What are your thoughts on universal basic income?
Despite my negative bias to this, it is a fascinating concept.
1. It would be simpler to administer if it replaced all other government payments
There would be money saved by closing down many different government departments to replace it with just the UBI department. No one would get less money, some people would get more, maybe everyone would get some.
2. Would the total of the payments actually be less?
Answering this seems like spreadsheet work, would it actually cost less money all in to adopt UBI while doing away with every other payment program? I've read speculation that it would actually reduce the total outlay but I don't know that as a fact.
3. Just a safety net
UBI has been framed as providing just enough to keep a roof overhead and enough food in the fridge to avoid going hungry, not to cover discretionary spending. If each adult though got $2000/mo, then married couples obviously would get $4000/mo. That would go a long way in our house. If we cohabitated with another couple then we'd be kind of rolling it not needing to be productive in any other way.
4. Would help workers displaced by AI and other forms of automation
Someone else made this point, might have been @eyegor, but either way it would be a dramatic sign of our collective inability to adapt to new tech if we all lost our jobs and couldn't figure out how to make our way. That would be an awful outcome IMO.
5. Would it spur entrepreneurial risk taking?
This is another theory that I've seen in regards to UBI. That sounds good but I think we'd see a lot more people becoming vegetable like in terms of just playing video games all day, never really doing anything productive. We already have plenty of people who just play video games all day.
6. No one would accumulate wealth?
Would we get to a point where a large segment of the population never works, never pays meaningful income taxes which then results in much less money going to the government to keep it running and allow it to provide other services to us? I don't know the answer.
7. How the hell would we pay for it?
Especially if all in it doesn't cost less money, especially if we do have less tax revenue.
8. The morality of it
I believe everyone who is able, should work in some capacity, trying to make their own way, succeeding or failing on their own merit. Most of the UBI concept flies in the face of that other than the theory that people would feel emboldened to take entrepreneurial risk.
9. Ultimately, it would signal a failure of America's form of capitalism and be a marker for the decline of America's social fabric.
Maybe some sort of milder version of the Fourth Turning?
10. Smaller government
I do like the idea of all current government payment programs being done away with an replaced with one department. In that scenario, no one receiving any money would get less than they are already getting or would get in the future, just that we'd be saving billions by having a much smaller, maybe even automated administration of payments.