Basic Income/Negative Income Tax

Andrew Yang: The Capitalist Candidate Championing a Universal Basic Income

The 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful is running on a "Freedom Dividend" plan which promises a $1,000 per month UBI.


Andrew Yang wants you to know: he's not a socialist.

The businessman is among the crowded field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders and is campaigning almost solely on a universal basic income (UBI) proposal. Nicknamed his "Freedom Dividend," it promises to give $1,000 a month to every adult between the ages of 18 and 64.

It's a plan that reeks of pie-in-the-sky idealism. But, perhaps ironically, Yang's campaign is colored by his affinity for capitalism, particularly as the founder of a nonprofit—Venture for America—that trains young entrepreneurs. And he touts his pragmatism in what is almost certainly an attempt to sway skeptics.

"I've looked at the numbers…" Yang said repeatedly at a rally in Washington, D.C., on Monday evening, eliciting loud cheers from supporters who fervently waved signs that said "MATH."

The presidential hopeful told Reason that his Freedom Dividend would put "more people in a position where they can actually participate in a free market," making for a "much more dynamic" economy.

UBI has a bevy of full-throated critics on both sides of the aisle. In 2016, Oren Cass wrote in National Review that it is "a logical successor to the worst public policies and social movements of the past 50 years." Eduardo Porter of The New York Times said it provides a "non-negligible disincentive to work" and that government aid would become "less generous over time."

But it's also had an unlikely array of supporters over the years, like Thomas Paine and Martin Luther King, Jr.—not to mention famed libertarian economists Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and Charles Murray.

"The good news is that a well-designed UBI can do much more than help us to cope with disaster," Murray wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2016. "It also could provide an invaluable benefit: injecting new resources and new energy into an American civic culture that has historically been one of our greatest assets but that has deteriorated alarmingly in recent decades."

Murray and Yang approach the UBI discussion from a similar vantage point: Automation is picking up speed, and it's coming for your job. "We are approaching a labor market in which entire trades and professions will be mere shadows of what they once were," says Murray. Similarly, Yang calls his Freedom Dividend a "tech check"—an homage to the retail workers, call center employees, and truck drivers who may increasingly find themselves without work in the coming years.

But Murray and Yang diverge considerably when it comes to how they would pay for a UBI—as well as how it would interact with the welfare system. Murray champions the burn-it-all-down approach, financing the stipend by eradicating all social safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, as well as housing and agricultural subsidies.

Yang sees it differently. He proposes centralizing health care costs and taxing tech giants like Amazon, who he says are automating jobs into oblivion and driving some stores across the country into the ground. Emboldened by the Freedom Dividend, recipients would spend their money in their local communities, facilitating a "trickle up economy."

And while he pictures welfare dependence waning, Yang maintains that it has its rightful place in society. "You don't want to take away benefits that hundreds of thousands of Americans are literally relying upon for their very survival," he told Reason. "The goal is to create more positive incentives." Over time, he says that welfare enrollment would decline with a rise in empowered consumers, "because many people in the Dividend would never find themselves in those programs."

The jury is certainly still out on UBI, and objections to Yang's Freedom Dividend are not without merit. Some research lends credence to the idea that a guaranteed check will discourage employment and overall productivity. Others counter that those fears are unfounded, citing Alaska's Permanent Fund: The state sends a yearly stipend to residents and has not experienced significant dips in aggregate employment. The latter claim is a bit harder to stomach, as Alaska paid residents $1,600 in 2018—hardly enough to quit your day job. Yang proposes $1,000 per month, although some argue it will help people pursue their professional goals by lowering barriers to entry.

Yang is also backing Medicare for All, the decriminalization of opioids (including heroin and fentanyl), as well as the regulation of social media companies to encourage healthier habits.

"We have the smartest engineers in the country trying to turn supercomputers into dopamine delivery systems for teenagers," he told Reason. To address this, he suggests that developers be required to promote moderation; according to Yang, an alert system that tells users to "find a human" or "go outside" would be a start. "Financial incentives of their companies will never suggest that they do this, and so they need a hand," he said—although the long-term benefit of such initiatives would likely be dubious.

Although Yang's candidacy is a long shot by most standards, he considers himself the perfect foil to President Trump.

"Donald Trump is our president today because he got a lot of the fundamental problems right," he said at his Monday night rally. "When he was going around saying, 'Hey things are not great,' and then the counter was 'Things actually are great,'—that was not the right response."

But Yang says that, while Trump may have diagnosed the problem, he's prescribing the wrong medicine. "His solutions are that we have to turn the clock back," he said. "Time only moves in one direction. I want to accelerate our economy and society. I want to prepare us for the true challenges of the 21st century.

"And I'm the right man for the job, because the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math!"

