Ray Dalio on universal basic income

Via Ray Dalio of Bridgewater:

What is Universal Basic Income (UBI)? In general, UBI is a type of cash transfer that is:

  • Universal: every citizen receives the transfer regardless of employment status or income.
  • Unconditional: recipients have no restrictions on how they can spend the cash.
  • Basic: the amount will cover “basic needs” and will constitute a “living wage.”
  • Long-Term: the cash transfers will last for the long term, e.g. entirety of the receipt’s life.

UBI isn’t an especially new idea; even Thomas Paine was an advocate. The idea gained traction and elicited debate in late 1960s (especially during the Nixon administration), but never really gained a foothold.

Where is UBI Receiving Policy Interest? Cities in Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, and the US have announced pilot schemes to test the effects of the policy (generally, these are in very early stages). Governments in Germany, France, New Zealand, India, Scotland and Namibia have also expressed interest. GiveDirectly (a charity that distributes cash to the poor) has launched a comprehensive study on unconditional cash transfers in Kenya.  Most notably, Switzerland held a referendum on UBI in 2016, proposing each citizen receive a monthly income of about $2700. The proposal was defeated (77% of voters opposed it).

Who are Prominent Supporters? Prominent supporters include Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Nobel winning economist Angus Deaton. [vi] Warren Buffet supports a related program, the negative income tax, originally popularized by Milton Friedman.

What are the Chief Points of Contention? 

Proponents argue that UBI will reduce inequality, direct money to where it is needed most because the person with the need is the best decision maker, avoid the bad incentives created by traditional welfare programs, distribute more money because the administrative overhead costs are less, encourage dynamism and risk taking in the economy, and offer an additional safety net for those who are seeing downward wage pressure from automation/globalization.

Critics claim that any meaningful basic income scheme will be prohibitively expensive, reduce incentives to work, redistribute money away from those who need it most to those who already have jobs, and/or redistribute it away from providing it where it is most needed (e.g. food stamps, social services) to bad or less good usage (e.g. “they will drink it away”) because of bad choices. (More Detail Below)

What Does the Evidence Suggest?

As UBI has never been implemented (unless you count the extremely generous payments Gulf States make to their citizens), we do not have a true case study to stress test the arguments for and against it. The pilot schemes that are/will be tried in Canada, the United States, Finland, Scotland, Kenya, and the Netherlands will take years to report their findings.

We do, however, have the results from numerous experiments looking at the impact of unconditional direct cash transfers to poor households (i.e. no-strings transfers to cover basic needs for a period, but that weren’t universal or long term), both in the developed and developing world. These include five experiments in the US and Canada conducted in the 1970s, as well as over 50 experiments in the developing world.  Findings from these studies are regularly employed in debates on UBI.

These studies show an improvement in recipient economic conditions and wellbeing, a modest decrease in work effort, and a tendency for recipients to spend the transfers productively. However, the usefulness of most of these studies is limited by the fact that the transfers ended after a short time period (2-3 years) and were only awarded to very poor households (not universal) – the studies were structured this way because they were more focused on testing unconditional cash transfers, rather than something closer to UBI. And the richest data comes from the developing world, so it is not clear how much can be extrapolated from the behavior of transfer recipients previously earning less than $1.5 a day with citizens living in more prosperous economies.

Previous studies conducted on unconditional cash transfers and their differences to an ideal universal basic income experiment:

To further flesh out what the studies found:

Developed World Studies

  • Positive effects on economic and general wellbeing. Treated households enjoyed better physical and mental health, educational performance, and homeownership rates.
  • A modest reduction in work effort. Primary earners worked about 5-10% less and were unemployed for longer stretches of time. The reduction in working hours was much larger for secondary and tertiary earners (15-30%), who devoted more time to child care and education.

Developing World Studies

  • No decline, or an increase, in hours worked, greater employment participation, and improved employment outcomes. In the cases where hours worked declined, the attribution showed the reduction to be mainly in the elderly and dependents.
  • An increase in savings and investment, with recipient households investing a portion of the proceeds in income generating goods (livestock, agricultural productive assets etc.). Some studies also found that incomes after the transfers had ceased were higher than when they began.
  • No noticeable increase, and frequently a decline, in consumption towards “temptation goods” (e.g. alcohol, tobacco).
  • A generalimprovement in health, education, and female empowerment indicators, as well as a notable decline in child labor.

