Basic Income/Negative Income Tax

Making the Welfare State Less Intrusive

Two thoughts on the basic income guarantee

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Handy.
Cato Institute

As Elizabeth Nolan Brown noted here yesterday, Matt Zwolinski has an article at Cato Unbound making the case for replacing the current maze of welfare programs with a single basic income grant. His essay is the opening shot in a month-long debate, which I'm sure will be lively. As the other Unbound contributors prepare their arguments, there are two thoughts I'd like to drop into the mix:

1. When libertarians discuss this idea, a great deal of stress gets put on the idea that the grants should replace the existing programs completely and not merely add another payment to the mix. With that proviso, the proposal attracts a lot of libertarian support: The new system would be less paternalistic, less bureaucratic, and possibly (depending on the details) less costly than the old one. But the proviso isn't exactly politically realistic. Replacing the entire welfare state in one fell swoop is a tall order, especially if you want to include popular middle-class entitlements as part of the deal. Zwolinski admits that the scenario is, for the time being at least, "a bit of speculative fancy."

But you can still look for ways to make the welfare state more like a basic income, moving gradually toward Zwolinski's ideal without adding a new entitlement to the mix.

Next month, we'll send a you a different kind of voucher. We call it

The sorts of welfare-reform tinkering that interest me most are the ones that cashify and combine programs. By cashify, I mean taking a subsidy with strings attached—food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, anything like that—and instead just sending money to the people who qualify for it, letting them choose how to spend it. That way taxpayers can reduce the bureaucratic overhead (and corporate welfare) involved in administering the program; and that way the clients, who have a better idea than any official of what their needs are, will have more autonomy in how they use the cash. Most of them won't waste it. Some will, but if the choice is between a society where welfare money gets spent on beer and a society where welfare money gets spent creating elaborate mechanisms to make sure people don't buy beer, I'm gonna prefer the former.

The more programs you cashify, the more programs you can combine. Right now the system is set up to ask whether someone is poor enough to qualify for housing assistance, for health assistance, for food assistance, and so on. How about if it just asks if someone is poor enough to qualify for assistance, period? Each time you combine two or more programs, you make the system simpler. You also get closer to Zwolinski's proposal.

The people all call her Alaska.
Alaska Permanent Fund

2. One variation on the basic income concept is the citizens' divided, in which the profits from publicly owned assets (usually natural resources) are distributed to the citizens. This idea is often ignored in these discussions, which is odd, because it has actually been enacted in the real world. Alaska's sovereign wealth fund has been issuing dividend checks to the state's residents since 1982. The same state's Native Americans are organized into regional and village corporations, and those companies pay out dividends as well (though these tend to be much smaller than the state's checks). Elsewhere in the country, over 100 Indian tribes distribute shares of their casino profits to their members. As fracking-enriched states look into creating sovereign wealth funds like Alaska's, there may soon be even more examples on the ground. A version of the idea has even entered the debate over climate change, via suggestions that nationally distributed dividends be a part of a cap-and-trade scheme.

These are not welfare programs, so they tend not to be on the radar screen when people talk about welfare reform. But they're ongoing examples of systems where everyone gets a check just by virtue of belonging to a political jurisdiction. When policy wonks argue about the basic income's potential effects on poverty, inequality, work disincentives, and so on, most of their empirical data come from experiments conducted in different corners of the U.S. and Canada in the 1960s and '70s. (*) These living experiments in Alaska and elsewhere need to be a part of the conversation too.

(* Random trivia: The Seattle Income Maintenance Experiment was known as SIME, and the Denver Income Maintenance Experiment was known as DIME. But researchers made sure never to refer to Gary, Indiana's income maintenance experiment as GIME. It looked too much like "gimme.")

NEXT: Ron Paul Argues for Clemency for NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

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  1. Again already? Fine. Shorter me: No Deal!

  2. As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL welfare system!

    1. as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in joy, and were suddenly free to bang on the drum all day

  3. Someone’s figured out how to get 500-comment threads on demand.

    1. Ayn Rand was a decent writer! Deep dish rules! Circumcisions for all!

      1. Not clever enough, you’ll get a few mocking replies at best.

  4. “Replacing the entire welfare state in one fell swoop is a tall order, especially if you want to include popular middle-class entitlements as part of the deal. Zwolinski admits that the scenario is, for the time being at least, “a bit of speculative fancy.””

