MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Ontario Ends UBI Experiment Two Years Early

A provincial minister said the basic-income experiment "was certainly not going to be sustainable."

DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS/NewscomDENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS/NewscomA Canadian province's planned three-year experiment with a universal basic income (UBI) is ending after just one year.

Ontario's previous government implemented the pilot program last July, estimating that it would cost about CA$150 million. Instead of traditional welfare benefits, around 4,000 randomly selected low-income or jobless residents would be provided with yearly stipends of CA$16,989 per person (or CA$24,027 per couple). Participants with jobs had to give the government half of their work income. According to The Guardian, the experiment was meant to determine "whether the funds would improve health, education and housing outcomes."

But Ontario just ousted the Liberal Party and elected a new Progressive Conservative government, and the new regime had other ideas. Provincial Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said yesterday that Ontario would be ending the "quite expensive" experiment. "It was certainly not going to be sustainable," MacLeod said. She didn't provide any data to back that up, so it's not clear whether the program was costing more than expected or if the new government just has different ideas about how this was likely to end.

The announcement came several months after Finland decided not to extend its own UBI experiment, which distributed monthly stipends of 560 euros to about 2,000 residents. But other countries are still considering a UBI. Italy and the Netherlands are both implementing UBI trials, and some Scottish cities are mulling it over as well. And a privately funded basic-income experiment is now underway in Kenya.

The UBI's basic premise is not new. (Reason's Jesse Walker has documented the idea's history here.) But it remains controversial, even among libertarians. Some libertarians are firmly against the idea, arguing that it is as unjust as any other form of wealth redistribution. Others say a UBI would be less intrusive and more cost-effective than a traditional welfare state, and therefore would be a step toward smaller government.

In the United States, the idea is far from dead. Stockton, California, is ready to test its own version of a UBI, and lawmakers in Chicago have proposed a similar experiment.

Photo Credit: DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    A provincial minister said the basic-income experiment "was certainly not going to be sustainable."

    El oh fucking el.

    Progressive Conservative government

    So... Trump.

  • Yellow Tony||

    South Park is becoming reality.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    You had South Park in the Libertarian Moment™ universe? What was it like?

  • Yellow Tony||

    My dimension is pretty similar to this one. There are some differences, but the most notable ones occurred after the 2016 election when McAfee was elected as POTUS. (And that itself is a salient difference.)
    But speaking of South Park, the series ended because Parker and Stone overdosed on reality.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    You dimension is composed entirely of pansexuals, you had a war against the Sea People, and you like Chick-fil-A (blecch!). So no, your dimension is way super different.

  • Yellow Tony||

    Correction: America is entirely composed of pansexuals. And I'm sorry for your shit taste concerning your dislike of Chick-fil-A. Is it the staff? Some of them can be quite attractive, but I don't try to hide my flesh bone; instead I proudly sport it in front of the photogenic cashiers!

  • damikesc||

    CFA is the bomb. And the staff is attractive but underage as all royal hell.

  • mtrueman||

    "So... Trump."

    But without the racism. Ford's support among immigrant communities is pretty decent.

  • Fancylad||

    "Mexico and Islam are races."

  • mtrueman||

    Ford's support among the immigrant communities around Toronto, the main city, is fairly strong.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Same idiots will tell you how bad the Trump deficits are.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Progressive Conservative government

    Words really don't have meaning anymore do they?

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    A major component of the Marxist Theory of Language. Lenin was very big on shifting definitions .

  • ||

    Progressive conservatives are just red liberals but blue.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Shikha is a self styled Progressive Libertarian

  • MJBinAL||

    Shitma is a self styled Progressive Libertarian .... without the Libertarian.

  • Fancylad||

    The Progressive Party of Canada was founded in the 1920s by prairie farmers. They were populist, religious, very socially conservative and economically progressive for the time (Co-Ops, Credit Unions, Aid Associations, Social Credit schemes, etc).
    In the 40's the Conservative Party of Canada absorbed a lot of their members, and though there was never a merger, they added "Progressive" to their name.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The announcement came several months after Finland decided not to extend its own UBI experiment

    Boy that Finland link is deafening in its lack of detail.