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  1. A) Lets make it $2500, and B) do away with all welfare, SNAP, minimum wage laws, and 2/3s of the government bureaucracy that goes towards administering the nanny state.

    I somehow doubt B) ever happens

    1. This is more what I have in mind, and, after running the numbers, it will actually save money, to the tune of about $500 billion every year by eliminating all the federal government bureaucracy (“jobs”) to run these programs. As far as minimum-wage laws, they wouldn’t really matter — no need to eliminate them, since, for most people, they would become irrelevant. Though, I would like to see them gone.

      1. Not everyone would receive the full amount, of course, but establishing a minimum income of about $25,000 per year for citizens and permanent resident aliens (+/-) would, by definition, eliminate poverty as we now define it.

        1. I’m pretty sure the accompanying inflation spiral would put those people right back to square one before the year was over.

          1. Inflation doesnt exist in authoritarian Socialist circles.

            Ubi has failed in every region or country try it has been tried in.

            1. We’re getting so close to a Reason article titled ‘The Libertarian Case for Socialism’.

          2. Inflation would not be effected at all. The money supply would not be effected at all — no “new” money — just a change in which it is redistributed,. Taxes would not go up, and in fact, they should (in a perfect world), go DOWN.

            1. AlbertP
              April.20.2019 at 11:03 am
              “Inflation would not be effected at all. The money supply would not be effected at all — no “new” money — just a change in which it is redistributed,. Taxes would not go up, and in fact, they should (in a perfect world), go DOWN.”

              Not real bright, are you?
              First, yes, the supply MUST be increased, since there isn’t sufficient taxation to support this.
              And then, ‘free money’ in the hands of those who aren’t real l good at managing it is going to do wonders for the velocity.
              Your fantasies and ignorance or duly noted.

          3. Why do you think there’d be an inflation spiral? Would this increase either the supply or velocity of $ or credit?

            1. There wouldn’t be. Inflation only occurs when there is an increase in the money supply, usually by the government printing money not backed by any actual value. There would be NO increase in the money supply, therefore, no inflation.

            2. Maybe not inflation per se, but an increase in consumer prices. When every one can afford $25,000 worth of rent, etc. it seems rational to expect that the market for “affordable housing” will see some price increases.

              If the government started handing out vouchers good for “1 free McDonald’s combo meal, not to exceed $10” what’s the expected price for combo meals that are now $7?

              1. mpercy: no doubt there would “shifts” in some services and some products, but a rise in the cost of a Big Mac might also be caused by people, with a little more money, choosing to eat at Denny’s, instead. And perhaps laundromats might be adversely affected if more low-income people can afford a clothes washer.

                And, be it noted, such rise and fall in prices due to changes in demand, happen all the time, and the market responds by either increasing or decreasing the amount of such services or goods.

                1. Albert…

                  You make the mistake in thinking that money means anything other than the value of labor and other resources.

                  Price distortions create inflation in a far worse manner than increasing the money supply. Why? Because you decrease efficiency. If we were to add a zero to every bank account and paycheck and wage and debt it would not matter, which should be self evident. However if you add a set amount you are distorting pricing and incentives which always decreases efficiency and increases prices.

                  1. TLBD: I am curious, how would a GMI, which need not increase taxes, nor increase the money supply, cause inflation? How would it effect efficiency? How would gradually eliminating a couple/few million federally-funded, non-service-producing and non-product-producing jobs effect inflation? Would there be a change in the types of products purchased? Probably, but those changes would be a very small part of the overall economy. And those changes happen all the time, anyway. Employing a couple/few million people who provide no goods or services is a rather larger distortion, don’t you think?

              2. But less distortion by giving cash than food stamps, housing payments, etc. It’s not as if consumer goods generally would be bid up by redistrib’n of $. What, is there going to be some massive shift from spending on capital goods to consumer goods? Even if there were, how much spending on capital goods is there to shift? Even if everyone’s investments were liquidated, melting down machinery into jewelry or whatever’s conceivable, there’d be no windfall for vendors of consumption items.

                For the most part, redistribution to the poor couldn’t have much effect on spending patterns, because what poor people are lacking are for desires that are easily sated. Poor people aren’t going to double their purchases of tood or buy a 2nd home. They’d probably boost their spending on clothes, but they’re not about to funnel it into very expensive garments & accessories; rather, they’ll replace their worn-out shoes a little sooner, etc. UBI’s not like winning a lottery.

      2. Or we could just eliminate minimum wage laws, licensing laws, all regulations not used to define actual harm along with all the income redistribution schemes. Then people could really participate in the free market economy.

        1. some guy: That would indeed, be ideal. Consider a GMI as an interim step and “safety net.” Even Hayek and Friedman, recognizing the “rapid-change” nature of the modern economy, deem SOME sort of “safety net” necessary.

