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#1
The general idea behind basic income is that the government provide each of its citizens with an unconditional, guaranteed base level of income- an amount that would cover the minimum needs for a frugal lifestyle and no more. This basic income would replace most, if not all, government-funded welfare and poverty programs. This would, in theory, serve to drastically reduce homelessness and extreme poverty as well as provide a safety net to minimum-wage workers and the unemployed.

Here are some numbers from r/basicincome for those concerned about the financial impact this would have:
Charles Murray in Guaranteed Income as a Replacement for the Welfare State introduced the figure of $10,000, "as a place to begin discussion," never really intending for it to be taken as a serious final number. "In the United States, a GI of $10,000 per year for all adults aged twenty-one years and older will cost no more than the projected cost of the current system as of 2011. By 2028, it will cost more than a trillion dollars less per year than the projected costs of the current system." Similarly, numbers just at or below the antiquated federal poverty level are generally considered illustrative rather than practical for legislative purposes.


I think a lot of people's knee-jerk reactions would be to assume that this would result in lazy people being content with unemployment, but remember it's not nearly enough money to live comfortably on- it's simply enough to not starve, so there is still incentive to work. Add on to that our enormous population, which is still growing exponentially, and projections that the vast majority of our jobs today are going to be automated in a matter of decades, and suddenly it doesn't seem so important that everyone work.

What are your thoughts?
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#2
Study the history of this in the Roman Empire, USSR and China. It didn't turn out so great. Government is the last place I want to depend on for my basic needs. They are not our friends.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

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#3
If it's cheaper then duh

I could share a little flat and live nicely for 10k a year, sign me up
#5
The problem is no one paying into this is going to be eligible to reap the benefits unless something unimaginably horrible happens to them so basically it comes down to convincing people with a lot of money to give that to stupid poor people.

Edit: That is without getting the actual tax write-off benefits of donating money to stupid poor and diseased people.
Last edited by JackWhiteIsButts at Jul 22, 2014,
#6
Quote by Cajundaddy
Government is the last place I want to depend on for my basic needs.

And yet plenty of people don't really have any other option. I don't think anyone can argue that there aren't a ton of flaws with the current system, at least in the US.
Quote by JackWhiteIsButts
The problem is no one paying into this is going to be eligible to reap the benefits

The whole idea is that everyone reaps the benefits. The guaranteed income is paid to every adult citizen, regardless of income or job status or social class.
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Last edited by GodofCheesecake at Jul 22, 2014,
#7
Quote by GodofCheesecake
The whole idea is that everyone reaps the benefits. The guaranteed income is paid to every adult citizen, regardless of income or job status or social class.

That's just stupid then.
#8
I'm a fan. This is exactly the kind of government philosophy that I have developed in the past few years.
...it was bright as the sun, but with ten times the heat
#9
Quote by Cajundaddy
Study the history of this in the Roman Empire, USSR and China. It didn't turn out so great. Government is the last place I want to depend on for my basic needs. They are not our friends.



The difference is, we live in a world where automation is a very real thing. You can google different reports from various websites, which quote academic studies about estimations of how many jobs can be automated and when they will be.

Face it, the reality is, is (particularly in the west) we live in a society where people are basically forced into non meaningful jobs which take up all their time which could easily be done by machines, for alot cheaper which means the extra profits that corporations make can be taxed and given to people so they can do whatever they like all day, every day. Being forced by society to work in Starbucks and Mcdonalds etc isn't a free society.
#10
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#13
Quote by sashki
I'm no economiser, but wouldn't a guaranteed income lead to inflation? If everyone suddenly has more money, wouldn't it lose a lot of its value?

From what I've read opinion is somewhat divided on the subject of inflation, and I'm not that knowledgeable about economics either, but I believe most experts on the subject think that as long as the basic income is funded through taxes, and not my simply printing more money, inflation would happen in the short term but then stabilize after societal adjustment.
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#14
Times change but basic human nature does not. Once we cash-in our freedoms for life on the dole we become what exactly? Cattle? Throughout history this sort-of utopian plan has a 100% failure rate and 100 million murdered citizens "for the good of the republic". What makes you think today would be any different?

