Basic Income/Negative Income Tax

Do Milton Friedman, MLK, and Andrew Yang Really Agree on the Universal Basic Income?

Spoiler alert: No.

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Much of the Democratic debate on Wednesday featured a fractured flock of candidates fighting over progressive credentials and declaring who they'd put in prison or fine to prove their bona fides. But Andrew Yang, the plucky venture capitalist, made the case that his policies really are for everyone.

"I'm building a coalition of disaffected Trump voters, independents, libertarians, and conservatives, as well as Democrats and progressives," Yang explained. He believes he can unite all these folks with a Universal Basic Income (UBI), which Yang says is "a deeply American idea" that connects "Thomas Paine to Martin Luther King to today." Yang's version of the UBI would see every American citizen 18 and older receive $1,000 a month—no exceptions.

But does his plan actually resonate across centuries and ideologies? The short answer is no. While a simple form of UBI has indeed been tossed around for many years, its implementation and cost look very different depending on whose version you read.

Do we start with St. Thomas More, who, in 1516, said that "provid[ing] everyone with some means of livelihood" would cut down on crime? Or do we take a cue from Yang and commence with Thomas Paine's late 18th century musings on the subject?

As Reason's Jesse Walker points out, better to begin with the latter, whose 1797 pamphlet Agrarian Justice advocated for a policy most closely related to today's UBI talk. Paine wrote that "the earth, in its natural, uncultivated state was…the common property of the human race." Although cultivation of that land was "one of the greatest natural improvements ever made," it also displaced people, robbing them of "their natural inheritance" and creating "a species of poverty and wretchedness that did not exist before." To rectify that disinheritance, Paine argued everyone was owed a yearly sum: 15 pounds for those between the ages of 21 and 49, and 10 pounds for those aged 50 and older.

Yang's UBI is essentially a modern-day, technologized version of Paine's proposal. Instead of agricultural practices dispossessing American citizens, Yang blames big tech companies, which he says are automating jobs into oblivion. You don't have to be a member of the Yang Gang to see other similarities between the two proposals. Paine called his payout the "Citizens Dividend," while Yang nicknamed his stipend the "Freedom Dividend."

But would they cost the same? Decidedly not. Adjusted for inflation, 15 pounds of sterling in 1797 comes out to about $1,960 in today's dollars—a far cry from Yang's proposed $12,000 redistribution.

How about Martin Luther King, Jr., the well-known civil rights activist and little-known UBI supporter? King placed the plight of the poor at the center of his platform. But his vision for a basic income was perhaps more conditional than universal. He wrote in his last book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?:

We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available.

A government-sponsored jobs program was central to King's proposal, and thus better reflected in Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D–N.Y.) Green New Deal than in Yang's no-strings-attached UBI.

Then there's the libertarian cohort of UBI fan boys, spearheaded by Milton Friedman and Charles Murray. The crowd at Yang's Washington, D.C., rally on April 15 burst into applause at the mention of Friedman. But the famous free-market economist's idea of UBI doesn't square up with Yang's. Friedman advocated for a negative income tax, which replaces levies on low-income individuals with supplemental funds from the government. Friedman's plan consequently ensures that everyone in society receives a guaranteed minimum income, but it doesn't redistribute money to people who don't need it.

And then there's Murray, the conservatarian economist who actually does favor a UBI that resembles Yang's. He shares the candidate's worries about automating the American job out of existence and has proposed giving everyone in America aged 21 and older $13,000—even more than Yang! However, it's worth noting that Murray would require $3,000 of that payout go toward health insurance. The two thinkers also differ on one other point, and it's a doozy: Murray's UBI would replace the entire welfare system, whereas Yang's would exist alongside a welfare system.

"You don't want to take away benefits that hundreds of thousands of Americans are literally relying upon for their very survival," Yang told me back in April"The goal is to create more positive incentives."

So how would the presidential hopeful finance his "tech check"? For starters, Yang says that, while the welfare state would remain intact, spending would fall by $500 to $600 billion. He would also implement a 10 percent Value Added Tax (VAT), which he says would raise $800 billion in new revenue. He further forecasts the U.S. would save between $100 to $200 billion "as people would take better care of themselves," saving funds from visits to the emergency room and jail cells. The economy would grow by $800-900 billion, he posits, with consumers more empowered to spend as they please. A tax on top earners and carbon would also add to the freedom fund, although by how much he doesn't say.

But apart from his VAT tax, Yang's financial justification is chock full of uncertainty, as it relies heavily on the notion that the economy will expand by almost a trillion dollars—a big if, to say the least. Consider for a moment if all went to plan: On paper, his UBI costs about $2.8 trillion, but, even in a perfect world, his current concrete projections fall $600 billion short of that. It's unlikely that a tax on the wealthy and carbon would raise those funds, and there's always the chance that capital creators would choose to move their businesses and the money they create to safe havens.

Yang has stuck to his guns despite these questions. He said in April that his UBI would put "more people in a position where they can actually participate in a free market," fostering a "much more dynamic economy." When we spoke, he had just removed a hat that spelled "MATH" in bold, capital letters, which the presidential hopeful wore as a badge of honor during his rally. It's become somewhat of a one-word campaign slogan, gracing signs and swag alike. When it comes to Yang's UBI, though, the math just doesn't add up.

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  1. “Paine argued everyone was owed a yearly sum: 15 pounds for those between the ages of 21 and 49, and 10 pounds for those aged 50 and older.”