          1. I agree. The economy fell apart when buggy whips were no longer in demand and Ford created his mass production factories. See the dystopia of today.

            1. LOL, Yes to the hilarity re the buggy-whip manufacturers. But tell me, what about those who are disabled? How are they going to find work? The town I lived in last year no longer exist. Fourteen thousand homes destroyed literally overnight, And 90% of the businesses also destroyed. And all the jobs those businesses provided also gone. And it will be a few years before they return. Insurance will cover the homes and cars, but not the jobs. There is a place for a certain level of income redistribution.

          2. Milton Friedman never considered transfer payments from producers to non-producers necessary. He acknowledged that political cowardice made them difficult to be rid of.

      3. The cost of living would go up by approximately $25,000/year. That’s not including the massive incentive to not work that comes from both being given ‘free’ money at the lower end and having all your money taken at the upper end.

        1. There would be no need to increase the money taken at the upper end. In fact, there would (or should), be LESS money taken. We spend, on the federal level, something over one-half-trillion dollars hiring people to run all those 90+ federal programs. That amounts to about 30% of the total cost of those programs. Eliminating those jobs, and plugging that money back into the free-enterprise system just might be a huge boon to new small-business creation. As far as work-incentive. Those who don’t want to work aren’t working now. But, it would give more cash to those who actually do want to work. And look at it this way, those employees who work for those programs create NO jobs or services of any kind — they simply hand out money while taking a 30% cut out of it.

          1. In many cases they don’t hand out $, but pay for services (or goods in some cases), so there’s even more dead weight loss than if they were just disbursing cash.

            Plus, a big chunk of the potential work force is warehoused in supposed schooling of various sorts. But this proposal wouldn’t address that directly; it would however, rectify even that a little, indirectly.

        2. You didn’t look at the summary of acc’ting above? Less $ would be taken from the upper end. At the lower end, instead of most of the $ being spent on intermediaries who’d dole out some of it in goods & services, people broadly would get cash.

          1. Looks like I’m a few min. behind Albert P this AM.

            1. LOL… That is okay…. thanks for adding another voice 🙂

    2. Wow, even if given to just adults, your plan sends out $6 trillion a year. Assuming 1/3 the current bureacracy (another fantasy), with overhead and other associated costs, this plan would burn through $8 trillion a year.

      That more than doubles the current federal social spending. Genius!

      1. I apologize — not everyone would receive the whole amount. Most folks would receive nothing. It would be needs-based. It would work similar to the Earned Income Credit, to help ensure that no one had an income below a certain point. Giving EVERY individual that amount, as you point out, would be sheer lunacy.

        1. Need a hand with those goal posts? They look like they’re not easy to move that far.

          1. Just making explicit what most people have understood all along about proposals like this.

            1. That was a reply to Albert.
              First he’s proposing a UBI, but it turns out it’s merely one more welfare system, except HE knows how to do it better than all the ones who have tried before.

              1. Sevo — yes it is a welfare system. But without the bureaucracy, or its costs, and without its rules and regulations which inhibit the decision making of people who know what they need more than the government, who tells them what they need. Basically, more money to those who need it, more control over their own lives, and less cost to the taxpayer. No, not “ideal,” but still a win-win over the current system.

                1. The main substantial argument against cash subventions instead of various types of aid for this, that, and the other has usually been, “Of course it’s inefficient; it’s meant to be. Unrestricted cash would be too much of a disincentive for people to actually earn money, so we have to make it difficult for them and make sure it’s spent only on those who really need it for goods and services they really need. Therefore it’s worth our while to spend a great deal on bureaucrats who’ll make things deliberately difficult and eat most of the costs.”

                  1. Pretty much my experience as well. Both sides of the aisle worry about people buying beer instead of food, ignoring the reality that those who really want to do that have no problem accomplishing it.

              2. Every time somebody proposes this, it gets mischaracterized & ridiculed by saying it’s about giving that amount to everybody. They did it to McGovern too.

                1. I wonder, did they do it to Nixon, too? And Thomas Paine? or Sir Thomas More, or ….

                2. Mike Mcgovern? That kid I went to high school with? Cuz he kinda sucked…

        2. Right. In that case it’d have to be out of 1 pocket, into the other.

      2. The 30% figure is not imaginary. Not only is it often-touted by conservatives and libertarians, I did actually did some research. I actually looked at the budgets for three county social-service agencies. As a for instance, one county I used to live in had a budget of just over $70 million. This included all the costs for nutrition support, housing support, cash support, etc, etc, etc. The payroll was $22 million. That is 31%.
        Social security, which is a cash-payout, in contrast, works at something like 97% efficiency. Many economists agree that Medicaid is the least efficient of all these programs perhaps as high as 40% of all funds are spent on paperwork and the people hired to do it, by both public an private entities.

