Universal Basic Income (UBI)
I was going to write a full analysis regarding this, but Stefan Molyneux, bless his heart, just came out with a video that went through all of my points and numbers for me. So instead of writing a big ‘ol blog post about this, just watch the above video. He makes literally all the same points I was going to make, and he even illustrates some of them better than I could.
Some of the key points I was going to talk about that he addressed:
– A massive welfare state can’t work long-term because of the basic laws of economics. Robots and/or automation doesn’t change the basic laws of economics. As I’ve said many times, socialism/communism don’t suddenly start working because robots.
– Similarly, a thing doesn’t automatically work because some conservatives, libertarians, or smart people think its a good idea. (It doesn’t matter if Milton Friedman thought UBI was a good idea. He himself said in interviews that the only reason he was for it was because he was emotionally uncomfortable with having poor people in a society.)
– Handing free cash to the poor always creates more poor. I’ve said this and demonstrated this a million times. His example is as follows. If you give $1,000 a month, or $12K per year, as a minimum income to all poor people, then everyone who is working and making $13K per year are suddenly working all those hours not for $13K per year, but for just $1K per year, since if they just quit they’d immediately get $12K. 13-12=1. A huge percentage of people making $13K, $14K, $15K per year would just stop working, collect their $12K, and enjoy all that free time.
– Short-term, a UBI would probably work. Long-term, it would not. Short-term, just about everything works. You can’t judge a government policy based on short-term performance. Long-term, having something like a UBI would end up increasing the cost of living for everyone and eventually bankrupt your country. The same is true of having any large welfare state (and UBI is just another version of welfare).
– The two types of poor must be differentiated, and government welfare programs always refuse to do this. A UBI would as well.
Take a few minutes and watch the video. He goes through all the arguments and the numbers. Having a UBI won’t work long-term in any society.