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 Message Boards » » Why not a base income for all? Page [1] 2, Next  
mrfrog

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We have government programs that give direct payouts to people who are old, people who are disabled, people who are capable but lost their job, people who have a job but don't make enough, the list goes on and on.

Eventually, it begs the question that if you're supporting so much of the population with direct payouts, why don't you just say fuck it, stop trying to figure out who needs government money, and give everyone a base unconditional income from the government. If you look at it in the naive sense that there are people who don't work, people who do work, and my proposal is to extend the income to those who work, it would lower their income (through greater taxes), but then pay that money right back to them (aside from the progressive system of taxation).

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/05/07/switzerland-an-initiative-to-establish-basic-income-for-all/

So apparently there's a real proposal in Switzerland to do this.

I think the big advantage is that we would no longer have the same "entitlement" culture. If welfare wasn't welfare but instead something unconditional then those people don't have to feel like they're getting a free ride, and honestly, I think it would make them more likely to get a job because the economic difference between option A and option B would be greater.

I think the big disadvantage is making the entire nation into something like a bunch of trust fund babies. I mean, we're talking about armies of hipsters. If people didn't absolutely have to work, then many would just play Starcraft. As long as these people don't reproduce I'm fine with that.

5/8/2012 10:02:43 AM

Mr. Joshua
we want chilly willy
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So base income + forced sterilization?

5/8/2012 10:10:30 AM

JK
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free money and free birth control? sign me up

5/8/2012 10:22:02 AM

qntmfred
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might as well throw free whores in there too since we're all sterilized

5/8/2012 10:31:06 AM

d357r0y3r
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How would we not have entitlement culture? We would only have entitlement culture.

Most people do not want to work. They work because they have to. Take away the need to work, and you'll have a country full of deadbeats.

5/8/2012 10:33:25 AM

LoneSnark
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Higher taxes = disincentive to work
Free income = disincentive to work
Fewer people will work.

5/8/2012 10:38:10 AM

wdprice3
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It will still be an entitlement culture. It's just the entire population would be part of that. And I don't get the push for more taxation, more entitlements, more welfare, etc. Why don't we work towards lower taxes, fewer people on entitlements/welfare, etc.? Why don't we focus on solutions to problems (education being #1) instead of creating more government dependency?

5/8/2012 10:50:20 AM

qntmfred
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Quote :
"education being #1"


QFT

[Edited on May 8, 2012 at 10:52 AM. Reason : public schools are an entitlement]

5/8/2012 10:52:08 AM

wdprice3
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Yes, education is an entitlement; however, I don't want to get off on that tangent too much. A basic education one of the very few entitlements that the population deserves (has a right to, IMO). Education is a vital part of allowing people to create their own lives and enjoy freedom (freedom to work, freedom to succeed, but also freedom to fail). It is a very different entitlement from the others.

5/8/2012 10:58:09 AM

Kris
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Just so we're not all making things up, does anyone have any sort of evidence that entitlements reduce employment?

5/8/2012 11:00:13 AM

qntmfred
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^^ adequate food, shelter and healthcare go a long way toward that goal too /tangent

[Edited on May 8, 2012 at 11:04 AM. Reason : will stop tangenting now, but it does seem like those needs are even more basic than education]

5/8/2012 11:03:02 AM

d357r0y3r
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Shouldn't the government be providing free food to everyone, then?

Education is absolutely vital, but the state of the public school system is embarrassing.

5/8/2012 11:12:59 AM

GeniuSxBoY
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Quote :
"Why not a base income for all? "


If money equal time and a work, and we're in $16,000,000,000,000 in debt, what in god's name do you think spending more money is going to do to the debt?


[Edited on May 8, 2012 at 11:26 AM. Reason : .]

5/8/2012 11:21:22 AM

mrfrog

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Quote :
"Higher taxes = disincentive to work
Free income = disincentive to work"


You are wrong dammit!

The incentive to work is the quality of life as you work versus the quality of life not working. You're ignoring my point too - that many social assistance programs disappear if you start working. A universal base income eliminates the problems of these artificial economic effects. In the proposed system more work will always equal more money. People work for money and they will still work for money if they have a base income. In fact, people would even work low wage jobs in that system, even if it didn't amount to their base income, because they only care about (govt payouts) + (other income). The current way people do this is to go on welfare and sell drugs.

