I already talked about universal basic income here. In summary, the concept is that the government taxes everyone and then provides every citizen (who wants it) a basic “free” income to cover minimal expenses.
Way back in 2012 when I first formulated my initial list of countries to move to, and not move to, I said that South Korea was not an option for a place where I could relocate to. I said that although South Korea is awesome, it was simply too risky. No matter how interesting or economically successful it is, I have no interest in moving to a country with thousands of missiles pointed at it that could be launched at any time by a literal madman.
Back in the 1990’s, there was a chunk of worthless swampland across the main river in Shanghai called Pudong. It looked like this:
I’m visiting there now, and just a few days ago, I took a picture of it. It now looks like this:
Not bad for a bunch of backwater communists who only discovered capitalism 38 years ago.
Now here’s the weird thing. My country, the good ‘ol USA, discovered capitalism 241 years ago. Does this mean the Chinese are 203 years behind us? Nope. Technologically and economically, the coastal Chinese are literally right behind us, and in some ways have already surpassed us. While my fellow Americans are getting fat, stupid, and delusional, worrying about transgender bathrooms, universal basic income, and worshipping saviors with funny names like Obama and Trump, the Chinese are hard at work, quietly taking over the world.
On Election Day last November, I said, and I quote:
Remember I said this to you, right-wingers: Trump will fuck you. He will fuck you just like George W. Bush fucked you. He’ll fuck you just like Obama fucked the progressives. The odds are overwhelming that Trump is going to do some things in the next four years that is going to confuse and enrage you. Just watch, and remember I said it, because I’m going to be right.
I told you. I warned you. I said it over and over again, both before the election and afterwards.
There’s just one thing that will cost you more than anything else over the course of your lifetime. It will cost you more than your housing and rent, food, kids, debts, healthcare, food, cars, college or any other big expense you commonly think about.
You will pay more in taxes than any other single expense throughout your life. Such is the world we live in.
This means you need to get good at taxes.
When I was a young man in my early 20’s, since I didn’t go to college (because it’s become a useless rip-off in 95% of cases), I had to educate myself. From age 17 to about age 25, I read over 600 books on success, business, customer service, investing, people skills, and numerous other things, including taxes.
“I had achieved my goal, so I had to find a new mountain to climb.” ~Arnold Schwarzenegger
Years ago, I read a book called Seven Years to Seven Figures. The book was mostly fluff about copywriters and guys who had happened to purchase real estate during the boom and sold at the right time. However, there was one section that was extremely helpful to me in formulating my long-term goals.
In it, the author lays out exactly what your life would look like if you had $1 million, then $2.5 million, then $5 million, then $10+ million. It gave examples of how hard you would work, how much in taxes you would pay, how much you would travel or not travel, what kind of car you would drive, what your house would look like, how your eating out and vacations would look, and other aspects at each of those four lifestyle levels.
“Automation will destroy us!”
“Automation will create 40% unemployment!!!”
“We need the government to provide everyone a minimum income or else we’re all screwed!!!”
“WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO!?!?”
We’re going to drop our cost of living by 90%, that’s what we’re going to do.
It’s here, folks. Just as I predicted a very long time ago. They can now build an entire four-room house for just $10k in 24 hours. And this is just the prototype. Once we get economies of scale on stuff like this, you’ll be able to buy an entire house, seriously now, for about $1,000.
Imagine you’re standing on one end of a very narrow valley, with sheer, unclimbable rocks to either side of you. You can’t turn back, and you can’t climb the rocks. You don’t even want to. Instead, you want to get to the other side of the valley. That’s your goal.
There are several problems, however.
First, between you and the other end of valley are all kinds of obstacles. There are pits, crevasses, huge boulders, dense thickets, and all kinds of obstructions. As a matter of fact, from where you stand to where you want to go, it looks pretty much impassable. At a minimum, it’s going to take much more work than you were planning on.
Fact 1: George W. Bush, whom Republicans worshiped back in the year 2000, who campaigned on a pledge to reduce the size of government, became the biggest big-government president in American history (outside of FDR during the Great Depression and WWII). He was the first president to introduce $2 trillion, and later $3 trillion annual federal budgets(!).
Even big-government Obama didn’t increase spending nearly as much as Republican George W. Bush.
Fact 2: Federal spending grew more under Republicans George W. Bush and the lionized Ronald Reagan than under “socialist” Obama. Take a look at this:
A week ago, the Federal Reserve, the corporatist entity that actually runs the US (and thus the world) economy, raised interest rates a little, going from .75 percent to 1 percent. Remember that the Fed set interest rates to zero back in 2008 to keep the US economy from collapsing completely. Europe is so bad that many of its interest rates are negative. Isn’t that crazy?
Is this a bad thing or a good thing?
It’s complicated, but I will do my best to summarize.
1. Low interest rates are good for borrowers and usually good for business, but terrible for savers. If you want a debt-based, consumer-based economy, you want interest rates as low as possible. If you want an economy with lots of solid, solvent savers, you want interest rates to be moderate. You almost never want interest rates to be high, since that harms overall economic growth.