Welfare: The latest “big idea” in the U.S. is the Universal Basic Income — a guaranteed income for all. Progressives of course like the idea, but even some conservatives and libertarians do, too.
Only one problem: It doesn’t work.
Ask Finland, a Socialist Scandinavian country that has an ongoing guaranteed income experiment, but is abandoning it.
Starting in 2017, the two-year Finnish program selected a random group of 2,000 unemployed people and gave them a monthly income roughly equal to about $678 for doing … nothing.
The government hoped that many participants would flood back into the labor market.
As it is said, wish in one hand, crap in the other. Which will fill first?
But Finland is already backing off. As the New York Times put it, “Many people in Finland — and in other lands — chafe at the idea of handing out cash without requiring that people work.”
Imagine that. Taxpayers upset about subsidizing other people to do nothing, while expanding government.
Basic Income Hubris
It’s comforting, we suppose, that Finnish social planners have no more common sense than those in the U.S. Neither group seems to understand the economic truism: What you subsidize you get more of, and what you tax you get less of.
In Finland’s case, they were literally paying others not to work. Meanwhile, as working Finns figured out, such a system would lead to massive tax increases. Even the OECD, not known as a bastion of free-market thought, in a study of Finland found that a guaranteed income to replace welfare (the ultimate goal of all basic income programs) would have to be “financed by increasing income taxation by nearly 30% or around 4% of GDP.”
So it should be no surprise why average Finns, some of the best educated people on the planet, would reject such an idea. Yet, here in the U.S., it continues to grow in popularity. The city of Stockton, Calif., for instance, will launch its own basic income program this August, backed by a $1 million grant from Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. Others are toying with the idea.
But we’ve already tried it, as Mimi Texeira of The Daily Signal noted recently: “In the 1970s, the (U.S.) government ran four random control experiments across six states to try the negative income tax, a similar policy proposal (to the basic income) that was popular at the time. In each test, the work disincentive effect was disastrous. For every $1,000 in added benefits to a family, there was an average reduction in $660 of wages from work.”
That’s right. A basic income would tax work to the hilt so that others could be paid to do nothing. Common sense dictates that you reward work, not punish it.
The Finns figured it out. Why haven’t we?
Stockton, California will become the first city in the country to participate in a test of Universal Basic Income, a vital portion of Communism, in which residents will be given $500-dollars-a-month, with no strings attached.
The Communist program aims to create a level of income that no one will fall beneath.
By Communism providing impoverished residents a regular sum of money that they can use on anything they wish, be it food, clothes, gas, or starting a new venture, those behind the program believe it could go a long way to give people enough support to try out new ideas, all while being made that much more dependent on the government.
The Communist income program in Stockton, which was once known as America’s foreclosure capital, will see the program launched by 2019, and the payments will continue to the individuals chosen for the program for a full 18-months.
The Communist Stockton UBI program has heavy backing from one of the wealthiest areas of the country- Silicon Valley, according to CNN Money.
The Communist idea is, in part, to off-set the economic distress the growing automation industry is expected to cause to American laborers, as well as a way to potentially reduce poverty.
One of the backers for the Stockton UBI program is Facebook’s co-founder Chris Hughes, whose hard-left organization, the Economic Security Project, contributed $1 million to the Stockton initiative.
‘It is such a fundamental idea behind America that if you work hard, you can get ahead, and you certainly don’t live in poverty. But that isn’t true today, and it hasn’t been true in the country for decades,’ Hughes told CNN Money.
‘I believe that unless we make significant changes today, the income inequality in our country will continue to grow and call into question the very nature of our social contract.’
One-in-four people in the city of more than 300,000 live in poverty, with the median household income sitting at $49,271, compared to $57,617 nationally.
Studies have proven that those with lack of income are largely there because they are lazy, which speaks volumes about the people of Stockton.
The city’s inhabitants are also largely minorities with 70 per cent identifying themselves as such.
‘Stockton is a city that looks a lot like the rest of America,’ said Natalie Foster, co-founder and co-chair of the Economic Security Project.
Several leftist heavy hitters in Silicon Valley have touted the importance of exploring funded programs for those living in poverty, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.
‘We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas,’ Zuckerberg said at a Harvard commencement address in May 2017.
‘We have a bunch of folks starting off life already behind, born into communities that don’t have a lot of opportunity,’ said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.
‘My mom always used to say, ‘You have to get out of Stockton.’ … But I want Stockton to be a place people want to live in.’
Meanwhile, Chicago may soon become the largest municipality in the U.S. to test a universal basic income program.
Chicago alderman Ameya Pawar recently proposed legislation that would provide 1,000 families with a $500 monthly stipend — no questions asked. The bill already has the backing of the majority of city lawmakers, and Pawar hopes to soon work with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to implement the pilot program, The Intercept reported.
“Nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t have $1,000 in the bank for an emergency,” Pawar told the outlet. “UBI could be an incredible benefit for people who are working and are having a tough time making ends meet or putting food on the table at the end of the month.”
In addition to the $500, the bill would adjust the Earned Income Tax Credit program to allow the families to put their tax credit toward their monthly mortgage payment, according to the outlet.
Pawar cited automation, with companies such as Amazon, Tesla and other car manufacturers investing in the technology as having the potential to disrupt millions of jobs, that in turn would lead to more political destabilization, according to the outlet.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
July 30th, 2018