5/8/2012 11:24:37 AM

wdprice3
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Quote :
"^^ adequate food, shelter and healthcare go a long way toward that goal too /tangent

[Edited on May 8, 2012 at 11:04 AM. Reason : will stop tangenting now, but it does seem like those needs are even more basic than education"


Yes, but education provides the tools to achieve those. It is up to the individual to work to get what he/she needs. There is risk in life; we can't use the government to insure everyone against the risk of failure. And when people truly hit hard times, then they should be helped, temporarily. The government shouldn't be feeding and housing the masses. The government should provide the basic tools needed to non-adults, and then as adults it is up to them to provide for their needs. This is why improving education is so important, so that as adults, people are able to provide for themselves. And there have to be real consequences of failure; that is life. If the government is always there to play mommy and daddy, the consequences of failure are greatly lessened and so is the life lesson of working hard to succeed and learning how to deal with failure, and how to get back on your feet.

[Edited on May 8, 2012 at 11:28 AM. Reason : .]

5/8/2012 11:24:47 AM

qntmfred
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what good is public education to a seven year old if she doesn't have food/shelter/healthcare

5/8/2012 11:34:35 AM

mrfrog

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Quote :
"And when people truly hit hard times, then they should be helped, temporarily."


rigga rabble rigga rabble personal responsibility!

But seriously, the reason we have social security is because we don't trust people to save. In fact, they would have dramatically more money if they saved instead of paying into social security.



So, let us deconstruct the reasons for social security:
- unexpected loss of income
- to save for retirement

These two are different because retirement isn't exactly something that hits you like a freight train out of nowhere. You kind of know it's going to happen... basically your entire existence. So the argument for pooling risk is 100% invalid for that. Thus, we've proven:
- social security is an inferior way to save for retirement
- the only reason for >2/3rd of social security is to save for retirement

How are these two consistent? Why would we willingly chose an inferior "savings" system that has obvious alternatives. Here it is:

We don't trust people to save their own money

Our democracy has decided that a poor savings system is preferable to taking the risk that people don't take the financial precautions they otherwise should. Obviously the same applies to loss of income. We, as in the "we" defined by the actions of our democracy, fully believe that our citizens lack the foresight to put away money for a rainy day.

[Edited on May 8, 2012 at 11:40 AM. Reason : ]

5/8/2012 11:36:17 AM

GeniuSxBoY
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If money equal time and a work, and we're in $16,000,000,000,000 in debt, what do you think spending more money is going to do to the debt?

5/8/2012 11:38:28 AM

mrfrog

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It's disingenuous to call this spending. If you tax someone and then give that same person a payment, you effectively taxed them less.

What did you think to yourself when you got your stimulus check? I might be the uncommon one, but I thought "this is basically a tax refund".

5/8/2012 11:43:34 AM

GeniuSxBoY
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Quote :
"What did you think to yourself when you got your stimulus check? I might be the uncommon one, but I thought "this is basically a tax refund"."



I think, sweet, I get my own money back that I worked hard for that was taken out of my paycheck for no reason.

5/8/2012 11:47:18 AM

1337 b4k4
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Quote :
"If you tax someone and then give that same person a payment, you effectively taxed them less."


So why not just tax them less in the first place? Why bother with all the loss and overhead associated with collecting a tax, auditing the tax paid and then sending that tax money back?

Quote :
"The incentive to work is the quality of life as you work versus the quality of life not working. "


And the quality of life as you work is brought down by higher taxes.

5/8/2012 11:53:34 AM

mrfrog

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Right, so we might more generally speak of the "government-individual income balance" as opposed to payouts and taxes. Those words by themselves are meaningless.

This proposal is extremely anti-needy people. It's basically saying that we shouldn't make any effort to evaluate how much people need money, and the only thing that determines whether money flows from you to the govt or vice versa should be how much money you make. I just want to be clear on that.

5/8/2012 11:57:38 AM

GeniuSxBoY
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If the government gives you the base amount to live, and everyone agrees not to work because they have all their needs covered, is the food going to farm itself?

5/8/2012 11:58:07 AM

BanjoMan
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Quote :
"Higher taxes = disincentive to work
Free income = disincentive to work
Fewer people will work."


Again, if your incentive to work is to make money, then you picked the wrong job.

5/8/2012 12:02:00 PM

mrfrog

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^^ The point isn't that I take issue with either the liberal or conservative position, I take issue with the discontinuity between the two.

Yes, free money motivates people to work less. But let me be perfectly clear about this: that problem isn't resolved by requiring that one demonstrates a need in order to get free money. If you truly believe that our policies should be completely 100% non-redistributive then you should agree with the stated proposal, and set the payout amount to be $0/month.

