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Yang's Universal Basic Income

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38 minutes ago, Actinguy said:

And yet...to every single person?  If you gave Donald Trump $1,000 per month, would he even notice?  Yang's answer: by giving it even to the absolute wealthiest people in the entire world, we de-stigmatize the handout.  I'm not worried about the stigma.  I want to know why a billionaire needs $1,000 MORE per month.  Especially when the money is not being distributed according to need AND is replacing current social welfare programs -- the rich literally get richer while the poor could get poorer.  

The rationale for this is that everyone is given an equal amount to be fair, since one could argue the rich are being taxed unfairly (I don't hold this view, but some people do). I think it would be more cost-effective if there was a cap for who can receive it (adjusted to inflation). Maybe $500k, maybe one million. 

I don't know why I didn't bring it up, but the UBI would have saved me a lot of pain during the Great Recession when I was mostly jobless for 18 months, barely surviving on part-time jobs and eating once a day. It wasn't as extreme as your experience, but it provides another example of when the UBI would be helpful. Eating just one more time a day with a UBI pay check might have helped me look less malnourished during interviews. I dropped a lot of weight (down into the 140s and I'm 6'4") and I was thin (170 to 180 prior to Recession).

23 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

This is the conundrum. You want certain things to be undesirable so people work to get away from them. Perhaps UBI would make life too cushy - the problem is, we don't have much real world data to see what sort of effects it would have.

I don't think we should be Darwinian about it. And you're right, we don't have much data, which means I think we should experiment with this, even if it just starts at a city or state-basis first. However, if Yang is wins the majority of the vote on a UBI platform, then I think steps should be made to make a version of it nationally. 

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2 minutes ago, vcczar said:

 

I don't know why I didn't bring it up, but the UBI would have saved me a lot of pain during the Great Recession when I was mostly jobless for 18 months, barely surviving on part-time jobs and eating once a day. It wasn't as extreme as your experience, but it provides another example of when the UBI would be helpful. Eating just one more time a day with a UBI pay check might have helped me look less malnourished during interviews. I dropped a lot of weight (down into the 140s and I'm 6'4") and I was thin (170 to 180 prior to Recession).

 

You're talking about assistance for the poor/unemployed.  I'm in favor of that.

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4 hours ago, Reagan04 said:

I nearly agree with all of this, which must be a first. Nothing makes my eyes roll out of my head faster than when people try to call social programs in a Capitalist Liberal Democracy "Socialism" or even "Democratic Socialism". They're only barely Social Democracy in many cases. So no, America isn't socialist, and Socialism doesn't just mean an active government. If it did than anything more than Anarchy would be a degree of Socialism which is just laughably false. Capitalism, republicanism, conservative, libertarianism. These are all ideologies which incur various degrees of government action, yet I'd describe none of them as "Socialist".

What about social liberalism, @Reagan04? Like it or not, it's firmly in the American political brew since at least the Great Society, and it too is NOT Socialism. But I noticed you specifically neglected mentioning it, despite it's profound influence and power in American politics and society as a broad whole.

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1 hour ago, admin_270 said:

This is the conundrum. You want certain things to be undesirable so people work to get away from them. Perhaps UBI would make life too cushy - the problem is, we don't have much real world data to see what sort of effects it would have.

U.S. $1000 per month, on it's own, is statistically below the First World poverty line (though admittedly not the Third World poverty line). I'd HARDLY call it cushy. The fixed income my social work office gives those who are deemed unemployable due to handicap hovers around that level of income, and I tell you now, there is no cushiness.

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@Patine

Sure - I'm not saying $1,500 per month is cushy (and it would certainly vary by location, depending on costs for rent and so on), I'm asking whether it would make life in general too cushy.

To be clear, I double checked and Yang is actually proposing $1,000 per month, per person over 18.

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11 minutes ago, Patine said:

U.S. $1000 per month, on it's own, is statistically below the First World poverty line (though admittedly not the Third World poverty line). I'd HARDLY call it cushy. The fixed income my social work office gives those who are deemed unemployable due to handicap hovers around that level of income, and I tell you now, there is no cushiness.

By itself, agreed.  The "cushiness" refers to adding $1,000 on top of existing income.  I had a legitimate, working income when I became homeless.  It just was a job that I half-assed and they paid me accordingly.  An extra thousand a month would have been enough to keep me off the streets -- but then I might never have bothered to be motivated to achieve more in life.