    So then it’s just more welfare.

  5. If we had no welfare programs at all, that would be less intrusive still, would it not?

    I don’t object to charity. I object to government being involved in collecting money for it, distributing money to recipients it deems worthy, and to the general corruption and market distortion the government gives to everything it touches.

    1. You don’t like being robbed with the threat of force? Monster!

      1. I think all of the taxpayers should unionize and go on strike.

  6. The sorts of welfare-reform tinkering that interest me most are the ones that cashify and combine programs. By cashify, I mean taking a subsidy with strings attached?food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, anything like that?and instead just sending money to the people who qualify for it, letting them choose how to spend it.

    This is even more idiotic than the welfare programs we have now. If the government simply gives people “straight cash homie,” then that will cause direct inflation since the money will be just printed off the presses for nothing in exchange. At least the welfare program now builds houses and buys food, all of which foster industrial output, however contrived it may be. Fiat money’s worth is derived from its scarcity. So just giving everyone a million dollars won’t do anything except make having a million dollars less valuable.

    1. Who said anything about printing new money? This is just rearranging the subsidies that already exist.

      1. Come, Jesse. Look at this bridge I have for you, cheap. Lots of daily traffic, tollbooths pre-installed.

        1. It’s a trick! Everyone knows libertarians hate ROADZ!1!!

          1. Errr, no. This is a toll road, see. A toll-bridge actually.

            1. BUT ROADZZZZZZ!1!!11!1

            2. It doesn’t matter. The road to hell is paved.

      2. Who said anything about printing new money? This is just rearranging the subsidies that already exist.

        Even if that were so Jesse, simply handing “deserving” people $30,000 a year (or whatever) would distort pricing over everyday commodities in a direct way that the existing programs don’t do. Giving people cash for nothing is different than giving them housing or food for nothing when it comes to commodity price allocation.

        And the welfare money IS being printed now through accommodative Fed policy. We do, after all, run a trillion dollar deficit every year.

        1. And I forgot to mention how giving people cash instead of food or housing would grossly distort how you properly incentivize people to get back to work in the first place.

        2. Even if that were so Jesse, simply handing “deserving” people $30,000 a year (or whatever) would distort pricing over everyday commodities in a direct way that the existing programs don’t do. Giving people cash for nothing is different than giving them housing or food for nothing when it comes to commodity price allocation.

          So if you give them cash, it will distort all prices about the same, but if you give them noncash, it only distorts specific prices. And that’s…worse?

          1. It would not distort all prices just the same Nikki.

            Example 1: People who get subsidized housing live where I don’t want to live. Now, with their free cash money, they can buy or rent where I want to live. And my rent or housing costs increase whereas they would not have under the old system.

            Example 2: The old system won’t allow recipients to buy computers or iphones with the benefits. People have to buy them with money they work for. Now welfare recipients can use their free cash to buy them and guess what, they will and the prices of those things will rise too. The people who get this free money will not spend it wisely which, as it comes from my tax dollars ( I paid $100,000 in taxes last year) makes me mad.

            1. Not that I’m endorsing the underlying ideas, but both of your examples are flawed as relates to the current welfare system.

              Example 1: Modern Section 8 pays the difference between what the renter “can pay” and what the rental agency “should charge” regardless of locale.

              Example 2: Intentions ? Outcomes. There is a large gray market in trading food stamps etc. for cash.

              1. They are not flawed at all.

                Example 1: Modern Section 8 pays the difference between what the renter “can pay” and what the rental agency “should charge” regardless of locale.

                I’ve represented people receiving Sec 8 and those who own the Sec 8 houses. Sec 8 houses aren’t just anywhere; usually are “the projects.” Not just any home owner can receive Sec 8 benefits as a beneficiary or an owner. My argument still applies.

                Example 2: Intentions ? Outcomes. There is a large gray market in trading food stamps etc. for cash.

                The large “grey market” you refer to is actually a black market. It is illegal to trade food stamps in such a manner.