    This is a universal basic income I could get behind.

  2. “We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. ”

    King is wrong here. We create full employment or we create wealth–which capitalism has done nicely.

    On the last part–must create consumers– it’s as if a million Democratic voices cried out, and then we’re silenced…

  3. …and who is going to pay for this Universal Basic Income?

    1. Rainbow farting Unicorns?

    2. this is just a shell game to add more tax…

      here is the basic math based on what he said on TV… UBI is an opt-in program… but it will not cost a lot because we are eliminating welfare… people who are on welfare needs to opt-in and give up their welfare….

      so the simple breakdown… if you are getting $1200 welfare now.. you are not going to opt-in for $1000 UBI… if you are on $800 welfare now, you are going to opt-in and get $200 extra from UBI… but if you are NOT on welfare… then you will get $1000 net benefit… so the poor are getting screwed ??? not so fast… in order not to screw the real poor, the tax will be added, so those who are not on welfare now, though appear to get $1000 UBI (and more money than those who are on welfare), will have their benefit canceled out (all or partial) by increase tax (to pay for UBI)…. so after all the dust is settle…. it is just a simple scheme to tax the rich/middle class to give poor more money…. but lets just market it as some fancy futurist idea…. (remind me of ObamaCare… you can keep your doctor/insurance)

      1. You fail to mention how many people would take UBI, even if they lost some money. The reason being that 1. They will get it no questions asked and 2. They can consider making some money on the side since they don’t lose their dividend no matter how much money they make.

        You also fail to mention that food and necessities will be VAT exempt. Also unless you are in the habit of spending thousands of dollars on luxury items every month, this VAT won’t be hurting you. To be clear, this will only work if we match a VAT with UBI. A VAT by itself would definitely just be pointless.

  4. >>>I’m building a coalition of disaffected Trump voters

    six soccer moms in Toledo?

  5. “as people would take better care of themselves,” saving funds from visits to the emergency room and jail cells”

    Guess when all the overdoses in Vancouver bc happen, go on, guess?

    That’s right, welfare check day… An income alone doesn’t insure people will take better care of themselves. Sometimes it means the exact opposite.

    Humans, stubborn bunch.

    1. True, look at all the lottery winners that lose it all in short order. Some can handle their money, many can’t.

    2. Yeah, that seems terribly naive.

    3. But the data doesn’t show that. The data clearly shows (and Andrew Yang has cited many studies) that the mindset of scarcity (go research it yourself — Google is a thing) can actually decrease your IQ. Basically, when you can’t pay your bills and your afraid of making it past today you aren’t able to use all your mind to think about forward thinking issues. If it’s going to happen 20 days from now who care’s if you can’t make it to that point.

      There has been a lot of study on that.

      1. Oh, and don’t tell us to look for evidence to back your claims; put up, or fuck off.

  6. What a fool!

    A fool soon parts his subjects’ money. Or at least hopes to.

  7. If you agree that there is a need for some fundamental wealth redistribution then a UBI is the most efficient solution. It is a market solution to wealth redistribution. The issue with Yang’s proposal is that it does not make any cuts to the welfare state. He acknowledges that the government’s only talent is mailing checks yet doesn’t follow through on this very fact. Thus, in effect he is just handing out more money.

    1. UBI would be better than welfare, as it should eliminate all sorts of perverse incentives and fraud. It would also reduce the power of The State by taking away discretion, bureaucracy, and crony contracts.
      But I think its proponents make a branding error in referring to it as UBI.
      Revenue sharing or dividends would be a better way to market it.

      1. A UBI is a less bad idea than the existing welfare state.
        I have little problem supporting a UBI that replaces the programs that already exist, at the same cost.
        Though that does nto make it a good idea, just a less bad one.
        A UBI is near certain to work the opposite way that Yang hopes, and less rather than more people will produce.
        That is critical, because no matter how you slice it we can not consume what we do not produce.

  8. Yang has said, it’s either or…not both…you can’t have welfare and then collect your $1k

    1. But he also said that he wouldn’t make any cuts to social services or programs. In effect he is just expanding welfare as it is to everyone whereas he should counteract the cost by decreasing the spending and influence of the government and let the market sort the rest out.

      1. Don’t forget the new taxes he wants.

        “He would also implement a 10 percent Value Added Tax (VAT)…”

        1. At least a VAT is more moral and honest than an income tax.

          1. I don’t see anything that would indicate he doesn’t intend on having both.

          2. Here’s $1,000… now give it back in VAT taxes.

            1. To pay 1000 in VAT taxes you would need to spend 10,000 a month in consumer goods. Which is insane and won’t happen. And people can have EITHER welfare or UBI. Not both. But they can choose. Ultimately most would choose UBI (because it incentives rather than de-incentives folks to do better) and thus much of the social programs would shrink. This is why conservative and libertarian thinkers are for his plan. This article is misrepresenting his views in a large way and needs to be edited.

          3. Morality and efficiency are not the same.
            A VAT that REPLACES an income tax is more efficient.
            A new VAT is just more government sanctioned theft.
            It is still immoral.

      2. What part of “it’s either or…not both” makes you think welfare will remain the same size? That is the beauty of UBI/NIT. It will always end up decreasing the size of welfare/bureaucracy. Regardless of anyone trying to twist Milton’s words, I am sure this is part of why he saw UBI being a way to undermine welfare which only hurts the poor, and does not raise them up.

        1. Um because only those who are better off with UBI will have incentive to switch from their current service? I don’t see how the welfare state will shrink if spending is drastically increased and no services are being cut.

