Tag: UBI

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The odds are that you’ve never heard about the “Automatic Boost to Communities” Act, HR 1030. It’s a bill sponsored by anti-Semitic “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and co-sponsored by seven other congressional economic giants, including noted Boston University Econ major Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY). It is pending before the House Ways and Means […]

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Do We Need More Political Parties?


You probably missed the story last week. Former Democratic Presidential candidate and, briefly, a frontrunner to replace outgoing New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, Andrew Yang, officially left the Democratic Party.

You remember Yang among the Democrats looking to challenge Donald Trump in 2020. But despite not surviving past the New Hampshire primary (he would endorse Joe Biden), he and his “Yang Gang” of enthusiastic, young-ish supporters garnered plenty of media attention. His signature issue was, and remains, Universal Basic Income (UBI). Everybody gets a check, and you don’t even have to work for the money.

The former attorney, health care, and education test-prep executive is no longer a Democrat and has started the “Forward Party.” It is a Political Action Committee that wants to morph into a political party. From Wikipedia:

Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political podcast my sweeties! Come to refill the old political obsession tank? Here to procure that pithy but deep diatribe fix? Well you are in the right place! This is edition number 223 and we call it the “No Match Podcast” with your absolutely unmatchable hosts, Right Coast radio guy Todd Feinburg and Left Coast AI guy Mike Stopa (the handsome one). This week we have our dear friend and special guest Jessica Vaughan, she of the Director of Research for the Center for Immigration Studies, to discuss with us the return (did I hear anyone say “Hallelujah”???) of the No Match letters that are now going out to every employer in America who submits an I9 form for even one employee whose name and social security number do not match what is in the Social Security database.

Jessica tells us that many of these no matches are just…typos! Many are just…name changes! And many are (shhhh) illegal aliens either using stolen or fabricated SS#’s. This is where the actual problem is. The Democrats know it. The Chamber of Commerce knows it. And they are screaming that these letters are going out and good lord that is a good thing!

Put Joe Biden Down as a “No” on Universal Basic Income


My guess, both from what’s in the media and talking to insiders, is that former Vice President Joe Biden is going to make a 2020 run for the Democratic presidential nomination. (He’s the very slight favorite, according to PredictIt.) In fact he just announced, Axios reports, “a big-name list of members of the Biden Institute Policy Advisory Board.”

In addition, he also put forward a plan to “restore the basic bargain … in this country that if you contributed to the success of an enterprise you got to share in its profits so you could not only make ends meet but also get ahead.” Lots in their about education, skills building, and reducing barriers to work (oddly though nothing about occupational licensing).

One thing that caught my eye is that Biden weighed in on the issue of a universal basic income. He doesn’t think much of it. Biden:

Universal Basic Income: Would It Work?


The idea of a UBI — Universal Basic Income — is gaining traction among liberals. No surprise there. To my knowledge, it’s not gaining traction among conservatives. Also no surprise. But, strangely, the most interesting proposals for a UBI are coming from libertarians. Now that is a surprise. There even seems to be a developing liberal-libertarian alliance around this.

Granted, the UBI is impossible to justify according to pure libertarian principles. But if your libertarianism is of a more practical kind, the UBI is worth a look. If you know that Charles Murray is the strongest proponent and Milton Friedman the author of the prototype we’re considering, you are almost obligated to take a look. And if you accept Murray’s calculations that even a sizable UBI would actually reduce debt if it replaced our 223 transfer programs, conservatives, too, should consider joining this movement.

There are many versions out there right now. Murray’s, to me, is the most interesting and well thought out. In a nutshell, all US citizens 21 years and older would get $13,000 a year, of which $3,000 would be set aside for health insurance. The rest would be sent electronically to a specially established bank account set up for the purpose. The UBI would be phased out — clawed back, as Murray phrases it — until it disappears for those with incomes above $70,000 a year.

Against the UBI


In last week’s Ricochet Podcast, John Podhoretz brought up the Universal Basic Income. I’ve been a proponent of the idea for at least a decade, and I’ve been in good company with the likes of Charles Murray and Milton Friedman, but I was recently convinced it would be a terrible idea.

First the arguments in its favor. In its best construction, the UBI would eliminate all other welfare and tax breaks. Leaving aside whether any deal to eliminate all or most other welfare and tax breaks is politically feasible (it isn’t), it has an alluring elegance. Everyone gets the same tax break, and ideally, the tax rate is completely flat, meaning there’s no tax cliffs destroying incentives. Those who can’t work can still survive. And no one is making any decisions about what they can do with “their” money.

This seemed like a slam dunk to me for a long time, but then I had the moral hazard spelled out for me. As bad as the welfare state is, one currently has to be at least ostencibly in real need in order to take advantage of it. You have to be disabled, or have children and no income, or seemingly unable to afford healthcare.

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Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a proposal to replace most or all existing wealth transfer (welfare) programs with a flat grant of cash per month.  UBI has gained a following across the political spectrum.  See, for instance, this Cato Institute discussion between libertarian policy wonk Charles Murray and retired union boss Andy Stern, where they […]

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I spent over 40 years in the tech industry, 30 of those in Silicon Valley, and heard the artificial intelligence (AI) promoters and automation pessimists the whole time. If the phrases ‘symbolic reasoning’, ’expert systems’, ‘4th Generation’ or ’neural nets’ ring a bell, you’ve been along on the same ride.  Each computer generation brought a […]

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