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Monday 16 June 2014

Uncracked Monday: A Conservative Defense of Universal Income

Today, I present to you another typical left-leaning apologetic for Universal Basic Income. 

What I really can't get is why the Left is so enamoured of this idea that, if implemented in its basic and sane form, would destroy the need for overwhelmingly large bureaucracies of public employees they so love, would significantly reduce the size of government, and most importantly: would eliminate the entire moralistic basis for their class-warfare ideas. With UBI, they would no longer be able to claim that people who work would "owe" those who can't or don't anything.  What's more, at the same time, it would remove their excuse to allow them to socially-engineer the lower-classes into what they want those classes to be: no more "you get a juicy welfare cheque from the state if you do what we think is best for you...".  Instead, everyone would suddenly be gloriously free to do what THEY thought was best for them with the government's money, instead of what bureaucrats or social workers or liberal college professors or anyone else thought was best. 

And again, I continue to be astounded as to why the Right is so madly stupidly opposed to the idea.

Its a totally Libertarian concept.  Yes, it does involve the government; and for some ultra-libertarians, that's an instant no-go.  But we're never, ever, going back to the "good old days" where it would be acceptable for the poor to starve in the streets. 

So if we begin from the point of view that the government IS going to take tax money from you: what is the best way to then have that tax money redistributed? What's the most freedom-positive way possible?
Is it for a team of college-educated politically correct bureaucrats to use a bloated series of government agencies to decide who is "worthy" of that money because they fit the right demographics or have played the system in the right way?

Or is the better answer to FIRE 90% of the bureaucrats, DOWNSIZE all the government entitlement offices save for one very streamlined one; and then take all that money that was previously going to public employee salaries plus the dole money, divide it by the number of legal citizens, and then say "Ok, everyone gets this much", and its EXACTLY THE SAME AMOUNT, whether you're living in a box or living in a 50-room mansion? And then, each person gets to DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES how they spend that money: they can invest it in stocks, put it in the bank, buy a new car, start a small business, save it for the kids' college, quit their job and live off that money while being an artist or writer or musician, quit their job and live off that money while playing video games and eating chips, or blow it all in 3 days on hookers and beer.
And, and here's the crucial point: whatever you do with that money, AFTER ITS GONE SOCIETY OWES YOU NOTHING.

If you blow it in three days on beer and hookers, after that, its up to the church, or your friends, or private charities to help you; or you can go die in a gutter, because the taxpayer already gave you your fair share. You made a choice. YOU WERE FREE. Then you live or die by your own choices.  Some people could use UBI to get rich. Some might use UBI to live the life they want to live without fear. And some will waste their lives on UBI just like they're wasting their lives on welfare now.  But now its up to each individual, rather than the state, what they do with the public money.

That, to me, is the closest we can possibly get to Libertarian Utopia that is actually fair.

So seriously, conservatives, start changing your thinking on this.  We have to try to get this implemented before the progressives figure out it will ruin their entire thought-control collectivist scheme.
If you're a conservative, and I've convinced you (or you already agreed) please reblog this.


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  1. because the left knows that even were that to pass, millions would blow the check and ask for more and the left would be there for them knowing we aren't going to let children starve and live on the streets, etc.? no matter how much you give, they always want more.

  2. No, sadly what you are talking about is socialism and socialism doesn't work. Our screw up of a president is trying that right now and we are finding out how badly it does not work.

    We have become a lazy society and we need people to actually get off their asses and work. We don't need wealth redistribution, people need to get off their asses and work.

    We do need to shrink our government, we need a flat tax that is fair to all and to lower taxes where possible. We need to give benefits to companies that open and keep business in the US. We need to put our army on the boarder to Mexico to stop people from coming here illegally and taking our jobs.

    And once we have the boarder secure, we need to kick the illegal people out of the country. If there are 10 Million illegals and only half of them are doing jobs that the people here will do, that's still 5 million more jobs that become available.

    We need to stop making it easy to outsource jobs and worry about creating jobs here. And we need to clean up our welfare system so there is a lot less abuse. If we can clean these things up, we can produce more taxes and get more done. And once we shrink things, we can require less taxes which means a person/corporations tax rate will go down meaning they have less money.

    But if anything, we have to stop the handouts. The Handout Generation doesn't want to work and they want things handed to them. And we need to reform these people, not give them more handouts. More handouts mean more lazy people.

