Tag: Consumption

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer the impending resignation of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose years in power were most notably marked by draconian COVID policies and unilaterally outlawing the right to own many different weapons. They also shake their heads as some House Republicans propose a national 30 percent sales tax to replace all other federal taxes. They appreciate the effort to simplify the code and hope discussions continue but fear this plan will only be used by Democrats to hammer Republicans. Finally, they respond to former Vice President Al Gore bellowing about boiling oceans and a billion climate refugees.

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On another topic we strayed into speculation about how liberals may not have forseen or orchestrated the virus but are now having wishful thinking of an expanded Bernie influence, to make the virus carry that load of unexplained socialist “inevitability” we would normally see past and resist. Well is time of the essence? Today Rush […]

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Forget UBI, America Already Has Universal Basic Consumption


Recently, there has been much talk about having a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for everyone in the US. On the Left, one presumes this would be in addition to the rest of the welfare state. On the right one hopes it’s proposed to replace most of the welfare state.

I already oppose the UBI (even as a replacement for welfare) for sound economic and political reasons, but that’s not what this post is about. Rather, it’s about how our focus on income has ceded much of America’s public discourse about poverty to the Left. We can (and should) do better than that.

It’s easy to see how we’ve gotten here. The data on income is readily available, so it’s simple to pull charts and graphs and to test theories. And since income is the major source of tax revenue, it’s natural to focus on income when contemplating changes to government policy. The problem is when we use income as a proxy for quality of life, which is presumably what the debate about poverty is really about. If we’re interested in how people live — we do call it “welfare” — we should be looking at net consumption rather than net income. You can’t eat money and, unless you’re Scrooge McDuck, you don’t derive nearly as much enjoyment from having physical money as you do from spending it. Money is only worth what we can buy with it. How much Americans live on tells us far more than their tax return.