  • Jerryskids||

    If you're going to have a UBI, I'd lean toward Bernie's idea of a guaranteed job for everybody. (Shhh, don't tell anybody we're talking about Workfare here, that's a dirty word even Bernie won't use - but I wouldn't be opposed to the idea that welfare recipients should be required to work for their money even if it's nothing more than half the recipients babysitting the other half's kids while they're out picking up trash along the roadside.)

  • perlchpr||

    The problem with this scenario is, I suspect many of those people are not the sort you want to leave your kids with.

  • The Last American Hero||

    I wouldn't be leaving my kids with them. The welfare people would.

  • ThomasD||

    That'll work out just dandy.

  • Slocum||

    +100

    Even if the jobs are just digging holes and filling them in, you have to make people show up 40 hrs a week and do something. Otherwise, the combination of UBI plus 100% free time is just too damn attractive -- people would get the money and all that time for leisure plus home production plus off-the-books work.

  • chipper me timbers||

    We already have workfare.

    Most of the government office jobs are basically that.

  • MJBinAL||

    Except instead of doing productive work, they impede others productive work.

    Kinda like digging holes .... if the holees are dug under the tires of your car.

  • Cloudbuster||

    If you're going to have a UBI, I'd lean toward Bernie's idea of a guaranteed job for everybody.

    It will be funny to see how quickly "guaranteed job" turns into "mandatory job." I mean, funny in a totalitarian, Soviet Gulag sort of way. It could totally revive Yakov Smirnov's career. "In America, everyone have guaranteed job. Zat mean, you guaranteed to be sent to Gulag eef you not work like slave for government. Slave or prisoner! What a country!"

  • RPGuy16||

    But then what are the guys whose job it is to pick up trash along the roadside supposed to do?

  • BYODB||

    Duh, they'll become heart surgeons and software engineers!

  • vek||

    Honestly, I'm of the mind that if we are to have any welfare, people should be required to work for it. We could do this in many ways.

    1. Get rid of useless ass government jobs, as far as them being done by permanent employees with awesome benefits. Replace them with these temp people going through. Think guys mowing the lawn at city hall with fat union wages. Fuck that! You get your welfare that works out to basically minimum wage, and now you cut the lawn.

    2. Other dumb shit the government already does. Parks, roadside cleaning etc.

    3. Things that most people would want done if the money were there... Like ACTUALLY keeping the parks clean. Maybe building/rehabbing public infrastructure. There are lots of things.

    Since we already dole out hundreds of billions a year, we could get at least hundreds of billions a year in work done. It will inevitable be done poorly and inefficiently... But so is all government work. It'd be better than it is now.

    But the most important thing is simply to discourage people from getting welfare in the first place. If you have to work to get anything, then people will just get real jobs in many cases. No work = no welfare. The only exception should be physically/mentally handicapped people, with REAL handicaps.

    It would go a long way towards fixing the entire free rider issue overnight.

  • Yellow Tony||

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    A lot of the people behind the Mises Institute supported Trump.

  • ace_m82||

    Who? I read that site a lot and see pretty much zero articles "supporting" him, unless it's a particular thing he did (fewer regulations).

  • loveconstitution1789||

    As I said Chanandler, Socialism is a disaster and does not last for long.

    UBI is a socialist dream and it failed. Luckily, before everyone had their entire wealth flushed down the toilet.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    Prediction: Forcing people to work will end up costing you more than just giving them the money.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Not in the long run.

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

  • Rich||

    Give a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Give a man the finger, and he will give you the stink eye. Finger the stink eye, and the man will give all of himself to you.

  • vek||

    ZING! I like it!