    Hopefully we can get a Republican in office next election to clean up the mess the liberals have made of this country

    1. Are you including handouts to corporations?

      If you think Republicans will change our handout culture...I wish that were a solution.

    2. No, what I'm talking about is not socialism by any traditional understanding. Socialism is based on the idea of "equality of circumstances", and it posits the notion that the collective should get to decide what people do with money. This would free individuals to decide what they do personally with the public money. Its a new idea.

    3. You know what pisses me off? Dumb asses that love to complain about a entire generation of people yet they never think about this one detail. Who raised this so horrible generation? It didn't raised itself and government couldn't had raised everybody's kid. Could it be the past generation that were responsible to raising the current generation? BINGO!!! The actions of this generation is the result of the fine job of the past generation had done in raising their kids.

      Perhaps maybe instead of blaming generations we could instead do the intelligent thing and focus on the problems at hand. Though thinking would be hard for some people like Patriot here. Seriously the biggest welfare kings and queens are wealthy billionaires who shove in millions of dollars to buy out politicians. That is both parties so having a republican in the office isn't going to fix things.

    4. I strongly oppose ALL forms of government corporate welfare, subsidies, monopolies, etc. That's not the free market. That said, just like I'm in favor of UBI as I delineated it, I'd also be in favor of open corporate grants for research & development purposes. Again, with the same conditions: the government owes corporations nothing. No special monopolies, no 100-year copyrights, no "too big to fail" bailouts.

    5. @LevyK: I know you are being insulting only because you are behind your computer and have digital courage, but I am thinking of the problem. Which is why I talk about a flat takes, a cut of loopholes (which I have mentioned plenty of times in my post above) for corporations and people alike which everyone pays their fair share. I have also mentioned shrinking the government and other options to fix the problems we have.

  3. Well that's part of the fair flat tax I talked about (or think I talked about) earlier. A flat tax that everyone pays their fair share and cuts out stupid tax loopholes. The only kind of loopholes I would like to see are the kind that make it more affordable to offshore jobs. Things aren't going to get better by giving handouts (Regardless of the party doing so), things are going to get better by there being more jobs.

    This whole raising the minimum wage to $15/hour is silly and is going to do more damage then good. Democrats want to help but ultimately they do more damage then they do good. Republicans seem to be hit and miss (more miss) on a lot of things. I am a registered Independent because I think both parties are bad.

    I think with more people working and less people on the system (and companies actually paying their fair share) we can get enough money to do what we need to do. Hell, if more then enough money comes in maybe we can even lower taxes more. Lower taxes mean everyone has more money to spend.

    1. Look, if you want to lower taxes, what you need to do is reduce the size of government. If you want to do that, you need to cut out red tape and bureaucratic reduncancy. Nothing would do that better than to abolish all the current "entitlement" agencies/departments, and instead have one single agency giving out a universal "Government Dividend", of equal value, to everyone. As there would be no conditions, nor would anyone have to apply, it would all be automatic, that means you would not need armies of liberal social workers "administering" it to handle each claim on a case-by-case basis as you currently do. We'd need a small cadre of secretaries to handle the checks being printed, one or two fraud officers to make sure the people getting sent the money are actually alive/exist, someone to co-ordinate with the post office, and that's it.

    2. From a libertarian standpoint, If you want a really fair tax, then tax only real-estate and natural resources, and abolish all taxes on work/productive investment and its products (i.e. income) or on consumption.

    3. @TheRPGPundit: Please read what I said in the message right after Matt.Celb's post. I said that and I acknowledged that we need to reduce the size of government..

      But, if you give out Universal Basic Income, that is an entitlement and that is just another hand out and that is just bad. Where is that money going to come from? It's not going to appear from nowhere, it's going to have to come from taxes. And things are too expensive as is and people don't want to pay more.

      The reason that Universal Basic Income isn't catching on because it is a handout and a very bad idea.

    4. @@Omar G. Joel: I think Eskin Bowles (Spelling) flat tax idea is a much better idea. Just taking real estate and natural resources won't produce enough money to cover our needs. A fair flat tax where everyone pays their share but is not oppressive is more the way to go.

    5. "things are going to get better by there being more jobs."

      Not if all the jobs are part-time with no benefits and low pay. Every time they brag about job creation, they never seem to report what the jobs are.

