic answer is greed, followed by self-service, followed by lust for power. I’ve written on this blog many times and in my books about the real fundamentalism of human nature that drives these ANTI-social efforts to cast aside anyone not in that club. To these people, the sense of community stops at their front doors.
You’re right. None of the ideals you have espoused will be seen in your lifetimes….or, for that matter, in the lifetimes of your grandchildren. The power mongers are now in control. And they will NOT let go. Yes, their cold, dead fingers will have to be pried loose from their money.
I am just now reading how to pay for it in The American Prospect. Right wing greed merchants say we can’t afford it while at the same time they are enjoying historic S & Ps and Dows is pure propaganda. Besides, as I often write elsewhere, it is aggregate demand that almost single handedly makes for economic growth, i.e., capitalists make more money when customers have the wherewithal to buy their goods and services. It’s a Keynesian thing, and Sheila’s quotation of Warren’s Keynesian-Locke views reminds me why I am a Warren supporter.
Sheila’s blog today is for my money (so to speak) the best I have seen from her prolific quill. It will be met by the usual disdain from those who want to maintain the status quo of rich vs. poor and cries of socialism (as though we don’t already have a sturdy mix of socialism and capitalism and have had since colonial days), and as to the moral nature of social contracts, I find it immoral that the rich and corporate class claim morality in their oblivious quest for wealth.
Parenthetically, I do note that Sheila did not directly mention Yang in her effort today, the only candidate I know who openly recommends a monthly stipend to American citizens – no questions asked – but I think she wisely discussed the principle of a fairer sharing of the income our economy produces rather than personalizing it by naming names. Excellente, Sheila!
A UBI fits within the spiritual framework laid out by Albert Einstein nearly sixty years ago. If we continue with a market-based economy, will the addition of a UBI increase the price of goods and services eroding the intention behind the concept?
I can see capitalists in the utilities and food sectors concocting more ways to extract income from the poor and working poor.
There are two sides to this equation: income and expenses.
There are several industrial sectors in our economy that should not be tied to market-based principles. As mentioned, healthcare is one of those sectors. Universal healthcare should be accompanied by a food industry that is not tied to flawed market-based policies where billions in subsidies are provided each year, making the worst food options less expensive.
When you consider the poor and working poor are buying the cheapest food possible, and those food products are producing massive obesity within our country, we must look at food as the cause of increasing demand on meds and insulin. Roughly 85% of diseases are preventable, but as long as we subsidize cheap, unhealthy diet and have a market-based healthcare system, a UBI will feed those industries. What about the sugar industry? 😉
Higher wage Americans can afford to buy organic food, which is better for consumption. The working poor goes to Walmart and buys cheap processed foods, which are very unhealthy. As a result, their demand for healthcare and dental is higher. Most studies conclude that our more impoverished populations forego regular check-ups and end up using the emergency rooms as their entry point into the medical system — the most expensive entry point.
As a (still, I think) optimist, I can only smile at Sheila’s ideas. Each reflect a simple truth – in our complex society there is no “one size fits all”, platinum bullet. After spending 30 years working with difficult change in the much less complicated business world, I can assure that such measures would create potentially brutal winners and losers as well as countless unanticipated consequences. Magic wands are fit only in Disney.
Beyond the above, many folks, including me, find it insane to talk about giving money to the rich, just so we can give money to the poor. That logic just doesn’t make sense.
Sheila, very interesting!
I believe Andrew Yang was talking about this very idea earlier in his campaign. I would have to say the concept is very biblical, of course I’m sure there are a few folks here who hate that idea.
God’s laws to the Israelites contained the provision for tithing. It seems that for the most part, 2/10 of yearly income was contributed. There was not a tide during the Sabbath year because no income was expected during that time. One 10th of the lands production including flocks, fruits, vegetables, grains, oils and such were given to the tribe of Levi they had no land inheritance. They used these resources to carry out their obligation as the priestly class. Israelites could give money, after/if they turned their harvests into cash. provided they added an extra 5th of its value. This is discussed in Leviticus 27:30-33 and Numbers 18:21-30.