What would UBI cost if implemented in the US?

Below we take a rough cut at estimating how much it would cost to implement UBI in the United States. We first look at what it would cost to pay every American citizen the current poverty threshold ($12,000 a year– an amount less than half what the Swiss proposed implementing in 2016). This would end up costing ~ $3.8 trillion (or 21% of GDP and 78% of all tax revenues and contributions for government social insurance).

We next look at how much of this expenditure could be funded through scrapping existing social programs and replacing them with a UBI (as some proponents argue). We first imagine the highly unlikely scenario in which all social spending (excluding infrastructure spending and education, but includes almost all other government transfers to households including healthcare) is scrapped. This would free up about ~ 92% of the funds needed to implement UBI. We subsequently imagine that only income support programs (disability, retirement & social security, welfare, and unemployment benefits) are axed. This would yield ~ 37% of the required funding. Finally, excluding social security, retirement and disability from the list of replaceable programs leaves only 11% of the costs for a UBI of $12,000 covered through replacing existing components of the welfare state.

Finally, we imagine two scenarios in which the payouts of UBI are reduced depending on the income level of the receipt. For instance, in the first scenario, every $ of income earned will reduce UBI by 10 cents, meaning that if you make $120,000 you will not receive a basic income, and if you make $60,000 you will receive only half (i.e. $6000). While this is technically not a Universal Basic Income, it may offer a compromise solution between securing the underlying goals of UBI and the constraints/concerns surrounding financing it. As you can see below, this reduces the cost of implementing UBI significantly. However, even using a steep slope, existing income support programs will fall short of fully financing UBI – and additional revenues will likely need to be raised.

As perspective, the chart below shows OECD estimates for how much money would be made available per person if developed economies replaced all social spending ex-health care with a Universal Basic Income (purchasing power adjusted). Even the most generous welfare states would struggle to cover the cost of a poverty-line basic income. Not to say it isn’t possible – just that incremental change in our social/taxation systems wouldn’t get you there.

More Details on the Pros and Cons for UBI

Other than to provide every citizen in an economy with an income to meet basic needs, and a buffer against sharp personal financial downturns, supporters argue that UBI will help in:

  • Reducing Inequality: UBI is seen as a means to reduce inequality, which has risen in developed countries. Proponents argue that it will help compensate for 3 decades of low wage growth, increase the bargaining power of labor relative to capital, and act as a non-intrusive, and potentially less politically toxic, form of redistribution.
  • Directing Money to Where it is Needed Most: Traditional welfare transfers typically come with restrictions as to how the money can be spent (e.g. foods stamps). This means that administrators and policy makers end up having to make choices for individuals as to where income support would be most impactful in their lives and apply such direction across the board, with limited ability to tailor to individual circumstances. In contrast, UBI empowers the individual to decide how best to use the income transfer given their particular circumstances and needs.
  • Minimizing Bad Incentives: UBI offers better incentives than more traditional welfare policies. Unlike unemployment benefits or income support, there is no disincentive against seeking better paying employment (as UBI will not be cut off as income rises – see appendix 1 for an illustration). Unlike the minimum wage, UBI should not make a set of workers prohibitively expensive for employers.
  • Supporting Economic Dynamism: UBI could support economic dynamism and innovation through encouraging people to take more risks, lowering the entry costs for entrepreneurship/accessing productivity enhancing skills, and encouraging workers to take the time to seek work better suited to their interests, aptitudes, and sense of fulfillment.
  • Distribute More Money By Reducing Administrative & Overhead Costs: UBI is also seen as a means to reduce/replace the large, bureaucratic, and inefficient welfare state with a simpler, more efficient, and less politically controversial safety net. This will reduce administrative and overhead costs, meaning that more money is actually distributed to those who need it as a percent of the welfare budget.
  • Protecting against Technological and Economic Disruption: UBI can assure many people a living wage as automation, artificial intelligence, and globalization puts downward pressure on wages. UBI would also provide greater economic freedom for dislocated workers, allowing them to invest in building new skills, rather than having to seek immediate (and likely lower paying) employment. Relatedly…
  • Combatting the Rise of Anti-Establishment and Populist Politics: The threat of anti-establishment politics has led some to advocate for UBI as a means of updating capitalism and sharing its spoils more equitably.
  • Compensating for Unpaid Work:Many socially valuable roles are not formally compensated in a market economy (e.g. raising a child)and are predominantly performed by women. UBI is seen as a means to begin to recognize, in monetary form, such roles, and rectify resulting imbalances in power, especially in the third world.
  • Providing More Effective International Aid: Currently 700 million people live below the global poverty line ($1.9/day). Calculations from the World Bank and Brookings Institute approximate that it would take $80 billion in direct cash transfers to life these individuals above the global poverty line. This is almost half of what we currently spend on international aid (OECD’s budget alone is over $130 billion, not including private donations).