          1. Welfare includes government oversight and social workers. If people are getting off welfare and onto a program that has no strings attached, it will naturally reduce the size of welfare. I certainly don’t see how you think UBI will increase the number of social workers?

            Furthermore, you can’t tell me that many people sitting at 1000-1200 a month on 6 different welfare programs with constant invasion of privacy by the government, would not rather take 1000$ with no questions asked?

            You can disagree with Andrew Yang for his progressive ideas about women and gay stuff, but UBI is a conservative idea AND it is about smaller government. Something any real Libertarian can get behind.

            1. “If people are getting off welfare and onto a program that has no strings attached, it will naturally reduce the size of welfare.”
              So long as you ignore all those new people signing up for that new ‘no-strings-attached’ welfare. Not real bright, I see.

              “Furthermore, you can’t tell me that many people sitting at 1000-1200 a month on 6 different welfare programs with constant invasion of privacy by the government, would not rather take 1000$ with no questions asked?”
              So what?

              “…but UBI is a conservative idea AND it is about smaller government. Something any real Libertarian can get behind.”
              Bull
              .
              .
              .
              shit.

              1. You can keep being angry all you want. The fact you keep calling NIT/UBI “just more welfare” only shows your true colors. People like you are so obsessed with political parties that you can’t separate a truly conservative idea, from a Democrat candidate.

                1. “You can keep being angry all you want. The fact you keep calling NIT/UBI “just more welfare” only shows your true colors. People like you are so obsessed with political parties that you can’t separate a truly conservative idea, from a Democrat candidate.”

                  You can keep pedaling bullshit all you want. Your true colors are visible as a result.

  9. “But would they cost the same? Decidedly not. Adjusted for inflation, 15 pound of sterling in 1797 comes out to about $1,960 in today’s dollars—a far cry from Yang’s proposed $12,000 redistribution.”

    But maybe prices have changed a little since Paine’s time?

    A proper comparison to the cash value of Paine’s plan would be based on calculations based on ground rent.

    “Every proprietor, therefore, of cultivated lands, owes to the community ground-rent (for I know of no better term to express the idea) for the land which he holds; and it is from this ground-rent that the fund prod in this plan is to issue. ”

    Geolibertarians have extended Paine’s basic idea to all natural resources.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geolibertarianism

    The first point for honest people to discuss isn’t the amount of Paine’s proposal, but the principle involved, that *in Justice*, those who hold natural resources should compensate others for what they’ve claimed out of the commons.

    Naturally, Reason never addresses principles they don’t have answers for. That’s no surprise.

    Is there any evidence that Yang in any way agrees with Paine on *principle*? I haven’t seen it.

    His principle seems more that people need money, so we have to give them some. Murray would remove the negative incentives to work from welfare rules, while Friedman would create an extra positive incentive through the negative income tax.

    None of them are arguing in terms of Justice but Paine.

    And Yang simply doesn’t understand the incentives involved:
    “You don’t want to take away benefits that hundreds of thousands of Americans are literally relying upon for their very survival,” Yang told me back in April. “The goal is to create more positive incentives.”

    A UBI creates no positive incentive to work. You have less incentive to work, because your need for money is now less. But at least your incentive for *marginal* dollars through work are not grossly distorted as they are with current welfare rules. Murray and Friedman actually tackle incentives rationally. Yang doesn’t.

    By leaving in place all the *negative* incentives to work of the current welfare system, Yang shows either gross cluelessness or dishonesty on the point of incentives.

    1. “By leaving in place all the *negative* incentives to work of the current welfare system, Yang shows either gross cluelessness or dishonesty on the point of incentives.”

      Yep.

      1. I’ll take gross cluelessness for $2000, Alex.

        1. The Daily Double.

    2. A problem with Geolibertarianism is that it encourages imperialism. An easy way for a government to gain more revenue under such a system is to simply conquer and control more land. You could argue that by placing a value on land it would be more efficiently utilized, but the conquering of additional land through force can hardly be justified by someone who believes in the NAP.

      1. This is peculiar.

        Dirt doesn’t pay taxes. You actually have to conquer *people* owning land to get more ground rent out of them.

        And I don’t see how any other government wouldn’t be equally, or in fact *more*, open to the charge of incentive to imperialism for acquiring more natural resources.

        1. Don’t most places already have real estate taxes? What is new here?

        2. No, but rich countries that conquer people have rich would-be landowners that will be happy to pay the taxes for more dirt.

      2. “An easy way for a government to gain more revenue under such a system is to simply conquer and control more land.”

        Yep.
        That’s the way the world works.
        When empires turn away from expansion and predation, they turn to cannibalism and wither

    3. “The goal is to create more positive incentives”.

      Oh, hells yeah! I’m incentivized! My house and cars are paid for. I’m decades away from retirement. Still young enough to enjoy being a slacker, and I don’t need that much of other people’s money to get by. The sweet spot! I won’t work another day!

      Bring it, mr yang. I’m with ya, and your dumb idea!

      Haha

  10. You could do it if you eliminate Medicare, Medicare, and SS.

    1. “You could do it if you eliminate Medicare, Medicare, and SS.”

      That is the only way it would work. Indeed, that is why I favor it, since it eliminates one humongous bureaucracy, which, in total, comes to something over one-half trillion dollars per year, every year. which pays people to, basically, redistribute money. That seems horribly wastful. How to get from here to there, while assessing its viability, is a major stumbling block.