    6. @Matt Celis: You are correct, we need real jobs, not part time jobs. We need to get everyone back to work. We have an infrastructure that is falling apart. Why is no one working to get that fixed? How many jobs would that create.

      What about other jobs over here? Let's make it affordable to keep full time good jobs over here. I agree, part time jobs are not the answer

    7. Patriot: you are the very living, breathing, presumably walking definition of "the perfect is the enemy of the good". Do you really believe we are going to get a world with no taxes? Do you really believe the welfare state is going to be dismantled? IF so, you're dreaming.
      So the question, the ONLY relevant and pragmatic question, then becomes: how can we best end up creating a welfare state that is as close as possible to principles of individual liberty?

      You're not going to win a battle for the freedom not to be taxed. That's not happening. The reality of the situation is that not only is wage disparity going to keep growing, but so is unemployment, because machines and computers will continue to replace the jobs of an increasingly large number of people. Very soon, a huge number of careers in the middle class will be vanishing too, like almost all good lower class careers already have. Now, you might prefer as a choice that these people, who cannot and will not ever be able to get a job, should just starve to death, but modern social values won't allow that.

      So this is the first thing you have to get through your head: "ENTITLEMENT" IS GOING TO HAPPEN. There's NO way its not going to happen. All kinds of entitlements are already happening, in a bloated and inefficient system that gets to be governed over by progressives who favor certain groups over certain other groups based on ideological agendas. That's the reality RIGHT NOW. Do we agree on that?

      So the next stage is a choice. But the choice is not between "entitlement vs. non-entitlement" because there is no way in our modern society that you can take entitlements away, the demand is too great and the social paradigm expects that old people will not be forced to beg on the streets, the disabled will not be left to die in a gutter and even that some asshole who just doesn't want to work will still be able to get a hot meal. Whether you think any of those are good or bad is IRRELEVANT, because they're just the pragmatic reality of things.
      No; the choice is "do we keep having the bloated liberal-driven entitlement system we have now, or do we find a streamlined, cost-efficient, equal, and FAIR system, which rewards hardworking taxpayers as much as it does seniors, veterans, single mothers, or deadbeat junkies, and gives all of these people a CHOICE as to what they do with the money?"

      That's your choice. What do you choose of those two options?

    8. I am not sure where you see no taxes. I said low taxes where everyone pays their share (people and corporations) without the stupid tax loopholes. I don't know where you pulled "NO TAXES" out of because I never said that.

      I also never said to remove all welfare programs. Again, you are pulling that out of nowhere. I said cut back the welfare programs so only people who really need it (Disabled, etc) get it and people who are capable of working do not. Making the capable people get off their asses and work instead of living off of the government.

      As I said I am ok with entitlements but limited entitlements for those who really need it, and to kick people who are capable off. And consolidate and limit the entitlements that are out there. I will agree that they are bloated and there are agendas involved.

      Again, I never said remove all entitlements, I only said streamline them so only the people who deserve them get them. The rest of the argument is against statements I never made.

  4. Interesting thought, RPGPundit. I'm just not sure there is as much money out there to divide as we would think. Sure, the federal budget is huge (3.5 trillion), but if we were to just split up the 12% comprising safety net programs among 313.9 million Americans, by my math that only comes to $25.73 dollars a person per week. If we divide up the 58% of the budget making up social security, medicare, medicaid, CHIPS, and the safety net programs, that comes out to about $124.37 per week. That amount per week is just about impossible to live on without some sort of program for needy people. If we were to include the military and everything else but payments on the national debt in there also, we get up to about $201.56 per week. That's a little better, but still just about impossible to live on. And then we have no military, no Department of Education, no you name it.

    So I guess, as crazy as this sounds to me saying it since the federal budget is so huge, I just don't know if when we keep the stuff I do want to keep, if there is enough left over to split equally among us to make this a system that doesn't just end up with a lot of people left in much worse shape than our current system, which at least makes some attempt to target aid.

    Still, I'm glad you got us talking about this. Thanks. If you were wondering, I grabbed by budget info from here:

    1. We do have a lot of empty homes that are not being used at all. If there isn't enough money, then maybe resources can fill it in. Is that possible?

  5. I think you're making a very big generalization about the left, i.e. painting all people with leftist leanings as U.S. "liberals" who like a big government, bureaucracies, complex welfare systems and so on. In fact, many leftists are left-wing libertarians, and would love to see the state-machine gone, with all its violence, bureaucracy and coercion, and replaced by much looser and localized community interactions.

