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How do you defend universal basic income (U.S.)?

UBI entitlements

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18 replies to this topic

#1
therewillbewar

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Given the amount we spend on entitlements in the U.S. is UBI defensible? In other words do you think we will ever have UBI?  and if so will it replace the current entitlements or be in addition to them. Assume defense spending stays the same.

 

I don't believe we will ever have a BI, but I do see a case for replacing our current entitlements with a UBI or a income floor.



#2
Raklian

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You can have fiscal conservatives on board by telling them we can replace the welfare/unemployment and social security system by giving everyone a livable monthly income and still cut government spending.

 

People saying UBI is more than what the government can possibly afford is a falsehood.


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#3
Jakob

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Fact: A UBI would cost similar to all current government spending combined.


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#4
Alislaws

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Fact: A UBI would cost similar to all current government spending combined.

 

UBI would only be needed if job loss from automation was kicking into high gear, so we're talking about a time with massive unemployment, and therefore falling sales for almost all businesses, however due to cost reductions the profits of corporations embracing automation would still be climbing.

 

Under those circumstances it would make sense to raise taxes, introduce UBI and save the economy from collapsing under the weight of 50%+ unemployment.

 

The elimination of 90% of all employment regulations etc. along with the productivity gains from automation of all the unskilled work and much of the low skilled work should offset the Tax increase needed and allow businesses to continue to compete internationally. 


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#5
therewillbewar

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You can have fiscal conservatives on board by telling them we can replace the welfare/unemployment and social security system by giving everyone a livable monthly income and still cut government spending.

 

People saying UBI is more than what the government can possibly afford is a falsehood.

 

lets do a rough calculation...

 

poverty level for family of three is $20,420 X number of households 125.82 million ~ 2.5 trillion

 

revenue for the projected 2018 budget $3.654 trillion per wikipedia

 

after paying families we would have 1 trillion leftover for defense and everything else...

 

So it could be done at poverty levels, also those numbers are for households not individuals so would probably be higher.



#6
Jakob

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You can have fiscal conservatives on board by telling them we can replace the welfare/unemployment and social security system by giving everyone a livable monthly income and still cut government spending.

 

People saying UBI is more than what the government can possibly afford is a falsehood.

 

lets do a rough calculation...

 

poverty level for family of three is $20,420 X number of households 125.82 million ~ 2.5 trillion

 

revenue for the projected 2018 budget $3.654 trillion per wikipedia

 

after paying families we would have 1 trillion leftover for defense and everything else...

 

So it could be done at poverty levels, also those numbers are for households not individuals so would probably be higher.

 

Even if you cut every single other social program and completely privatized healthcare (good luck convincing the loony left to go along with that) it would still be $300 billion higher than current spending.


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#7
Raklian

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Even if you cut every single other social program and completely privatized healthcare (good luck convincing the loony left to go along with that) it would still be $300 billion higher than current spending.

 

 

So then increase taxes and remove certain tax deductions. Might as well downsize the unnecessary and bloated elements of the US military. We'll have to do it anyway because, like Alislaws said, people are going to be unemployed at enough quantities that it's going to hurt the US government's ability to collect revenue.

 

And no, increasing taxes does not make USA "socialist," just more socially democratic. Again, it does not make USA less competitive - the basic income will certainly make it more so by giving the people the worry-free license to pursue their interests, therefore making the market a more vibrant community overall.

 

Also, there's the option of state governments sharing the burden. After all, the total US government revenue, federal, state, and local is estimated to be $6.6 trillion which gives us a lot of room to figure this out. We just need to be creative about it.


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#8
Jakob

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Even if you cut every single other social program and completely privatized healthcare (good luck convincing the loony left to go along with that) it would still be $300 billion higher than current spending.

 

 

So then increase taxes and remove certain tax deductions. Might as well downsize the unnecessary and bloated elements of the US military. We'll have to do it anyway because, like Alislaws said, people are going to be unemployed at enough quantities that it's going to hurt the US government's ability to collect revenue.

 

And no, increasing taxes does not make USA "socialist," just more socially democratic. Again, it does not make USA less competitive - the basic income will certainly make it more so by giving the people the worry-free license to pursue their interests, therefore making the market a more vibrant community overall.

 

Also, there's the option of state governments sharing the burden. After all, the total US government revenue, federal, state, and local is estimated to be $6.6 trillion which gives us a lot of room to figure this out. We just need to be creative about it.

 

We need to radically decrease taxes, not increase them.

 

And it will certainly give people worry-free license to fuck around all day instead of contributing to the economy. 99% of people don't have big dreams.


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#9
Water

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99% of people don't have big dreams.

 

Source?



#10
Jakob

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99% of people don't have big dreams.

 

Source?

 

Go talk to people. Most of us just want to live our lives, not change the world.


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#11
Sciencerocks

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With AI And robotics taking over everything there will come a point when tens of millions of people won't have jobs. Within my opinion,,,Some of the profit should be turned back to caring for these human beings through a universal basic income.

 

Of course, the liberterians want the 18th century but we're NOT going back to those times and it is pure evil to allow people to starve to death as may not be enough jobs.


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#12
Alric

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People on basic income do contribute to the economy, because they still need to eat food, buy clothing, and live in some kind of home. So they will be spending their free money on stuff, which goes into the economy. Besides it isn't like we have a choice. Eventually with automation, we need some kind of basic income to support everyone who isn't going to be able to get a job. Or people will all revolt and there will be mass death and stuff.

 

If you are worried about the cost though, there is also things like the negative income tax. Basically you tax people starting at, say the poverty line. Everyone above that line is taxed normally. People below it get money back, the further below the more you get back. In this case you are not paying everyone, so it is more in line with current welfare.