The proposal creates a number that empirically establishes the degree of redistribution of our government-individual income balance. To disagree is to say that you don't want to stage the discussion over a number that can be quantified. You would prefer to accept complexity as it exists now as a way to obscure broad understanding of government assistance money flows.

[Edited on May 8, 2012 at 12:06 PM. Reason : ]

5/8/2012 12:05:30 PM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"You're ignoring my point too - that many social assistance programs disappear if you start working."

But government provided income assistance is not available to everyone in this country. I'd say the vast majority of American workers have no access to government income assistance when they started working. If they were eligible, odds are they wouldn't be working. Workers tend to exhaust their unemployment and dislocation assistance before going back to work. If you instead made these things perpetual, this implies to me they'd never go back to work.

Quote :
"Just so we're not all making things up, does anyone have any sort of evidence that entitlements reduce employment?"

The unemployed tend to find work once their unemployment benefits run out. If there is no causation here then it is one hell of a coincidence.

5/8/2012 12:10:22 PM

GeniuSxBoY
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Let's keep this simple.


You're on a deserted island with 10 people. Explain your idea of government assistance on the island.

5/8/2012 12:10:52 PM

mrfrog

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10 people in one day collect some # of coconuts.

25% of those coconuts go to government right now.



Out of that 25%, 15% (I mean 15% of the total coconuts) currently go to direct payments to individuals.



Combine the 15% of the people, or 1.5 of the islanders on food stamps with an eventual 40%, or 4 of the islanders on social security...

http://www.withbeans.com/2011/09/08/social-security-really-is-a-ponzi-scheme/

...to get that 1.5+4 = 5.5 of the islanders are receiving payments from the government in the current system.

That means that to extend the same level of payouts to everyone you will need to increase that expenditure:

15% * (10 people) / (5 people) = 30%

Now, there was already 10% going to fund the island's military industrial complex, roads, and so on. So the proposal would be that instead of collecting 25% of the coconuts, we would change system to then collect 40% of the coconuts. So if we have 10 coconuts produced in the entire economy, one goes to pay the actual government workers, and then 3 coconuts are then cut up equally and divided equally. This is as opposed to taking 1 or 2 coconuts, cutting them, and dividing them among around half or less than half of the islanders.

The difference is that then, somewhere between 1 and 5 of the 10 people on then island now have no negative differential from working.

[Edited on May 8, 2012 at 12:29 PM. Reason : ]

5/8/2012 12:24:38 PM

qntmfred
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Richest guy pays for everything the other folks want

5/8/2012 12:25:16 PM

GeniuSxBoY
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If ten out of ten people are picking coconuts, then

who is building the houses for shelter?
Who is running the government?
who is going to take care of the kids?
who is going to take care of crippled jon with no legs?

5/8/2012 12:28:56 PM

mrfrog

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That question doesn't make any sense. Due to workforce participation rates, maybe 6 of the islanders pick coconuts, or are eligible to pick coconuts in the first place.

about 10% of all coconuts are spent on government direct spending, but that does not imply that 1 islander works for the government. It's much less than that since the government buys stuff from the private sector.

5/8/2012 12:32:14 PM

GeniuSxBoY
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Can 1 person collect enough coconuts for 10 People?

If yes, why do the other 9 people have to pick coconuts?

5/8/2012 12:40:24 PM

y0willy0
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if we can lock a thread because geniusboy doesnt think obama was born in the US then we can lock this stupid piece of shit.

5/8/2012 1:01:24 PM

GeniuSxBoY
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Lol, I'm not concerned about Obama being born in the United States at all.

I'm concerned that the birth certificate that was released on the office whitehouse.gov as the official document was fake because you can go into photoshop and delete the layers which you can't do with a scanned document.

5/8/2012 1:05:09 PM

NyM410
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I thought all birthers had been Darwin'd by now. Guess I was just hopeful..

5/8/2012 1:18:42 PM

y0willy0
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this thread should be darwin'd.

5/8/2012 7:53:48 PM

Smath74
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I'd like to see a system where people can sign up for a minimum wage supplied by the government to cover the cost of food to keep them from starvation. The catch is that if they sign up for it, they have to put their name into a hat where once a year 2 people are selected from each state to fight a battle to the death in an arena for the entire nation to watch... I don't know what i'd call it... it helps solve hunger, so maybe the sport of satiation?

