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A right-wing think tank is now supporting Universal Basic Income – but they’ve missed the point. Right-wing supporters of UBI, such as the Adam Smith Institute, will try to use it as a justification for further dismantling of the welfare state and for individualising society's problems

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75-100% FPL US27 points·4 months ago

UBI CAN be a trojan horse to undermine the welfare state, but it doesnt HAVE TO be.

I notice a lot of liberals on other subs are very critical of UBI because they fear this, and while I get it, it is compatible with left wing ideals. A lot of those programs suck anyway and UBI is a straight up upgrade. The left needs to stop defending flawed crappy targeted programs because they dont think big enough to actually SOLVE the problems.

very critical of UBI because they fear this

This speaks to the heart of the issue, which is funding. If you constrain funding so that taxes must pay for the entire basic income, you will end up reducing the basic income to a token amount that lowers the income of current social security recipients, while superciliously proclaiming "the perfect is not the enemy of the good!"

75-100% FPL US1 point·4 months ago

No, printing money is not a good idea. I don't wanna turn into Venezuela or Zimbabwe.

America is exceptional. Venezuela and Zimbabwe both suffer from a shortage of the best money in the world, the US Dollar. Ppl in Venezuela change their Bolivars for dollars as fast as they can, and money traders arbitrarily devalue the Bolivar based on psychology and politics. Zimbabwe suffers from deflation after dollarization, because the underlying problem of a lack of dollars persists.

The best solution is to print more dollars and give everyone in the world a basic income deposit account, inflation-protected through indexation.

The world central bank unlimited currency swap network ensures against the dollar's possible fall; just as the ECB got an aggregated $8 trillion in dollars from the Fed in 2008 and after, the Fed can get as many Swiss Francs, Euros, Sterling, Canadian dollars, and Japanese Yen as it asks for.

Inflation is an easily-solved problem, through indexation.

75-100% FPL US1 point·4 months ago

We won't have the best money in the world for long if you get your hands on our currency.

Which other currency would become the best?

The world private financial sector today prints many trillions of US dollars per year ($30 trillion by Bain & Company's estimate). And the dollar gets stronger.

Printing money for a basic income would be a fraction of what the private sector already prints.

75-100% FPL US1 point·4 months ago

Not doing this with you. I've already debunked your ideas which fail to understand basic economic theory.

I've responded to the debunkings.

Basic economic theory is faith-based. See How Economics Became a Religion:

economists don’t confirm their theories in quite the same way physicists do, by just looking at the evidence. Instead, much as happens with preachers who gather a congregation, a school rises by building a following – among both politicians and the wider public.

What you term basic economics is actually fickle social consensus. Consensus can turn on a dime.

For a more compelling account of prices than basic economics gives you, see Political Economy in One Lesson:

The majority of prices are "administered prices", also known as "mark-up" or "cost-added" prices. The price does not depend on supply or demand, it depends on the cost of the item, plus some markup.

In other words, prices are arbitrary and inflation is psychological; thus indexation fixes unwanted effects of inflation.

75-100% FPL US1 point·4 months ago

You ignore established theory to push pseudoscience. You're a quack. Sorry, you are.

And you reflect badly on the whole basic income movement where people think we're all quacks.


You are projecting basic economics' failings onto me.

We don't need your fuddy-duddyness to support basic income. Please, get off my side.

Your basic income would leave me worse off. If you were silent you would be doing less harm to the basic income movement.

I'm a geolibertarian and this is the way I see it. If we build a good enough UBI we can end these other forms of welfare that create dependency on the programs or have ridiculous tests just to participate in the program.

You need child care so you can go to college? You need to work at least 6 hours a week. Nevermind that you need to have this work for 3 months prior to actually getting child care, so you need to not only find a job, but then you still need to pay for child care until the State will pay for it. With a UBI, you could just pay for the child care and use that free time to spend with your child or studying. That's efficiency and a benefit to society.

I want simplicity, that's why I see UBI as a way to rid of the many programs that are redundant or are used by corrupt politicians as a way to constantly mess with the needy in our society.

75-100% FPL US2 points·4 months ago

I do think we will need SOME other programs, but these will also be quite universal in nature (think healthcare, or higher education).

We could scale back a lot though.

I'd like to see the cost of a healthcare program just paid out to everyone. Everyone should have insurance companies that they can choose to sign up with, and states can run their own insurance programs that could service anyone. It's an idea I have but I'm always willing to be convinced otherwise, I just think if we just provided a better income distribution while maintaining less federalized services we could do something different this time around, something I think is more fair and better than the systems we (as all peoples) have tried before.

75-100% FPL US2 points·4 months ago

Nah, won't work. Healthcare is too expensive for a ubi to properly cover people, and market mechanisms are exclusionary by nature and cause it to be far more expensive than it otherwise needs to be.