Aside from philosophical arguments opposing redistribution or contesting any inherent right to a fixed income, opponents argue that UBI will hurt in:

  • Being Prohibitively Expensive: Opponents argue that implementing any meaningful universal basic income will be prohibitively expensive and unsustainable. For instance, the Swiss proposal of awarding each citizen about $2700 a month would cost about 25% of GDP. Critics further argue that the tax hikes necessary to adequately fund UBI will likely be a significant drag on growth. We go through some numbers for the US above.
  • Reducing Work Ethic: Conservative critics argue that UBI will significantly reduce incentives to work and encourage people to work fewer hours and have longer stints in unemployment.
  • Redistributing Money Away From Those Who Need It Most: Depending on how it’s done, UBI might act as a net transfer away from people currently on welfare receipts to those who already have jobs. While raising taxes to pay for UBI will likely lead to a net transfer away from the wealthiest, it might simultaneously reduce support to those who need it most.
  • Redistributing Money Away from Providing What is Most Needed to Bad or Less Good Usage: Unconditional cash transfers would mean that policy makers cannot try to ensure that the money provided is spent towards providing essentials (e.g. food stamps, social spending) versus less impactful or even harmful uses (e.g. people spending the transfers on “temptation goods” such as alcohol and tobacco).
  • Distracting From Improving The Existing Welfare State: Some liberal critics have argued that UBI is a distraction from the more pressing issue of improving the existing welfare state. Critics are concerned that UBI might undermine funding and support for improving tried and tested programs that took decades to set up.

*  * *

Appendix 1: An Illustration of Bad Incentives in Existing Income Support Programs

The chart below shows the effective after tax and transfer income of Americans earning up to 70k.

There are several ‘cliffs’: points at which earning a bit more actually hurts you because you lose eligibility for a social program.

Comments

  1. “… how much of this expenditure could be funded through scrapping existing social programs and replacing them with a UBI (as some proponents argue). …. all social spending is scrapped. This would free up about ~ 92% of the funds needed to implement UBI.”
    So where’s the problem! 92% of what we already pay, we will stay pay. Ah, yes, but look at all those $1 mio managerial jobs that will be replaced by UBI! That’s the problem. A few, have too much to lose by assisting the many…

    • I think the UBI tenet that everyone is “universal” is flawed. People have varying degrees of financial smarts and self-control. Assuming that everyone will act in a rational and logical manner is where this whole idea falls apart.

      So, everyone receives that funds, some blow the lot in two weeks, what happens then? Do we let them starve since we have abolished all govt-funded social programs to fund the UBI?

      You will have to accept that the “middle management” jobs that run these social programs actually create value. They do for many people in society what they cannot do themselves, i.e. look after their ‘money’ and use it for what it is intended.

      • You could make the exact same argument about social welfare payments that exists today (dole, disability pension etc). UBI would be no different – and I would also presume it would be based fortnightly or whatever, not in an annual lump sum!

      • HadronCollision

        That sounds like some anti corporate tax cut logic right there too!
        Excellent work.