 

It also solves the issue with current welfare, where there are some weird positions that you can make more money by not working, than working. In the negative income tax system, you will always make more money by working than not working. For people worried that people need money as motivation, it also provides motivation, since you still need to work if you want more than the minimum to survive.



#13
tw88

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Our various social welfare programs should be redesigned so that you're never worse off or only marginally better off for working more or making more money. Hard lines for income or net worth for social welfare should be changed to a formulaic one.


I think maybe a more fesible alternative to a ubi would be universal basic savings and/or automatic savings. Say we spend a reasonable 500 billion every year putting money into individual savings account for people, and there is an automatic 5% taken out of people's paycheck that is put into savings as well. For .5 trillidollars that would be about $1500 a year per person in the US, which would give someone $27,000 by the time they are 18, which could be used to do things like pay tuition, do an unpaid internship, use towards a down payment on a home, or start a business.

#14
Jakob

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Our various social welfare programs should be redesigned so that you're never worse off or only marginally better off for working more or making more money. Hard lines for income or net worth for social welfare should be changed to a formulaic one.


I think maybe a more fesible alternative to a ubi would be universal basic savings and/or automatic savings. Say we spend a reasonable 500 billion every year putting money into individual savings account for people, and there is an automatic 5% taken out of people's paycheck that is put into savings as well. For .5 trillidollars that would be about $1500 a year per person in the US, which would give someone $27,000 by the time they are 18, which could be used to do things like pay tuition, do an unpaid internship, use towards a down payment on a home, or start a business.

It seems more efficient to have parents simply give their children the money rather than make them give it to a government that will muck around with it for a while and maybe give it to their children after half of it disappears into the pockets of bureaucrats.


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#15
Unity

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https://www.technolo...job-automation/

I thought this was interesting Andrew NG proposes a New Deal 2.0 rather than Universal Basic Income

#16
Alric

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https://www.technolo...job-automation/

I thought this was interesting Andrew NG proposes a New Deal 2.0 rather than Universal Basic Income

 

Makes a lot of sense. Honestly, you don't even have to pay people to study if we just did something about the huge costs involved. If college was free for everyone, then the displaced workers could go back to school and learn new skills. It would probably increase the overall education of the nation as a whole as well, which is a good thing.


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#17
tw88

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Our various social welfare programs should be redesigned so that you're never worse off or only marginally better off for working more or making more money. Hard lines for income or net worth for social welfare should be changed to a formulaic one.


I think maybe a more fesible alternative to a ubi would be universal basic savings and/or automatic savings. Say we spend a reasonable 500 billion every year putting money into individual savings account for people, and there is an automatic 5% taken out of people's paycheck that is put into savings as well. For .5 trillidollars that would be about $1500 a year per person in the US, which would give someone $27,000 by the time they are 18, which could be used to do things like pay tuition, do an unpaid internship, use towards a down payment on a home, or start a business.

It seems more efficient to have parents simply give their children the money rather than make them give it to a government that will muck around with it for a while and maybe give it to their children after half of it disappears into the pockets of bureaucrats.

That's assuming your parents can afford to give you that money. That's kind of the whole point of a UBI or a UBS is to address increasing income inequality due to a shrinking labor market.

#18
tw88

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https://www.technolo...job-automation/

I thought this was interesting Andrew NG proposes a New Deal 2.0 rather than Universal Basic Income


A lot of these "new deal 2.0" articles like this, make this assumption, either implicitly or explicitly, that a UBI would make people complacent. One of the reasons a lot of economists, particularly behavioural economist like the idea of a UBI is that it would make people less risk adverse to things like starting a business, taking an unpaid internship, going back to school ect. Psychologist have seen this in other areas of human behavior, such as play grounds with more safety features see children taking more physical risks on those play grounds.

#19
Alislaws

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I said something similar to tw88, but in a bit more detail on the capitalism discussion thread:

 

How freedom from the Need to work will make everything work way better, including Capitalism:

If we ever managed a really good social safety net system where basically no one has to ever worry about being unemployed, it would do incredible things for the nation that manages it!

 

If people can just walk away from their jobs if they want, then the Govt can just scrap most of its involvement, as market forces will ensure only decent employers get employees. 90% of the red tape companies deal with could be scrapped. (consumer protection stuff like no asbestos in teddy bears would probably still be needed)

 

Anyone with a good idea can start a company, and if they fail, its no problem, they can start another one. Also people can afford to work for free in a start up for a couple of years, in the hope of a big payoff when it gets invested in, or starts making money. So starting costs could be really low, allowing huge numbers of new entrants to markets every year, and only the best would survive making your nation way more competitive than any of your rivals. 

Nothing would be too big to fail, because no one is ever going to be in real trouble so you can stand back and let efficiency rule. 

 

But there is a legitimate concern around costs, which means either:

 

1.) You wait to introduce it only when the alternative is economic collapse (for example, when automation has massively shrunk the job market).

 

2.) Or you set aside an area of a country, and run an experiment, funded by the whole nation initially, and once it is up and running you need to prove that the high tax+UBI (or other safety net system) format allows a sustainable economy that is better than the current system

 

For a UBI economy to work better than the current one:

+Freedom from negative consequences to entrepreneurship and risk

+Reduced cost of wages (from people having a fixed income in addition to their salaries)

+Improved efficiency from much more streamlined employment regulations

 

Must outweigh:

 

-Reduced rewards for successful individuals due to higher taxes 

-Reduced money re-investment in businesses due to higher taxes

-Labour shortages from people who could work productively refusing to do so out of laziness

 

I think this would be the case, Enough other people disagree that I think we will only find out if it works when scenario 1 takes place.







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