Is Universal Basic Income a Good Thing?

Hey Chuck,

I read more and more people pushing for Universal Basic Income (UBI)? This sounds cool but so does a free condo on the beach. First, what is it? More importantly, is it really a good thing?

Interested in UBI

Thanks for your important and timely question. UBI is being talked about heavily among Silicon Valley tech titans like Mark Zuckerberg. Recently, new presidential candidate Andrew Yang has even made it his central campaign promise.

What Is UBI?

On the surface, UBI does sound intriguing: everyone gets guaranteed monthly income; cash in the bank, no strings attached. This idea has been around for a while and is currently being tried in a number of places around the world:

●     Finland: After a two-year-long experiment, the government found that the recipients “were no better or worse than the control groups at finding employment in the open labor market…” The Finnish government chose not to extend the program after the experiment ended.

●     Ontario, Canda: Only 15 months into a planned three-year-long Basic Income experiment, the Ontario government shut down the program, citing that it was “not sustainable.”

●     Stockton, California: Recently launched, the SEED program will give $500 a month to 130 individuals for 18 months. The recipients can spend the money however they want. Proponents of the experiment are hoping it helps low-income people “work smarter and harder.”

●     Andrew Yang, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, calls his version the “Freedom Dividend,” which has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? His proposal would call for a monthly stipend of $1,000 ($12,000/year) for everyone between the ages of 18-64 (working age Americans).

Most every proponent of the free money for all campaign share a common justification for the so-called pressing need to get this done sooner than later. They have a dystopian worldview that believes that technology is going to rapidly replace the lower economic end of the workforce with robots and artificial intelligence which will lead to mass unemployment, crime, poverty, and widespread violence. They assert that jobs in the trucking and retail industries will be the first to go, which are among America’s largest employers.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Chuck Bentley