Universal Basic Income plan

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prof
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Universal Basic Income plan

Post by prof » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:30 pm

Those who are interested in Basic Income as a worthwhile policy which will make a dent in relieving abject poverty will want to read this article with regard to the latest news on the subject:

https://www.michiganradio.org/post/tlai ... t-steroids

Also check out this analysis at VOX about the Senate legislation introduced by Sen. Karmala Harris:
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018 ... -cash-eitc

Your comments?

Scott Mayers
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Re: Universal Basic Income plan

Post by Scott Mayers » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:14 pm

I think this should exist for all....at least in principle.

(1) But one concern against it is that if people get what the 'need', they have no incentive as a force to motivate people to bother looking for work at all.

(2) Another is that if all countries were not doing this, those that lack this will have a greater incentive than already extant to migrate to those countries with this assurance. That is, an increase pressure of immigration towards those countries that have such assurances.

I'll stop at these two possible reasons against it to explore.

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Kayla
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Re: Universal Basic Income plan

Post by Kayla » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:20 pm

Scott Mayers wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:14 pm
(1) But one concern against it is that if people get what the 'need', they have no incentive as a force to motivate people to bother looking for work at all.
there are so many assumptions here i dont even know where to start

is it solely fear of want that makes people look for work?

in some cases people do not quit shitty jobs because they cannot afford the risk of switching jobs - or move to the place with a better job - guaranteed minimum income might actually make it easier to get a better job (and hopefully contribute more to society as a result)

there are also people who are too sick to work and not sick enough to qualify for any sort of disability benefits - e.g. early to mid stages of multiple sclerosis - no amount of motivation will get them to work - i suspect a lot of 'lazy' people are actually in this category
(2) Another is that if all countries were not doing this, those that lack this will have a greater incentive than already extant to migrate to those countries with this assurance. That is, an increase pressure of immigration towards those countries that have such assurances.
i rather doubt many immigrants come here for the free government handouts

sorry let me rephrase that

the claim that immigrants mostly come here for government handouts is a piece of racist horseshit

FlashDangerpants
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Re: Universal Basic Income plan

Post by FlashDangerpants » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:36 pm

prof wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:30 pm
Those who are interested in Basic Income as a worthwhile policy which will make a dent in relieving abject poverty will want to read this article with regard to the latest news on the subject:
Once more I feel obliged to remind you that once upon a time you used your "science of ethics" to address this question and decided that UBI was shit. Now you have decided it is good, that only tells us that your "science of ethics" must be shit instead.

Scott Mayers
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Re: Universal Basic Income plan

Post by Scott Mayers » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:18 am

Kayla wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:20 pm
Scott Mayers wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:14 pm
(1) But one concern against it is that if people get what the 'need', they have no incentive as a force to motivate people to bother looking for work at all.
there are so many assumptions here i dont even know where to start

is it solely fear of want that makes people look for work?

in some cases people do not quit shitty jobs because they cannot afford the risk of switching jobs - or move to the place with a better job - guaranteed minimum income might actually make it easier to get a better job (and hopefully contribute more to society as a result)

there are also people who are too sick to work and not sick enough to qualify for any sort of disability benefits - e.g. early to mid stages of multiple sclerosis - no amount of motivation will get them to work - i suspect a lot of 'lazy' people are actually in this category
I was giving the logical possible arguments against it, not presenting my preference. [a devil's advocate to be FAIR to the question]

To logically address this fairly, first imagine an extreme: that we all become millionaires everywhere. If you have no NEED to work why would you other than if it is out of personal interest? How many people would volunteer to serve another for instance?

There would be a power equilibrium such that no one has power over anyone else. So this would potentially assure that no one would take jobs that are less favorable than anyone else. The means to prevent this might be to CAP the most preferred occupations if everyone agreed and remove any excesses, like having a bigger house or better car than anyone else. If not, no one would volunteer to be janitors, nurses, and many of the other essential jobs needed for a society. This requires a reduction in the 'quality' of life to the LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR.

