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Old 8th April 2019, 02:28 AM   #1
Roboramma
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Universal Basic Income

UBI is an idea I have been hearing more about over the last few years, and I'm curious about the perspectives of the forum on this issue.

Personally I like the idea. Perhaps it's because I have a basically optimistic view of people, but I think that in general UBI will function as an investment in our human capital. People will spend at least some portion of that money on bettering themselves, whether through education (of themselves or their children), investment, entrepreneurship, and even basic things like nutrition and healthcare. Even uses that at first seem like just paying people to be lazy, like spending that money on time saving devices or services (dishwashers? daycare?) will in reality make them more productive at whatever their pursuits happen to be.

Will some of that money be spent on drugs and video games? Sure, but I think it likely to be a small percentage.

So, to me it seems to be an investment in our human capital. And unlike other government programs, the people making the decisions about how best to make that investment will actually be those with the most knowledge about each individual case: the people themselves.

With the above I'm simply trying to express my perspective rather than to argue the case for UBI, which perhaps will happen in the thread itself. For now I'm curious about other people's views, both positive and negative.
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Old 8th April 2019, 02:43 AM   #2
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I too am interested by the idea, but . . .

If we try it and it fails, will we be able to go back?

Quote:
Will some of that money be spent on drugs and video games? Sure, but I think it likely to be a small percentage.
I think that really depends on the person. I recently watched the documentary Seattle is Dying (it's on youtube) and it left me pretty pessimistic about a certain segment of the populace.
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Old 8th April 2019, 03:04 AM   #3
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Companies are probably glad not to have people on the payroll who would rather stay home and do drugs and play videogames - the cost to business for having a tricky employee who creates more work than he does, but is savvy enough not to get easily fired, is often many times $1000/month.
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Old 8th April 2019, 03:12 AM   #4
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I am probably naive and am no economist, but it seems a bit silly.

As I say. Probably a too basic way of thinking, but if everyone has the same amount of money then affordability on any goods must be equal for everyone, meaning demand per amount available goes up, meaning price goes up as supply has limits, meaning only those with other sources of income can buy goods, meaning everyone might have more money, but everything is just more expensive, and the same people can't afford it, they just get crappy income in a different way
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Old 8th April 2019, 03:38 AM   #5
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Probably should have just said it would only work if supply of goods/services was like a never ending gob stopper
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With todayís Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 8th April 2019, 03:43 AM   #6
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Probably should have just said it would only work if supply of goods/services was like a never ending gob stopper
Not quite.

There are ways of doing UBI without creating inflation. There is also every expectation that markets will adapt to serve UBI-recipients the way they now do for Minimum Wage employees.
Besides housing, there are no basic goods/service are are truly limited at the basic utility level.
And has been mentioned, a lot of modern entertainment is limited only by the number of downloads.
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Old 8th April 2019, 03:54 AM   #7
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Here is a six page thread about the topic and specifically a Swiss initiative (which failed, but more will come in the near future). In it I explain why the U in UBI should stand for "unconditional", not "universal". Been a proponent for twenty years now and glad to see that these days even a candidate for US president runs with it as his main topic (Andrew Yang, although he calls it "Freedom Dividend" or something like this).
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Old 8th April 2019, 03:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Not quite.

There are ways of doing UBI without creating inflation. There is also every expectation that markets will adapt to serve UBI-recipients the way they now do for Minimum Wage employees.
Besides housing, there are no basic goods/service are are truly limited at the basic utility level.
And has been mentioned, a lot of modern entertainment is limited only by the number of downloads.
TBF I just can't get my head around it.

Let us say you give everyone $100 bucks a week on top of what ever else they get.

Suddenly everyone has an extra $100 bucks to spend on say steak (I know stupid amount to pick and stupid product)

There is only a certain amount of cows, and therefore steak.

What would happen given everyone with the spare $100 bucks can buy it is the seller makes it $120,because frankly they can


And only those with the extra 20 can get it.

It just seems to be basic supply/demand/affordability to me
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With todayís Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:00 AM   #9
The Great Zaganza
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If the local shops know that starting Jan 2021 everyone has an extra $100, don't you think they can organize some extra steaks?
Just because demand goes up doesn't mean supply stays fixed. In fact, the whole point is to rebalance the excess of supply over demand.
Of course, people making more money than they need right now might actually start saving...
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:00 AM   #10
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Andrew Yang was on Joe Rogan recently and made the case quite well:

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Old 8th April 2019, 04:02 AM   #11
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well the fact is that not everyone is going to go and spend it on steak, and in the Western World we are already highly over producing things, so it is very unlikely that we are going to start running out of things because more people want them.
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
TBF I just can't get my head around it.

Let us say you give everyone $100 bucks a week on top of what ever else they get.