    • Meh. False magic bullet. Breaks the link between wealth and serving your fellow humans. It’s more, I’m breathing so give me free sh1t. Legislate to make it legal for you to steel it from others. Automation creates more opportunities not less, for those willing to work hard and create. Leftists will never be convinced so will probably happen. Meh.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      So where’s the problem!

      Specific social spending exists to address specific needs (eg: child support, rent assistance).

      Remove the specific expenses and where do you set your baseline UBI ? At the upper end (ie: largest UBI) or lower end (smallest UBI). If the former, the UBI ends up being very generous, especially if you live in a relatively low-cost area. If the latter, people who actually needed that extra assistance are stuffed.

  2. Child care is a massive welfare churn machine. Your missus gives birth then the Feds think its a great idea to put baby in a Federal Institution at 6 weeks old. Pay them $100 a day per kid. Women then goes back to work and probably does not even make enough to be in front on child care.
    To me its nuts. The Feds will pay $10K so your baby is looked after in a institution rather then give you the $10k to look after your own kid.

    Its a step on way to communism . Children belong to the state…

    • “Its a step on way to communism . Children belong to the state…”

      Really?
      What you talk of was only seen _outside_ the communism, like AUS, Nordics…
      Communism gave mothers a hefty parenting leave, free childcare at any time chosen etc.

      • Different types of Communism. I was referring to the Pol Pot version. Children were a communal asset, not raised by the parents.
        Anyway all I am saying is just step back from the noise and ask why it is the Feds want us to hand over our babies to these institutions. Since time began baby and mother belonged together. Now mother needs to drop baby off on way to serving the system

      • Jumping jack flash

        @Rod — simply giving them what they want. People wanted dual incomes. Childcare workers need to be able to afford mortgages too. Nobody could afford to use childcare if it wasn’t subsidised.

        People are stupid, but the government needs votes to win power.
        It is a far easier thing for the government to throw money at people and problems so they go away, than actually find the root cause and address it. They can go back to quaffing red in the cafeteria and shagging their staffers so much earlier.

        Of course it makes better sense to pay people 10K instead of the childcarers. But then we wouldn’t have a childcare industry, and every serious 1st world country needs one of those, don’t you know.

        Same goes for private health insurance. We need it, so they say, so we invited it in. Nobody actually needs to use it, of course, because we have the one of the world’s best public health systems, but we penalise everyone who doesn’t have private health insurance to force them to have it. Even though it would make far better sense just to give the extra money spent on private health to Medicare.

      • ThePensumMEMBER

        JumpingJackFlash –

        *some* people wanted dual incomes. – The rest of us had to to keep up.

      • HadronCollision

        BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

        (that’s a “wrong” buzzer)

        JJF

        I wonder what the results would be if you asked couples
        a) would you prefer to put your kid/s in daycare from age X so you can both go to work, and have to manage all the paperwork for said childcare, pickups, dropoffs, two cars etc or
        b) one of you stay home part/full time to care for kids/home

        I wonder what the results would be

        I know what I would put money on

    • It normally works out to be 3 days a week before the rebate/subsidy runs out. So the welfare is only really for part-time work. Any decent centre charges well over $100/day which may be more than what a mother earns per day. If you have a kid in full-time paying full fees it is roughly the same cost as a full-fee post-graduate degree.

      The thing I found interesting is when you play around with income and subsidy levels it appears the goal of the system is for everyone to have the same amount post-tax/transfer system calculations (the except is for very high income earners). It is very much socialism in that everyone is effectively being paid the same (if they have children in child care).

      It really is the destruction of the family unit on the altars of socialism and feminism. (Having said that, I am an advocate of part-time early childhood education, which is different to simply childcare)

      • Very well put MrMedved. I was fortunate we had our kids before the GFC and back then I was a high income earner so child care was not a concern, she just stayed home those first few years, grandparents provided respite. I could see among our friends just how much stress it all causes.
        Imagine for a moment the reduction in divorce, family violence and improvement in childrens general well being if mum was able to stay with baby those early years ? Dad would be less stressed too.
        But the state fcking loves chaos. They destabilise nations abroad to get access to their resources without resistance. Now they destabalise at home so they can suck the marrow from our bones.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        It really is the destruction of the family unit on the altars of socialism and feminism.