        1. But the 31% rake by the county employees doesn’t include the further inefficiency of giving most of those supports in forms other than unrestricted cash. They don’t exactly fit recipients’ needs. I don’t know how I’d estimate that additional dead-weight loss, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it came to about the same bleed-out as for paying the administrators.

          1. Agreed. Another benefit? No need for “guaranteed student loans.” I am pretty sure that a young person in college, who spends about $4000 a year on direct educational costs will do quite nicely, and even have beer money, on the other $18,000 (or a bit more), which they would have left over.

            1. Of course. The various forms of taxpayer aid to higher ed alone (forgetting primary and secondary) sustains a massive distortion in the economy; it’s a racket. If you took all levels of government spending on college away, and just gave high school graduates a much smaller amount in cash, those who really wanted college would find they could afford it because of the enormous “deflation” of its costs, and the rest would find better things to do with the money.

              1. Yep. I find it kind of humorous that the federal government will guarantee funding for college tuition, with no guarantee that such will ever be paid back, while not giving the same consideration to those with the skills to open their own business. Perhaps the government shouldn’t be “underwriting” any programs at all? That is, to me the basic argument against huge social programs, and the limitations they put on the people they are supposed to serve. My question is: why support programs, and why not just support actual people. I know, too radical. 🙂

        2. Plus there’s the requirement that at least some of those recipients do “work” in the form of

          • actual, but bogus, work like make-work;
          • bullshit “training”;
          • administrative paperwork & interviews; &
          • time spent traveling to the above.

          The opp’ty cost of even unemployed or disabled persons is not 0.

          1. Now that I got up the nerve to try lists as they said they’d take the HTML for w/o a preview, let’s see if there’s a total or word character limit. It’ll take a long time for me to get out of the habit of abbr’ing, though.

          2. The “hidden” costs are, possibly, huge. As you note, the travel and time spent needed to apply, report to, various offices of various And the funds spent on “job-training” programs, especially for the young, can be enormous. And while not all these job training programs are useless, even the better ones are horribly inefficient. Having administrated a few of them, I can speak from experience here. On the other hand, voluntary job training programs, in those few cases where the government has utilized them, along with those offered by various industries, which are out-come based, have to prove themselves, or they go “bye-bye” very quickly.

  2. Andrew Yang wants you to know: he’s not a socialist.

    The businessman is among the crowded field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders and is campaigning almost solely on a universal basic income (UBI) proposal.

    Is Andrew Yang going to be paying that 1k out of his own pocket (and the pockets of people who volunteer their own earnings)?


    Then Andrew Yang is a liar and, frankly, can be completely discounted right now. You want to be President, Yang, you’re going to have to learn how to hide your lies. If it doesn’t at least require a Google search to find out you’re slinging bullshit then you have no chance with the Millennial vote.

  3. Yang’s campaign is colored by his affinity for capitalism, particularly as the founder of a nonprofit,/b> . . .


    A non-profit that, let me guess, gets most of its income from donors – including (and probably majorly) the Federal government?

    1. A nonprofit biz is still a biz. You don’t want to go into the red while taking care of your expenses. You still have a clientele, you still have to take care of your income from whatever source.

      The only problem is the word “capitalism”, which should be “free enterprise”.

  4. He proposes centralizing health care costs and taxing tech giants like Amazon,

    But he’s not a socialist, no sir.

    1. To be fair… by wanting to merely tax corporations he is closer to a fascist.

  5. Freedom dividends… something something Victory Gin.

  6. who he says are automating jobs into oblivion and driving some stores across the country into the ground. Emboldened by the Freedom Dividend, recipients will spend their money in their local communities, facilitating a “trickle up economy.”

    If all the jobs are automated, driving local stores into the ground, where are these people going to spend that money *except at AMAZON*!

    1. Fucking economically illiterate, he is. Does he like being compared to Trump? Probably not, but that’s how economically illiterate he is.

      Amazon’s creative destruction lowered prices a whole lot, and I bet that alone puts their net economic value in the positive. But more than that, it gave millions of Americans far more choice. I shop Amazon because I can compare far more variety than any store could carry, and that’s the unseen benefit he probably doesn’t even recognize.

      Trickle up my ass. People will buy less because the prices are higher, and a lot of factory workers and importers will go out of business (you got that in common with Trump, asshole; happy?). The only employment rise will be the idiots running the local stores with their crappy variety and high prices.

      1. Oh God. If it weren’t for the internet and online retailing the place I live in now would be pretty much unbearable.

        Its what allows me to live in a low-cost-of-living location without being cut-off from access to consumer goods.

  7. “”taxing tech giants like Amazon, who he says are automating jobs into oblivion and driving some stores across the country into the ground.””

