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Author Topic: Opinion of Universal Basic Income  (Read 7668 times)
parochial boy
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« Reply #75 on: October 14, 2016, 05:28:12 pm »
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I am yet to encounter a construction of UBI that does not either a) condemn some poor people to basically starve or b) bankrupts the budget in a way that is totally unsustainable to finance even with higher taxes. Most cases I've seen for it have seen confused to me.
From my understanding, it's contested, but there is no conclusive evidence that, when applied, UBI does lead to people choosing not to work. Some correlates have been noted with a reduction in number of hours worked, but largely among new mothers and teenagers; so you could argue that was a good thing

Also, the argument also posits that UBI would not disincentivise work as getting a job would not mean losing means tested benefits as happens in the traditional welfare system. Which could be an incentive for people to find jobs - they get more money.
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« Reply #76 on: October 15, 2016, 07:22:15 am »
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I am yet to encounter a construction of UBI that does not either a) condemn some poor people to basically starve or b) bankrupts the budget in a way that is totally unsustainable to finance even with higher taxes. Most cases I've seen for it have seen confused to me.
From my understanding, it's contested, but there is no conclusive evidence that, when applied, UBI does lead to people choosing not to work. Some correlates have been noted with a reduction in number of hours worked, but largely among new mothers and teenagers; so you could argue that was a good thing

That's not the issue though. Women becoming stay at home moms and teenagers staying in school are small beer compared to the sheer cost of the system overall.

In order for a minimum income to work, it needs to be high enough to keep the poor comfortable, have reasonable clawbacks to maintain economic mobility, and be cheap enough that it can be reasonably achieved through taxation without crowding out the rest of government spending. The problem is that government can only choose two of those things in a universal system.

If the income floor is reasonable, and clawbacks modest, the cost will be high enough to crowd out everything else, even in a high tax country. If costs are controlled and clawbacks modest, then the poor are condemned to starve. If costs are controlled and the income floor is good, then clawbacks must be so high that they prevent the poor from ever moving out of poverty.

Given this paradox, I think it is more appropriate to limit UBI to vulnerable groups to keep the system effective and inexpensive.
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« Reply #77 on: October 15, 2016, 02:29:07 pm »
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I am yet to encounter a construction of UBI that does not either a) condemn some poor people to basically starve or b) bankrupts the budget in a way that is totally unsustainable to finance even with higher taxes. Most cases I've seen for it have seen confused to me.
From my understanding, it's contested, but there is no conclusive evidence that, when applied, UBI does lead to people choosing not to work. Some correlates have been noted with a reduction in number of hours worked, but largely among new mothers and teenagers; so you could argue that was a good thing

That's not the issue though. Women becoming stay at home moms and teenagers staying in school are small beer compared to the sheer cost of the system overall.

In order for a minimum income to work, it needs to be high enough to keep the poor comfortable, have reasonable clawbacks to maintain economic mobility, and be cheap enough that it can be reasonably achieved through taxation without crowding out the rest of government spending. The problem is that government can only choose two of those things in a universal system.

If the income floor is reasonable, and clawbacks modest, the cost will be high enough to crowd out everything else, even in a high tax country. If costs are controlled and clawbacks modest, then the poor are condemned to starve. If costs are controlled and the income floor is good, then clawbacks must be so high that they prevent the poor from ever moving out of poverty.

Given this paradox, I think it is more appropriate to limit UBI to vulnerable groups to keep the system effective and inexpensive.

     I was just thinking about this, and guesstimating numbers was pretty stunning. A truly universal system that paid a living stipend would be enormously expensive.
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parochial boy
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« Reply #78 on: October 15, 2016, 03:21:51 pm »
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From what I remember of the Swiss Basic Income referendum, although there wasn't any explicit level of pay out being put forward, the cost of paying every adult CHF 2500 ($2500) and every child CHF 625 ($625) a month would have come to about CHF 210 billion, or around 33% of GDP.

Now obviously this is at the generous end of the levels of UBI being put forward, and there are basically two ways of looking at it.

The first is the generous option, where you are effectively looking at replacing the classic welfare state with UBI, so a pay out cost that is at least partially funded by the reduction in pensions, unemployment benefits and the like, which, especially pensions can already cost 20-30% of GDP. Of course, a UBI would still involve tax hikes (not really a problem for those of us who generally think redistribution is a good idea), but in a lot of cases, the idea would be to increase taxes such that, for a good number of people, the UBI payment is effectively cancelled out by the increase in taxes.