  • Jerryskids||

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    But when you're making 70-80k pushing paper at the Bureau of Handing Out Fishes, it's kind of contrary to your own interests to teach people to fish. Not the least of which, people who learn to fish catch on real damn quick to the injustice of having half their fish taken away and given to people who refuse to learn how to fish and they start wondering if maybe we might be better off without a Bureau of Handing Out Fishes.

    But half the secret of successfully catching fishes is just showing up, every day, on time, ready to fish, it's not nearly as hard to teach as it is to practice.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "Not in the long run."

    This assumes that the jobs you give people teach them something. Do you dock their pay if they don't show up or do a crappy job?

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will drink beer in a boat for a lifetime.

  • Jimbo||

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give him another man's fish and he'll vote for you.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Ron Swanson's take on that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0TxgWIWLpM

  • Longtobefree||

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will wear a funny hat.
    - Dogbert

  • sarcasmic||

    Force a man to fish, and he'll never fish again.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Give an Anarchist a fish and he will hide it, call himself a made up word, and tell you its for when anarchy-land happens.

  • sarcasmic||

    So sayeth the Lord.

  • Slocum||

    "Prediction: Forcing people to work will end up costing you more than just giving them the money."

    Nope. Because many, MANY more people will take this deal:

    A) Directly deposit money in my account and I can do whatever the hell I want 24x7x365 (including making more money on the side)

    than will take this one:

    B) Get the same money as in A but have to show up and work 40 hours every week -- even a completely BS job.

  • MJBinAL||

    letting them starve if they don't get a job is a better plan.

    There is this misalignment between what people believe they are worth, and what the market says they are worth. Most of the unemployment is tracable to people saying "I am worth more that THAT!". Giving them money ...expecially over the longer term .... just delays them having to accept that they are worth what the market will bear and no more.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    An Open Letter to President Trump on Trade and Tariffs

    Notice no mention of Trump offer to end trade restrictions if our trading partners ended their trade restrictions.

    The USA must open up the best market in the World, so Communists can gain wealth to build armies and Socialists can gain wealth to attack Americans freedoms at every turn.

    The USA can never fight back because status quo managed trade will solve everything.

  • Yellow Tony||

    Do you prefer to pick up the lucky winner of the previous thread's contest, or do you want to be driven to Chick-fil-A by the aforementioned individual? Please get back to me ASAP so we can decide. I hope you like scat play~!

  • Calidissident||

    I thought we were supposed to judge Trump by his actions, not his words?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So no more fainting based on his tweets? Sounds like a deal to me.

  • sarcasmic||

    The USA can never fight back because status quo managed trade will solve everything.

    Don't you ever get tired of flogging that straw man? Because exactly zero people have said that, despite your fantastic delusions.

    lc1789's response "Nanarchist! I'm the only true libertarian! Yap yap yap yap!"

    *yawn*

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Sarcasmic is really butt hurt. He accuses people of name calling and then resorts to name calling.

    You being an anarchist is not name calling. You have yet to convince people that Minarchy is not anarchy.

    I bet by the end of 2018, sarcasmic the anarchist starts demanding government go after me for name calling.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    You have yet to convince people that Minarchy is not anarchy.

    We know something you don't know.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Continue to keep it a secret and keep being called Anarchists.

    I dont really care, just giving you helpful advice.

    Its funny that you people think you're fooling other people.

  • sarcasmic||

    The only fool here is you.

  • MJBinAL||

    No, he is correct, you ARE an anarchist. And so being, you are also a fool.

  • sarcasmic||

    This may come as a surprise to you, but different words have different meanings. It's true.

    Based upon your insistence that minarchy and anarchy are synonyms, you must have missed that class where they break words down into different parts.

    One of these parts is a prefix. That's pronounced pree-fix. Look it up.

    For example the prefix 'an,' derived from Greek, means "not" or "without."

    Another prefix 'min,' this one derived from Latin, means "small" or "less."

    While 'archy' is "rule" or "government."

    Put them together and you get two different words with two different meanings.

    Yep, it's the truth.