                My examples are still valid.

                1. I’ll leave the Section 8 discussion to the other thread.

                  The “color” of the market is irrelevant to its existence. That people trade food stamps for cash is undeniable, the only question is one of prevalence.

                  How people effectively use food stamps is relevant vis-a-vis the argument that they would use direct cash payments differently.

                2. But it’s not illegal to sell food already paid for by SNAP or other subventions; it’s illegal only to sell the credits directly. Since most people buy food, that makes those benefits practically fungible.

            2. So what if someone uses the money to buy beer or a computer or a smartphone?

              This website is into being non-paternalistic.

        3. Even if that were so Jesse, simply handing “deserving” people $30,000 a year (or whatever) would distort pricing over everyday commodities in a direct way that the existing programs don’t do. Giving people cash for nothing is different than giving them housing or food for nothing when it comes to commodity price allocation.

          Old system: People use their EBT cards to purchase food from vendors. New system: People use money to purchase food from the same vendors, or buy something else if that’s more pressing. Not a big difference, and if anything the first is more distortive.

          1. What do you think those people who don’t work, and never intend to work, will do with their free, unrestricted cash? Buy food and other pressing things like that?

            Or will they buy more alcohol, tobacco and drugs? iphones and video games? Guns? The money will be allocated in a distortive manner and I’d bet money on it.

            I represent these kinds of folks every day. I have had to meet with clients at the projects. I’ve had to calculate their section 8 and disability benefits in their bankruptcy cases. And let me tell you from first hand experience, it will help NOBODY to give these guys a free yearly salary. In fact, I could see welfare fraud skyrocketing under a free cash system along with violent crime.

            1. The free money is already being given. This is not a question of whether to give or not to give, but rather of the manner in which the giving is done.

              As your own anecdote attests, all the rules and restrictions of the current welfare scheme have done diddly squat to actually dictate the behavior of welfare recipients.

            2. I’ve had the same experience, as a past volunteer for a charity org. You go to the homes of people on the gubmint teat, and they’ve got big-screen TVs, gaudy manicures, and new $150 sneakers. And a whopping sense of entitlement, with their hands permanently and angrily out.

              If you give them cash, they will just go to the casino, the mall, or the bars. They won’t buy diapers and food. They won’t buy medicine. They won’t shop at thrift stores for clothing because they feel they’re entitled to new clothes at someone else’s expense.

              So what’s my proposed solution?

              ELIMINATE ALL OF IT. End welfare, period. No GMI/BIG. No handouts of any kind. It breeds entitlement and laziness. They’re already getting a free public education; if they can’t be bothered to use it, and they fuck around and drop out to grunt out a bunch of babies or spend their lives on their momma’s couch smoking weed, then they get to starve. It’s not like there’s some shortage of people so we need to save the worthless ones.

            3. What makes you say “a distortive manner”? What you say is a distortive manner I say more accurately reflects quantities demanded.

        4. Yes, it will distort prices to more closely match people’s demand.

          1. Yes, it will distort prices to more closely match people’s demand.

            So if you give them cash, it will distort all prices about the same, but if you give them noncash, it only distorts specific prices. And that’s…worse?

            Alcohol, tobacco and drug prices will certainly rise dramatically. People will lose all incentives to return to work — why bother? The legal stuff people buy with all that cash will go up and that stuff will invariably be different than the other stuff they buy with limited-use funds.

            One program restricts what you buy, the other doesn’t. The person getting Section 8 cannot use that benefit to drive up free market housing by purchasing it. Under Nikki and Jesse’s model, that isn’t good enough. The welfare recipients can now drive up free market rents too with their free cash by using their free dollars with my very costly dollars. So there’s one terrible outcome right there.

            1. *The welfare recipients can now drive up free market rents too with their free cash by using their free dollars [to compete] with my very costly dollars. So there’s one terrible outcome right there.

              1. The welfare recipients can now drive up free market rents too with their free cash by using their free dollars [to compete] with my very costly dollars. So there’s one terrible outcome right there.

                I’m afraid we’ve already lost that battle (and as a renter myself I am already paying for it):

                The housing choice voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.