      1. Right, eliminating a half trillion by adding 2.8 trillion of expense makes sense…..not.

        1. Actually. what I have in mind would, if fully-implemented, reduce the budget by 1/2 trillion, and, even it doubled the IRS budget (currently about $11 billion, which I seriously doubt. would still be a net “gain” (or lowered taxes) of about $490,000,000,000. In reality, it would probably not be quite that good, but it would be a huge improvement. Don’t forget, for every one hundred dollars you pay in taxes for these federal programs, about thirty dollars of it goes to government employees whose sole job is to redistribute it. With a GMI, ninety percent, or more, of those positions would be eliminated.

  11. I have long-supported a GMI, at least Friedman’s version. One of the problems with implementing it, is, of course, that it requires an enormous change in entire welfare system. The experiments tried by some governments, notably Canada, have all been ended prematurely — according to more than a few, long before the efficacy of such a program can be evaluated. Some of the process by which the individuals are selected to participate seem questionable, as well, as far as establishing how well such a program might work. The programs seem also to be a political football, and seem unable to survive new political parties taking power.

    So, it occurred to me over some good dark roast, that perhaps we should have a GMI — for veterans. Maybe a good starting point? Again, using Friedman’s model, which the EIC is sort-of modeled after, each veteran with an honorable discharge could be guaranteed a minimum income — lets say $24,000 per year, (just a number), and no federal income taxes until their income reaches $40,000 per year. I am thinking that veterans are a deserving group as any for us to add some financial stability.

    Any comments?

    1. The problem isn’t that we have poverty. The problem is that we have politicians who continue to pit the haves vs the have-nots. None of these programs will ever be enough, because there will always be people on the bottom whose votes can be won by promising to give them more.

      The standard of living of anyone on welfare within the United States is significantly better than a good portion of the world. But of course, that’s not enough in the minds of politicians who want nothing more than power and will happily trade someone else’s money for votes.

      1. That is absolutely true. The only likely advantage of a GMI is it gives recipients more control over their lives than the current system, and might, just might, provide some incentives to those who wish to better themselves.

        One thing for certain, however, the 1/2 trillion dollars saved each year could certainly be used for something more productive that is it now… like lowering the deficit, paying off the debt, or, eventually, not collecting money in the first place.

        1. I don’t disagree with the principle behind it. I disagree that it would ever be “enough” to politicians who simply want more power. Either GMI would be continuously increased until we were all equal, or additional welfare benefits would exist in addition to GMI. I don’t see a practical solution so long as power can be achieved by taking from some and giving to others.

          1. That too, is a major stumbling block. The only solution, I see, would be tying any increases to GMI to increases in cost-of-living. And, of course, that could create it’s own problems, at least politically. And, yes, there would be those who insist that we all be “middle-class,” whether we deserve it or not, and that is just… uh …. silly is a nice word.

          2. How about a UBI based on a % of federal budget surplus, say, 30%? Of course congress would increase the % over time to get votes, but they couldn’t go over 100% (wishful thinking?) and it forces a pay-for.

            1. “… it forces a pay-for.”
              In my book, it would HAVE to be a pay-for, even in the short-term. Even without other budgetary considerations.

            2. How about no UBI?

              1. A UBI is certainly not nirvana. But it beats the current system by a long margin. Maybe there is a better system. I would like to think so. Ideally, nobody would ever need help from anyone else, or the government. But the reality is that local government support for indigent, homeless, etc., began in England around 1200 years ago. And on the tribal level, and on the family level, it’s as old as homo sapiens themselves. Is government the best way to do it? Nope. That sort of illustrates why government is a “necessary evil.”

                1. Pretty much that is my take as well. I only heard of UBI 2 months ago on the Joe Rogan podcast, and I am convinced after watching Friedman talk, that it is the most efficient way to distribute wealth.

      2. The argument from Paine at least is that property in land inherently pits the haves against the have nots, to the detriment of the have nots.

        That property in land dispossesses those without the property in favor of those with, and the extraction and distribution of ground rent from those who have to the people in the community generally is a just solution to that dispossession.

    2. Oh, and I should add that the Republicans pandering to veterans is no different. The principles of supply and demand don’t change because your work is more noble than some other work. Veterans know what their pay is when they volunteer their service. They don’t deserve more than their market value (and yes I know that sounds crass).

      1. I am not a Republican, and never have been. The reason I chose vets is strictly political: I figured a lot of Repubs have a “soft spot” for vets, and even Dems, at the worst, pander to them. Again. That is just my attempt to make it seem more…. “palatable.” From my small sampling, nearly as many Dems are as skeptical about a GMI as are Repubs.

  12. You are being obtuse on all fronts:
    1. You are not looking at the spirit of what Thomas Paine said. I guarantee you if you asked him “What would you consider to be the poverty level?” And he said “20 Sterlings”. And you said “Let’s make basic income that amount”, he would definitely be in agreement.

    2. So because MLK wanted a guaranteed jobs program, it means that anyone who uses him as support for UBI is a fraud? What kind of logic is that? Did you realize that Yang is in support of jobs programs, but he knows that the government is terrible at retraining people. The studies show the success rate is 0-15%

    3. And then you act like a NIT is completely different than UBI. They both help people below a certain threshold. A NIT only helps the poor class. But UBI helps people even up into the middle class.