    Everyone I know who finished tenth grade knows this, yet you do not.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    There not synonyms goofball. Minarchy is not even a word.

    If you want it to be a word that people recognize, then talk about it. Own it.

    Instead, you and your little fellow children hide among Libertarians and hope Anarchy-land becomes a reality.

    Give those thick books back to your parents and be the good little Anarchists Narchists that you are.

  • sarcasmic||

    You really are the authority on everything, aren't you?

    You should change your handle to "God."

  • MJBinAL||

    You should change yours to "lying sack of shit"

  • sarcasmic||

  • sarcasmic||

  • MJBinAL||

    It does not matter what you call yourself, your positions and beliefs define you as an anarchist.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Participants with jobs had to give the government half of their work income."

    Hard to believe a program like that ran into trouble.

    I wonder if they'd be willing to try a program where in exchange for giving up any welfare benefits whatsoever, the government agrees to take zero percent of your income.

  • StackOfCoins||

    Allowing people to opt out is tantamount to admitting defeat. Central planners would sooner die.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Galt's Gulch ain't ever gonna happen.

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    ...but the part outside Galt's Gulch happens all the time.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, you don't can't call it that.

    Instead of calling it Gault's Gulch, you call it "Universal Basic Income" .

    The basic idea is you get to keep what you earn as income, and so do the people who might otherwise be paying for your welfare.

    It's a new idea!

    We'll let millennials think they thought it up for themselves.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    This just might work.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    Disappointing. I would like very much to see a lot more trials and studies, elsewhere or very locally, in the event it winds up being a policy seriously considered for a vote here at some point in the future.

  • The Last American Hero||

    We saw lots of experiments with communism in a lot of places, they all ended up the same way, and yet it keeps getting repackaged as viable with the right Top Men in charge.

  • Tony||

    Yet no experiments with libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism, because nobody even knows where to start.

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    No, it's because it means beginning the abdication of their control.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    America, 1783.

  • ||

    Wittenberg, 31 Oct. 1517... Runnymede, 10 June 1215...

  • Sevo||

    Tony|8.1.18 @ 6:45PM|#
    "Yet no experiments with libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism, because nobody even knows where to start."

    Ever hear of Hong Kong?

  • mtrueman||

    Ever been to sea, sevo?

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|8.1.18 @ 11:14PM|#
    "Ever been to sea, sevo?"

    More often than you can count without taking off your shoes, you fucking ignoramus
    Did you have a point other than proving it is possible to be as stupid as you are?

  • Procyon Rotor||

    Well, to start with, they would have to reject the authority of the government they live under, and then... aaaaaaand they've been shot. Whoops.

  • sarcasmic||

    No experiments in abandoning central planning because no one knows how to centrally plan it!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Yet no experiments with libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism, because nobody even knows where to start.

    Only about 100,000 years of human history.

  • mtrueman||

    "Only about 100,000 years of human history."

    And about 2 million years of pre-history.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|8.1.18 @ 11:15PM|#
    "Only about 100,000 years of human history."
    And about 2 million years of pre-history."'

    Cite missing, Mr. "claims with no supporting data at all asshole".
    This is the slimy son of a bitch who is the epitome of those who do not deny the Holocaust, but claim Stalin wasn't really all that bad.
    Right, you fucking imbecile?

  • mtrueman||

    Human history goes back some 5000 years. Human pre-history goes back a lot longer. Stalin was a historical personage, and is not really relevant.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The USA is the most successful experiment of Libertarianism in human history.

  • Uncle Adolf's Gas and Grill||

    Libertarianism is pretty well fucked then, isn't it?

  • sarcasmic||

    Without an incentive to repeal bad legislation, government becomes a one-way ratchet.

    In my opinion that is the main flaw in the Constitution. Checks and balances were supposed to create an incentive to stop bad legislation from being passed, but the Founders apparently didn't anticipate the branches colluding with one another against liberty.