Suddenly everyone has an extra $100 bucks to spend on say steak (I know stupid amount to pick and stupid product)

There is only a certain amount of cows, and therefore steak.

What would happen given everyone with the spare $100 bucks can buy it is the seller makes it $120,because frankly they can


And only those with the extra 20 can get it.

It just seems to be basic supply/demand/affordability to me
Mathematically I think it's a lot more subtle than that. Suppose you give everybody an extra $100 a week, and average earnings are $1000 a week. There's now 10% more money available to chase the same amount of goods, so prices go up by 10%. But people who were earning $100 a week now have $200 a week, so they can buy about 80% more stuff after allowing for price increases. People who were earning $1000 a week are more or less unaffected. People who were earning $2000 a week now get $2100, but after allowing for price rises they can now only buy 5% less stuff. And people who weren't getting paid anything at all now don't starve to death. In effect, it seems to me, it's a very simple way of taxing the rich to feed the destitute and improve the lot of the poor, and it avoids a hell of a lot of expense (and of course state involvement in people's private lives) that would be associated with means testing; it lets the market do the means testing implicitly.

Dave
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
well the fact is that not everyone is going to go and spend it on steak, and in the Western World we are already highly over producing things, so it is very unlikely that we are going to start running out of things because more people want them.
Was off the top of my head

Builders, Sparkies (everyone who just needed a bit extra to do up their houses)

Cars

Houses

All have limits of supply

And to up supply of things means up "Carbon emissions" (going back to cows) which won't happen (At least here)

More people flying in planes, more plane emissions, more aggro

Just seems a bit can of worms

Don't mean to make it a Green thing, but

It is like a everyone should do more to save the planet but by the way we will give you this money to do less.
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Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000

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Old 8th April 2019, 04:24 AM   #14
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Cheers

Get that

Not totally, convinced but get your argument
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With todayís Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:25 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Was off the top of my head

Builders, Sparkies (everyone who just needed a bit extra to do up their houses)

Cars

Houses

All have limits of supply
Sounds like more work for builders and sparkies. And that's actually one of the purposes.
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:25 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
Mathematically I think it's a lot more subtle than that. Suppose you give everybody an extra $100 a week, and average earnings are $1000 a week. There's now 10% more money available to chase the same amount of goods, so prices go up by 10%. But people who were earning $100 a week now have $200 a week, so they can buy about 80% more stuff after allowing for price increases. People who were earning $1000 a week are more or less unaffected. People who were earning $2000 a week now get $2100, but after allowing for price rises they can now only buy 5% less stuff. And people who weren't getting paid anything at all now don't starve to death. In effect, it seems to me, it's a very simple way of taxing the rich to feed the destitute and improve the lot of the poor, and it avoids a hell of a lot of expense (and of course state involvement in people's private lives) that would be associated with means testing; it lets the market do the means testing implicitly.

Dave


Cheers

Get that. Sounds reasonable.

Not totally, convinced but get your argument
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With todayís Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:27 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Sounds like more work for builders and sparkies. And that's actually one of the purposes. It's called economic stimulus.
Well yes it is

But there are only so many of them and they will just up the prices above the ability of those relying on the UBI to pay
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With todayís Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:36 AM   #18
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UBI needs to be paid for somehow. Lucky it does not have to cost as much as it seems. First off you can reduce the tax free threshold to zero, but make the UBI tax free. Anyone who earns above a certain amount will not be any better off than before. Then most other pensions can be abolished. So can the public servants who administer these pensions. After that the cost will be small.

I suggest UBI to be around about the unemployment benefit level or slightly higher, depending on how good that is.
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:37 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Well yes it is

But there are only so many of them and they will just up the prices above the ability of those relying on the UBI to pay
Huh? Why will they price out their customers? You make it sound like the number of builders and sparkies in a system is fixed. If other people realize there is money to be made by having more competitive prices than the doltards who raised their prices beyond what those living on UBI can afford, then they will provide the service that undercuts the not so bright sparkies.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)

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Old 8th April 2019, 04:45 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Huh? Why will they price out their customers? You make it sound like the number of builders and sparkies in a system is fixed. If other people realize there is money to be made by having more competitive prices than the doltards who raised their prices beyond what those living on UBI can afford, then they will provide the service that undercuts the not so bright sparkies.
It isn't fixed, but a bit of realism. A lot of people aren't good at math and a lot of the others aren't good at craft

Unless you want to import shed loads of foreign workers that Labour in particular hate then the numbers are fixed

There is only a fixed number of local people wanting to freeze their nuts off building in the winter. A lot want to be sitting cushey in offices.