                Housing Choice Voucher Program Section 8

                1. You really need to read your own references kbolino:

                  A family that is issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family’s choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program.

                  I don’t know anyone, nor have I ever met anyone, who has agreed to do this outside of the traditional “projects.”

                  1. I can’t speak to the landlord’s side of things, as I am not a landlord. The federal law does not per se mandate that landlords must accept Section 8 tenants, but in many places state and local laws do, or at least make it very difficult to say no.

                    In any case, “the projects” are still part of the housing market, because the willingness of HUD to pay a significant part of the rent for them drives up the cost of rent for other locales. Put differently, if project housing is renting at $1000/mo then non-project housing will have to go for at least $1200/mo to avoid becoming project housing. If HUD is paying $600 of that $1000, then they have inflated my rent by at least $600.

                    1. Also, I would like to add, that just because people are getting cash payments instead of more controlled forms of welfare, does not mean that their status as welfare recipients will be any less apparent to landlords.

                      I definitely agree that free money drives up the cost to others. It is an endemic problem to any form of government assistance. But we are comparing to what is, not what ought to be, and so the issue is poorly debated if the current situation is misconstrued.

                    2. Also, it’s not inflationary, because the money taken from people to pay for it is not competing to buy goods.

                      Inflation is inflation. Taxing & spending is not inflationary.

                    3. Taxing & spending is not inflationary.

                      I must disagree, for two reasons:

                      1. If I was going to take my $100 gross and put half of it in a vault, but the government decided to take that $50 instead through taxes and then spent it right away, it would remain in circulation and thus increase the money supply (relative to me keeping the money). Since most of what the government spends its money on is non-productive or even counter-productive, that makes it inflation.

                      2. Even when net inflation is not occurring, the artificial shift in supply/demand caused by how the government decided to spend the money vs. how I would have spent it myself means that prices for some things will be inflated and correspondingly prices for some other things will be deflated. This affects buyers of the inflated things and sellers of the deflated things, even if aggregate numbers look the same.

            2. You’re writing as if section 8 housing were not part of the housing supply! You can live in only 1 place at a time; if you’re not here, “there” is vacant.

              Are you the same about imported goods vs. domestically made ones? Like somehow the market isn’t going to clear no matter what?

    2. I think this is a wealth distribution scheme. They plan to steal from peter to pay Paul. The big weakness I see is that the population will vote to increase the BIG to their tax level or above until only the top 49-10% will pay any taxes leading to a collapse of the system.

      1. We’re already close to that. These policies do nothing to stop the evisceration of the middle and the growth of the top and bottom.

        1. Yup. That is why I say no deal. Welfare is not popular among those who work. A free check to every citizen will be super popular. If we can’t axe welfare we will definitely never axe free money checks.

          /we as the United States, not waffles and FM

          1. The “everyone gets a check” is the same bogus argument that keeps SS going. If it was a means-tested program, support would plummet.

            Of course, SS been a transfer program and not some savings account is hard enough to explain to people. I like to start off by point out that given a lifespan of 64, the average black man will ever get back a penny.

            1. Nothing like giving the money from poor black men to old white women, eh?

            2. It helps sell reform to constituencies motivated entirely on TEH FEELZ of perceived fairness and white man’s burden, but it makes me feel so dirty invoking any of identity politics collectivist game.

            3. Elderly women HATE this rhetorical trick to reduce support for social security!

            4. I like to start off by point out that given a lifespan of 64, the average black man will ever get back a penny.

              ‘SS is bad because black teenagers often shoot each other’… well that’s original at least.

              1. Sidd, if they actually understood math, they’d be against SS in the first place.

                1. good point

      2. Rather than steal from me, how about stealing from someone else? Let’s seize the solar system and pillage its assets.

        1. If Newcular Titties had won in 2012, we’d be well on our way to mining all the precious metals we need from neighboring asteroids and planetary moons.

          1. Newcular Titties wasn’t a serious candidate. If he were he would have adopted the moniker.

            1. We did write him repeatedly, making the recommendation. In fact, there was a Super Bowl commercial advising him to do so, though I heard it was yanked at the last minute.