    4. And then you insinuate that if any UBI/NIT is implemented, Reason writers will only support it if welfare is completely abolished at the same time. Talk about setting impossible goals. You will not find 1 person who could delete all welfare in a piece of legislation. You should instead understand that UBI will naturally erode away at the welfare establishment. This is a much more attainable goal and you know it.

    Finally, even if UBI eats away at only 10% of the welfare establishment, this would be a great win for efficiency and and less government workers.

    1. $2.8 T per year to remove 10% of a $1 T welfare spend. Great idea!!!

      Back to third grade arithmetic for you.

      1. Apparently you just love big government that much? Not sure why you would be unhappy with less government oversight. And isn’t a core belief of libertarians, the idea of individualism? That people should be free to spend their money how they want? And before you say “but this UBI money is tax money that belongs to me”, remember that we are assuming that government will always have some kind of welfare. The question is which is most efficient and the smallest amount of intrusion into people’s homes?

        1. “”The question is which is most efficient and the smallest amount of intrusion into people’s homes?””

          Since we don’t know what strings government would attach, we can’t make that determination. The government has a large thirst for data collection, and a tendency to make stupid rules for money (grants) they hand out.

          1. So because other politicians who give handouts with strings attached, it means anybody who comes along saying they want to give money with 0 strings attached will fail?

            I agree that Congress will try to add stupid restrictions that immediately defeat the purpose of the word “universal” in UBI. But we aren’t arguing about “what ifs”. We are talking about how UBI, with no other factors, will erode away at welfare over time. That means smaller government. I like that.

            1. “We are talking about how UBI, with no other factors, will erode away at welfare over time. That means smaller government. I like that.”

              No, YOU are posting about YOUR fantasies.
              Get lost.

              1. If you can’t think logically then there is nothing I can do for you. UBI will reduce the size of welfare establishment no matter what you want to believe.

                1. “If you can’t think logically then there is nothing I can do for you. UBI will reduce the size of welfare establishment no matter what you want to believe.”

                  My ability to think logically is well established: You are full of shit.

                  1. I am done responding to you. It is clear that you don’t want to think rationally about UBI. All you have done is rant and rave about anyone who doesn’t hate Yang like you do. People can look at all your replies and see how unhinged you have become.

                    1. darthclide
                      August.3.2019 at 7:26 pm
                      “I am done responding to you. It is clear that you don’t want to think rationally about UBI. All you have done is rant and rave about anyone who doesn’t hate Yang like you do.”

                      Yeah, getting called on bullshit propaganda for a candidate will often make the propagandist testy. Fuck off; you offer nothing other than lefty fantasies.

                      “People can look at all your replies and see how unhinged you have become.”
                      Yep, you can tell by the number who have added to my comments regarding your lefty fantasies.
                      Fuck off and die; the world will be a better place.
                      Oh, and do it where we can’t smell you; lefties stink.

    2. What about UBI combined with repeal of minimum wage laws and a phase out plan for welfare benefits?

      What would that look like gamed out?

      Not really a ubi supporter – more a put people to work in private business supporter. So regulations, minimum wage laws, welfare, immigration (legal and illegal), poor quality/high cost education, and exported business are all the things I find detrimental to that goal.

      Exported businesses are helped by regulatory freedom and minimum wage decrease, however you still need to work out where foreign governments subsidize their businesses – tarriffs help there. Otherwise, those businesses demand we do business welfare.

      1. Funny you mention minimum wage. Yang has made it clear that a higher minimum wage isn’t going to help people, AND that it will spur on faster automation. I disagree with a lot of his stances on women’s rights and gay rights, but his views on economics are very Libertarian in nature.

    3. Yes DarthClyde! Well said

      1. Thank you. I wasn’t sure if I should waste my time creating an account here, but I really had to clarify some of the fallacies committed here. There are fair arguments to be made against UBI, but I am unsure why Reason avoided using them?

    4. “Finally, even if UBI eats away at only 10% of the welfare establishment, this would be a great win for efficiency and and less government workers.”

      Yeah, substituting a 30% increase for a 10% reduction is really great!
      Try adding one and one; take your time. You need it.

      1. You are conflating “money spent” with “how much government rules your life”. As a Libertarian, I am perfectly fine with a little bit more money spent if it means a smaller government.

        But of course, you and the other comment going after my 10% statement are purposefully ignoring the spirit of my words. You know full well I am simply pointing out an extreme to show people that less government is a great thing.

        1. “As a Libertarian, I am perfectly fine with a little bit more money spent if it means a smaller government.”

          Absolutely. The end result of a GMI, at least in theory, would be a net increase, or, at the very least, no decrease in the lifestyle of those who qualify, and would significantly reduce the size of government, by eliminating the social service positions which eat up somewhere around 25% of the money in their budget. More choices for those who need the help, lower taxes, and fewer government employees. Sort of like win, win, win. Of course, that ideal state might never be realized, but even if it’s significantly successful, it just might be an improvement for everybody.

        2. You are conflating “money spent” with “how much government rules your life”.

          And you are failing to understand that government IS about the money spent, and the money raised. It’s all about the money. That’s why the tax authorities are the most powerful state agents in all countries. If there’s one thing the state must have, it’s its income. It is the life blood of the state and the cause of all our problems which manifests always as a loss of liberty.

          The state oppresses when it generates its income and it oppresses, corrupts and distorts when it spends that income.

          It’s all about the money, and it always will be. There is no such thing as a big state without a big state income and expenditure.