The bit I don't get is WFF is pretty much now a UBI anyway and all that has done is give emploers an excuse to not up wages anyway
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With todayís Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:47 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
It isn't fixed, but a bit of realism. A lot of people aren't good at math and a lot of the others aren't good at craft

Unless you want to import shed loads of foreign workers that Labour in particular hate then the numbers are fixed

There is only a fixed number of local people wanting to freeze their nuts off building in the winter. A lot want to be sitting cushey in offices.

The bit I don't get is WFF is pretty much now a UBI anyway and all that has done is give emploers an excuse to not up wages anyway
Edit: Sorry, should have said "Another bit" rather than "The"
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With todayís Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:58 AM   #22
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Apologies

I kind of NZised the thread there, after replying to phantom. Ignore the gibberish
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I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With todayís Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
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Old 8th April 2019, 04:59 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
it avoids a hell of a lot of expense (and of course state involvement in people's private lives) that would be associated with means testing
This is a much bigger deal than people realize at first. If you haven't ever been on the dole, you don't know what all is involved. There is a LOT of money (and effort) wasted trying to ensure that no money is wasted, and it all gets mixed in with money and effort wasted by Libertarian and/or racist dickheads making the process deliberately complicated while trying to shame people out of being poor to discourage them going through it at all.

It's a situation a lot like universal health care: it's more effective and cheaper to give it to everyone than to draw a distinction between who needs it and who doesn't.

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Old 8th April 2019, 05:06 AM   #24
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Looking at the way the macroeconomy has performed in recent years and decades (since the collapse of Japan's bubble economy, say from the 1990s onward) I'd say that the risk of inflation has been consistently overestimated due to a misunderstanding of the new economy. The aging demographics. Increases in worker productivity.

Think about how many jobs don't actually produce anything. Or at least nothing that is a basic necessity for living. Just people pushing papers to other people. What percentage of the workers do truly essential work? I know I don't. I have a good-paying job in a legal-adjacent industry, translating patents. But the thing I produce isn't a basic necessity. Invention is important, but there's a whole industry surrounding the activity of invention that is questionable. Perhaps it is all worthwhile but it's hard to really know. It doesn't seem obvious on its face.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:09 AM   #25
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I can't imagine UBI not only not working but not horribly backfiring if things like price control on rent, medications, and other essentials isn't in place and established before it is implemented.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:17 AM   #26
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I can't imagine UBI not only not working but not horribly backfiring if things like price control on rent, medications, and other essentials isn't in place and established before it is implemented.
I likened a functioning UBI to the way Universal Healthcare is implemented in many countries: in a two tier system.
Basically, you need to have a basket of goods and services price-fixed so that the UBI is always somewhat above the subsistence level.
On top of that, you can remove all forms of price control.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:22 AM   #27
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What particular UBI scheme is discussed here?
The idea seems to be to finance it by "printing" money?
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:23 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I can't imagine UBI not only not working but not horribly backfiring if things like price control on rent, medications, and other essentials isn't in place and established before it is implemented.
Great idea. Couple a radical program which is untested to another program which consistently fails. What could go wrong?
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:37 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I can't imagine UBI not only not working but not horribly backfiring if things like price control on rent, medications, and other essentials isn't in place and established before it is implemented.
What interaction do you expect?
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:39 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I can't imagine UBI not only not working but not horribly backfiring if things like price control on rent, medications, and other essentials isn't in place and established before it is implemented.
You what?
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:45 AM   #31
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*Very slowly* This is America. If the Johnny Landlords, the Martin "Punchable Face" Shkreli's, and so forths are told today that everyone in American is going to get a guaranteed... 500 bucks a month starting tomorrow, you can rest assured that by 11:59 tonight they will have raised their prices to match.

People just don't get this but the reason some countries don't have certain things is the same reason they wouldn't work if they did. If America was the kind of country in which Universal Healthcare, Free College, and UBI could work, it would already be a country that had it.

We don't UBI in America because we have greedy people in position of power. It's also the reason it wouldn't work.

Saying "Well it works in (insert glorious post-scarcity European utopia of choice here)" is really, really missing the point.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:49 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post

People just don't get this but the reason some countries don't have certain things is the same reason they wouldn't work if they did. If America was the kind of country in which Universal Healthcare, Free College, and UBI could work, it would already be a country that had it.
All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:49 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by GnaGnaMan View Post
What particular UBI scheme is discussed here?
The idea seems to be to finance it by "printing" money?
I had assumed that it would be financed through taxation, personally.

I listened (a while ago) to the interview with Andrew Yang posted upthread, and he seemed to be talking about paying for it by shifting things in the budget around, not just printing money.

I forget exactly what the plan was, but it was at least partly dependant on:
A) UBI making other government programs redundant, so it would replace them rather than being spent on top of them.
B) UBI acting as an economic stimulus thus bringing in more tax revenues.