        You guys are utterly obsessed, it’s hilarious. Socialists and feminists, RARRRRGHGHGHGHG !!!

        People need to put their kids into childcare because they both need to work. Why do they need to work ? Because cost of living is high and rising and wages are stagnant. Why is cost of living high and rising and wages stagnant ? Because the last few decades have seen the gutting, selling off and disassembling of everything that might work to keep costs of living down and wages growing, from workers rights through public services and publicly owned infrastructure to effective regulation and, finally and most importantly, using high unemployment as an inflation control.

        All of which were clearly masterminded by socialists and feminists, despite their otherwise vocal opposition to pretty much everything listed above.

    • That way they can start the brainwashing from a young age. Plus won’t you think of all the feminists who are breaking open the glass ceiling… stuff the women who want to stay home and raise their children that’s so old skool

    • You should open up a family daycare and run it from home. Our refugee community are renowned for multiple openings from state owned houses.
      Look into it – the feds encourage it.

  3. There’s one way I think UBI could potentially work and that’s in the form of non-transferable shares in our natural resources.

    Wants to dig some rocks? Ok, well the shareholders require a cut.

    Naturally tax would eat it all once you’re working, but for the unemployed, it’s arguably a form of UBI that could work.

    A twist on the MRRT, if you will.

  4. frag outMEMBER

    2 things that spring to mind
    1) Much like FHBG the cost of everything will simply rise to account for the population-wide increase in disposable income
    2) at the LHS of the population tail, cash distribution to people for which cashlessness is symptomatic but not the reason for their life’s issues. Is anyone suggesting they will not obliterate themselves with alcohol or drug abuse now paid for every month with a UBI. Or is that the point, and that issue self-resolves. What proportion of the population is that anyway, 1-2%. Goodnight 250K people.

    Now if you said credit, vs. cash which is implied by the word income, that would drive different behaviours again.

      • Not at the lower end. If people had a choice a about needing to work the unappealing job for next to nothing it’s likely they may not do it for such a low wage. The argument is very similar to reducing immigration leads to a decrease in the labour pool and an increasein demand from employers.

        At the upper end, I couldn’t say. I’m sure that those who have ended up with the big bucks will keep using the methods that have worked well for them so far.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Not at the lower end. If people had a choice a about needing to work the unappealing job for next to nothing it’s likely they may not do it for such a low wage.

        You’re forgetting that low wage will be on top of their new UBI.

        So their new wage will effectively become their current wage minus their UBI. Ie: nearly zero net change in total income and a significant shift downwards on “wages”.

        The only way this doesn’t happen is if the UBI is at or around minimum wage (and even then it really just pushes the whole equation above up the income ladder a bit).

      • MediocritasMEMBER

        ^ this is really the killer point. If nothing is done about rampant rent-seeking, then any handout will immediately be siphoned off by increased economic rents. The configuration will then stabilise at higher rents with a dependency on the handout being maintained.

      • Why ‘high level of government’? Maybe high taxes. UBI would be simple to implement and fully automate. Compare that to today’s complexity of Centerlink with the department and IT systems costing billions to run.

    • How come solar panels are cheaper than ever? I presume 4G data is cheaper than ever as well.

      If I buy something from Kmart, they do not change the price depending on what my income is.

      The inflation argument is a load of garbage.

    • 1) is an interesting point. 2) UBI proponents argue with your most basic needs taken care of you get more freedom in choosing what you do with your life. I guess this would mean less people at the bottom of that hierarchy of needs pyramid, hopefully resulting in less depression and substance abuse.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Much like FHBG the cost of everything will simply rise to account for the population-wide increase in disposable income

      That would indicate a complete failure of the market. The proper way to address that would be to fix whatever it is that was preventing the market from functioning.

  5. Simple thought experiment: In an Australia with UBI, would the profits of the people who control Australia, the banks, big intl tech + telstra, non bank FIRE + construction mates, the supermarket duopoly, the super funds and their union dominated boards; would their profits go up or down?

    I think their profits would go up, due to their ability to extract every last dollar from every last Australian. Funded by the rapidly dwindling number of net taxpayers. This should tell you everything you need to know about who benefits from UBI. Pro-tip: It isn’t us.