        3. darthclide
          August.2.2019 at 2:27 pm
          “You are conflating “money spent” with “how much government rules your life”. As a Libertarian, I am perfectly fine with a little bit more money spent if it means a smaller government.”

          You are pedaling bullshit.

          1. ? So you do not like smaller government? If you like smaller government, you should be happy that federal employees will lose their job under UBI.

            1. darthclide
              August.3.2019 at 5:41 pm
              “? So you do not like smaller government? If you like smaller government, you should be happy that federal employees will lose their job under UBI.”

              No, I don’t like bullshit.
              Your fantasies do not in any way deliver what you claim. Either you are simply lying, or stupid enough to believe what you post.

  13. Here’s $1,000… now give it back in VAT taxes.

    1. Think about how much money you spend in a month on items (not food, or necessities since these are VAT exempt). Are you spending thousands of dollars every month? If not, then this UBI will help you. The point of this VAT + UBI is that it doesn’t just help the poor people, it also helps the middle class too. Only once you reach upper middle/rich class will you see a small “dent” in your wallet.

      Furthermore, how do you propose we tax places like Amazon and other places with thousands of robots/machines? So far, the VAT looks like the only way we can capture these gains that will only grow exponentially as machines get faster and more humans are put out of work.

      1. “…Only once you reach upper middle/rich class will you see a small “dent” in your wallet…”

        Tax the rich! We can all live like Bill Gates!

  14. Billy, a little MATH on your part would confirm that the poorest of recipients of UBI would make many of them automatically ineligible for both SNAP (foodstamps, $1,726 /mo MAX for family of two) and Welfare (Annual max income $10.8 K) assistance. Yang’s plan does de-facto dismantle the welfare system as it exists. Like many of us I would like to see him commit to canceling the welfare state in addition, but one has to realize the plan actually disrupts Welfare in ways Murray would be aligned with.

    1. Exactly. And consider we have something like 120 programs in this country. This UBI will inevitably destroy many of them.

      And yes, I am sure if Yang could, he would wipe out all but a small part of welfare (for extreme cases that UBI can’t cover). But he knows that is impossible to do in Congress.

      What’s interesting is that Reason took him out of context when he said, “You don’t want to take away benefits that hundreds of thousands of Americans are literally relying upon for their very survival”. His point wasn’t that we need to keep welfare forever. He was simply stating it would be wrong for the government to come into a family’s home and force them to take UBI. Let’s ignore the civil unrest this government mandate would cause.

      You want to know something else? Bernie supporters flocked to Yang’s twitter last week and called him a “trojan horse”. That is, they fear his plan will gut welfare. Guess what? They are right. But Yang is focused on the primary benefits of UBI, not the secondary results.

      1. “Secondary results”. Like Hazlett’s broken window fallacy in “Basic Economics in One Lesson” seem to NEVER get political traction and i think the fear of breaking down unintended consequences for (some) smart voters is paralyzing our politics away from better outcomes.

        1. Hmm, may I ask you to clarify how the window fallacy relates to UBI? I am genuinely curious. No hostility here.

  15. “4. And then you insinuate that if any UBI/NIT is implemented, Reason writers will only support it if welfare is completely abolished at the same time.”

    There is no reason at all that the current welfare system could not be phased out gradually. In fact, in order not to dis-employ a few million State and County employees overnight, it would have to be done over several years. One could start with housing subsidies — turn them into tax credits instead of vouchers and public housing projects. Then we wouldn’t need that portion of HUD, as a for instance. And again, it would give us a chance to monitor the effects and “tweak” things, if necessary.

    1. Yes! It is even analogous to automation. It is a “silent killer” of sorts. It isn’t taking millions of jobs overnight. It is just taking them over a period of months/years. Except in the case of government workers, we should all be cheering to see them lose their positions. Do remember they would be getting UBI as well, so ironically they will have an automatic safety net as soon as they lose their job “spying” (Milton Friedman’s words) on American people.

      1. True, though GMI would only kick in if their income fell to the level at which they would qualify for benefits anyway. From my personal experience, attrition accounts for somewhere near 18% per year in this “industry,” since most of these of jobs don’t pay all that well, anyway. So by phasing out particular programs, a few at a time, and not refilling those positions, the impact on the workforce would be quite minimal. And you are right, it would definitely be good to see them take jobs in service or manufacturing industries which actually produce a “product.” And, most of the folks in this “industry” won’t have trouble finding new jobs, anyway, which is why the attrition rate is so high. Heck, maybe they will open up their own businesses.

        1. “maybe they will open up their own businesses”.

          This is a cornerstone to why Yang likes UBI. While you mentioned it would be good to see them in manufacturing, the truth is that these jobs are going away and never coming back (unless the government passes laws that restrict the AI and automation). They (former social workers), as well as many Americans will have no choice but to reinvent themselves in the coming years. Sorry, but millions of Americans aren’t going to become coders/AI specialists. They will instead do things they are passionate about, that robots can’t do well yet (art, community service, etc) or flood into the skilled trades market. That is also something Yang pushes for. He says free college won’t solve anything. He wants trades to be put back into high school, and encourage young people to not assume college is the only way forward in life.

          1. Correct. I mentioned “manufacturing” just because, as society gradually gets more affluent, “manufacturing” doesn’t just include big-ticket items or mass-produced items. I have some nice pieces of furniture in my living room: all were made by individuals or, in one case, a pretty small shop. All were handmade — bench, side-board, coffee table, side-table, wine-rack, etc. The artwork is also original from local artists. That kind of “manufacturing,” at least where I live, is growing.