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23 minutes ago, Actinguy said:

By itself, agreed.  The "cushiness" refers to adding $1,000 on top of existing income.  I had a legitimate, working income when I became homeless.  It just was a job that I half-assed and they paid me accordingly.  An extra thousand a month would have been enough to keep me off the streets -- but then I might never have bothered to be motivated to achieve more in life.

Do you think you required homelessness for motivation? I sense that you excel as a hard worker, especially when inspired. The idea of negative reinforcement as to force motivation is an outdated Victorian social philosophy. The work houses were supposed to “motivate” the indebted and poor to become self-reliant and determined to find work. It didn’t really work. 

I think you may be more of an outlier. You gained some fuel from a negative experience and weren’t run down by it. I’d say most people aren’t that way. I’m similar to you in this regard. After 18 months of living in NYC off about $500 a month (lived on a couch, paid bills, etc) during my unemployment period during the Great Recession, I never gave up. I applied to over 2,000 jobs. I ultimately got hired by both HuffPost and Pace U, working 60 hours a week for 2 and a half years. This was definitely PTSD from my Great Recession experience. I worked both jobs out of fear of being jobless again. However, I was motivated to work the entire recession period. I don’t think anyone should have to resort to a Darwinian system to get by. Even if someone manages “to not work” and live off $12,000 of government money might use that time to labor in non-paying ways that allow them to use the best of their abilities and that can benefit a community—make art, make music, etc. One of my late friends almost never had a job, but he was an integral part to the community. He volunteered all the time. He drove anyone to the airport or helped people move or tought then to drive, etc without requesting anything in return. If anyone needed anything, he was there. He was like a utility baseball player. He could have used $1,000 a month. He was taking medicine for schizophrenia which was making it hard for him to hold a job for long. Sadly, he died from cancer, not realizing he had it until a few days before his death. 

I think what this boils down to is that I’m more optimistic about human nature among people needing $1,000 extra each month than others, believing that they’ll put the money to good use. 

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1 hour ago, vcczar said:

Do you think you required homelessness for motivation? I sense that you excel as a hard worker, especially when inspired. The idea of negative reinforcement as to force motivation is an outdated Victorian social philosophy. The work houses were supposed to “motivate” the indebted and poor to become self-reliant and determined to find work. It didn’t really work. 

I think you may be more of an outlier. You gained some fuel from a negative experience and weren’t run down by it. I’d say most people aren’t that way. I’m similar to you in this regard. After 18 months of living in NYC off about $500 a month (lived on a couch, paid bills, etc) during my unemployment period during the Great Recession, I never gave up. I applied to over 2,000 jobs. I ultimately got hired by both HuffPost and Pace U, working 60 hours a week for 2 and a half years. This was definitely PTSD from my Great Recession experience. I worked both jobs out of fear of being jobless again. However, I was motivated to work the entire recession period. I don’t think anyone should have to resort to a Darwinian system to get by. Even if someone manages “to not work” and live off $12,000 of government money might use that time to labor in non-paying ways that allow them to use the best of their abilities and that can benefit a community—make art, make music, etc. One of my late friends almost never had a job, but he was an integral part to the community. He volunteered all the time. He drove anyone to the airport or helped people move or tought then to drive, etc without requesting anything in return. If anyone needed anything, he was there. He was like a utility baseball player. He could have used $1,000 a month. He was taking medicine for schizophrenia which was making it hard for him to hold a job for long. Sadly, he died from cancer, not realizing he had it until a few days before his death. 

I think what this boils down to is that I’m more optimistic about human nature among people needing $1,000 extra each month than others, believing that they’ll put the money to good use. 

 

1 hour ago, Actinguy said:

By itself, agreed.  The "cushiness" refers to adding $1,000 on top of existing income.  I had a legitimate, working income when I became homeless.  It just was a job that I half-assed and they paid me accordingly.  An extra thousand a month would have been enough to keep me off the streets -- but then I might never have bothered to be motivated to achieve more in life.

As the major advocate for UBI in Finland (I think it actually may have came into legislation there) said in his activist campaign, "Hungry people don't think about their future, they dwell on their present. Hungry people don't make productive plans or better their lives, they sink into desperation."

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10 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

@Patine

Re Finland are you referring to this https://futurism.com/what-we-can-learn-from-finlands-basic-income-experiment

If so, it looks like the small trial was ended after 2 years. Not even close to a full-blown UBI system.

But the quote by one of the main activists who pushed hard for it in the first place is VERY poignant, and is what I was directly referencing. A lot of Libertarians (and even a significant number of non-Libertarians, including a close friend of mine) quote Ayn Rand, but Randian Libertarianism has never gotten off the ground either.