    This was addressed in Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress with a proposal to require 2/3 to pass legislation, and 1/3 to repeal it. The idea was not adopted of course.

    Another way to make the Constitution a more libertarian document would be to, well I'll quote Neal Boortz: "I believe the Constitution should be amended with a clause which states that neither the federal nor any state government shall make any activity that does not violate, through force or fraud, a persons right to life, liberty or property, a crime."

  • vek||

    Unfortunately the founders, as smart as they were with a lot of things, had too much faith in future generations. They could have made a lot of stuff more explicit in the constitution, and it would have saved us all a LOT of hassle.

    "This was addressed in Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress with a proposal to require 2/3 to pass legislation, and 1/3 to repeal it. The idea was not adopted of course."

    This would indeed be a brilliant system! You could change it to 50% to repeal and still get about the same effect, but avoid the "it's just a bitchy minority who doesn't like it" cop out.

  • MJBinAL||

    The United States of America 1776 to 1876.
    Small Federal Government devoted to defense mainly and supported entirely by tariffs.

  • turco||

    A small scale experiment may lead to wrong conclusions.

    A widespread UBI would lead to an industry catering to UBI-only income people : basically cheap housing , internet and cheap food. Healthcare and education will be low on priority list ( if u are young and healthy, why work to get health insurance ? If u get money for nothing, why get an education? ). For some people such a lifestyle is OK , and that is OK with me. But it will not sit well with people who want social justice or are upset at seeing others in apparent poverty.

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    Socialism: Choose Poverty.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    That's what Gandhi said.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I don't even buy the idea of social justice (warriors) being upset at seeing others in apparent poverty. The most social-justicey places in America have created a homelessness industrial complex that tries to get as many people into real, third world grinding poverty as possible, surrounded by rats, infection and cholera.

    We've got NGOs (for lack of a better term) that actually make money on homeless head count, so the more homeless and extreme poor, the richer they get.

    They're essentially creating the situation then pointing at it and saying, "See? Kkkapitalism doesn't work!"

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I'm sure it's total coincidence that blue cities and states are the dictionary definition of inequality.

  • ||

    Pretty much what I've observed.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Our intentions are good, so the results can't be bad! It's someone else's fault!"

  • Nardz||

    Welfare Industrial complex

  • Earth Skeptic||

    The modern Looking Glass.

  • Agammamon||

    Participants with jobs had to give the government half of their work income.

    Yeah, that really incentivized working.

  • Agammamon||

    Stockton, California, is ready to test its own version of a UBI,

    Stockton? The CA city that has *no money*?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    They have plenty of your money.

  • DajjaI||

    UBI just makes people dependent, resentful and lazy. The socialists love it though because they think the people will vote for them to get it. The problem is that all the socialists harbor the same fantasy and so they will inevitably purge each other. On the one hand I fear the blue wave (since they will all come for me, the borgeoise pig), but on the other hand it will be lots of fun to watch them self destruct.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Does any UBI scenario require the use of the Oxford comma? I know. I know. Current accepted blah, blah, blah...

  • gaoxiaen||

    Some people just want to surf instead of work because "That just isn't the direction I'm going now". Nice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__cahZprhFE

  • Longtobefree||

    Everybody would rather surf than work - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • turco||

    I am reading your comment exactly because i want to avoid work.

  • ||

    Good.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "would be provided with yearly stipends of CA$16,989 per person (or CA$24,027 per couple). Participants with jobs had to give the government half of their work income."

    So, *totally* not a UBI. Still the same kind of massive punishment for work and cohabitation that traditional welfare has.

    And remind me what "universal" means again?

  • BYODB||

    "Lets see, should we get married and get $24,027 per year or just live together and make $33,978?"

  • Sevo||

    There is no doubt it would end in failure; the questions are when, how much, and how long did the fucking lefty politicos support it long beyond what any rational human would have pointed out the failure.
    I'm sorry it wasn't allowed to progress to the perfectly predictable failure.

