I immediately wondered where this idea came from and is this a better way to elevate the poor, eliminate the confusing myriad of state and federal aid programs, as well as the endless non profits that provide supplemental support in every way from food to education. Navigating the system to get aid and assistance is overwhelming, often demoralizing and endlessly frustrating. The war on poverty is very much like a field on fire where you run and dash to avoid getting hit, stepping on mines and you do so without any camouflage to protect you. I finally realized that fighting for the scraps that I need to survive would best be served by simply giving up. I am not alone. But the idea of a guaranteed basic income would provide the security I need to plan and adjust accordingly. As the "poors" age they need ways to secure and plan for any number of life's own grenades. So it had me ask this question: Could this be the end of welfare as we know it?
The of course supreme tech sector supports this as they are sure that technology will be the largest workforce and humans will be displaced so this I presume fuels their belief that the peasants wont rise above and take control. Or it it makes sense as given they are libertarian and insane but this debate in the New York Times between Eduardo Porter, the economic writer and the tech writer, Farhard Manjoo, makes salient points about both the pros and cons of American embracing such a concept.
And in a total twist of irony I found an Article in the Atlantic from two years ago that found its origins in this concept vested by the conservative demagogue (no, not Voodoo Regan), Milton Friedman.
I have mixed feelings about it and having been to Switzerland where the health care is not nationalized but the quality of life is amazing it is not a liberal bastion, it is the global banking sector that lines the streets of Geneva. This is also the place of origin of the Protestant Reformation which led to higher literacy, the country of Davos, the place where the world elite meet and plan ways to retain their place in the world - while being down the street from a Museum that is founded under the name of a man whom escaped Nazis. The endless contradictory nature of Switzerland fascinated ma when I met a woman who said we have no homeless or truly poor and then I was solicited for numerous handouts at the Zurich train station, I saw endless mentally ill in the streets of Geneva, just adjacent to the tribute to the reformation.
Ah Switzerland is the idyll that I suspect the rich enjoy as they slush down the slopes to sip apple brandy and think this is good. They also have immensely strict immigration laws, Donald Trump could not move there. Note, they are not involved at all in the current migrant issues in the European Union, of which they are not even members. Ah the Swiss that neutrality is a good as their chocolate.
The Conservative Case for a Guaranteed Basic Income
Noah Gordon, August 6, 2014
Creating a wage floor is an effective way to fight poverty—and it would reduce government spending and intrusion.
Meanwhile, the intellectual wing of reform conservatism likes these plans because they reduce government and offer citizens more control, at least in theory. Yuval Levin, one of the authors of the reform-conservatism manifesto Room to Grow, has praised Ryan’s plan, saying it would “give people more resources and authority and greater freedom to find new and more effective ways up from poverty.”
The idea isn’t new. As Frum notes, Friederich Hayek endorsed it. In 1962, the libertarian economist Milton Friedman advocated a minimum guaranteed income via a “negative income tax.” In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.” Richard Nixon unsuccessfully tried to pass a version of Friedman’s plan a few years later, and his Democratic opponent in the 1972 presidential election, George McGovern, also suggested a guaranteed annual income.
More recently, in a 2006 book, conservative intellectual Charles Murray proposed eliminating all welfare transfer programs, including Social Security and Medicare, and substituting an annual $10,000 cash grant to everyone 21 years and older. The Alaska Permanent Fund, funded by investments from state oil revenues, sends annual dividend checks to the state’s residents. Switzerland is voting on an unconditional basic income later this year. (Though the fundamental basic-income guarantee involves an unconditional grant to every citizen, no matter their wealth or age, other versions wouldn’t cut checks to those in top tax brackets or those receiving Social Security.)
Apart from lifting millions out of poverty, the plans promote efficiency and a shrinking of the federal bureaucracy. No more “79 means-tested programs.” Creating a single point of access would also make many recipients’ lives easier. If they knew they had something to fall back on, workers could negotiate better wages and conditions, or go back to school, or quit a low-paying job to care for a child or aging relative. And with an unconditional basic income, workers wouldn’t have to worry about how making more money might lead to the loss of crucial benefits. In the Financial Times, Martin Wolf has contemplated a guaranteed income’s ability to help society adjust to the disappearance of low-skill, low-wage jobs.
Cutting all federal and state benefits for low-income Americans would save around a trillion dollars per year, so there would still be a significant gap to be closed by revenue increases like higher taxes or closing existing loopholes. That doesn’t seem likely, to say the least, in the current political environment. Alternatively, a guaranteed income could be means-tested, or just offered at a lower level. In The Atlantic last year, Matt Bruenig and Elizabeth Stoker argued policymakers could halve poverty by cutting a $3,000 check to Americans of all ages.
Naturally, the idea is not without flaws. Some conservative critics contend a guaranteed income might create a society of layabouts by establishing a disincentive to work (although the jury is out). Others wonder which immigrants would be eligible and when.
After all, as Derek Thompson explains, Social Security works pretty well. When Democratic Representative Bob Filner, since disgraced, proposed a guaranteed income on a very small scale in 2006, he picked up only one cosponsor.
Yet the effort to create a reform conservatism and reconstitute the GOP as the “party of ideas” seems to demand contemplating legitimately radical new ideas on welfare reform. In the introduction to Room To Grow, Levin writes, “these ideas embody a conservative vision that sees public policy not as the manager of society but as an enabler of bottom-up incremental improvements.”
Scott Winship, in a welfare-reform essay later in the same document, writes approvingly of Levin’s desire to provide an “alternative to the fundamentally prescriptive, technocratic approach inherent in the logic of the liberal welfare state.” A guaranteed income, in any form, would tear that logic apart. Maybe conservative welfare reform still has some room to grow.