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I'm guessing approximately 0.1% of Finns go hungry regularly due to lack of material resources (as opposed to things like drug addictions or mental health problems).

Why bring in something like UBI to address that very small %?

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Just now, admin_270 said:

I'm guessing approximately 0.1% of Finns go hungry regularly due to lack of material resources (as opposed to things like drug addictions or mental health problems).

Why bring in something like UBI to address that very small %?

Japan and Luxembourg have 100% literacy rates (or VERY close to it). Does that mean they should now massively cut funds to public education?

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UBI is a massive *expansion* in spending. It would be like saying Japan has a 100% literacy rate, so they should spend 10x what they now spend on basic literacy.

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1 minute ago, admin_270 said:

UBI is a massive *expansion* in spending. It would be like saying Japan has a 100% literacy rate, so they should spend 10x what they now spend on basic literacy.

Or it could be like saying, this community in rural Alabama has a 100% literacy rate and graduation rate, so we shouldn't spend any money on improving their literacy ability and education standards. The percentage isn't what's important, it's the standard and the quality. 

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You give the same to everybody because

A: There's less bureaucracy that way

B: There will be less whining about how unfair it is

Means tested programs are guaranteed to piss people off.  A guy barely making a living and earning just enough to not qualify is always going to be resentful of his neighbor who gets all kinds of assistance because he makes $20/week less.  That anger is what keeps conservative politicians in business.

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1 minute ago, pilight said:

A guy barely making a living and earning just enough to not qualify is always going to be resentful of his neighbor who gets all kinds of assistance because he makes $20/week less.

Ya, but this is not a problem with means-tested benefits per se, it's with poorly designed means-tested benefits that don't phase out gradually.

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29 minutes ago, vcczar said:

Or it could be like saying, this community in rural Alabama has a 100% literacy rate and graduation rate, so we shouldn't spend any money on improving their literacy ability and education standards. The percentage isn't what's important, it's the standard and the quality. 

I think it's more like this community has a 99.9% literacy rate, so let's launch a massive spending program to eliminate that 0.01% who can't read. There are probably much more efficient means of eliminating illiteracy for that very small %. Similarly, there are probably much more efficient means of eliminating hunger in a country like Finland than UBI.

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6 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

I think it's more like this community has a 99.9% literacy rate, so let's launch a massive spending program to eliminate that 0.01% who can't read. There are probably much more efficient means of eliminating illiteracy for that very small %. Similarly, there are probably much more efficient means of eliminating hunger in a country like Finland than UBI.

I don't the the UBI is focusing exclusively on hunger, similarly massive education spending wouldn't be focused exclusively on literacy. The spending has some range within the area that it is being spent. For education, it could be spent on literacy, it could be spent on text books for poor children, it could be spent on updating class technology, pay raise for teachers in low income schools, scholarships, improving or reforming pedagogy in a way that better prepares a student for both the real world and for college, etc. etc. Likewise, spending towards the needy would go beyond the realms of defending against hunger, as some may be able to feed themselves, but there might be other financial strains that make life somewhat barely above subsistence.  

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Just now, admin_270 said:

@vcczar

Sure - I was responding to a specific quotation about people being hungry.

The fact that it was said, as a broad ideal, by a Finnish advocate, does not mean in the least that, just because of extant circumstances in Finland, the quote is completely devalued, especially in broad application to situations where the average prosperity is not as great, but the nation AS A WHOLE is still VERY wealthy.

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1 minute ago, Patine said:

The fact that it was said, as a broad ideal, by a Finnish advocate, does not mean in the least that, just because of extant circumstances in Finland, the quote is completely devalued, especially in broad application to situations where the average prosperity is not as great, but the nation AS A WHOLE is still VERY wealthy.

Ya, it applies more to the U.S., and that's a fair point. I still don't see how UBI would be the best way of addressing hunger due to lack of material resources in the U.S., though. Why not just expand a program like SNAP?

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6 minutes ago, HonestAbe said:

I’ll take a $1,000 more a month if any of you are up for donating. 

 

3 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

@HonestAbe

Absolutely.*

*A $1,010 service fee is required before making the donation.

You think the money's not there? It just requires a serious reevaluation of outdated, Cold War era spending doctrines.

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15 minutes ago, Patine said:

 

You think the money's not there? It just requires a serious reevaluation of outdated, Cold War era spending doctrines.

The entire defense budget wouldn’t cover half of this cost, even if you just gave payments to current taxpayers. 

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