If Marx came back today he would surely say "Sorry guys, I was dead wrong. It doesn't work"
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#15
I don't understand though, why is this any different and better than unemployment benefit which just gives that money when it's needed (ie when people have no income) rather than to everyone all the time?
#16
Good luck living on $10k a year.

Some people are lazy. Some people will work to improve their status. Some will succeed. And some won't.

The problem is that poor people will more likely turn to crime.

I don't know where I was going with this, I'm still just waking up.
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#17
Quote by Cajundaddy
Throughout history this sort-of utopian plan has a 100% failure rate and 100 million murdered citizens "for the good of the republic". What makes you think today would be any different?

If Marx came back today he would surely say "Sorry guys, I was dead wrong. It doesn't work"

lol dude that's such hyperbolic rhetoric

http://www.reddit.com/r/BasicIncome/wiki/studies
Quote by MadClownDisease
I don't understand though, why is this any different and better than unemployment benefit which just gives that money when it's needed (ie when people have no income) rather than to everyone all the time?

Well, for one, that system in its current incarnation doesn't really work that great, is chock full of fraud on both sides, and will continue to increase in cost in the future until it is no longer sustainable. In addition, it's projected in the future that unemployment is just going to continue to increase as more and more jobs become automated by technology.
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#18
It's crap. "Government" can't provide money, all they can do is shuffle dollars recieved from the taxpayers around. While I'm not opposed to a needs-based system, anyone that can work and won't doesn't "deserve" anything but scorn.

This is little more than theft from your fellow citizens thinly disguised as a 'right', which isn't even original since the go-to excuse of so many thieves is 'But they have so much and I have so little!"
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
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Last edited by Arby911 at Jul 22, 2014,
#19
Is there enough tax money to provide a living wage to all citizens?

I can't help but feel that the increased tax rates are going to screw people over. If you have a low-paying job, a big part of your salary will go towards taxes. Since you're already paid a basic income, you have no incentive to continue working, unless you really like your low-paid job (but I think those people will be in the minority).

If your job pays well, you're probably gonna pay more in taxes than you receive as basic income.

Having free time to pursue hobbies is a good thing, but you can't assume that every truck driver and shelf stacker is an artist deep inside. What happens to all those people after their jobs are automated? Will they need to get new qualifications for new jobs? Will the cost of education go up? Will there be enough work for the people who are willing to work?

I wouldn't say no to free money, but I just don't understand how this will work.
#20
Quote by Arby911

This is little more than theft from your fellow citizens thinly disguised as a 'right', which isn't even original since the go-to excuse of so many thieves is 'But they have so much and I have so little!"

It's only tax

You properly think tax is theft don't you
#21
Quote by Arby911
While I'm not opposed to a needs-based system, anyone that can work and won't doesn't "deserve" anything but scorn.

So a person's worth is defined by the materials and services they can produce? What happens to this ideology when 80% of jobs have been automated?
Quote by sashki
Is there enough tax money to provide a living wage to all citizens?

I think the quote I put in the original post addresses this, although admittedly not in great detail. But yes, in theory a basic income could replace current welfare systems without incurring more taxes, and would actually be cheaper in the long run. EDIT: At least in the US.
Quote by sashki
Having free time to pursue hobbies is a good thing, but you can't assume that every truck driver and shelf stacker is an artist deep inside. What happens to all those people after their jobs are automated? Will they need to get new qualifications for new jobs? Will the cost of education go up? Will there be enough work for the people who are willing to work?

These are all serious questions that I'm not sure are entirely within the scope of the discussion I was trying to provoke. We will have to address them eventually because automation of jobs is going to happen in the near future, and a basic income would be a great thing to have when a significant proportion of the worldwide population finds itself unemployed, but what people will do with their time seems like a separate issue.
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Last edited by GodofCheesecake at Jul 22, 2014,
#22
Think of it more like this:

We take all the tax money that is going into welfare and other public organizations set up for the needy, and just give everyone 10,000 dollars every year.