          2. +1 Moon Base

          3. You’re right. In hindsight, Newcular Titties was the ideal candidate for our times. I regret mocking him.

      3. Although I see your point, the system is already going to collapse. We can’t even identify who’s receiving benefits anymore because the programs are so numerous and the administrative structure is needlessly complex and archaic.

        If for no other reason, I support something like this because I want to see all of the bureaucrats who currently manage the myriad programs go unemployed. As it stands now, they build and expand their empires and are largely immune to attack.

        That is assuming that it would be a replacement for what exists now. Probably a pipe dream, but a more likely pipe dream than expecting the government to end the welfare state in its entirety.

      4. The easiest way to administer this program would be through the tax system. Turn the standard deduction into a refundable tax credit, and tax welfare benefits as income up to a taxable amount equal to the BIG, and you’ve created a system that is difficult to abuse.

        1. That’s how Milton Friedman & Geo. McGovern would’ve had it.

    3. We could prove/disprove proggie theories that giving poor people money will cause the economy to grow?

      1. And/or that they were incompetent to handle their affairs.

  7. When libertarians discuss this idea, a great deal of stress gets put on the idea that the grants should be replace the existing programs completely and not merely add another payment to the mix.

    And do those same libertarians explain how it will be paid for by pixie dust and unicorn farts? Because that is about as likely as it remaining a replacement rather than addition. At the end of the day, the libertarian supporters of this crap are drinking the entitlement kool aid.

    1. Psst. Read the rest of the paragraph.

      1. After which you proceed to argue that we should operate on that model anyway. So the same fundamental processes take place. Let’s say we cashify assistance. I’d be happy to write off the beer buyers. Maybe you would, too. Do you think John Q. and Martha J. Public will? To answer this, tell me all about how Alaska, Seattle, Denver and Gary, or even the various Native American tribe were at having no other entitlement programs.

        1. After which you proceed to argue that we should operate on that model anyway.

          Well, no, I talked about ways to make the existing system more like that model without creating a new entitlement.

          1. I stand corrected.

            You proceed to argue that we should operate more of the current entitlement mix on that model anyway.

            I thought it was implied. But, I can see the confusion.

            That said, you still aren’t addressing the substance of the issue. People aren’t going to say “tough titties” to poor little Lisa whose daddy spent all her family’s dinner money on Duff. They’re going to demand we make sure she and Bart get fed. So, welcome back to the same programs these reforms were trying to cashify.

  8. GMI is like flat tax, fair tax, VAT or carbon taxes in my mind: while they sound great, successful (to my libertarian estimation) implementation requires a level of political will that doesn’t seem to exist–if it did, we might be able to make changes that should be far easier than dismantling the entire tax system or abolishing our current welfare state.

    I enjoy blue skying as much as the next ineffectual internet stooge, but this seems like telling the guy struggling to stand up out of wheelchair that he should be running windsprints by now.

    1. It’s why I think the only way this works is by stripping it down to as close to zero as possible. Political reality may make it hard to completely shut down things like Social Security, but, by God, we could phase the shit out.

      No will for that, either, of course.

      1. The only way to shut down payroll taxes and income taxes is to adhere to the law. Those who want the “benefits” can pay, but those who do not want benefits will not be coerced to pay.
        These taxes are constitutional if voluntary, and constitutional if applied to a federal privilege. They are unconstitutional if applied to the right to work in occupations of common right. Libertarians should stop arguing about FAIR TAX and FLAT TAX and BIG and start reasserting the right to work and keep the fruits of your labor

    2. “Stand up, Freddy.”

    3. but this seems like telling the guy struggling to stand up out of wheelchair that he should be running windsprints by now.

      I see you haven’t spent much time in the internet fitness world.

      1. Do you even windsprint, bro?

        1. Gimme some squats.

            1. “Eeew!”

  9. Because those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul, I would support this on the condition that only Peter can vote.

    1. I’m still foaming at the mouth from all the disenfranchisement going on. That’s the damning thing about these policies. It’s all pie in the sky cloud cuckooland because the political capital to make it work is nonexistent.

      1. It’s all pie in the sky cloud cuckooland because the political capital to make it work is nonexistent.

        Libertarianism in a nutshell.