This may still occur if we only assured the minimum needs without reducing the capacity of others to BE wealthier (and thus more powerful). Those in any position of 'profit' can only have this power if others are in debt to them. So implicit in setting a bottom minimal for everyone's needs (and not their extraneous wants), would make those who are satisfied with that minimal to opt out of working, and make those seeking profit (if still permitted) to require paying much more for any position for those less desired and less for those in more desired positions. The potential effect is to force everyone to reduce the quality of life to ONLY minimal needs. This can and has been relatively successful in communes, especially those of the religious types that reduce themselves to a more primitive lifestyle. But it also increases the power of those selective 'lazy' people where they exist who would not want others to outdo them independently. As such, you'd have a society that favors the 'bully' against those who TRY to do something novel, the dullest of the socially adept, and an increase in favoring those who are 'simple minded' over intellectual.

I'm not assuring these true. But some of this occurs in real life as it stands and what others could point to.
(2) Another is that if all countries were not doing this, those that lack this will have a greater incentive than already extant to migrate to those countries with this assurance. That is, an increase pressure of immigration towards those countries that have such assurances.
i rather doubt many immigrants come here for the free government handouts

sorry let me rephrase that

the claim that immigrants mostly come here for government handouts is a piece of racist horseshit
You are oddly reading into me more than I said. I am saying that if all countries were not doing this too, those that don't would encourage those people in their own countries they don't find useful to leave with ease and the assurances that others would take on their own responsibility elsewhere. In other words, you ENHANCE the abuse of those countries where migrants are coming from to BE intolerant of their own where they are assured other countries are both welcoming of the immigrant AND willing to insure them. The debt of those countries would thus be transferred to the host country. Then those already in need AT the host country would require a further reduction in their relative minimum or require further capping of those in the better profitable positions.

You'd also get an inflation as those who OWN who would utilize the knowledge of the minimum to adjust their rents to absorb this gain. The present poor would have more money but require paying more for the increased cost of living that comes of it.

[And, by the way, do you know that it is contradictory to support one's 'aboriginal' population who tend to suffer the worst precisely BECAUSE of new people from elsewhere AND to an equal concern FOR immigrants? You can't escape your own tendency to BE as racist as those you stereotype as BEING RACIST for simply being concerned about immigration. If you disagree, then you are just telling me that you are a spoiled brat presuming that your condition socially is equal among all people from different backgrounds. When the aboriginals who have generations of poverty tend to be isolated among themselves where survival pressure is increased, the immigrant has the advantage of novelty and hope along with a better community of shared interests that make their success better than the aboriginal. For instance, if you migrate to a new country out of struggle AND succeed, you have a stronger bond with those similar to you than to those who are 'aboriginal' and in a similar position. As such, migrants are empowered by staying together in conditions that the non-immigrant sufferers have acclimatized in impoverished communities for generations. In other words, favoring the immigrant is disfavoring the aboriginal in the same level of impoverishment. ]

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Kayla
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Re: Universal Basic Income plan

Post by Kayla » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:14 pm

thats way too much stuff for me to process at the moment but you are forgetting one argument for guaranteed minimum income

we do, in fact - have it already - we have a hodge-podge of social programs that cover those unable or unwilling to work

each of these programs have its own administrative overhead and complex - and often arcane - eligibility requirements which adds to administrative cost

so why not take the complexity and administrative overhead out - give everyone a certain minimum - at or even above (we are saving money on admin costs after all) current minimal social payments - and people who earn more will end up paying the minimum income payments they get back in taxes - i think one term i heard is 'negative income tax'

Impenitent
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Re: Universal Basic Income plan

Post by Impenitent » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:53 pm

"Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people's money." - Thatcher

-Imp

FlashDangerpants
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Re: Universal Basic Income plan

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:29 pm

Kayla wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:14 pm
so why not take the complexity and administrative overhead out - give everyone a certain minimum - at or even above (we are saving money on admin costs after all) current minimal social payments - and people who earn more will end up paying the minimum income payments they get back in taxes - i think one term i heard is 'negative income tax'
There's several problems there.