He suggested that after those things the amount that taxes would need to be raised would be quite small, though I forget the actual numbers he gave, and am not expert enough to know if they were reasonable, though it at least sounded reasonable to me.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:51 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I had assumed that it would be financed through taxation, personally.
Well it's good to know in politics the "Vote for me and I'll take money that the people who didn't vote for me and give it to the people who do" is starting to become the text instead of the subtext.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:51 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
People just don't get this but the reason some countries don't have certain things is the same reason they wouldn't work if they did. If America was the kind of country in which Universal Healthcare, Free College, and UBI could work, it would already be a country that had it.
I'm having a hard time understanding how you came to this conclusion.

"We should try this!" "If it would work, we would have done it already." Just sounds like an excuse based on circular reasoning to me.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:53 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I'm having a hard time understanding how you came to this conclusion.

"We should try this!" "If it would work, we would have done it already." Just sounds like an excuse based on circular reasoning to me.
I'm saying do you think all the forces that opposing (Insert social change here) are going to go away when (Insert social change here) is implemented?

If a "Force" be it government, business, social, whatever can keep a country from doing (insert thing here) for X number of years... you don't think it's gonna have power to make (insert thing here) less efficient when it finally happens?

I've never understood why "Systems work better in countries where they are wanted" is such a controversial topic.

ETA: "Political System Change" would probably be a better wording than "Social change" but my you get my point...
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:54 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Well it's good to know in politics the "Vote for me and I'll take money that the people who didn't vote for me and give it to the people who do" is starting to become the text instead of the subtext.
As far as I can tell everything the government does is payed for through taxation. This objection can literally be made to any government program.

It seems to me that if you want to argue that the cost of the program outweighs it's benefits, that could be entirely valid, but to simply say "It requires taxation!" is to say nothing at all.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:55 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
UBI is an idea I have been hearing more about over the last few years, and I'm curious about the perspectives of the forum on this issue.

Personally I like the idea. Perhaps it's because I have a basically optimistic view of people, but I think that in general UBI will function as an investment in our human capital. People will spend at least some portion of that money on bettering themselves, whether through education (of themselves or their children), investment, entrepreneurship, and even basic things like nutrition and healthcare. Even uses that at first seem like just paying people to be lazy, like spending that money on time saving devices or services (dishwashers? daycare?) will in reality make them more productive at whatever their pursuits happen to be.

Will some of that money be spent on drugs and video games? Sure, but I think it likely to be a small percentage.

So, to me it seems to be an investment in our human capital. And unlike other government programs, the people making the decisions about how best to make that investment will actually be those with the most knowledge about each individual case: the people themselves.

With the above I'm simply trying to express my perspective rather than to argue the case for UBI, which perhaps will happen in the thread itself. For now I'm curious about other people's views, both positive and negative.
I am attracted by UBI schemes for moral reasons. People should work for a reward, not to avoid punishment.
Denying food, shelter and clothing to someone is cruel and - in an industrialized society - needlessly so.
There are lots of things that making working worthwhile: Luxuries, status, fulfillment. Fear of destitution should not be one of them.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:56 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I'm saying do you think all the forces that opposing (Insert social change here) are going to go away when (Insert social change here) is implemented?

If a "Force" be it government, business, social, whatever can keep a country from doing (insert thing here) for X number of years... you don't think it's gonna have power to make (insert thing here) less efficient when it finally happens?

I've never understood why "Systems work better in countries where they are wanted" is such a controversial topic.
Well, you could look at history and note that many new things have been tried and worked. For a recent example look at the legalisation of marijuana. There were powerful forces against that for a long time, but that doesn't mean it's not happening now, nor that it's not going to be a good thing.

Actual issues aren't as simple as "We aren't doing it now, so it must not be a good idea". You have to actually look at the issue. Yes, that takes actual effort, but that's what's required to learn the truth.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:59 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by GnaGnaMan View Post
I am attracted by UBI schemes for moral reasons. People should work for a reward, not to avoid punishment.
Denying food, shelter and clothing to someone is cruel and - in an industrialized society - needlessly so.
There are lots of things that making working worthwhile: Luxuries, status, fulfillment. Fear of destitution should not be one of them.
I agree. And one of the things that I like about UBI is that it would take a lot of the stigma away from people who need a helping hand. In the end I think that would make them more rather than less likely to continue to better themselves.

Beelzebuddy made the point well that:
Quote:
This is a much bigger deal than people realize at first. If you haven't ever been on the dole, you don't know what all is involved. There is a LOT of money (and effort) wasted trying to ensure that no money is wasted, and it all gets mixed in with money and effort wasted by Libertarian and/or racist dickheads making the process deliberately complicated while trying to shame people out of being poor to discourage them going through it at all.

It's a situation a lot like universal health care: it's more effective and cheaper to give it to everyone than to draw a distinction between who needs it and who doesn't.
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