            And who knows what kind of services will be in demand in the future? The problem is, of course, that we can’t, and that makes people uncomfortable.

            1. “and that makes people uncomfortable.”
              This is part of why people will lash out against UBI. When people speak of automation and self driving vehicles, they know within their hearts that Yang (regardless of his other opinions) is speaking the truth when he says America is going through a massive 4th industrial revolution.

  16. “When we spoke, he had just removed a hat that spelled “MATH” in bold, capital letters, which the presidential hopeful wore as a badge of honor during his rally. It’s become somewhat of a one-word campaign slogan, gracing signs and swag alike.”

    He should learn how to do some.

  17. Friedman’s plan consequently ensures that everyone in society receives a guaranteed minimum income, but it doesn’t redistribute money to people who don’t need it.

    It’s really all just semantics. I don’t know if Yang admits it, but everyone from the middle-class on up is going to be paying more than $1,000/month extra in taxes to pay for the damn thing. Same for Friedman’s program.

    A scheme like this is ALWAYS redistributive, no matter how you try to obscure it.

    Why is TANSTAAFL so hard to understand?

    1. Your claim is false. Only upper middle class and higher will be “hurt” by UBI. And this “hurt” isn’t going to bankrupt them. Especially since automation/AI is pushing our abundance/technology further and faster every year.

      I know most middle class families are not spending thousands of dollars on luxury items every month (remember that foods/necessities are VAT exempt). And imagine a person making 20000 a year. He isn’t poor, but he isn’t middle class either. Let’s say there is an item that costs 500$ pre-VAT. He wants to buy it, but he is barely paying his bills and has no money to spare. That item then cost 600$ post-VAT. Under UBI he could immediately buy that item next month and still have 400$ left over.

      In summary I want to make it clear: 1. I don’t know the right/moral way to tax businesses like Amazon who are making more and more money every year with robots. 2. I know that a VAT by itself is regressive and only helps the government. But a VAT + UBI is much more palpable to me.

      1. darthclide
        August.2.2019 at 2:57 pm
        “…Only upper middle class and higher will be “hurt” by UBI. And this “hurt” isn’t going to bankrupt them….”

        Fuck off, slaver.

        1. I am sorry if my wording is inaccurate. I am not the most qualified person to talk about UBI. But I do know that if this plan is implemented correctly, it will help anyone making under ~50k a year. This should excite anyone because the government is finally doing something that helps the majority of Americans.

          1. darthclide
            August.3.2019 at 5:41 pm
            “I am sorry if my wording is inaccurate. I am not the most qualified person to talk about UBI. But I do know that if this plan is implemented correctly, it will help anyone making under ~50k a year. This should excite anyone because the government is finally doing something that helps the majority of Americans.”

            And screw those making more than that, right?
            Fuck off, slaver.

      2. Actually, since the wealthy already pay the highest dollar amount in taxes, the overall lowering of taxes which would be possible using a GMI, could mean they pay considerably fewer taxes. Of course, even with lowering the costs of welfare system by at least 25%, I am sure nobody will let the well-to-do actually come out ahead. But maybe they won’t take MORE, as they surely will with the ever-expanding current welfare state.

  18. I’m surprised at how many people on this “libertarian” website support this type of thing. It’s shocking.

    1. Big Tent thinking drives big results faster than purity filters. The amount of people agreeing to some Libertarian’a ideas of Libertarian purity is usually a total of ….1. I for one like the unintended consequences of how other Govt programs are gutted when putting income efficiently in US Citizens power to spend as they choose . I *Prefer* active dismantlement of welfare State but if Yang miraculously emerges as a D influencer (or miraculous contender) it helps the larger cause. #babysteps

      1. PurplePros
        August.2.2019 at 5:35 pm
        “Big Tent thinking drives big results faster than purity filters.”

        And Yang-bros show up to pitch their bullshit on every Yang thread, don’t they, Yang-bro?

      2. Yes. As I have said in other comments, I would prefer to delete all welfare at the same time as putting in UBI. Furthermore, I would prefer funding for this UBI be taken away from our military budget and the many other pointless little things we spend money on. But I think we have no choice but to use baby steps towards that goal.

        Also, I really like the idea of US Citizens having the freedom to spend money on what they want. If they want to drink themselves to death, go ahead. If they want to invest into Google, go ahead. I don’t understand why any Libertarian would vehemently oppose UBI. I could understand disagreeing with it, but to be outraged over it? And call it socialism? I don’t get people sometimes…

        1. Folks, here a a comment which serves to clarify the idiocy of UBI:

          1)”…I really like the idea of US Citizens having the freedom to spend money on what they want. If they want to drink themselves to death, go ahead. If they want to invest into Google, go ahead.”

          Brain-dead lefty here wants people to spend their own money as they please. Except, of course, the money taken from them at gunpoint to hand out to anyone who wants it.
          ————————————-
          2) “I don’t understand why any Libertarian would vehemently oppose UBI. I could understand disagreeing with it, but to be outraged over it? And call it socialism? I don’t get people sometimes…”

          Yep, taking money at gunpoint and handing it over to someone else should be supported by libertarians, according to what has to be one of the most stupid commenters we’ve seen in a while.

    2. “I’m surprised at how many people on this “libertarian” website support this type of thing. It’s shocking.”