What if Single payer covers health care and insurance covers non-life threatening emergency care? You'd still have to pay the government back for those healthcare services, question is whether that cost is a bill from your visit, a tax, or an opt-in program?

I'm not sure why UBI can't cover the costs if it's just going to end up being a part of taxes.

75-100% FPL US1 point·4 months ago

Im a fan of single payer.

0 points·4 months ago

UBI is a Left idea.

Don't blame the Left for what some idiots fail to understand.

75-100% FPL US12 points·4 months ago

Ubi is actually supported in various forms by people on both the right and left, and hated by many others on both sides too.

2 points·4 months ago


It originated from the Left.

That the center can be cajoled into accepting it does not change that.

UBI is left (relative to status quo) if it helps the majority more than what we have.

Scott Santens10 points·4 months ago

$20 says this author did not even read the ASI report.

This entire article is based on a tribalistic assumption.

2 points·4 months ago·edited 4 months ago

Isn't Charles Murray's basic income proposal based on giving the rich a tax cut while reducing current Social Security payments?

Financial constraints in both Western Europe and the United States require that the money for funding a GI comes from the existing Social Security budgets.

Whoa!2 points·4 months ago·edited 4 months ago

Isn't Charles Murray's basic income proposal based on giving the rich a tax cut while reducing current Social Security payments?

Murray's proposal involves a relatively high amount of net transfer (relative to the sum paid) by itself, because Murray's proposal involves not taxing back the basic income at all till one earns $25k/yr, being tax neutral only being halfway reimbursed starting at $50k (and not reimbursed further outside of general taxation along the lines of the existing model) from the perspective of the individual. So calling it a tax cut for the rich kinda misses the mark. It does intend to cut Social Security though. The additional $3k/yr for mandatory health insurance could be a doable replacement for medicare/aid if regulating healthcare more, though that's that.

edit: Either way, it's not a proposal that seeks to proportionately participate people in the growing wealth that automation generates. It does not seek to more support alternative models of work than absolutely necessary. I think these are the main criticisms one can leverage at right wing proposals. It wants low wage work to be more profitable for people while market winners pay a greater tax to achieve that.

edit: To meaningfully bargain with that political perspective, making points about commons, common wealth, public ownership is the idea in my view. (edit: And political voice, more methods for democratic participation.)

edit: updated info on how the clawback of the grant works in murray's system.

calling it a tax cut for the rich

I was referring to comments about saving $200 billion a year in this recent thread ... admittedly, I labeled the savings a tax cut for the rich without further investigation.

Whoa!1 point·4 months ago·edited 4 months ago

On the note of social security, I'm not a fan considering claims to it are built on shallow premises in the first place, at least for the most wealthy. While it's not enough to live on for the rest. At this point, it's a tax financed service to those who had the greatest incomes in the first place, at least in comparison to basic income.

At most, I'd prefer to transform social security into a bonus payment that cannot exceed 1X the basic income. Though how to decide on eligibility is a problem. I'd want to avoid additionally rewarding market incomes while leaving culture builders alone. Ideally I'd just not have social security but instead, higher basic income.

edit: As you pointed out in another post:

Let them wither away as basic income replaces them

is definitely a viable strategy to get there, though I'm more on the impartial side when it comes to the specific sequencing of things.

Comment deleted4 months ago
9 points·4 months ago·edited 4 months ago

Great job shooting yourself in the foot OP.

UBI doesn't have to be a partisan issue, why would you sabotage it by trying to make it one?

20% of GDP12 points·4 months ago

I think you're missing the point if you think adding a ubi doesn't mean dismantling all other social policies.

Let them wither away as basic income replaces them, no need to shut them down peremptorily. There is plenty of money. The Pentagon's disbursements do not match what the Treasury thinks they spent. See

For fiscal years 2016 and 2015, inadequate reconciliations of disbursement activity included (1) unreconciled differences between federal entities’ and the Department of the Treasury’s (Treasury) records of disbursements and (2) unsupported federal entity adjustments, which could also affect the balance sheet.

The Pentagon is disbursing more than Congress authorized, and the checks aren't bouncing because the Fed, ultimately, cashes them, I bet.

The Pentagon knows money is no object. We should bring this to consciousness and use the Fed to fund basic income. Then let existing programs fade as need for them goes away.