  • Rockabilly||

    It didn't fail, the goober mint just needs to retool for another try. They're working on it right now at the Kennedy School of Huge Goober Mint.

  • Rockabilly||

    Bummer man, now I have to work? Is there an app for that?

  • GoatOnABoat||

    How is it any different than welfare?

  • Earth Skeptic||

    More spirity uplifting?

  • Cloudbuster||

    It's not. Particularly this implementation, which encourages A) Working off the books (just like regular welfare), B) Fairly low income level at which benefits have tapered off to the point where they're not valuable. C) Fairly steep penalties for entering the work force (half your income).

  • ThomasD||

    Why a massive government program of wealth transfer is such a fetish among certain ostensible 'libertarians' escapes me.

  • mtrueman||

    It frees people to do more interesting things. They no longer have to spend tedious hours poring over lengthy legal papers and incomprehensible welfare application forms.

  • ThomasD||

    If it requires the financial support of others then there is nothing free about whatever 'more interesting' things they do.

    Unless you meant freeloading.

  • mtrueman||

    We may be looking at a future where freeloading is the norm.

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    I don't get it either. I know Friedman talked about it as a means to eliminate welfare, but such an influx of cash would have a big impact on the relative costs of almost everything. It's a subsidy and whether it's education (particularly college), healthcare, or any other subsidized service, cost goes up without an increase in quality.

  • mtrueman||

    But it's not an influx of cash, it's a program of wealth transfer.

  • ThomasD||

    So, not libertarian. Thanks for clearing that up.

  • mtrueman||

    It's a potentially massive state welfare scheme. It doesn't pretend to be anything else.

  • Qsl||

    Eh, no.

    One big argument in favor relative to other forms of welfare is the affect is diffuse- while some will use the grant to play Call of Duty all day, some will use it to to buy better insurance, some will use it to move, some to start a business, etc. That is the whole point of making it universal. Earmarks by design are inflationary and targeted. Not so with UBI.

    By your logic farm subsidies would increase the costs of Ferraris. You'll have to show your work for that.

  • ThomasD||

    The most efficient and only libertarian form of welfare is called charity.

  • Qsl||

    To which it would stand to reason that with the efficiencies of private charities, even the concept of government welfare should have been laughed out of existence decades ago, and yet here we are.

    Not to mention some of the most prescient and influential thinkers (present company excluded) within libertarianism have at least toyed with the idea, most offering takes that have strangely resembled UBI.

    And even with the rousing success of nearly eclipsing single digits in the last presidential election, I'm certain the libertarian moment is at hand with the completely dismantling of the welfare state lead by no other than the devastating acumen and arguments of none other than ThomasD!

    Oh, wait, scratch that.

    Now, given the unprecedented growth of the welfare state, what is the plan to reduce or eliminate it given current political realities?

  • BYODB||


    Now, given the unprecedented growth of the welfare state, what is the plan to reduce or eliminate it given current political realities?

    Well, there are none other than collapse. Honestly, that's the most likely answer to this problem. Maybe a convention of the states could save the day, but it's a huge maybe.

    That's the totality of the potential fixes. Note how many Congress folks are talking about spending and realize it isn't getting fixed.

  • ThomasD||

    "Now, given the unprecedented growth of the welfare state, what is the plan to reduce or eliminate it given current political realities?"

    Not by turning it into something ostensibly meant for everybody.

    Because, that's just stupid.

    If you oppose something, you advocate for it's elimination, not an expansion and re-branding.

  • MJBinAL||

    Kinda exposes that they are not libertarians doesn't it?

  • Enemy of the State||

    Pay me for doing nothing so I can sit around playing video games and getting high? What could go wrong?

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    Yeah, anyone who thinks this is a worthwhile endeavor should go to an Indian reservation. Not a pretty picture.

  • BYODB||


    Yeah, anyone who thinks this is a worthwhile endeavor should go to an Indian reservation. Not a pretty picture.

    This might actually be a worthwhile comparison, in all honesty.