Also, one of the reasons for converting a tithe to money was the transportation and logistics issue. Families would travel long distances to the festivals such as The Festival Of 1st Fruits. ( Deuteronomy 12:4-18 and 14:22-27) the law was around the end of every 3rd and 6th year of the 7 year sabbatical cycle the tithes are set aside for the Levites, alien residents, widows, and orphans (fatherless boys). There was no penalty for not paying the tithe, but it was trusted that people’s morals would encourage them to do so. Not only did people have their moral obligation and conscience, but they had to declare before God that they had abided by the arrangement. If the arrangement was not abided by an invalid reason, it was looked upon by the Israelites as theft from God. (Deuteronomy 26:13-15 and the Malachi 3:7-9).
Historically, through Scripture and other written evidence, tithing wasn’t burdensome, and when the Israelites followed the laws completely, they were much more prosperous. The rising tide (tithing) lifted all boats so to speak, and promoted prosperity.
Christians were not under obligation to follow Old Testament law, but they were told to take care of the less fortunate, to take responsibilities for the congregation, to use their finances to expand the preaching work. And when these things are abided by, it helps the community by plugging holes left by politicians and corporate greed. Unfortunately, religion along with mankind has devolved (thanks John Neal and Vernon) into conscienceless blowhards with no concern for good. They straddle the fence now, but then who owns the fence? Definitely not Christ!
So I suppose if we follow a path that was laid down millennia ago, tweak it as you like, everyone is supposed to take care of everyone else. Everyone is supposed to look out for their neighbor. The wealthy and advantaged have a responsibility along with everyone else. The wealthy and advantaged have MUCH to gain by a stable society, unfortunately greed makes them blind to this basic truth.
So good job Sheila, I just thought I would try and add a little spice into the mix. Also to show, you can learn a lot from the past, you just have to have an open mind and an open heart.
Sheila, you are trying to make peoples head explode. When I brought up the idea of “a commuter tax” at our work lunch table, I just about caused a riot. Of 8 people at our table I was the only one that lived in same county where I worked. Everyone else paid county taxes to out of county jurisdictions. None of them could see why they should pay taxes on wages they earned in any other county than they one they lived in. I tried to argue that protecting their cars in the parking lot cost something, the wear and tear on the roads they drove to work on, cost something, etc…
Most people just take EVERYTHING for granted with no thought to what it costs, or who might be paying in the long run. I think UBI is wonderful, akin to a real minimum wage, but you can see where we are on that one too.
When I was in Zurich Switzerland, and we on public transit late at night, a lady got on the bus. In the US she would have been a bag lady, but in Zurich, the bus driver knew her and treated her nicely. She was dressed strangely, but she had clean clothes. Her English was not so good, but we exchanged some hellos, and you could tell she might have been a little off. When she got off the bus, somebody else greeted her. I was truly amazed on how well it seemed she was taken care of. At the same time, a Burger King Whooper Combo cost $18, but I never saw a single homeless person. You get what you pay for.
Tithe during the Sabbath year not tide.
One simplistic economic model is to consider a small (say 1,000 people?) isolated community without new people (other than babies) coming in, no people leaving (except by dying), and only local natural resources to support them.
After a decade or two of sorting out an economy would emerge through which everything they produced by applying their labor to their location’s natural resources would somehow be divided among the 1,000 people and a sense would emerge of under vs satisfactorily fulfilled needs.
Despite that there would be the unlucky who were dealt bad cards and needed to be cared for by the community of people (each thankful for their good cards) as they could be.
In my experience this simple model is fully evident among some families even now but becomes buried in details as the populations being considered move up from there to all humans on the planet.
The fact of climate change is illuminating the stress among current systems in managing the future with the tools that brought us to here. They simply and evidently aren’t up to the challenge. We have to invent new tools.
UBI is one alternative. Is it the best tool for any or all the of the levels between functional families and everyone? I don’t know but we have very limited time to figure that out.