    As an aside, weren’t you lot lamenting the uselessness of NDIS the other day? Why would you expect a UBI platform to be any different?

    • that’s exactly right

      which is why UBI is getting a push in the media lately

      The better alternative is a government job guarantee, which would “crowd out” private enterprise and the current trend of privatisation of public services and assets

      • Agree, UBI is more ideological than functional based economics.

        Chicago School M. Friedman is not someone I would mention in supporting anything nor Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk. Don’t even know what the point is of referencing a fake Noble prize.

    • I wonder what size mortgage you could take out with UBI. It’s less than median wage, but the catch is it’s an annuity. House prices up again.

    • The reader should keep in mind that the author of that piece is a passionate advocate of a job guarantee. The two camps are fairly civil but both exagerate their strengths and the other’s flaws.

      • DreadnotMEMBER

        Neither approaches are mutually exclusive and the question does passion negate the strategy. Real world examples are the new deal and Argentina – both for a while.

      • Very true. One could imagine them complimenting each other. A UBI with a job guarantee for those that wish to add to the amount but can’t find work.

  6. BabundaMEMBER

    Without doubt one of the left’s stupider ideas. The Finns killed their trial because it doesn’t work. Giving people money for nothing does not entice them to work. It’s just as delusional as the neoliberals’ dribble-down theory.
    A much much much better idea is Bill Mitchell’s Job Guarantee.

    • rentsailorMEMBER

      Dead right Reus,
      I am in the top tax bracket and I work my A§§ off for every dollar, putting my life and limb on the line for it – refuse to give it to some slackers. Lefty dream is all it is IMO.

      They want to give away cash..
      fk me, when I work two jobs the ato shreds me to pieces at 48c in the dollar. All because a technicality my pay comes in from two diff companies, or because my company pays me out in lump sums because they cant be fd staggering payments..

      the mere thought of UBI makes me sick

  7. Rational RadicalMEMBER

    Did a CTL-F in my browser for “land tax”.

    No hits.

    No wonder the UBI discussion never gets off the ground properly.

    We need to understand HOW to fund government, not how MUCH / WHO to fund. Then we may start getting somewhere towards restoring the commons to the people, achieving economic justice, and all while reducing the footprint of government. Something that should transcend the increasingly arbitrary Left / Right divide.

    Henry George would be turning in his grave. Time we all revisited the principles of Classical Progressive Economics, and reinvent it for the modern era. In that vein it was good to see H&H run a recent article on QE for the people in which the wisdom and proposals of the likes of Steve Keen and Michael Hudson get a well deserved airing. Both of them true students of economic and financial / monetary history.

    • Check out Guy Standing. He is more focused minimising the rentseeking that occurs through patents, but also speaks of George and others that have advocated a land tax and the redistribution of it. The argument that Standing makes is also most similar to the classical economists in that the moral grounding of a UBI is its strongest argument. This is different to moralising, which is what most commonly occurs when a UBI is brought up.

      https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/304706/basic-income/

  8. Haha, how is this different from, “so long as the bosses pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work”. A UBI would be destroyed through inflation. Sure, give people an income but it will become very, very basic over time. Just look at Newstart payments.

    • “how is this different from, “so long as the bosses pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work.”

      You wouldn’t be paid to work. And, if you are able to live a life you are happy with off the, let’s say $10,000 a year, then retire. However, most will still want a bit more and will work. It’s just that now the precarious will have a safety net and won’t have to go through the dehumanising process of Centrelink and the tier known as the job find network.

    • Jumping jack flash

      “A UBI would be destroyed through inflation”

      of course, but they would continue to engineer the inflation figure to suit the agenda du jour.
      If the agenda was to show low inflation so they wouldn’t need to increase a UBI, then it would show that.

  9. Newstart payment hasn’t risen in real terms since 1994, so let the treacherous government pay this smaller portion of the population a decent ‘income’, before entertaining a seemingly extravagant payment to the entire population.

    • You have got to understand human psychology:

      If Politician A proposes that bus travel be made free for the poor and Politician B proposes that bus travel be made free for the poorest 60%, who do you think will win the election?