  • mtrueman||

    Your slothful and self-indulgent ways invite the wrath of a Puritan god.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Your slothful and self-indulgent ways invite the wrath of people who are sick and tired of working to carry your ass.

  • mtrueman||

    The level headed will temper their wrath because they know they'll be joining the unemployed if they step out of line with their sickness and tiredness.

  • chipper me timbers||

    "lawmakers in Chicago have proposed a similar experiment"

    Chicago? Good lord. Can you imagine how corrupt and inept and stupid this program would be if implemented in Chicago. It boggles the mind.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Instead of traditional welfare benefits, around 4,000 randomly selected low-income or jobless residents would be provided with yearly stipends of CA$16,989 per person (or CA$24,027 per couple).

    Talk about incentive to divorce or not marry.

    Participants with jobs had to give the government half of their work income.

    A part-time (20-hour) minumum wage job in Ontario grosses you $14,560. So you sacrifice $7280 to get a net benefit of $9709. OK, fine. But next year the minimum wage is rising to 15. Someone who works full time will gross $31,200: net benefit $1,389. Earn a little overtime and your net benefit is gone.

    $16.9K is just enough to live very poorly on. Healthcare is already "free" in Canada, as is public education, so I don't know what UBI has to do with that, and the money isn't enough to improve housing outcomes. 50% of your income on rent would be $707, which I imagine is a supremely crappy apartment in Ontario, given the value of the Canadian dollar. Most US advisers recommend sticking below 30% of income on rent: $471.92. That's slum level in most urban areas these days, if that.

    There is no such thing as a valid UBI experiment.No small-scale trial can replicate or model the overall effects on the economy. Any small-scale trial is going to be more successful than an actual universal implementation, because the small-scale trials benefit from the fact that there is very small or no effect of the UBI trial on the price of labor and goods.

  • MJBinAL||

    ^Great post, well thought out^

  • commentator||

    Well duh, the fact that it's barely enough to live on, and doesn't net-benefit higher income earners, is by design, not a flaw. Effectively no one is discouraged from working, when not-working means only being able to afford the crappiest apartment, and the 50% of income simulates the effect of the higher taxes that would be funding UBI theoretically.

    Giving singles, couples, and the disabled different amounts is really fucking up the simple concept of the basic income being basic and universal, though.

  • Salero21||

    Parasitic Socialism; or is Socialism parasitic?

  • ThomasD||

    Successful parasites do not kill the host.

  • mondo_cane||

    Universal Basic Income is an insane idea. It undermines the individual's self-reliance and self-respect. It could not be worse for personal responsibility if that was its planned purpose. It's already proven to be unworkable, but yet there will always be advocates for pulling down the successful to raise up the unsuccessful even though that has never worked in the history of the world.

  • Mark22||

    Others say a UBI would be less intrusive and more cost-effective than a traditional welfare state, and therefore would be a step toward smaller government.

    That assumes that a UBI would replace all other welfare schemes, which doesn't have any chance of happening.

  • vek||

    Most of the reasons a UBI is a horrible idea have already been mentioned. That said the specifics matter a lot I think. I don't think there should be any direct reduction in your income like they did here. Just the normal income tax brackets or whatever on earned income would keep it pretty graduated so you're always coming out ahead, hence minimizing the disincentive to work.

    But it's just a horrible idea in general. We just need to eliminate the current welfare system and it'll all work itself out fine!

    ALL THAT SAID, the futurist in me is terrified that in 40 years or something we might HAVE to have a UBI. With the IQ bell curve being what it is, it is entirely possible that low IQ people will simply be made useless for 90% of the stuff they are actually intellectually capable of doing. If half, or more, of the population is unemployable... Well we're going to have to have a UBI or something, because they surely won't all just sit around and starve to death peacefully.

    In many ways much of future employment, especially for low IQ people, may depend on people intentionally deciding to avoid automation. Like demanding human made lattes and not robotically made ones etc. Shit could get real in this area in the future.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online