With a less generous UBI payment, if you were keeping the traditional welfare state largely intact (perhaps replacing a portion of unemployment benefit with UBI payments), this still wouldn't "condemn" people to starve, and they would still have the incentive to return to work, as they wouldn't lose their full unemployment benefit, as is the case under a traditional mode.
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #79 on: October 18, 2016, 05:17:59 pm »
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I tend to agree with Gustaf here. This is the sort of idea that is very attractive to intellectuals but which has daunting and dangerous practical problems.
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« Reply #80 on: October 18, 2016, 05:20:52 pm »
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I mean social policy is difficult and economists (of whatever hue) tend not to grasp this.
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« Reply #81 on: October 18, 2016, 07:04:23 pm »
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I mean social policy is difficult and economists (of whatever hue) tend not to grasp this.

Considering how many economists spend most of their time thinking about how difficult it is, I find your statement somewhat perplexing. I mean, if economists did not grasp the difficulty of social policy, why would we still have any research in economics? Why would there be econ departments at universities?
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« Reply #82 on: October 19, 2016, 04:35:53 am »
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I mean social policy is difficult and economists (of whatever hue) tend not to grasp this.

Considering how many economists spend most of their time thinking about how difficult it is, I find your statement somewhat perplexing. I mean, if economists did not grasp the difficulty of social policy, why would we still have any research in economics? Why would there be econ departments at universities?

Because economics isn't primarily, or even secondarily, a discipline that studies "social policy"? Generally speaking, that seems to be the domain of "policy theorists" at places like the JFK School of Government at Harvard and probably applies more to sociologists or political scientists than economists...

I'm not an expert. In fact, I am very stupid and ignorant also. However, I have also read enough to recognize the different approaches that each academic discipline takes to understand social problems and social policy. Economics, in particular, lends itself to parsimonious, generalizable explanations that fit into the framework of models. This is all well and good: it is the strength of economics as a discipline, one that has made it an "imperial" discipline because its methodology is inherently superior as an applied social science. However, it also lends itself to hand-wavy explanations that ignore the particular difficulties of carrying out social policy among particular communities that might have different practices or the strange nature of bureaucracies etc.
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« Reply #83 on: October 19, 2016, 05:16:25 am »
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I mean social policy is difficult and economists (of whatever hue) tend not to grasp this.

Considering how many economists spend most of their time thinking about how difficult it is, I find your statement somewhat perplexing. I mean, if economists did not grasp the difficulty of social policy, why would we still have any research in economics? Why would there be econ departments at universities?

Because economics isn't primarily, or even secondarily, a discipline that studies "social policy"? Generally speaking, that seems to be the domain of "policy theorists" at places like the JFK School of Government at Harvard and probably applies more to sociologists or political scientists than economists...

I'm not an expert. In fact, I am very stupid and ignorant also. However, I have also read enough to recognize the different approaches that each academic discipline takes to understand social problems and social policy. Economics, in particular, lends itself to parsimonious, generalizable explanations that fit into the framework of models. This is all well and good: it is the strength of economics as a discipline, one that has made it an "imperial" discipline because its methodology is inherently superior as an applied social science. However, it also lends itself to hand-wavy explanations that ignore the particular difficulties of carrying out social policy among particular communities that might have different practices or the strange nature of bureaucracies etc.

I see what you're going for here, but I think that critique is more applicable to a branch (admittedly perhaps the dominant branch in economics). If you look at for example the work of Ellinor Ostrom, the Nobel laureate in Economics from a few years back, she deals with these sort of things. You can also look at institutional economists like Acemoglu and Robinson for instance.

And I think some economists would on the contrary find it a little hand-wavy when people explain outcomes with "culture" and similar things. Wink
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« Reply #84 on: October 22, 2016, 08:02:21 am »
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In theory great! How, though? If we want to do 1500 a month per capita, that's like 30% our GDP.
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« Reply #85 on: October 23, 2016, 05:28:03 pm »
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In theory great! How, though? If we want to do 1500 a month per capita, that's like 30% our GDP.
It would have to be extremely well planned and slowly implemented over a decade or so, so that the economy could adjust.  It would require a massive effort with cooperation from all parties.

I'd support ending cash welfare programs (non medical) and lowering the minimum wage.  Foodstamps could become purely supplemental...maybe more like wic to ensure the poor have access to fresh foods (produce, meat, dairy).

How does one incentivize work with a guaranteed income?  Offer lump sum bonuses for those working at least 10/20/30 hours per week.  Encourage small scale entrepreneurship among the poor.  Offer free training programs and assign "process facilitators" one on one to people to guide them through regulations and gov paperwork for starting businesses.  Set up public market spaces...

Lots of ideas.  But it wouldn't be easy or clean.
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« Reply #86 on: April 01, 2017, 11:29:46 pm »
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Unqualified opposition unless someone is severely disabled, attending school full time, or a primary caregiver raising children.  Instead, have a permanent federal WPA-like program that will unconditionally hire someone who has exhausted their unemployment benefits onto various infrastructure projects for at least 1/3rd of the median income.  Human psychology requires a goal-oriented activity equivalent to full time work over the long run to maintain mental health. 
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« Reply #87 on: April 03, 2017, 01:44:48 pm »
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I prefer graduated negative income tax.
I as well.