Pete – now you are talking – “mass customization” by local need! All sorts of solution aids (and examples) are out there…Areas are attracting tourism via unique local history and/or natural beauty and/or recreational opportunities. Broadband can enable young entrepreneurs to move to save costs and urban chaos. Incentives for local coops and ESOPs can enable locals to meet their own needs. Etc.
trapped in poverty,reasons,many, just a basic need for transport on time to work, maybe children,just drop em off?seriously,no one hands their lifes work to anyone,jobs,across town,county,civil engineers todays are yes boys to the gov and money,instead of working for those who do the work.UBI,,tulsi gabbard (cspan)over the weekend mentioned her support for UBI,end of conversation,no why,and how.. if you look at why theres still poverty,look at who controls the majority of the money in this country,world. wall street.. the very name is a sick credo for those who decide,who gets how much of the pie.( it should be called” poverty inc”we produce economic slavery at its finest))when i talk with trumpers,and they all think they have it made,even the trailer trash exceptionals..(o.k. ill put it as i see it) will not,study anything that takes a minute to think about.(or may cut up their thinkin).the pie chart,screw the how much money,get to the point,how much of that pie chart,is devoted to programs? that seems to make a little easier for the afflicted trumper to under understand. its then a conversation of who and why..UBI is a need,not a vision.it shoupd be financed by the very people who reap the rewards,and try and hide em off shore,folders,fake accts, etc… wait till cryptocurrency comes along,the cash will disappear,then you now have total control of everyone..simple? im sure they will make it easier for the rich to hide more,and pay less in taxes…..i guess that old engine in your backyard i need for my broken down car,how about 200 cash,,,that day will end,and now the banks made a profit,the gov. now finds a tax for it,and we swim in the same city pond,marked city water lagoon. i lived with so called welfare queens and bucks,the fact,if you feel they degraded something,try being degraded from birth,because whitey had the power to keep them that way..we allowed the banks and moneied intrests to run amuck, with the futures of others,then found faults by bigotry. they never had a future,because the money had become the power,and status and be damn if we were to create a living wage job for everyone,give everyone dignity,and a future in the so called greatest nation every..we sure did a bang up job as we stand here with our laundry down around our ankles…make it acountable for those who made this mess,and send them to poverty..let em have the freedom to decide between ramen (if they still have a so called home)and the dumpster..
Todd and Lester – Of course there will be externalities (unintended consequences) with the program Sheila suggests. Externalities invariably show up in any new and broad based program (see FDR’s WPA, SS, AAA and others). So what to do? Well, take inflation as a UBI problem, for instance; that can be cured with a prospective cost of living increase, itself subject to further indexing and adjustment to the end that recipients of, say, $1,000.00 a month always get that much in current buying power. Yes, there will be problems, but with experience we can identify and solve them, as FDR did with the Social Security Act of 1935, and as to perfection, someone tell me how the current system is working for all of us.
I can foresee other programs such as the one Sheila has written about today in such areas as housing, medical coverage, and the cost of pharmaceuticals, critical areas in which our so-called market-based economic structure as currently practiced has fueled millions of bankruptcy petitions, resulting in discharges that have stiffed many other innocent creditors along with those selling houses, medicine (see Eli Lilly and insulin) and medical insurance policies.
So is this socialism, or a fairer sharing of the wealth and income of our economy with all of us stakeholders for urgently needed programs with a view toward ending poverty and provision of good economic and physical health for all? What’s in a name? I’m for any “ism” that works for all of us, including capitalism, if reformed along the lines Warren suggests.
Meanwhile, if you are waiting for original topic legislation (itself having been subjected to various compromises in the legislative process) to be perfect by the standards you have erected, you will have a long time to wait. Even FDR had to give in to Democratic southern senators in order to get his social security law passed by excluding agricultural and domestic workers from coverage, a mistake that has since been corrected, and so it could be with Sheila’s UBI idea. First you get the structure (as in Obama’s ACA), then you expand its provisions via amendment, rules and regs, and finally, you have an act which will withstand serious challenge.
Difficulty in getting such programs in place is no argument for giving up without a fight for fairness in the distribution of our economy’s wealth and income, and it is OUR economy, not that of mere participants such as financiers like hedge and equity funds. I think Warren, a professed capitalist, is on to something.