    "With UBI, they would no longer be able to claim that people who work would "owe" those who can't or don't anything."

    In fact, many leftists actually claim that people who don't do anything (e.g. fat-cat shareholders and absentee landlords) owe a lot to the people who work, and make their profits possible by their labor...

    As a leftist, I'd love to see everyone, except for those with the most extreme cases of disability, work full-time (i.e. 8 hours a day, 5 days a week) in productive jobs, i.e. abolish both unemployment, bureaucracy and the speculant/rent-extracting class.

    Oh, and universal basic income will get rid of 90% of the class system, because no longer you'll have a class of people who have to choose between hiring out to work for others or starve. Which is great. I'm (and many leftists are) all for abolishing classes.

    1. "I think you're making a very big generalization about the left, i.e. painting all people with leftist leanings as U.S. "liberals" who like a big government, bureaucracies, complex welfare systems and so on. In fact, many leftists are left-wing libertarians, and would love to see the state-machine gone, with all its violence, bureaucracy and coercion, and replaced by much looser and localized community interactions."

      This is true--I myself am liberal but not in favor of large gov't and public spending on social issues. I lean Objectivist/Libertarian on pretty much anything I can think of. It confuses people because they think "liberal" means "New Age handout hippie." There are many Republican virtues with which I agree, but sadly I can't vote for them because they come in a package deal with so-called "Christian"-inspired nonsense being shoved down my throat. Never met a theocracy I liked.

    2. And how exactly would you "abolish" private wealth, shareholding, and property ownership without a huge and violent government machine coercing it?

      Also, what does any of that have to do with UBI? UBI is something that would, its true, allow the lower classes not to work in the most menial of jobs, or need to be paid more.
      This could have two effects: It might lead employers in some jobs to offer better wages, or it might lead to innovations in the form of a speeding up of the processes (that would have inevitably happened anyways) of mechanization and computation to replace human labour (which is the REAL reason why UBI is so important: because in as little as a few decades we're going to PERMANENTLY have way more adult humans then there are actual jobs for humans, so those people will either have to starve, become part of a huge and destabilizing welfare underclass, or we have to create for them a system like UBI that will encourage individual enterprise while removing both the stigma and the hoop-jumping from the notion of public income).

      But again, I don't see how UBI has anything with forcing people to work at collective farms or abolishing the upper classes. On the contrary, for the middle class, it could create an entire new pool of stock investors and small businessmen, as middle class families might take that $20000 bonus money and use it to invest or to start a home business, or to quit a corporate job (that, again, was about to become obsolete anyway) to try opening up a small business of their own.

    3. I'll try to clarify what I meant. Don't worry, no mega-coercive state is involved.

      UBI will undercut the class system. The basis of the system is that there is a majority of people who cannot survive without selling their labour power to the lowest bidder. This creates all sorts of exploitation, because if a person is motivated by basic survival, he'll settle for pretty bad job conditions just to be able to afford rent and food. You take away that, and people will work for luxuries, but will rarely accept exploitative job conditions just to get the luxuries (and, if so, it's their decision - it's not that they're motivated by hunger). There will still be "rich" and "poor" people with UBI, relatively so, and most means of production will be private, but the basis of the current class system, i.e. people having to work to subsist, will go away. Real poverty will go away. People will be able to avoid exploitative jobs. Sweatshops will go away if you'll have a global system of UBI.

      And no need for collective farms or even abolishing private property. Take away the incentives not to work (i.e. welfare benefits that go away very quickly if you start having an income from work, as well as taxes on work), and people will work, just to do something interesting with their time. Of course, you'll have to re-define what "work" means - most people won't do McJobs and menial tasks if they can make a living without it. But most people, even if guaranteed all their basic necessities by the state, will want to work daily (though this work will include art, entertainment, writing, informal education and many other things which people do less today when they're busy subsisting) for three reasons:

      1) People like to create stuff. People are creative by nature.
      2) Sitting at home all day can be very boring and unfulfilling.
      3) Under UBI, if you work, you can afford much more luxuries.

      So many more people will "work" full-time. Or part time. Or as freelancers.

      Also, you can get the "upper class" to work with the right incentives and with no coercion; many of the "upper class" people work full-time today, sometimes at highly productive things. If you tax rent-seeking (e.g. speculative land-holding) rather than work, you'll end up with many more people working.

