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Old 05-27-2020, 11:55 AM
 
1,963 posts, read 503,478 times
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So, UBI has been kicked around (almost literally) in dozens of threads, few of which actually go anywhere in part because no two posters seem to have the same idea of what's being talked about. For each of us who have a fairly developed, complex notion of what it is and should be and could be, there are multiple posters who see it only as another form of welfare or "paying people not to work" or S-c--l-st or sixty-three other negative and dismissive things, mostly wrong.

So let's start from a common point: a description of what UBI will almost certainly have to be in order not just to work, but be a successful advancement of the US socioeconomic situation.

My starting position for this, rooted in analytical consumer economics, is simple: we have no choice. We can do this badly, or we can do it right, but we have no real option but to do it.

Real jobs, those that pay a living wage, allow individuals and families to prosper and are reasonably guaranteed for life, have been vanishing since the 1970s, replaced only by a spike in intellectual, quasi-productive jobs in the tech sector and a tsunami of service jobs. If IT/tech/CS jobs decline as systems grow both more autonomous and mature, and jobs continue to decline (into the lower tiers of white collar work, to start with) due to automation and AI... they are not going to be reversible trends, nor replaced with some imaginary new jobs — new fields, new needs and new developments will be even more highly automated from the start than fields slowly converting to automation. That is, some wondrous new field we haven't even thought of yet (a common counterargument) is likely to be automated and low-employment right from the genius's garage. (Case #1: Tesla's factories.)

And once 'real' jobs decline to a certain point, there will be no excess income to support our vast service economy. We're seeing a lot of this, right now, in not-that-small microcosm, because of the lockdown. Next time it won't be something arbitrary; it will be a shrinking pool of gainfully employed people who can toss money around to restaurants, health clubs, house cleaning services, golf pros and ten thousand other pseudo-servants. And that's a huge portion of the current employment pool, already shaky because of part-time, gig, and unstable jobs.

The loss of jobs that may have been accelerated by the virus is one thing; the multiplied cascade from real job loss could be... unimaginable. How about permanent 50% unemployment, within a relatively short time? If there is a solution other than evolving our economy to UBI, I haven't heard it. (The only real alternative is to march backwards, dump automation, "bring jobs back to America" and essentially stall innovation and our economy for good.)

And yes, population reduction is the real, long-term answer; short of drawing lots and shooting half the population, it's a century-plus effort. We need to deal with the remainder of this decade, to start with.

So, next post for convenience and quoting ease, The Five Rules of UBI.
A polite request: if you don't have anything to say except one paragraph of boilerplate rant about how it won't work, is unAmerican, is just another form of welfare, blah blah blah... start your own thread. Either post a considered opinion and some supporting thoughts, or... lurk. As OP, I am going to ask the mods to delete pointless posts here. YHBW.
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Old 05-27-2020, 11:56 AM
 
1,963 posts, read 503,478 times
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Default The Five Rules of UBI


The Five Rules of Universal Basic Income (UBI)

1. UBI must be universal.
  • Universal is universal, period: UBI must be paid to every adult citizen regardless of age, wealth, economic status or work status.
    • Otherwise it's not "universal" and you are talking about a selective stipend of a wholly different nature.
    • Making it situation- or income-based would require a vast monitoring bureaucracy with all the faults of current "welfare" institutions and costing as much in overhead as might otherwise be saved in benefits. One of the collateral benefits is a vast reduction in 'welfare' administrative overhead (and fraud).
    • Choices need to be made about the age of first eligibility (18?) and whether any allowances are made for marriage, children, etc. (I suggest not; such things are again a perversion of the idea and should be dealt with in other ways.) Opting out may be allowed. Non-citizens will not be eligible.

2. UBI cannot simply be added to any current national economy.
  • Dropping UBI onto almost any current national economy, economic system, tax structure, etc. would be a colossal failure.
    • All trivial, small-scale experiments to date notwithstanding, either way.
  • UBI is not tied to any political or economic anchor and will work as well under democratic capitalism as any other imaginary combination.

3. UBI cannot be implemented without corresponding changes in all other welfare, social support and entitlements.
  • UBI will largely replace most basic forms of welfare. (Again, for a huge net savings in administrative costs.)
  • UBI assumes universal health care as a companion program.
  • Whether other forms of support are continued (child/infant/unemployment/pension) needs to be evaluated and implemented on a very select and considered basis. States would be free to fund their own programs.

4. UBI cannot be funded from income tax on any tax bracket.
  • The idea of paying for UBI from worker salaries is utterly self-contradictory.
  • Any notion of making UBI itself taxable is even more so.
  • The idea of paying for UBI from employment income is to miss the point of its purpose.

