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Universal Basic Income


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Not exactly a new theory, but Yang brought the idea into the public discourse again last winter.     With the increase in automation and consolidation of wealth at the top end increasing, this seems like something that needs to be explored much more.    It seems like there should be a way to implement this kind of system as a replacement to the traditional safety net/welfare/unemployment/food stamps/housing subsidies thing we have going on now.    Obviously there would need to be some kind of cut off limit for who would receive it, but its definitely something we have to consider moving forward.    

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8 minutes ago, Butthead said:

Not exactly a new theory, but Yang brought the idea into the public discourse again last winter.     With the increase in automation and consolidation of wealth at the top end increasing, this seems like something that needs to be explored much more.    It seems like there should be a way to implement this kind of system as a replacement to the traditional safety net/welfare/unemployment/food stamps/housing subsidies thing we have going on now.    Obviously there would need to be some kind of cut off limit for who would receive it, but its definitely something we have to consider moving forward.    

 

Definitely not new.

 

In fact the Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) as it was then called was the debate topic when I was a member of my high school's debate team circa @1975.

 

I was actually quite disappointed in the topic selection, as for me personally it wasn't one that inspired great passion or interest in me. I was hoping for a more political topic that played to my strengths and knowledge-base and one that seemed less improbable of being adopted.

 

These last comments are not intended as a backhanded comment on your thread.

 

How we take care of the needs of our fellow citizens in a world where automation is going to have an ever more prominent role in our economy and where we have seen a rampant rise in wealth and income inequality is a serious issue.

 

My propensity remains towards expanding opportunities--including offering financial education, vocational education, and 21st Century skills based education--in underserved communities that would help young people to be active participants in the economy that would allow them to create wealth and to create jobs as opposed to creating a permanent welfare class.

 

I guess I'm enough of a traditionalist to believe there is something enobling to being a job creator or a person who makes a positive contribution to society in some form, while also holding the belief that we need to provide for the disabled, the disadvantaged, and those on the margins.

 

Providing subsidies can have a variety of effects, from liberating a person from immediate economic worries that allows them to pursue things like higher education or job training (and thereby becoming more productive members of society) but it can also have the reverse effect.

 

I don't ascribe in any measure to the message on the populist-left that young people should expect everything to be "free" and that they seeming have no responsibilities to our society. There has to be a balance. And it is a tricky one to pull off in my estimation.

 

I'd like to see American leaders encouraging the ambitions of young people from all communities towards greatness. I'm heartened by the example of Kamala Harris as role model for young girls of color. The significance is hard to overstate.

 

As to UBI, I guess I'm on the fence. I'd need to see more details and would want to see complementary actions that boosted empowerment and mitigated against disempowerment through dependence.

 

Bill

 

    

 

 

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9 minutes ago, SpyCar said:

 

Definitely not new.

 

In fact the Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) as it was then called was the debate topic when I was a member of my high school's debate team circa @1975.

 

I was actually quite disappointed in the topic selection, as for me personally it wasn't one that inspired great passion or interest in me. I was hoping for a more political topic that played to my strengths and knowledge-base and one that seemed less improbable of being adopted.

 

These last comments are not intended as a backhanded comment on your thread.

 

How we take care of the needs of our fellow citizens in a world where automation is going to have an ever more prominent role in our economy and where we have seen a rampant rise in wealth and income inequality is a serious issue.

 

My propensity remains towards expanding opportunities--including offering financial education, vocational education, and 21st Century skills based education--in underserved communities that would help young people to be active participants in the economy that would allow them to create wealth and to create jobs as opposed to creating a permanent welfare class.

 

I guess I'm enough of a traditionalist to believe there is something enobling to being a job creator or a person who makes a positive contribution to society in some form, while also holding the belief that we need to provide for the disabled, the disadvantaged, and those on the margins.

 

Providing subsidies can have a variety of effects, from liberating a person from immediate economic worries that allows them to pursue things like higher education or job training (and thereby becoming more productive members of society) but it can also have the reverse effect.

 

I don't ascribe in any measure to the message on the populist-left that young people should expect everything to be "free" and that they seeming have no responsibilities to our society. There has to be a balance. And it is a tricky one to pull off in my estimation.

 

I'd like to see American leaders encouraging the ambitions of young people from all communities towards greatness. I'm heartened by the example of Kamala Harris as role model for young girls of color. The significance is hard to overstate.

 

As to UBI, I guess I'm on the fence. I'd need to see more details and would want to see complementary actions that boosted empowerment and mitigated against disempowerment through dependence.