It sounds good, but I think one of the biggest problems is theft. What if someone receives their cash and it is promptly stolen my some bad person, or their identity is stolen and their bank funds are emptied? You can't very well blame them for not guarding their money well and refuse them food, water, and shelter.

Also, a great many homeless people have mental disorders and addictions to drugs. These people would not manage their money correctly and would wind up just as poor as they were in the first place.

I'm all for helping the poor and the needy and for providing a safety net for people, but I think that we could just as easily, if not more efficiently, build shelters, provide food, and provide other necessities to people who need them. If we give 10,000 dollars per year to everyone, we could easily take that money from ten people and build a 100,000 dollar shelter that could house 100 people.
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Last edited by c3powil at Jul 22, 2014,
#23
Quote by snipelfritz
Good luck living on $10k a year.

Some people are lazy. Some people will work to improve their status. Some will succeed. And some won't.

The problem is that poor people will more likely turn to crime.

I don't know where I was going with this, I'm still just waking up.



The poor don't have a monopoly on crime. White collar crime is a far far far, more serious issue than blue collar crime.
#24
Quote by GodofCheesecake
I think a lot of people's knee-jerk reactions would be to assume that this would result in lazy people being content with unemployment, but remember it's not nearly enough money to live comfortably on- it's simply enough to not starve, so there is still incentive to work.


I am all for this. I could totally live on 10k a year if it meant I could be a lazy **** and do nothing all day.
#25
Quote by willT08

You properly think tax is theft don't you

It absolutely is.

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#26
Quote by sashki
Is there enough tax money to provide a living wage to all citizens?

I can't help but feel that the increased tax rates are going to screw people over. If you have a low-paying job, a big part of your salary will go towards taxes. Since you're already paid a basic income, you have no incentive to continue working, unless you really like your low-paid job (but I think those people will be in the minority).

If your job pays well, you're probably gonna pay more in taxes than you receive as basic income.

Having free time to pursue hobbies is a good thing, but you can't assume that every truck driver and shelf stacker is an artist deep inside. What happens to all those people after their jobs are automated? Will they need to get new qualifications for new jobs? Will the cost of education go up? Will there be enough work for the people who are willing to work?

I wouldn't say no to free money, but I just don't understand how this will work.



Speaking of driving jobs, the google car is doing amazingly well, the only problem is, is that it's very expensive. What do you think is going to happen once they work out how to make it cheap and affordable for commercial use?
#27
Quote by c3powil
It sounds good, but I think one of the biggest problems is theft. What if someone receives their cash and it is promptly stolen my some bad person, or their identity is stolen and their bank funds are emptied? You can't very well blame them for not guarding their money well and refuse them food, water, and shelter.

Also, a great many homeless people have mental disorders and addictions to drugs. These people would not manage their money correctly and would wind up just as poor as they were in the first place.

Both of these problems exist independently. Theft should be dealt with by authorities and people who are mentally ill or dependent upon substances should be treated at hospitals. Neither of those has anything to do with the type of income received.
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My progressive rock project, Mosaic

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clearly, the goal is to convert every thread into a discussion about BTBAM

BTBAM IS ALWAYS RELEVANT
#28
Quote by willT08
It's only tax

You properly think tax is theft don't you


No, but I do have a vested interest in seeing tax dollars used responsibly, as do all taxpaying citizens. I don't believe this type of program would meet that criteria for reasons made clear by others above.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
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#29
10k would be plenty for me to live on for a year. Assuming I'd still be able to get financial aid or loans for school on top of it.
#30
Quote by GodofCheesecake
So a person's worth is defined by the materials and services they can produce? What happens to this ideology when 80% of jobs have been automated?


I'll let you know when that happens, which isn't anywhere in your or my future...

But yes, a person's 'worth' to society is exactly determined by the goods and services they provide.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#31
Quote by Arby911
No, but I do have a vested interest in seeing tax dollars used responsibly, as do all taxpaying citizens. I don't believe this type of program would meet that criteria for reasons made clear by others above.



The basic income that people will receive is not going to be horded because it's not a high enough salary. The money that people will receive will end up going straight back into the economy.
#32
I'm all for it, for a number of reasons.