  10. But the maze of welfare programs creates a lot of government jobs for middle-class Americans.

    Getting these people off well-paying phony-baloney jobs will just put them on the basic income dole. I’m all for it as long as they get less tax money. Merely pointing out the largest opposition (I assume libertarians may be against such a thing, but all of us combined don’t add up to much).

    I just think this basic income, if at least $0.005 is collected, should come with a forfeit of voting rights in federal elections. If you qualify but choose not to collect, vote as often as you can.

    1. No, not a real lot of jobs. Maybe enough to be a good voting bloc, though, but only enough to swing a very close election. These programs require a lot fewer people to staff than you may think, and most of the jobs aren’t extremely attractive compared to the private sector equivalents.

  11. As attractive as some of the basic principles may be, they run up against the progressive worldview regarding poverty that has been the conventional wisdom for a century. Poverty is no longer seen as the result of individual choices, it’s the creation of large social forces, against which individuals are largely helpless. So, even if every welfare program were replaced with a free cash grant, some people would spend it all on hookers and blow, and they’d be back on the street. Libertarians and conservatives might then say “It’s your fault,” but everybody else would say “Something must be done to help these people!” and we’d be headed right back to where we are now.

    I also laugh at the use of the word “citizen” in these proposals. The IRS already wastes billions giving fraudulent tax refunds to illegals, and even to foreigners in other countries who’ve never even been here. Fraud would be rampant, and I’ll bet Democrats would argue that it’s racist to deprive illegals of a handout.

    1. So, even if every welfare program were replaced with a free cash grant, some people would spend it all on hookers and blow, and they’d be back on the street

      Don’t judge me, bro

      1. some people would spend it all on hookers and blow, and they’d be back on the street

        Yeah, so?

        I don’t know that there will be a lot of political appetite to give additional benefits to people who have blown their BIG on anything but essentials.

    2. This is the first post I’ve seen mentioning this. Until we get rid of welfare and public subsidies, I’m hard-core anti-illegal, I don’t care how un-Libertarian it makes me. 57% of immigrant-led households with children are on welfare of some kind, compared with 39% of U.S.-born households. 71% of households led by an illegal immigrant are on welfare and Medicaid, and they’re using stolen SSNs (usually those of children) and fraudulent docs to get it. The gubmint isn’t investigating or policing the fraud, and there’s no reason to expect them to exercise more due diligence just because they’re handing out lump sums of cash.

      What do people think will happen when the greasy layabouts of the world find out we’re giving away $10 or $20K a year to anyone 21 and up just because they have a pulse? It’ll be worse than France, if that’s possible.

      Get rid of all of it. Welfare, WIC, EBT (just encourages more of them to breed), Section 8, shut down all of it. Right now, and if this stupid GMI scheme ever gets real airtime, we’re basically paying the greasy layabouts of the world to come here and do nothing.

      1. I think this principle applies generally:

        Any system, no matter how well-intentioned, which does not account for human nature, is doomed to fail.

        And an important corollary:

        If you cannot even make the current system honest, you stand no chance at sincerely implementing a better system.

    3. Well, then, there’s the opposite possibility: even less fungibility. Instead of SNAP, provide just half a dozen foods in bulk, as W.F. Buckley suggested, no variety, just nutritional adequacy, but no limit on quantity, and no eligibility rules. Instead of section 8, projects. Instead of Medicaid, gov’t charity clinics. Instead of school vouchers or any choice, just the local district school. Instead of scholarships or loans, just the state college.

      1. If you put welfare recipients in a position where they must accept only the approved, government-provided options, and kept those options narrowly tailored to meet the alleged needs justifying the welfare in the first place, then the “advocates of the poor” would scream bloody murder.

        Substandard conditions! Unacceptable restrictions! What are poor people, just slaves to the machine?! etc. etc.

        Of course, these same people would not express any opposition to the idea of the government taking over the industries entirely and subjecting those same conditions on everyone.

        They know nothing but envy. Sadly, we live in their world.

  12. I still think the biggest problem with this is that there will be some who take the cash and spend it on drugs, booze, and lottery tickets, instead of their own and their families’ basic needs. Then there will be a public outcry about homeless children who aren’t being fed, and there will be conditions added to how the money is spent, and we’ll be right back where we are now.