      Shareholding is actually a very collectivist thing - no single owner of a business, but a multitude. In fact, UBI makes each citizen a "shareholder" in the government who is eligible for dividends. I have nothing against it. With proper regulation, and taxation, speculation will become less attractive than work. But today work of all sorts (and also investments) is heavily taxed, speculation less so, so why work?

      If short, if no one needs to worry anymore about survival, we keep the market, and private property, but get rid of class dynamic, and free everyone - rich and poor alike - to concentrate on what they want to do and what they enjoy rather than be exploited, or exploit others, to subsist.

  6. @Omar G. Joel: Except that UBI would be yet another handout/welfare program, which is something I know you liberals love.

    We don't need another welfare program, we need less welfare programs, we need to trim them down so that only the people who need help get help.

    With UBI people who are capable of working 40 hours a week 5 days a week wont because they are getting free money from the government. We will be in the same situation we are in with welfare, many people abusing the system.

    And of course that money has to come from somewhere, which will be taxes. Instead of adding more welfare programs and adding to our already deep debt, we need to shrink the welfare programs, shrink our government and get ourselves out of debt.

    1. I am more persuaded by people who address what other people have to say. He said don't generalize, and then you responded with a generalization about liberals. The result of this tactic will be (1) people who share your viewpoint agree with you, (2) people who don't, don't, and (3) people who don't care, just go play some d&d. No one will be moved. You have to engage with people to move people, and part of that is taking people as they are, not as you want them to be.

    2. Actually, if I were to get a free check from the gov't just for existing I'd still work so I could add to it and have a better quality of life for myself and my kids. Thus, I think you're full of it, "Patriot."

    3. I guess then, that Milton Friedman is also one of "you liberals", as he backed a negative income tax, which is a variant on UBI, as a replacement for all welfare programs...And initially went farther than mere tax credit.

      Also Friedrich Hayek, another right-libertarian, 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. To enter into such an insurance against extreme misfortune may well be in the interest of all; or it may be felt to be a clear moral duty of all to assist, within the organised community, those who cannot help themselves. So long as such a uniform minimum income is provided outside the market to all those who, for any reason, are unable to earn in the market an adequate maintenance, this need not lead to a restriction of freedom, or conflict with the Rule of Law." Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 2, p. 87

      So UBI is not an invention of "you liberals" but something which is desired across a wide spectrum of political views, from left-libertarians and market-socialists to right-libertarians and fiscal conservatives.

    4. Yup, its true. I'm not sure the Patriot knows who Hayek is, but you under-sell him when you say "another right-libertarian"; he is in great part the Father of modern free-market capitalist thought.

      And if you understand what both Hayek and Friedman are saying, its that having everyone get the same baseline of guaranteed basic living income would in fact act as a HUGE incentive to individual enterprise and innovation, the two things that Free Market Capitalism thrive upon.

    5. @Matt Celis: If that is true, then you are one of the few. We have plenty of people here who get checks from welfare who can work, but choose to not work because they get free money from the government. I know of a few through acquiescence.

      We need to stop giving people a crutch and we need to get them working and not depending on the government. And we need the government to shrink so its not so expensive to run and doesn't have so much waste

    6. @Omer G. Joel: Taking out the whole liberal part of anything, let's look at the
      problem and let's remove all political garbage from the conversation:

      In order to do UBI you are going to have to raise taxes to get the money
      together. People aren't going to go for that. Not businesses, not individuals.
      While taxes have to happen, the higher taxes are the less people have to '
      spend buying items.

      When people have less to spend on items, the economy tanks. Again, taxes
      HAVE to happen, that is understood (at least most reasonable people).
      You tank the economy jobs are lost and businesses are closed, meaning
      more people who are unemployed and there being even less money to spend.

      Basically UBI isn't going to happen.

      What we need is jobs and businesses to start. And UBI isn't the solution for
      that. A flat tax where everyone pays their share and there are no loopholes is
      the way to go.

      People have plenty of opportunities to start businesses but with government agencies
      keeping taxes high for businesses and trying to raise the minimum wage for unskilled
      people up to the point where skilled people out of trade school starts, it discourages

  7. @Manduke: I did address what he said. I also asked questions like where is the money going to come from to fund UBI? What is going to keep people from being lazy and not work because they are getting free money from the government (Much like what is happening with a lot of people who are getting welfare).