1) In Britain at least, the benefits system is pretty awful. Everyone complains about "lazy people sponging off taxpayers", but no one cares about the honest people stuck in a bad situation who get screwed by the system. People on Jobseekers' allowance have been known to get their benefits cut because they missed a job centre appointment to attend a job interview. People have had their benefits cut because they couldn't afford the bus fare to the job centre. People with disabilities are judged as 'not disabled enough'. This system would get rid of all that, reducing the stress on unemployed people who are getting screwed by the job centre's regulations. (It should also get rid of the concept of benefit scroungers, as people with jobs will be getting the exact same money from the government).

2) It would improve working conditions for people on lower wages. Minimum and low wage workers would have a guaranteed safety net to fall back on if they lost their job, so employers would be forced to treat their employees better as employees would be in a better negotiating position without the threat of losing all of their income looming over them.

3) it would improve the economy. As everyone would have an extra 10k per year, they would feel more comfortable spending more, allowing businesses to grow and making the government more money in VAT.

4) To rich people, it is effectively a tax refund. It may make them quit whining about how much tax they pay.

EDIT: and 5) it would improve access to higher education, as people who would otherwise not go into university because of fears of being unable to support themselves would have enough money to get by. The same goes for people who want to pursue charity work, or become an artist or writer, or be a full time parent, or do anything else that would normally mean they wouldn't earn (enough) money or have the time for a day job. Or anyone could take part-time work to supplement their basic income and have more time for their hobbies, also meaning that more jobs would be available as one full-time job becomes two part-time jobs.
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#33
Quote by GodofCheesecake
Both of these problems exist independently. Theft should be dealt with by authorities and people who are mentally ill or dependent upon substances should be treated at hospitals. Neither of those has anything to do with the type of income received.


So what happens is someones money is stolen and the authorities can't recover it?

What happens if the mentally ill refuse to go to a hospital? 10,000 dollars a year is not enough to pay for hospital fees and the cost of living.

Are we talking about a base income plus universal healthcare? Would rehab be included in universal healthcare?


I'm not saying this is a bad idea. I'm just poking at the holes in it.
...it was bright as the sun, but with ten times the heat
#35
Quote by Arby911
I'll let you know when that happens, which isn't anywhere in your or my future...

But yes, a person's 'worth' to society is exactly determined by the goods and services they provide.


But should we also not "evaluate" a persons worth, and commensurate help from society, on levels other than pure economic utility?

I'm sure you agree with this, but other people might think you're being robotic
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#36
Quote by Crofty89


3) it would improve the economy. As everyone would have an extra 10k per year, they would feel more comfortable spending more, allowing businesses to grow and making the government more money in VAT.

4) To rich people, it is effectively a tax refund. It may make them quit whining about how much tax they pay.


Where do you think this money would come from? Who, exactly, provides that 'extra 10K' to everyone?

Government doesn't create wealth, it merely takes it from one group and gives it to another.

You don't appear to have thought this through?
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#37
Quote by Crofty89


2) It would improve working conditions for people on lower wages. Minimum and low wage workers would have a guaranteed safety net to fall back on if they lost their job, so employers would be forced to treat their employees better as employees would be in a better negotiating position without the threat of losing all of their income looming over them.



It would also reduce the fascist/right wing narrative that is popular among the working/common classes about 'immigrants took our jerbs'. The safety net would make that argument useless in society.
#38
sounds good but we need robots doing more of our bullshit stuff, being super efficient and avoiding wastage in the system so we can afford to be chill utopians.
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#39
the thing is something like this is just inevitable. when 80% or whatever amount of jobs are automated this'd be a much simpler method of maintaining the welfare of people that have no means of getting a job, which will be HUGE amounts of people.
#40
Quote by Arby911
Where do you think this money would come from? Who, exactly, provides that 'extra 10K' to everyone?

Government doesn't create wealth, it merely takes it from one group and gives it to another.

You don't appear to have thought this through?



It gets created from the dismantlement of welfare and the increased pressure to encourage corporations to take up automation.
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