That isn't a negative income tax. In the US you have a program called EITC (Earned Income Tax Credits), most countries in the developed world have such a thing. The idea being that somebody who has a family to support on a very low income gets greater than 100% income tax refund. This helps people escape poverty traps where the costs of getting a job, and thus paying your own rent and then paying for child care etc makes it impossible for some to get off benefits.

Lefties hate this because they think it subsidies exploitative low wage firms. Righties hate it because they don't like the government spending money at all, and some object to t as corporate welfare too. They are all wrong, this stuff has been studied in many locations and the results are very clear. Negative income taxes are by far the best means of poverty reduction - especially child poverty - available in the rich world. They have a very positive modifier effect, in that every $1 spent by the state returns greater than $1 of measurable benefit. That's the good shit for a state policy, very few have such obvious positive returns. UBI is predicated on throwing that program away and spreading that cash mostly among the non poor, which is what makes it dangerous.

It's not terribly hard to do some back of a napkin estimates for how much money will be available to the program. The tax take for the USA is a rather pathetic 27% of GDP. Roughly speaking GDP is more or less the total pay received by all the people in a country (it doesn't work as precisely as it should, but it's the number we have available). Collectively you can roughly say that the average American has a tax incidence of 27%. So from your median wage of $62,000 the government has roughly $16.5K to spend.

UBI is predicated on replacing all entitlements spending. That's all your Medicare, Social Security, food stamps, the VA and so forth. Call it roughly 2 thirds of government spend, and you get very roughly 10 grand per person, per annum. Enough to make a big difference for those who don't earn a great deal. Probably ok in fact for those people losing their EITC and food stamps.

The money you get can be a little higher if a number of distorting tax breaks such as rebates for company health plans are culled as well - pushing up the state share of income automatically puts more in the pot for distribution. But it goes down again because all those war vets that depend on the VA will die if that program as scrapped and all they get is 10 K, and all those oldsters who lose their social security and their health cover .. they will die as well. Once social security is excluded, that redistribution pot will get a lot smaller.

And how the Hell you think you can run that sort of scheme, get dependent on it, and have trillion dollar budget deficits before you even start... well that's just not an option at all. I'll leave you to form your own opinion of the economic concept of moral hazard, but it's going to kick you in da nutz if you start out that way.

But don't fret, there are three obvious ways to save UBI.
1. Increase your taxes a lot, until the program delivers enough cash that people with no income and health problems don't die. If the tax take raises to 50%, the UBI becomes more like 40% of median income, that might be enough for the elderly and unwell to get by as long as you keep Obamacare. If you get to 100% taxes, everybody therefore has exactly equal incomes - well done, Lenin tried that trick and never made it work.

2. Exempt all the federal programs that people depend on to live or already spent their entire workign lives contributing towards, and just redistribute much less money. Your UBI will fall to about 3 or 4K at most, but you will return quite a lot of children to avoidable poverty at that price.

3. Just wait. At some point in the future, 10% of rich world median income will become plenty for a completely excellent life, making it possible to offer a meaningful UBI without paying French levels of tax.... Higher Ed, houses and Healthcare need to become cheaper for that to happen. But that will happen when AI algorithms become better at spotting cancers and so on. Other things need to get cheaper too, but most of them already are, it's those other three that are the issue. Either way, the point of replacing human work with robot labor is to make the product cheaper. So when the robots really do take over all those jobs, UBI isn't the panic reaction to that, it is the obvious way to take advantage of it*.


* Ok, that is a lie, UBI is just the trendiest option, it's actually still a bit stupid really. The three day working week is much more obvious, as Keynes noted in 1930.

I Like Sushu
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Re: Universal Basic Income plan

Post by I Like Sushu » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:33 am

People who win the lottery return to their old jobs quickly enough. UBI is a useful idea but generally speaking people want to feel ‘useful’ and to feel ‘worthy’ of what good fortune comes their way.

It’s hard to imagine what will happen to human society if the need for human input in commerce lessens. I think if such a future is bearing down on us then it will be human creativity that will become the new replacement for manual labour. Hospitality is likely to grow too I reckon.

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