      You said it. But there’s one thing you learn when spending time on so-called libertarian forums, and that’s that a fair percentage of supposed libertarians are either regular Liberals or are that strange mashup known as a Left Libertarian. The latter has the notion that to be free the state must relieve you of the burden of oppression from all manner of things such as, oh, earning a living, or being refused service, or of being “underpaid”, or of hurtful speech. The Liberal types are really just variations on the ubiquitous “weed libertarians”. To them freedom means smoking marijuana (but not tobacco!) and having consensual butt sex. Other than that, the state can get as big as it likes.

      Probe them all and you won’t find one shred of low-tax, low regulation government philosophy. They really do think you can have your big government and your freedom, too.

      So a UBI? Makes perfect sense to them. Even seems kinda cool and edgy. And why shouldn’t it since this is what they’ve been taught in the state indoctrination centers (read: public schools) all their lives.

      Just wind ’em up and watch ’em go.

      1. So anyone who supports UBI is just a brainwashed public school attendee? Talk about logical fallacies…

        Have you considered that UBI is actually pro-small government? That Milton Friedman understood UBI is much more efficient than our current welfare programs?

        It is ironic that libertarians will go on and on about individualism, but as soon as a “lefty” shows up, then all hell breaks loose. I am opposed to many of Yang’s ideas, but just as many Americans took Trump over Hilary, I think his flagship proposal outweighs anything Trump has to offer.

        1. “So anyone who supports UBI is just a brainwashed public school attendee?”

          Could be, or could be a random lefty ignoramus.

        2. “Have you considered that UBI is actually pro-small government? ”

          Have you considered you can’t make government smaller by making it bigger?

    3. A couple of these people aren’t regulars. I suspect Yang supporters. I’d love to hear how they square his position on “Medicare for All” with their libertarianism.

      1. I square it away just like many people have done. That is, I have accepted the fact that no matter who gets into office, they are going to find a way to socialize health care. The question is who will do it in the most “efficient” way possible?

        In a perfect world, I could have a Libertarian president who matches my version of Libertarianism (which is heavily focused on fewer laws, and more freedom for the individual). He would also completely destroy welfare with one signature, and replace it with UBI.

        A part of me also thinks that no matter who is president, Congress will either A. Get bogged down in politics over how to implement Medicare for All or B. Get it passed regardless of what the president wants.

        As such, a president who champions UBI will win over conservatives in Congress when he mentions it will gut welfare naturally over time.

        1. “That is, I have accepted the fact that no matter who gets into office, they are going to find a way to socialize health care.”

          So socialism is the wave of the future?
          Fuck off, salver.

    4. Libertarianism didn’t become pure social Darwinism until Ayn Rand came along, and we all know how her shit turned out.

    5. “I’m surprised at how many people on this “libertarian” website support this type of thing. It’s shocking.”

      Check the other articles on Yang. It is obvious the word is being spread and we have many brand new commenters, every one claiming that Yang is really neato!
      Notice darthcide above; he only wants to tax the rich to hand out money.
      We’ll see him under one handle or the another on Yang threads and no where else.

      1. Nice to see your passive aggressive ad hominem attacks continuing. Also, WOW, a person creates an account to talk in a thread about something he is interested in. I am so shocked!! It’s almost as if people join discussions on the internet when something they are interested in comes up?

        Oh, and nice job continuing your false claims that UBI is socialism. Unless you are a crazy person who thinks a president can abolish all taxes in 2020, then you must accept the responsibility of implementing taxes that are fair. I don’t know if a VAT is the best solution. All I know is that it is not false to claim that places like Amazon and other big tech companies are making exponentially more money every year, while not paying any more in taxes. How do we capture a small part of that growth? Wealth tax? Higher income tax? Did you know that Yang doesn’t like the income tax? Although it isn’t a policy, he mentioned (I think on the Rogan podcast) that he would remove the income tax if he could. So he at least understands a higher income tax isn’t going to work for funding UBI or just funding the government in general.

        1. “Also, WOW, a person creates an account to talk in a thread about something he is interested in. I am so shocked!! It’s almost as if people join discussions on the internet when something they are interested in comes up?”
          You are certainly welcome top propagandize, and certain to be called on it.

          “Oh, and nice job continuing your false claims that UBI is socialism.”
          Nice job making as ass of yourself.

  19. At its heart, the UBI relies upon a mistaken idea of remunerative justice. Yes, if I wrong you, and it costs you, I should be required to pay those costs.

    But the loss of jobs has no such aspect to it. A business that lays off for whatever reason is not “doing harm” in the legal sense. But it’s illustrative of the statist mindset that they would like to give that type of thing a real legal status allowing them to invoke all manner of remedies which fall under the heading of, wait for it… social justice.

    A UBI is just old-fashioned welfare tarted up for the supposed new bogeyman of a rapidly transforming economy. Fact is, the economy has always been transforming, and often far more rapidly than it is now.

    Note: the reference to Paine actually works against the idea of a UBI. Look when he was writing. The nascent industrial revolution transformed Paine’s supposed problem out of existence. Nobody minded a rapid transformation, then, eh?

    1. I don’t think so. At least that shouldn’t be the justification. The argument is that once you place a floor on the level of misery a society permits its people to suffer, capitalism works all the better. More labor mobility, more risk-taking, more efficiency overall. We’ve already gone a long way on this project. Every civilized place on earth attempts to establish this floor. It shouldn’t be a scary thing to ponder on the ways to innovate further on this premise.

  20. But we already have UBI for children and disabled people. Does everyone else really deserve UBI?

    Let’s face it: lots of people are assholes.

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