    1. No, there won’t be conditions on how the money gets spent. They’ll just reintroduce the existing programs in addition to the minimum income.

  13. I could do along with a guaranteed national income (GNI) but I’d have to add in some non-negotiable demands:

    1. Zero out all income transfers: Social Security, Farm Price Supports, Food Stamps, LIHeap, Student Loans, etc. All of it goes.

    2. Paid to any US Citizen 18 years or older residing in the US not in jail. Taxes rates adjusted so that by the time you make $30,000 yr, the GNI nets out.

    3. Folks who take the GNI can’t vote in any election within 4 years of receiving a check. Would also want to add government employees and contractors to this list. Alternatively a 3rd house of Congress (that must originate all spending or taxing bills) that is only elected by folks not on the dole (GNI)

    4. 1924-64 style Immigration restrictions

    5. Laws against Vagrancy, panhandling, sleeping in public places, etc. are once again constitutional.

    6. Landlords, employers and places of public accommodation have an absolute right to refuse service and discriminate against those on GNI

    7. GNI cannot be seized or attached to pay off debts.

    8. Convicted criminals once out of jail can’t lose the benefit. Only exception if they are convicted of trying to defraud the GNI program.

    8 (The tough one) If you have a kid, you aren’t eligible for the GNI. Abort, give it up for adoption, or lose the check.

    1. Yikes. The no GNI children thing really necessary? What percentage of children are born into sub 30k households? A lot I bet.

      1. Yeah, and it should be…not a lot.

    2. What about a parent that goes onto the GNI between jobs? That seems a bit harsh.

      1. YOU WILL MURDER YOUR 8 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER IF YOU WANT THE FUCKING MONEY, CAPICHE?

      2. You think child protective services is bad? Think about child deletion services.

    3. I have a problem with #6: how do you tell? If it’s not a cash handout, it will shortly morph into what we have today.

    4. Wouldn’t it be easier just to shove people with brown skin into pens and feed the weak to the strong?

      1. You mean like they do in Chicago?

      2. It was Asians, not brown people. You’d have to ask FDR but he’s dead now..It was in all the papers.

  14. GNI would be a considerable improvement to the status quo. But then, so would electing Ron Paul president and his 535 clones to Congress.

  15. I love how GMI/Negative Income Tax threads regularly come around to prove just how big of an enemy your average poster considers the slightly improved of the perfect.

  16. Would you need to show ID to collect GNI?

    1. That’s racist.

    2. Of course! Fortunately, the fake ID and papers you bought off your coyote are totally acceptable.

  17. $30,000 yr – hmmm… live with 2-3 other people, and you could afford to rent in an upscale area, not work, and drink yourself silly on the bottom-shelf whiskey. Where do I sign up?

    1. I’ll be your roommate.

  18. The Earned Income Tax Credit is the best example of giving people cash to do with as they please. My brother-in-law makes barely over $20,000/year and is supporting a family of 4 (stay-at-home wife and two homeschooled kids), and he uses the EIC to pay market-rate for their apartment so they don’t have to deal with subsidized housing.

  19. Yep. Just giving people money totally works.

    http://www.resetsanfrancisco.o…..ash-debate

  20. Hmmmm, this will drive the price of Cadillac Escalades and 28 inch wheels through the roof.

  21. I like the idea of combined programs. It’ll be better at least for the transition period, just to let people accommodate to the new rules and laws. As for me I get used to take money loans. I use an on-line service to get quick and easy extra money. On some occasional days I need to buy some staff, so I apply for the loan and get money on my bank account in the same day. It’s very convenient, I just need to fill in the application form and confirm my solvency.

  22. Pay all legal residents of the USA $100/week, regardless of income.
    This would replace the standard deduction, personal exemption, and the refundable tax credits.
    The cost of this “demogrant” would be partially offset as follows. First, it would be netted from SSI. The demogrant would permit abolishing TANF. Social Security and unemployment benefits would become fully taxable. I have an open mind about deducting demogrants from unemployment benefits.
    Families still below the poverty line would qualify for food stamps, section 8 housing assistance, and the energy equivalent of food stamps.

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