 

Bill

 

    

 

 

I guess I kind of see it as opportunity to free ourselves of the welfare state while at the same time putting peoples decision making back into the equation.    You get (x) amount of dollars, its up to you what you want to do with them.   What are your priorities?    Is having a nice apartment a priority?   Food?   Health insurance? Entertainment?  Blow it all on hookers and crack?  Its up to you to determine what matters most.   For middle class people, maybe its a backstop against the risks of starting a new business or expanding an existing business.   Or maybe its just throwing around money that just goes back into the economy and increases MV.   

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I'll add that ideally there shouldn't be a penalty for productivity up to a certain point.    Say it's 1000 bucks a month.    You shouldn't have to worry about going from a 12 dollar an hour job to a 14 dollar an hour job because you're going to lose your "benefit".   That just discourages productivity.    If we guaranteed that money and you were also encouraged to be more productive it should be a win-win.   Naturally there will be those who just don't give a crap and blow the money, but I have to think that there are enough people out there that want to succeed to outweigh them.  

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20 minutes ago, Butthead said:

I guess I kind of see it as opportunity to free ourselves of the welfare state while at the same time putting peoples decision making back into the equation.    You get (x) amount of dollars, its up to you what you want to do with them.   What are your priorities?    Is having a nice apartment a priority?   Food?   Health insurance? Entertainment?  Blow it all on hookers and crack?  Its up to you to determine what matters most.   For middle class people, maybe its a backstop against the risks of starting a new business or expanding an existing business.   Or maybe its just throwing around money that just goes back into the economy and increases MV.   

 

Among my concerns is that those who can't provide for themselves due to disabilities or other measures that are beyond their control could find their need for income that's beyond what's provided by a UBI slowly (or quickly) eroded under the rubric that the UBI ought to cover their needs.

 

I'm also less sanguine about how handing people cash to spend in any fashion they desire--including (to cite your example of) hookers and crack--would work out. This is an example of where liberals and libertarians part company.

 

I'd prefer to see public monies positively invested in our infrastructure and in our building our human stock.  

 

Bill

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8 minutes ago, SpyCar said:

 

Among my concerns is that those who can't provide for themselves due to disabilities or other measures that are beyond their control could find their need for income that's beyond what's provided by a UBI slowly (or quickly) eroded under the rubric that the UBI ought to cover their needs.

 

I'm also less sanguine about how handing people cash to spend in any fashion they desire--including (to cite your example of) hookers and crack--would work out. This is an example of where liberals and libertarians part company.

 

I'd prefer to see public monies positively invested in our infrastructure and in our building our human stock.  

 

Bill

I agree about people with severe disabilities.    As a society we have an obligation to take care of them because that's kind of what society is intended to do, lol.   Not to the point of facilitating bad decision making, but to help those that genuinely can't help themselves.  

 

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On 11/16/2020 at 6:31 PM, Butthead said:

Obviously there would need to be some kind of cut off limit for who would receive it, but its definitely something we have to consider moving forward.    

 

It's called "universal" for a reason, man.

 

I'm very much in favor of UBI. If monetary inflation is necessary, and I'm inclined to believe it is, it's best that it enters the economy through the hands of the general populace rather than the hands of bankers and financiers. 

 

Another advantage of UBI is that I believe capital structures should be able to collapse and reconfigure as freely as possible. Sometimes, the best use of resources is to leave them idle. This includes labor. Some level of unemployment is necessary. In my view unemployment can be a good thing economically, but a bad thing socially. This problem can be mitigated through UBI alongside other welfare programs.

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21 hours ago, CarlMenger said:

 

It's called "universal" for a reason, man.

 

I'm very much in favor of UBI. If monetary inflation is necessary, and I'm inclined to believe it is, it's best that it enters the economy through the hands of the general populace rather than the hands of bankers and financiers. 

 

Another advantage of UBI is that I believe capital structures should be able to collapse and reconfigure as freely as possible. Sometimes, the best use of resources is to leave them idle. This includes labor. Some level of unemployment is necessary. In my view unemployment can be a good thing economically, but a bad thing socially. This problem can be mitigated through UBI alongside other welfare programs.

Interesting points.    I dont necessarily agree with all of them, but they are well thought out.    

 

I guess I would prefer to revert to the original idea that Friedman talked about, which was Guaranteed Minimum Income, not universal basic income.    There is no reason that a program like this should send the same check to a billionaire like Bezos that they do to a person living below the poverty line.    

 

I'll also take a measured exception to some level of unemployment being necessary.   Ideally you want a slight shortage of workers because it creates inflationary pressure on the labor market.   The FED considers "full employment" to be 5%, but in my opinion thats a little bit too high.   GMI could be a double edged sword on this one, because it would force employers to offer higher wages, but at the same time it could eliminate the desire to work in some individuals.     Personally I think it would be a net gain so its worth consideration.   

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