    They may be automating jobs, but the reason stores are being driven into the ground is customer choice.

    1. Absolutely. Few people recognize how much better people are with all the choices. It’s not just variety in each category (magnets!) but all the categories that no one even knew existed (butter keepers!).

      And there’s something to be said for not having to drive all over when one store doesn’t have the right stuff. The time saved, the gasoline, and for people who don’t own a car, the advantages are even better because they don’t have to rely on shoddy city bus service.

      Why do do-gooders always hate people so much, especially the poor?

      1. And w flying drones, soon there’ll be less need for city streets, much less buses.

    2. The moratorium on state and local taxes for internet sales probably drove the boom of the entire internet economy. Walmart wasn’t competing on an even playing field. Pushing sales online enriched Amazon (sales), Google (search and ads), and Twitter and Facebook (data for ads).

      Also, a corporate tax structure that leaves Amazon paying no tax on their sales in the US can hardly be called a “free market”.

      Customer chose cheaper prices. The prices were cheaper largely because of government policy.

  8. And I’m the right man for the job, because the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math!”

    And you’re a racist to boot. Par for the course for the Democratic candidates I guess.

    1. He likes mathy stuff like McCarthy likes sciencey stuff.

    2. The irony is most of the alt right the liberals associate with trump are actually avid yang gang supporters, including the supremacists.

  9. $3,900,000,000,000

    That’s the amount of money *in your pocket* every year under this UBI ‘scheme’. 3.9 trillion dollars – not counting the money needed to cover the costs of ‘extracting’ this money from the people who earned it and distributing it to the rest of us.

    The size of the US economy is 19.4 trillion dollars. He wants to redistribute *at a minimum* 20% of the US economy. Probably closer to 40% when you figure in the costs to actually do this.

    It really is of no benefit to me for you to take $16,000 dollars out of my pocket each year to give me back $12,000. Realistically speaking, everyone making more than 30-36k a year is going to get raped by this plan.

    I know – I looked at the numbers.

    1. Hey buddy, leave MATH to the experts. You got a license to practice MATH? I didn’t think so.

    2. “Realistically speaking, everyone making more than 30-36k a year is going to get raped by this plan”


      Bill Binion is an idiot.

  10. And Jesus, Binion, this is a low-effort article man. I don’t feel good saying this.

    Was the assignment to just jot down the candidates talking points and then regurgitate them without slight praise here?

    This plan has as much ‘pie-in-the-sky idealism’ and is as colored by ‘affinity for capitalism’ as Cortez’ GND. Its bad, and you should feel bad.

  11. UBI itself is a distraction – it’s just a more efficient than average way to distribute welfare, better than food stamps but worse than EITC.

    What Yang is propsing is respond to automation by a massive expansions of welfare to create a permanent non-working class. Leaving aside fiscal questions, this is very, very bad for social reasons – a clear divide between producers and consumers creates zero-sum class conflict. Labor and capital need to be combined to maximize their value, so there is an incentive to establish some degree of mutual respect across classes. When the divide is producer vs consumer no incentive exists. The consumers are just a burden to the producers and the consumers don’t benefit from capital investment the same way labor does, so there is an incentive to try to extract as much wealth as possible from the producers.

    1. This is basically the intent of the Cloward-Piven Strategy, which now seems to be more or less the democratic party platform.

    2. ” by a massive expansions of welfare to create a permanent non-working class”

      We already have that.

      The purpose of UBI, at least in the Murray version, is to end the incentives against work of the current system, where people on public assistance often face effective marginal tax rates over 100%.

      The current system is positively evil in making people worse off if they work. Earn a dollar, they take away more than a dollar. That’s evil. The current system is *designed* to create a permanent government dependent underclass.

      Under UBI, the natural incentive to work returns. Earn a dollar, you get to keep 80 cents after taxes. Same incentive we’ve all got. That’s much better than taking the dollar and an extra quarter for the sake of evil.

  12. “And I’m the right man for the job, because the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math!”

    Not to mention inflation.

    1. Too bad he doesn’t like economics, but that supply and demand curve shit, now that’s scary shit, give him some basic MATH, you know, like 1000 * 12, oooh wait back off, there’s something between those MATH numbers that he doesn’t understand.

  13. “I’ve looked at the numbers…” – you’re the first person ever to do that, Yang!

    1. And the numbers got too big in a hurry, so he just plowed ahead and ignored them.

  14. Advocating UBI in the name of capitalism is like advocating a gun ban in the name of libertarianism.

    1. Paging OBL …. Paging OBL ….

    2. UBI arguably *is* the free market, compensating people for the multitude of government enabled rent seeking people claim are necessary in our current mixed economy.