      Proposal A will probably make bogans angry. “How dare you help the poor more” etc. Proposal B will make bogans say “you beauty”!

      You need not give UBI to everyone – the Australian Parliament website says prisoners shall not get it – maybe prisoners can not vote either.

  10. Redistributing Money Away From Those Who Need It Most

    Completely untrue. Current handouts specifically exclude the poorest voters. Rooftop solar feed in tariffs? Does nothing for single mothers living in rental units. Negative gearing handouts? The poorest do not get it. Now, private schools get more government funding per student than government schools do!

    any meaningful basic income scheme will be prohibitively expensive

    Getting $0 is far better? Alaska has had a UBI of U$2000/year since 1982. Sure, it is not enough to live on but it helps! And if you only give it to the poorest 50%, that is a UBI of U$4000/year per voter.

    reduce incentives to work

    Why would someone quit a $30k/year job to get $15k/year? And the Greens are busy giving the $15k/year jobs to foreign “students” anyway. So we have neither a $15k/year job not a $15k/year UBI. Well done Greens.

    • PetervmMEMBER

      For goodness sake where to start with all this nonsense…

      Things don’t make themselves, yeah I know goes right along with proclaiming that water is wet, but with all the ridiculous comments about UBI on here it had to be said.

      If your not getting your sorry arse out of bed in the morning to produce something that an other person wants to pay you for, then your literally consuming someone else’s life, I would like to know Jacob who do you nominate as your slave?

      Money only has usefulness if someone, well a whole lot of someones, actually produce something to exchange it for, a UBI doesn’t produce anything, except maybe more useless individuals.

      • So employees of the government make stuff do they…biggest welfare scheme in the country with 1,956,800 recipients of taxpayer funds. They contribute nothing to the ‘competitiveness’ of the economy. Nor do the debt peddlers in the banks, insurance, etc. Industries. In reality there are not that many people actually producing anything.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        No worries, let’s get rid of all the people who don’t “make stuff”.

        Now, who is going to teach your kids how to read, write and add up ? Where are you going to go when you get sick ? Who’s going to fix your car ? How are you going to get home when you’re too drunk to drive ? Who’s going to keep the water flowing and the sewerage disappearing ? Who are you going to call when someone assaults or robs you ? How are you going to feed yourself when you end up unemployed and broke ?

        How “competitive” does your economy look without these sorts of things ?

  11. Jumping jack flash

    A UBI will be pretty much necessary if the banks are able to successfully implement their slow melt. The government can’t control living costs, even though they think they can, and that is the #1 threat to the slow melt.

    while the living costs are gouged and wages are stagnant, ultimately all due to the gargantuan debt everyone has, a UBI would mitigate that to some extent, at least for a while.

    It would also mitigate the flow of money overseas and the destruction of our economy built on debt, after the debt is stopped.

    You have to sell it to the government the right way, though. Instead of saying that a UBI is giving poor people money for doing nothing, they should say that a UBI will make the rich people richer using the trickle-up effect!

    The government couldn’t put it in place fast enough if you say that!

  12. Cough…. the Chicago School and one M. Friedman are the key architects of neoliberalism, you know the mob that that got us in this mess in the first bloody place.

    One might as well evoke Kissinger in the name of peace.

  13. BoomToBustMEMBER

    I think this is yet again another experiment that will encounter the law of unexpected consequences. In my opinion this will give an influx in cash that will raise the base costs of living further and we will end up worse off, especially for those at the bottom. If the likes of the wealthy think it’s a good idea, it will be another way for them to take from the poor and give to the rich.

  14. Tamash1MEMBER

    Great for China and other producers.
    I would be more interested if the recipient could not spend it on anything imported.
    Alternatively, we could just borrow it all from China, package it up as a CDO , usecured . Oh hang on, isit that called the Govt Bond market ?

  15. What I hate about these thought bubbles are “let’s do this great idea. Oh but it’s too expensive so let’s do a part of it where we only give it to people who earn less.. which doesn’t make it universal at all..”
    Either stick to it or don’t. Don’t half arse it because then you don’t know if the idea will work as intended or hypothesised.

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