Many concepts have been floated around as of late to tackle the nation’s finances: a $1 trillion coin to solve the debt ceiling crisis, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour (sometimes $20 per hour depending on who you’re speaking to) and passing legislation to ask workers to voluntarily pay more taxes. These may seem preposterous proposals but these ideas are being taken seriously by the so-called intellectuals of society.
In order to deal with poverty (what does that even mean anymore?), one proposal being spread by the Business Insider, the New York Times and The Atlantic is shaking the heads of libertarians everywhere: a universal basic income for everyone.
Last month, it was reported that Switzerland is proposing to pay people for just being alive. Essentially, an annual income would be paid to citizens for doing nothing; not producing anything, not working for anything, not doing anything whatsoever.
Back to the U.S., pundits are saying this would be a great measure to introduce because it would address the poverty issue, eliminate government benefits and supposedly save the government money in the end. Want some details? Here they are!
– The federal government would mail a check to an American over 21 each month
– Each working-age American would have a basic income of $11,945
– Everyone can do whatever they want with it
– It would cost $2.14 trillion per year
– A basic income would be funded by getting rid of each government benefit, taxes paid on the basic income and the introduction of a $100 billion carbon tax (they do concede it would increase the size of government)
According to the manufacturers of the idea, this would lead to a utopia: Americans can demand better wages and working conditions from their employers, no one would ever live below the poverty line and the family unit would be heightened because one parent can stay home.
It is agreed upon that it won’t be arriving to the doorsteps of the U.S. anytime soon.
That’s it! Free money for everyone. This is what the debate has come down to: leave a bag of money on the street corner with no conditions. Indeed, it is quite akin to the Keynesian logic that since the U.S. has debt that will not be paid back then it might as well be maintained and increased.
What’s interesting is that these academics are promoting free money rather than promoting individualism, personal responsibility, less taxes, a genuine free market, a limited government and, you know, working. That is the answer to poverty not more government.
There are questions that should be asked: what makes them think an individual will use the near $12,000 for rent, food and other essentials and not for televisions, smartphones and electronics? The Census Bureau has found that a strong majority of those living under the federal poverty level have air conditioners, washers and dryers, televisions, computers, smartphones and so on – definitely more than someone living in Africa who is truly impoverished.
How is the government going to fund such an endeavor? Americans are already taxed enough, the U.S. can’t borrow anymore and inflation is certainly high as price inflation is about 10 percent a year.
This idea may seem well-intentioned and would work…until you run out of other peoples’ money.