5/13/2012 2:31:00 AM

The E Man
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Why would you make the base income monetary? I don't get that. Why not give everyone a base housing voucher, food voucher, education voucher, unlimited health insurance (not government healthcare) and a base entertainment voucher. Everything is privatized and taxable after that.

5/13/2012 4:25:10 AM

moron
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Quote :
"Higher taxes = disincentive to work
Free income = disincentive to work
Fewer people will work"


Which would pave the way for robots to takeover jobs

5/13/2012 12:49:44 PM

LoneSnark
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Not at all. a less productive society will be less able to afford robots.

5/14/2012 9:03:44 AM

Socks``
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I see no reason to not really support a base income scheme implemented along the lines of a negative income tax.

This would have at least two major benefits.

1) It would likely reduce or eliminate the need for alternative safety net programs that are more costly to administer (like Social Security). So we could potentially see a reduction in total government spending without a reduction in the generosity of benefits.

2) Unlike what most critics have been saying in this thread, it would actually *encourage* people to work (relative to our current system) by lowering the high marginal "tax" rates poor people currently face.

Take food stamps for example, which are a income tested aid program. If you pass the income test (make below a certain amount of income), you can potentially receive food stamps. If you get a better job and suddenly earn enough money to where you fail the income tax, you will lose those benefits. That is essentially making that marginal tax rate for earning $1 beyond the income threshold equal to the amount of your food stamp benefits. Since food stamp benefits can exceed $1,000+, that can be a pretty hefty tax on working and a pretty significant disincentive to work. A negative income tax would help reduce (though not eliminate) this problem because you loose the benefits more gradually.

Of course, the Negative Income Tax could still be accused of providing disincentives to work. But that is true of essentially ALL income transfer programs. The real benefit of a negative income tax is that it provides fewer disincentives than current welfare programs and can be administered at a lower cost. This is exactly why libertarians like Milton Friedman supported the program. If we want to live in a society with some sort of social safety net (most people do), then providing a base income through a negative income tax is one the easiest and most efficient ways to do that.

[Edited on May 14, 2012 at 11:11 AM. Reason : ``]

5/14/2012 11:01:04 AM

The E Man
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^It still has to be stamps like said in my post. If you make it money some people will blow it all away and you will be back to square one.

5/14/2012 11:48:12 AM

LoneSnark
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^^ Again, you are ignoring the fact that the current benefit programs are currently not available to most of us. The only people in society which are automatically eligible for these programs are those raising children. As most of us are not raising children, the calculation is to either work and have income or not work to go live on the street.

5/14/2012 12:00:45 PM

mrfrog

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Quote :
"Of course, the Negative Income Tax could still be accused of providing disincentives to work. But that is true of essentially ALL income transfer programs."


Okay, this is the entire frigin point.

We use our tax structure to accomplish the objective. Then we use welfare programs to accomplish the same objective. Whenever someone makes two government programs that do the exact same thing you have to wonder if it might be administered more efficiently.

5/14/2012 1:35:09 PM

GeniuSxBoY
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It's not that we mind paying taxes because we all do it. It's that the people receiving the funds is like a mom who receives child support and blows it on a fancy dinner instead of on the child.

After the mom gets YOUR money in HER hand, you don't have control of the money anymore.
Similarly,
After the government gets YOUR money in THEIR hand, you don't have control of the money anymore.


Giving money to everyone, such as a base income for all, is not the answer to an irresponsibility problem

5/14/2012 2:02:34 PM

The E Man
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^Already stated vouchers pretty much solves that. HELLO

5/14/2012 2:08:26 PM

mrfrog

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Quote :
"It's not that we mind paying taxes because we all do it. It's that the people receiving the funds is like a mom who receives child support and blows it on a fancy dinner instead of on the child."


Does the Republican party pay you to make the point over and over again. The problem you're having in convincing people that, yes, people will spend handouts irresponsibly is it has nothing to do with the other points that are being argued. In fact, it could be said to be irrelevant to this thread.

If it helps, yes, I agree that poor people frequently spend the little money they have on dumb things, and giving them more money will likely result in them buying dumber things.

5/14/2012 2:22:24 PM

GeniuSxBoY
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Needless to say, you fail to see the whole purpose of me typing the comparison.

5/14/2012 2:23:31 PM

mrfrog

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that is correct

5/14/2012 2:26:15 PM

GeniuSxBoY
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What I'm saying is... you're trying to solve a car with square tires problem by replacing the windshield wipers.

5/14/2012 2:33:30 PM

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