    Why is it better to give people a handout then to get people to actually go out, make an effort and actually work to improve themselves? The welfare system has made it easy for people to be lazy and not work because they know they will be taken care of. I am not just generalizing, I am talking from experience knowing people who have done just that.

    It would be better to create jobs so people can work instead of expecting a handout from the government, and it would be better to cut the government and cut entitlements then to hand out yet another entitlement.

    We are in enough debt and the money for UBI has to come from somewhere, and it will come from a place that will put us in more debt.

    1. @patriot: I was referring to this exchange:

      Omer: "I think you're making a very big generalization about the left, i.e. painting all people with leftist leanings as U.S. "liberals" who like a big government, bureaucracies, complex welfare systems and so on. In fact, many leftists are left-wing libertarians, and would love to see the state-machine gone, with all its violence, bureaucracy and coercion, and replaced by much looser and localized community interactions."

      Your response: "@Omar G. Joel: Except that UBI would be yet another handout/welfare program, which is something I know you liberals love."

      If you think you responded to Omer, you're in denial. You responded to a scarecrow instead.

    2. If you're worried about debt, how about we also stop spending billions on elective wars and propping up dictatorships worldwide to secure oil reserves?

    3. @Manduke: So you ignored the other parts of that post, the part where I asked about what would motivate people to work 40 hours if they can get free money from the government. That is a problem we have now with the regular welfare system. Or how are we going to pay for it.

      The problem is the liberals have for the most part (but not all liberals) been pro handouts/welfare programs because it knows it buys them votes. It's doesn't address the real problem which is lack of jobs, lazy people who aren't working, all that UBI does is give people another outlet to be paid to do nothing. Would everyone who gets UBI get the money and do nothing? No, but I bet a lot of people would.

      We need to stop with the handouts and we need to get people back to work and stop them from depending on the government.

    4. @patriot: I wasn't ignoring the rest of your post; I was focusing on your generalization right after Omer's post about generalizations.

      That aside, I share your reservations about a ubi system. I would rather make sure everyone has an opportunity to succeed and then go out and profit from their own success.

      I will say, however, that while there is always a danger of the safety net becoming a safety hammock, which of course we want to avoid, there are countless individuals who I think should receive assistance. I bet you'd agree with that too, but I think it's important to state.

    5. Going forward I am going to keep the politics out of it and just stick to the facts.

      I think a flat tax (Because taxes have to happen) where everyone pays their fare share and no loopholes is the way to go. I am not saying get rid of all welfare, but lets make sure only the people who really need it are getting it. And let's get the leeches off of it.

      The UBI would require taxes to go up in order to pay for it. And the higher the taxes, the less money people have to spend on items and the economy suffers so I don't think it would be accepted here for that and many other reasons

    6. Generally, I agree with you here. I'm just not so sure about the flat tax, myself. By "fair share" do you mean "equal share?"

    7. @ Patriot - I think that almost all people who can work but won't aren't lazy at all. They just have incentives not to work. Such as welfare benefits which go away very easily when you work - so people LOSE MONEY if they work. So why work? No rational person, rich or poor, wants to lose money. Also, work (i.e direct income) gets heavily taxed, usually (in most countries) more than anything else, which is another incentive not to work. And the many regulations about opening a small business also serve as negative incentives to work. UBI doesn't go away if you work, so it isn't an incentive not to work. Most welfare programs go away when you work so they serve as incentives not to work.

      One way (supported even by prominent hard-line free-market theorists by the way, including Milton Friedman IIRC) to get rid of the welfare issue is to replace welfare with negative income tax. You have a progressive income tax; but, if your income is under a certain sum, you GET PAID money by the tax agency rather than paying it. The sole criterion for this is income, which IRS or equivalent already has all the data about, so no need for massive welfare bureaucracies, social workers and so on. You can cut them all away. Everyone is guaranteed a basic income; if you earn more money by work, you get paid less, BUT the total sum you earn is always higher the more you work - that is, work is always profitable. So you both get rid of the welfare bureaucracy, save money compared to basic UBI (i.e. you don't have to pay those who have a high income), and give everyone an incentive you work (the more you work - the more you have to spend on consumer goods/services).

    8. @Manduke: What I mean by flat tax is a tax rate (let's say just for an example 15% for people who make up to $1,000,000 and 18% for people who make more then that. With no loopholes where they can't pay their fair share.