      The Free Market Uber Alles, except…
      Corporate limited liability
      Government monopolies in “intellectual property”
      Differential tax treatment for wages and capital gains
      Tax on income instead of property
      Violation of Lockean Proviso

      Lockean Proviso
      Agrarian Justice
      Progress and Poverty

  15. I heard him on Sam Harris’ podcast, he’d bring up an objection opponents make regarding his scheme, bet the question and then giggle like what he was saying was the most obvious thing you ever heard. Not impressed.

  16. Why does everyone sound so triggered?

  17. Universal dependency? Fuck off, slaver.


  18. As my neighbor the progTard says : “We have a right to be happy.”

    So with that in mind, I’d be very happy if Yang gave me $1,000.00 a month. I’d like to have it direct deposited into my bank account.

  19. Nicknamed his “Freedom Dividend,” it promises to give $1,000 a month to every adult between the ages of 18 and 64.

    That’s roughly 61% of a population of 328 million. Giving that many people $12,000 per year would cost over $2.3 trillion annually.

    Mr. Yang should do a little more math.

    1. Did anyone think to ask him about the velocity of money issue?

      1. What effect do you think it’d have? I don’t see why people on average would be getting rid of their cash any slower or faster.

        1. Their cash? No, no real change.

          All the cash they get from the government, which will be forcibly removed from people who would probably not spend it? That matters.

          Eating the seed corn is not something that should be imposed.

          1. So you think this amounts to a Keynesian measure against “oversaving”? Or a Marxist one against “underconsumption”? (Probably you mean the Marxist idea, because “seed corn” usually refers to investment, not saving.) I don’t think so, when you figure that more money is taken now to fund the programs that this one would replace.

            The shifting of capital to consumption caused by a program like this has got to be far less than that caused by Social Security old age, disability, and survivor benefits, because those go to pay old people whose time preference is going to average far shorter than the average person’s; they have far less reason to invest than younger people do. Not that this program would displace old age pensions, just putting it in perspective.

            1. You say ‘replace’ like you think it is going to come true.

              And your whole second graph is Tooth Fairy level.

  20. No mention of Yang wanting to pass a law against circumcision? For some reason? What a strange platform for a presidential run. Not to mention he is obviously a Socialist. Good thing he won’t make the cut…..Get it?

    1. It is not a law against circumcision.

      It it the Universal Guaranteed Foreskin Act.

    2. Circumcision is Male Genital Mutilation. Of course it should be illegal to inflict on children.

      If an adult wants to inflict it on himself, knock himself out. Intact men rarely opt for it. That’s a hint that they don’t consider it desirable.

  21. Who the fuck is this Billy Binion clown? This article smells like something Robby Soave would write. Reason should just change its motto to “Free minds but only the right thoughts, free markets but only according to the plan.”

    1. Minder gentler statism is what Reason considers libertarian.

    2. “Assistant Editor, Reason

      Billy Binion is an assistant editor at Reason. He was previously the Spring 2019 Burton C. Gray Memorial Intern.

      His writing has appeared in HuffPost, Washington Examiner, The Saturday Evening Post, and The Virginian-Pilot, among other publications. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia.”

      Intern turned Assistant Editor. Go look at his picture. I think he’s 12.

  22. And once it passes, politicians will make election promises to raise it to $1100, then $1200, etc.

  23. A few thoughts:
    I can tell you I’m not an asshole, but the facts stte otherwise.
    I’m not a Milton Friedman historian, but wasn’t his argument that a UBI would be more efficient than the welfare system instead of being a zealous advocate?
    This whole idea of people spending all their money locally is bullshit. The general consumer is very price sensitive.

    1. *facts state* Should have included an edit button in the redesign.

      1. They had to leave something for the squirrels.

    2. Milton Friedman supported a negative income tax, which would be a lot more efficient than a UBI.

      It’s still socialism, but it’s probably better than our current socialism.

      1. Agreed. The Earned Income Credit is a (distorted) form of a negative income tax, and it seems to be the most efficient way to redistribute income. Another advantage is that the EIC, since it already exists, provides the opportunity to approach a guaranteed income incrementally. For instance, one could easily eliminate the Section 8 housing programs and provide and EIC cash credit for those who currently qualify for the program. That could do a couple things: increase the amount of money these folks have to rent, due to the savings by eliminating the bureaucracy, and might actually, long-term, spur the development of new-housing.

        1. That’s true. On one hand, it takes a while for a landlord to get approved for Section 8. On the other, landlords have good reason to not get into the Section 8 business, because it means they’re reserving units for low-lifes. So there doesn’t seem to be the quantity demanded of housing that there would be if people had cash.

          1. That has been my experience with Section 8 as well. both from the “inside” of the program to being a landlord. It can be quite a bit of a hassle to get housing to conform, especially on an older house. Which is why I passed. I don’t mind putting an extra $3000 into the house, which I rent for about $1100/month, but if I do, I want more rent than Section 8 would get me. On my newer house, it would not such a big deal.