5. UBI must be funded from tax revenue generated by production.
  • The tax structure that will pay for UBI largely does not exist and will have a considerably different structure from the current mix.
    • Income tax will apply only to earned income and retained in progressive form with a significantly higher rate on the top brackets (as in the US before the 1970s).
    • Property tax and sales tax will remain the province of local jurisdictions.
    • Corporate profit tax will have to be reconsidered but not abandoned.
  • UBI will be supported by tax on all levels of production for all goods and certain services sold in the US.
    • The tax could be something like a VAT, with a progressive structure and minimal impact on smaller businesses.
    • Location of production will be irrelevant. Imported goods will be assessed at import value.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:52 PM
 
Location: On a Long Island in NY
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I generally agree with your points (and for the record I was skeptical of UBI before COVID-19 came along). My argument in favor is that either we do this or it or our lack of action will only benefit the socialist arguments. This is literally the last chance we have to save capitalism as we know it.
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:07 PM
 
Location: NC
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You go to all this trouble writing a well thought out opinion but in the first post don’t identify what your acronym means. Even better it would be nice to write out abbreviations in the titles. Just a suggestion.
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:10 PM
 
1,963 posts, read 503,478 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luv4horses View Post
You go to all this trouble writing a well thought out opinion but never identify what your acronym means. Please everyone, don’t assume readers know what the heck your abbreviations represent. Thank you.
I used two acronyms, UBI and (in humor) YHBW. I think the first is pretty well explained. The second is fairly common in online exchange, was part of an addendum having only a little to do with the topic and used in an attempt to lighten the commandment. You Have Been Warned.

Oops, I used VAT, too. Value-Added Tax, a term so common in global economics I didn't think it could be misunderstood.

And US is "United States..."
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:20 PM
 
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Coronavirus has demonstrated the need for safety nets. The United States has a safety net problem that the conservatives are ignoring. Conservatives are actually purposefully attacking the unemployed right now, hoping that they will die in the streets after August 1, just like the indigent of third world countries. Additionally, liberals/leftists/progressives have done a poor job with not protecting the worker from layoffs. Right to Work states are an absolute abomination. I believe that there should have been better initiatives in place to protect workers from layoffs.

Given some of the technological changes forthcoming like automation and AI, as well as the various policy failures of the past, there's a good case to be made for UBI. I was against UBI prior to the pandemic. My view has now changed. The United States' corporatist economy has failed on a massive scale for the 2nd time in 13 years. Either pure capitalism like Chile post 1973 needs to be put into place or something like UBI needs to exist to replace the myriad of safety net programs out there, some of which are not working well enough.

I'm more for helping the indigent and the unemployable ranks than giving everyone money. Some people make too much money to get supplemental income. Right now, the $600/week going to the unemployed on top of their standard unemployment makes sense. That's actually getting to a living wage in a lot of cases.
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:33 PM
 
1,963 posts, read 503,478 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ312 View Post
Coronavirus has demonstrated the need for safety nets.
So... you're arguing for a bunch of complex, selective, admin-heavy safety nets instead of one simple one. Ones for which individuals will have to qualify, on a recurring basis, even if their situation is more or less permanent. And to get some carefully adjudicated minimum support, on the theory it will drive them to go find a job.

That's what we have, and it's the political football (with real people's balls involved) you describe.
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:35 PM
 
Location: On a Long Island in NY
7,794 posts, read 8,889,834 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ312 View Post
I'm more for helping the indigent and the unemployable ranks than giving everyone money. Some people make too much money to get supplemental income. Right now, the $600/week going to the unemployed on top of their standard unemployment makes sense. That's actually getting to a living wage in a lot of cases.
I was thinking about this myself, if the Trump administration has to propose paying workers $450 extra per paycheck to get them to return to work isn't that more or less an admission that wages are too low? Of course, this only works if the workers actually have a job to go back to.

Unfortunately Mitch the Turtle would rather have people on the side of the road begging for people to throw their spare change in a cup than do anything to help the less fortunate. Good news is each day he sits around and twiddles his thumbs while saying "we need more time to evaluate things!" the worse it's going to go for the Republicans on November 3rd. He's leading the Republican Party off the cliff.
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:48 PM
 
6,006 posts, read 7,281,661 times
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UBI seems to be a good idea during Covid to provide a safety net, but how will it work in a good economy when the unemployment rate is low? What is the incentive to work when you are getting paid not to? Additionally productivity which you are using as your revenue source will decrease if there are less people willing to work, which then makes UBI less funded.
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:55 PM
 
Location: On a Long Island in NY
7,794 posts, read 8,889,834 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NSHL10 View Post
UBI seems to be a good idea during Covid to provide a safety net, but how will it work in a good economy when the unemployment rate is low? What is the incentive to work when you are getting paid not to? Additionally productivity which you are using as your revenue source will decrease if there are less people willing to work, which then makes UBI less funded.
Thing is, a significant portion of the "lowest unemployment ever!!!" that Trump used to brag about was due to minimum wage jobs and the gig economy. Walmart workers and Uber driver's are not jobs you can comfortably raise a family on, that's where UBI comes in with the extra money. UBI would actually benefit large corporations by absolving them of the need to raise wages.
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