Here's a simple, somewhat flawed calculator for an NIT: https://dqydj.com/scripts/fullhtml/base_2015_negativeincometax.html
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« Reply #88 on: April 14, 2017, 04:43:34 am »
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I am opposed to this idea. I think this idea should be debate rationally when robots & automation takes away most of the jobs with huge unemployment impossible to rectify, where UBI is necessary to even sustain society & law n order or to curtail huge poverty. We are yet to see how automation plays out, maybe it will create more tech jobs than anticipated similar to when Computers & other tech inventions came.

If that point every comes, we probably to have seriously debate UBI, not now with unemployment less than 5%. The target here is to increase participation in the labor market & ofcourse to raise wages for the bottom half of the population which is struggling in a system where the gains go to the top few. The situation to discuss or implement UBI is not now !
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« Reply #89 on: April 16, 2017, 08:30:30 am »
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The one issue is the word Universal.

Each state would apply there own levels, if any.

The USA is state based, so getting a social security system up and running with the word "Universal" is a real challenge.

My two cents is to make the system self-motivating.

Someone dod mention a Brazilian example that encouraged business development.
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« Reply #90 on: April 18, 2017, 08:35:33 am »
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Ok with it, esp when automation puts scores out of work straining unemployment, but would favor UBI taking the place of unemployment and mandatory retraining/school/proof of applications after a period of time. UBI should not be a blank check for every citizen but a sort of unemployment-plus program.
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« Reply #91 on: April 21, 2017, 10:49:46 am »
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Something proposed by Yanis Varoufakis is the idea of a "Universal Basic Dividend"; whereby, when companies publically list themselves, a portion of the share capital would be transferred into public ownership, and the dividends used to pay a universal income to everybody.

The theory is that, wealth is created collectively (and often directly through state subsidies, innovations and the like), and therefore a portion of the economy should be owned collectively and the resulting wealth divided between everyone.

It would also bridge the gap between automation and every body losing their jobs. People who currently stand to lose from automation would suddenly have something to gain from it, as higher corporate profits would be directly linked to the universal dividend.

Seems like a pretty good idea to me, although I await for someone to tell me why I'm an idiot and I don't understand.
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« Reply #92 on: April 21, 2017, 12:30:27 pm »
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necessary in any way at some point.
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« Reply #93 on: April 22, 2017, 12:45:57 pm »
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FP but only at $500-2000 a month.

Anything more is excessive and thats considering so many basic income supporters want $5000 which is way too much.
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« Reply #94 on: April 22, 2017, 05:42:18 pm »
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FP but only at $500-2000 a month.

Anything more is excessive and thats considering so many basic income supporters want $5000 which is way too much.

Are there serious supporters that want individual basic income at $5K/mo? The average individual income in the US in 2015 was about $3700/mo so that means if all income were redistributed equally it would be $1300/mo short - ie there isn't enough income to reach that goal even in the most extreme scenario.
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« Reply #95 on: April 23, 2017, 04:05:16 am »
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I'm against it.

(Without having read to entire discussion):
There is just no incentive to learn a good job and work. Our system depends on people to work, study and archive larger goals. Work should be rewarded. Let alone that a basic income is very expensive. You could argue that all other transfer services could/would be ended with a basic income, but what's it worth then? Transfer services should only be paid to those who are really needy and on a temporary basis (except retirees or someone who can't work for health reasons).
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« Reply #96 on: April 23, 2017, 08:40:29 am »
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Something proposed by Yanis Varoufakis is the idea of a "Universal Basic Dividend"; whereby, when companies publically list themselves, a portion of the share capital would be transferred into public ownership, and the dividends used to pay a universal income to everybody.

The theory is that, wealth is created collectively (and often directly through state subsidies, innovations and the like), and therefore a portion of the economy should be owned collectively and the resulting wealth divided between everyone.

It would also bridge the gap between automation and every body losing their jobs. People who currently stand to lose from automation would suddenly have something to gain from it, as higher corporate profits would be directly linked to the universal dividend.

Seems like a pretty good idea to me, although I await for someone to tell me why I'm an idiot and I don't understand.

I don't think it's obviously idiotic, but I'd see two issues. One is that this is already somewhat true - people own a lot of stock through pension funds in the status quo, but are often not very aware of that fact. Related to that, there is a criticism that all that passive ownership leads to less owner-control of managers and that this is a source of a lot of the problems with large corporations. Specifically things like taking on too much risk and CEOs getting way too high compensations.

The second thing is that if this is significant it essentially means that you put a tax on publicly listing your company. That'd presumably lead to people avoiding to do that. This can be problematic on its own and more generally this would lower returns to building successful companies which would slow growth.
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« Reply #97 on: April 24, 2017, 06:43:10 pm »
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A basic income can work in the form of a NIT in my opinion.
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