    3. Friedman pushed for a form of it as part of the Nixon administration. There was actual legislation that I believed passed the House, but died in the Senate.

      We really weren’t that far off from it being passed.

  24. Whats with the reference to Milton Friedman? Friedman did not advocate UBI in and of itself. Negative income tax yes, but there are several differentiating characteristics of UBI from negative income tax, namely that the amount guaranteed is far less than the total income deduction (ie. a very small sum).

    But UBI (and really negative income tax as well) fails to answer the first question that every libertarian should ask: where will the income come from? The all too obvious answer should scare away anyone proud of his “TAXATION IS THEFT” bumper sticker and should be countered with the popular line attributed to Milton Friedman himself. “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

    1. The entire reference to ‘economist UBI supporters’ is disingenuous at best, sort like the claim that O-care was just a modification of the Heritage Foundation medical care plan: Bullshit.
      Yes, you can cherry-pick one or two features which match but shame on whoever makes the blanket claim and shame on Binion for making the claim here.
      Again: Bullshit.

    2. “But UBI (and really negative income tax as well) fails to answer the first question that every libertarian should ask: where will the income come from?”

      It comes as compensation to those harmed by the myriad violation of free market principles “for the public good” to those benefitting from those violations.

      Corporate limited liability
      Government monopolies in “intellectual property”
      Differential tax treatment for wages and capital gains
      Tax on income instead of property
      Violation of Lockean Proviso

      Agrarian Justice
      Progress and Poverty

  25. But Yang says that, while Trump may have diagnosed the problem, he’s prescribing the wrong medicine. “His solutions are that we have to turn the clock back,” he said.

    Trump doesn’t have solutions. Hillary had lots of solutions, that’s why she lost. The American people are going to tell you that you can stick your solutions where the sun don’t shine.

    And I’m the right man for the job, because the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math!

    Even if you were actually good at math, that would make you at most an idiot-savant.

    1. Hillary’s “solutions,” yes.

  26. “The 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful is running on a “Freedom Dividend” plan which promises a $1,000 per month UBI.”

    I don’t understand how he can afford to pay for all that. $1,000 a month times 300 million people is $300 billion a month. Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife doesn’t even have that kind of bread! Wait, you don’t think he’s gonna try to get that money from the taxpayers, do you?

    Oh shit.

    It’s amazing how much time people spend trying to figure out new and better ways to reward idleness. The universe trends towards entropy, and it naturallyu rewards the idle with death. It’s a beautiful thing. It means we don’t even have to punish inactivity.

    Even the parasites have to work for a living! The idle eventually disappear because of their inactivity. It’s a self-correcting system. We don’t even have to reward activity. Just leaving the active alone would be more than enough.

    . . . but nooooOOOOoooo, some jackass has to come along and find new and better ways to make the productive pay for all those lazy, breeding, idle sub-parasite . . .

    Fuck the Democrats!

  27. You know what else is a parasite?

    Naegleria fowleri.

    That thing shows up in water parks and rivers and eats your brain. F*ng nasty evil amoeba. 95% mortality. Disney World of all places. If there is a worse sub parasite I do not even want to know what it is.

    1. Nasty amoeba. Gotta remember to close / blow out your nose.

  28. If he advocates this atrocity, he is not a Capitalist.

    1. Capitalist is what marxistas called royalist slaveholding mercantile monopolists, and it kinda fits. Looters avoid saying laissez-faire or libertarian. Calling attention to their insistence on the initiation of deadly force is horribly gauche!

  29. “…it promises to give $1,000 a month to every adult between the ages of 18 and 64.”

    And at 65, they gently euthanize you?

    1. He’s keeping Social Security.

  30. I like Yang, but I have yet to read a UBI article that so much as uses the word “inflation.”

  31. There are some good arguments both for and against a universal basic income, but I think cancelling the national debt and letting the economy continue to demonetize is a better path for us. In over a century and a half of borrowing every year, America has had a surplus only one or two years, if I recall correctly. If you buy bonds in a corporation with that history because its nukes and friendly relations with corporations that have similar business plans make you feel confident in your odds of getting paid, you deserve the loss.

    1. Alternatively, we could fund a universal basic income by selling Canada to Serbia. There is a bit of a precedent for that situation.

      1. The Chinese are already in the process of purchasing Canuckistan, why cut Serbia in on the deal?

  32. Its funny that Yang doesn’t want to be labeled a socialist. Of course everyone in the current democrat party is a socialist, but Yang wants to run on rejecting the term which still carries enough negative connotation to possibly get him the votes of all the Dems still scared of AOC’s crazy stuff.