      And by Fair Share/Equal Share I mean a small business with 10 employees having to pay taxes while a company like GE (and this did happen a couple of years ago) paid NO TAXES and got a one billion dollar refund. That is not right

    9. @Omer G. Joel: What you described to me, and to most people who have to support these people are lazy.

      I see you are oversees looking at your G+ account but you haven't seen and read the many reports on the abuses on welfare. And they are working to fix these issues.

      You talk about people who are capable of working but make more on welfare so they don't, that's lazy. Those are the people who should be cut off and made to either work or they don't have an income.

      The only people who should be getting welfare are people who are disabled/sick and cannot work. If you are viable you should be cut off of welfare completely and forced to work. I get tired of seeing these people on welfare who have the latest version of the IPHONE and buy nice things but live in slums. You don't see what is going on here, you don't read what is going on here in the US. I do.

      I am against the UBI, I don't know of one place that it is being utilized that it is working and I would fight it ever happening here. We need to trim our welfare down to just people who truly need it and kick the rest of the lazy people off of it.

      I am not saying get rid of it totally, I just want to remove all of the abusers. As far as I am concerned they can either work or they can starve.

      I don't care that you can make more money on the system then you can working. If you are capable of working and you aren't because you make more living on welfare, you are lazy and need to be kicked off.

      In many places that is what they are doing, and I am glad they are finally getting rid of these lazy people. I am sick of supporting them. I can stay employed and when I have lost my job do to outsourcing I found another one and so can they.

      The UBI only coddles people, and the US has coddled people for way too long and has become weak. We give trophies to people just for participating and so everyone gets a trophies and doesn't feel bad.

      That's coddling and that is weak. If you work hard at a sport or whatever you get a trophie, if you don't then you get nothing. And it is motivation to work harder. We need to stop coddling people and we need to get back our work ethic and we need to stop being enablers for lazy people.

  8. @Matt Celis: Yes, yes, 100 times yes. We need to stop being the world police and we need to worry about ourselves. There are countries that just sit by while we take care of everyone's problems and they do nothing. We need to concentrate on ourselves and stop going to war everywhere.

    1. @ Patriot - here I agree with you as well. Dismantle the U.S. empire, just imagine how much money this will free, either for big tax cuts for the benefits of all citizens, of for something such as the UBI. Empire-building benefits a tiny fraction of the population )i.e. the arms industry) at the expense of everyone else.

    2. @Omerg G. Joel: While I never will agree with you about UBI and it most likely would never happen in the US (at least not in my life time) the tax cuts would free money for people to buy things and it would free companies to hire people people, lowering unemployment (and putting more money into the economy) and free money up for new businesses to get started.

  9. Destroying the big bureaucracies that keep everybody down is exactly why many lefties like this idea. There's nothing inherently "left" about massive bureaucracies; that's an authoritarian thing. And the authoritarian - libertarian axis is orthogonal to the left - right (equality - inequality) axis.

    I know this sounds odd in the US, but there are actually a lot of left-wing libertarians. The original use of the word libertarian comes from the phrases "libertarian communism" and "libertarian socialism", to contrast it against Marx's idea of state communism. All I really want is for everybody to start from fairly equal opportunities and to be free from coercion by concentrated capital or unchecked bureaucratic power.

    If you want basic income, some lefties will be your allies, and some righties will be your enemies, because there are just as many authoritarians on the right side as on the left side of the spectrum. Let go of that outdated one-dimensional view of politics.

    1. Exactly. Left/Right and Authoritarian/Libertarian are two different axes. Look at The Political Copmpass:

      I, for once, am DEEP at the bottom left quarter of their chart (i.e. left-libertarian).

  10. I'm in the absolute center point, oddly, but I think that's just because of contrasting extremes that don't easily fit into any modern conception of politics.

    In any case, I don't deny there are libertarian leftists, or small-government leftists; I could definitely understand why they would be in favor of UBI. However, what I'm saying is that I think that there are a lot of BIG-GOVERNMENT Leftists who are also in favor of UBI, and that's because they are confused or have not thought it through (or they imagine some world where that will happen AND we'll continue to have huge and redundant government bureaucracies and legions of social workers).
    They don't get that having a nearly-automatic, absolutely equal, and UNCONDITIONAL welfare state will be the best argument ever for dismantling the stupid, bloated, inept and corrupt welfare administration.