Before any card deal, good and band hands are random possibilities just like before birth. After we are each born what we are born with and into is the first (and can be the most important) hand in the game but is never the only one.
Misfortune for any of us realistically affects all of us which is a lesson learned by some but not all of us.
Like the luck of birth what really counts is how well we play whatever cards we are dealt over our entire game/life.
Collaborating rather than competing makes the game more fun for everyone and despite what we are told is an option available to all of us.
Elementary arithmetic shows that $1000/month to 300 million people would cost $3.6 trillion annually. If that reduces the cost of police, prisons, the fallout from crimes and the current societal dysfunction to a more reasonable rate, it could come close to paying for itself. Sheila’s recent book has convinced me, in a deeper way, that many, if not most, of the problems we face in America result from financial insecurity. Our murder rate, for example, is twice that of Finland which has no UBI but does provide a robust social safety net. If we knew how to address poverty, some of our social tinkering would have succeeded by now. Since we don’t, and since the side benefits could prove enormous, a UBI is worth a try. Serious metrics would needed to shed light on whether and to what extent the UBI was effective.
No single approach, of course, will solve all of our big problems. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
“The importance of hard work and individual talent should not be minimized, but neither should it be exaggerated.”
A stipend is generally a payment for specific use; such as the stipend to foster parents for raising other people’s children, or a stipend to specific students for working internships. While $1,000 monthly would greatly benefit my barely above federal poverty level income, a combination of Social Security and PERF retirement; getting paid for simply “being” would lay a guilt trip on me. Growing up with a strong work ethic and believing in “paying a laborer worthy of their hire”; I felt guilty not working the first few years I was disabled. And consider all those who do not need that UBI puts this “income” in a similar bracket to Trump’s tax break for the 1-2% who don’t deserve or need that tax break and the low to middle-income who are paying higher a percentage of taxes.
Happy New Year!
I will cite something that happened in the 1960’s as an example of why local, targeted projects can be effective – part of the “War on Poverty”. Chrysler Corporation wanted to try to hire and train the “unemployables” to work on their assembly lines. They did good training and found that the targets could learn the job, but weren’t succeeding. Further analysis showed fascinating issues like: no alarm clock to get up on time, not able to read/understand a bus schedule, etc. Real change work takes more than magic wands.
One concept that might be modeled is that of “circles”, used by non-profits with the homeless and unemployed…https://localcircles.org/
Thank you for this, Sheila. Your arguments to save the cost and red tape of bureaucracy and just give everyone $1000 reminds me of the discussion about limiting the free and reduced school lunch program eligibility. More rules and administrative tracking to limit eligibility was more expensive than just giving every kid a free lunch. What, after all, is so distasteful (pun intended) about feeding hungry, growing school kids?
The parsimony of some elected officials who cannot abide the thought of social and economic safety nets often leads them to red tape that is more costly than just taking care of people. This defines the phrase – cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.
Someone recently shared a message that went something like this – billionaires elected politicians who supported the trickle down economy which turned the middle class into the working poor. Then the billionaires paid for campaign ads to make the working poor take out their anger on those on welfare and unemployment.
Often our wealthiest citizens who complain most about class warfare are the very best at it. As with those kids needing lunches, let’s just take care of everyone. It’ll be cheaper and better for the economy than bureaucratic parsimony.
Sheila – your arguments are very persuasive – I will point out that income-security is important, but opposed by big business – they will always say they want stability – the markets want stability – but workers should always worry about losing their jobs for no reason at all, after all, worker employment is at-will, while CEOs have contracts with golden parachutes -fearful workers are more compliant about working unpaid overtime and accepting lower wages
My only fear for the UBI is that the business community will find a way to make the cost of living go up by $12,000 per year – they will take it as license to raise prices and fees – there may be solutions to this –
I am less concerned about undeserving rich getting money for the reasons that Sheila stated and if people feel guilty about not working, then we will need to see that there is an adequate supply of jobs – if people lack life skills, we should provide education – for free and at a convenient time – I suspect that every argument made here against the UBI was probably made against social security
With that – Happy New Year to all!
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