4k GAI, 4k carbon dividend, 8k UBI3 points·4 months ago·edited 4 months ago

UBI that replaces services can and should be better than this UBS proposal. The left should argue for higher UBI. Universal healthcare should stay though, if only because UBI is a greater benefit to the young, and universal healthcare a greater benefit to the old.

use it as a justification for dismantling the welfare state

UBS would be used a justification that poverty is solved even though it would be the same "institutionalization" of free housing that is prison or shelters, or free options that has 10 year waiting lists to use. Free food would be food banks? or other lower quality/lower service/lower convenience options. Unlike UBI, it wouldn't go to rich and poor, and cutting service quality would not have a universal complain basis, nor an actually universal visibility/transparency for noticing the cut.

Money is a much better service than any service other than healthcare access (excepted because poor luck can make that expense unbudgetable).

Payment in services forces you to consume that service likely with greater use, and therefore cost to taxpayers, but with more dissatisfaction than what you could buy in a competitive market. Housing and food are ultra competitive markets with many options including the same "substandard" options that might be offered under the "free plan".

Money lets you budget for smaller or remote housing for better food tradeoffs. The only basis for complaint about right wing proposals is that the amounts they often discuss are too low. It would be an extremely productive/finalizing discussion to simply haggle over price instead of derailing UBI with stupid counterproposals.

Importantly, the more programs you can eliminate (by increasing the UBI amount), the cheaper it is to society as a whole. A total tax increase of x pays for a UBI of x with no program cuts. A net 0 tax increase for discretionary government budget purposes, and net 0 change in overall/average after tax+ubi income. But with program cuts totalling y, the tax increase is x-y for UBI of x

The Pentagon spends as it wishes, tax funding or not. See

a significant portion of intragovernmental differences are related to unreconciled transactions between the General Fund of the U.S. Government (General Fund) and federal entity trading partners related to appropriations and other intragovernmental transactions, which amount to hundreds of billions of dollars.

We should drop the charade that taxes fund government.

“Right Wing”. Give me a break.

Now, plenty may disagree with me here, and that's fine, but that's my biggest issue with UBI in the first place. It does nothing to actually fix the root cause of these problems. Best case scenario we get a society that is still divided by class and the lower classes have to work for the profit of the upper.

Whoa!1 point·4 months ago

Demand a basic income that participates all in the growing wealth that technology affords us. Demand more space for commons, demand a stake in common wealth for all, be it via sovereign wealth funds or other ways. Demand more political voice. That could be a leftist approach to basic income that does improve on those circumstances.

edit: That said, basic income by itself improves on some of those factors to some extent. If you want more of that, demand more of that. I sure would like more of that.

A Basic Income is a GDP Growth Dividend For The People!3 points·4 months ago

These assclowns should know that when a UBI is implemented, it will eliminate the expensive symptoms created by poverty and in turn save money that was being spent before on the symptoms of poverty existing.

So where the author is from, UK it seems, they have health insurance that doesn't cover costly operations? Why? Insurance taken to prevent sudden large costs by paying a risk based fee. 10 euro to pay for a 0.1% chance to have to pay 10,000 euro, simply said. It makes no sense to me not to cover that.

Whoa!1 point·4 months ago

Universal Basic Services runs risk of being less valuable to the individuals at same price tag/work and resources needed, at least in many cases. Seems like a debateable rallying point. Basic income is the primary thing to pass, how to see about political voice and participation in the common wealth for all are further points to emphasize from a leftist perspective, imo.

Whoa!1 point·4 months ago·edited 4 months ago

an infrastructure which provides a no-cost set of facilities and opportunities that we would consider to be fundamental to modern life.

A decent basic income, on the other hand, gives you the capacity to pursue your vision of the ‘good life’ by allowing you to pursue activities and interests that are meaningful to you, your family and/or your community

I wouldn't draw such a clear line between the one and the other. Basic income might as well give you the capacity to purchase things we consider fundamental to modern life, where their provision is best achieved through a money system, while basic services can at times give you the capacity to pursue activities and interests that are meaningful to you/your community, e.g. where you'd need specialized facilities to research a thing or two. (edit: or political voice. I'd definitely prefer that organized outside of the market.)

This is essentially against the idea of deregulation anyways because it presumes the government knows how to spend peoples’ money better than they do. This is actually less conservative than UBI (in a bad way, to boot).

I think UBI vs. UBS comes down to whether you believe government or markets are the best way to distribute resources. My own opinion is it depends on the resources and the person. I've never seen a convincing argument that the government can do well providing housing or food, but I have seen good papers on why they might be better at providing healthcare than the market is.

I also think it's critical to maintain (and strengthen) services for those who cannot participate in the market such as children, people with severe disabilities, etc.

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A basic income guarantee is a system that regularly provides each citizen with a sum of money. Except for citizenship, a basic income is entirely unconditional. A basic income guarantee would radically simplify the welfare state, and truly ensure that no one has to live in poverty. Its necessity will become increasingly obvious as more human labor is replaced by machines.

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