    Its just another publicity stunt by an economy-planning, wealth-redistributing statist trying to call himself a capitalist.

    1. No, the grass roots of the Democratic Party is overwhelmingly non-socialist. Much of it is not “-ist” in any ideologic sense.

      Why not do some polling? Phone randomly or ask on the street what political party they’re in, then ask why.

      Don’t ask online, because the self-selection of respondents will favor ideologues.

      Have you ever taken a phone poll of your own devising? I have, and it’s fun and can be quite revelatory. Of course you need persistence thru the hang-ups and dead numbers. I wound up making a great friend, thru whom I wound up making others, by taking a poll.

  33. Even the champion socialist FDR made people actually do something for the make-work jobs and wages the fed handed out in the 1930s.

  34. With a UBI in place, there will still be people demanding nanny-state programs. Because some people are just bad parents and will blow their UBI on coke and whores leaving no food for their kids. So we’ll still have a demand for SNAP and EBT cards. They won’t buy food so they sure won’t cover their kids healthcare, so well have a demand for “free” healthcare.

    It’s a dream that you can have fund UBI by eliminating current programs and using the same money for UBI. You’ll end up with both, and bills for both. And the first thing that goes is the “U” in UBI…there will be a movement to not provide it to anyone with a slightly higher than average income.

    1. Mpercy: Those who would “cheat” the system by buying booze instead of food already do that. Ask any worker in the system how many of their clients “lose” their EBT cards and get new ones to replace them. And those that are a bit more clever simply sell them.
      This goes on, and although it represents a pretty small minority of recipients, it always has, and always will, be part of any system. There was a police “video history” of a local person who spent their entire EBT “allotment” on steaks, then took them and traded them all for cigarettes. She was actually arrested.

      1. I wasn’t really talking about “cheating” per se. I was pointing out that since people choose poorly consistently, we’ll still have to have “safety net” programs. It’s argued that we can afford a UBI by, in part, trading UBI for all the other welfare programs; that won’t work because we won’t be able to do away with the other programs…because bad parents will blow their entire UBI (which is supposed to include their “welfare” money) and they’ll have still hungry kids without healthcare. That’s not even cheating the system…

        1. mpercy: no doubt there WILL be some who don’t spend wisely and run out of food before the next check arrives. Probably those same people who are running out of food now, before their next “refill” on their EBT card arrives. This is why the nutrition programs offered by places such as the Salvation Army and other NPOs will still be in demand. The huge majority of those accessing these programs today already get benefits from SNAP and other programs. Increasing the amount they receive, by eliminating the “middle-man” would be a boon to many, if not most, but no, there are always some of them who will be begging…..

        2. mpercy: replying specifically to your point about healthcare, I would propose that health-care insurance costs could be handled as a “voucher” but still within the structure of a “negative income tax.” I also support a voucher-system for education, but that’s a State issue.

    2. Sample principle apples when anyone tries to sell you on a VAT ‘replacing’ other taxes.

      It won’t. They will all stay.

      1. In that, I fear, you are completely correct. But that is a different problem. As long as the Feds feel that they can spend/tax/borrow whatever they want. it will remain.

      2. Not really. The communist manifesto income tax was the definitive replacement for those nasty, anti-progressive tariffs according to Billy Bryan and the People’s Party. And tariffs are now a thing of the past, right?

    3. They increased military pay when they got rid of the draft; they didn’t wind up keeping the draft even with the increase in enlistments.

      In states that used to have state stores for liquor, they didn’t keep the state stores when they allowed private enterprise in liquor. Same in countries that used to have government phone companies.

      Seems it is possible to have deals wherein government programs are replaced, not merely augmented.

  35. Using men with guns to subtract property from people is not math.

    1. If you are statist that’s all it is.

  36. […] Democracy, but, uh, he is also pro-UBI. “Nicknamed his ‘Freedom Dividend,’” Reason magazine reports, his proposal would “give $1,000 a month to every adult between the ages of 18 and […]

  37. […] Yang: A blend of Liberal Policy Wonk — although not all his policies are super liberal — and […]

  38. […] Yang: A blend of Liberal Policy Wonk — although not all his policies are super liberal — and […]

  39. […] Yang: A blend of Liberal Policy Wonk — although not all his policies are super liberal — and […]

  40. […] Yang: A blend of Liberal Policy Wonk — although not all his policies are super liberal — and […]


    From the perspective of Biobehavioral Science, the government furnishing a “basic income” is a schedule of reïnforcement known as a “dro” — “differential reïnforcement of other behaviors”. In this case, emit any behavior but gainful employment and receive a governmental reward. Consequence? Rewarding sloth and indolence. How will doing so benefit this already fragmenting, declining nation on fire.

    For more scientific perspective, visit: .

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