This is a 2-month-old article just brought to my attention by Scott Santens, an advocate for Universal Basic Income. What is happening right now is Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has made a bold proposal that has some roots in Basic Income but using the tax code to effect it (Lowrey, 2018 para. 2).
As I have been saying for a while now, here, and here, it is not a condition of IF we can afford to do this, it is a question of WHY NOT. With the CEO of Facebook calling for it and other tech personnel as well; it really is a time which has come. This is just as important as the fight for $15 and not mutually exclusive, despite what some may opine.
I just completed some simple, “back-of-the-envelope” estimates the net cost of a UBI set at about the official poverty line: $12,000 per adult and $6,000 per child with a 50% “marginal tax rate.” They are in a paper entitled, “the Cost of Basic Income: Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations.” It’s currently under peer-review at an academic journal and available in un-reviewed form on my website.
Here are some of its most important findings:
The net cost — the real cost — of a roughly poverty-level UBI is $539 billion per year, less than 16% of its often-mentioned but not-very-meaningful gross cost ($4.15 trillion), less than 25% of the cost of current U.S. entitlement spending, less than 15% of overall federal spending, and about 2.95% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
This $539 billion UBI would drop the official poverty rate from 13.5% to 0%, lifting 43.1 million people (including about 14.5 million children) out of poverty.
This UBI will be a net financial benefit to most families with incomes up to $55,000, making it an effective wage subsidy (or tax cut) for tens of millions of working families.
The average net beneficiary of this UBI is a family of about two people making about $27,000 per year. The family’s net benefit from the UBI would be nearly $9,000 raising their income to almost $36,000.
Lowering the marginal tax rate to 35% would spread the benefits of the UBI program to more of the middle class while increasing the cost to $901 billion.
The cost of a UBI of $20,000 per adult and $10,000 per child is $1.816 trillion per year, less than 85% of total entitlement spending, less than 45% of total federal spending, and less than 10% of GDP.
-Karl Widerquist, Begun in New Orleans, completed at Cru Coffee House, Beaufort, North Carolina, May 21, 2017
Originally published at basicincome.org on May 26, 2017.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately as my situation fluctuates. Could this be the political season when the right and proven thing to do gets done? I have a plan and here it goes:
- I would provide every non-incarcerated US Citizen an no-holes barred income of $26,000/yr for most Americans, such as those that live in our region or in Lee County, Alabama and $36,400/yr for more expensive places like most of the urban Northeast, including NYC, Boston, DC, Baltimore, Philly, etc., Silicon Valley, most of California, Chicagoland, Hawaii, South Florida, and Sea-Tac.
- This income would be free of Federal, State, and Local Income Taxes with anything above it taxed at 10% up to $100K, then 25% afterward. Medicaid would also be automatic for those at this income level with Medicare kicking in afterward up to 1.5x levels.
- This would replace SNAP, Section 8, AFDC, and in some places (not in NC/SC) direct cash welfare.
- How you spend the money or not spend it is up to you as long as it’s for legally purchasable items.
- Current DSS employees involved in the administration of these programs will be retrained to be involved in counseling, intervention, and non-bureaucratic matters.
How it paid for. OK, there are savings involved in reduced hidden social costs of doing what is done now, including criminal justice and policing. I would also raise taxes on people that can afford it but may not want to due to the “low tax conditioning” provided by the body politic. Our founding fathers wanted to keep the Church and the State separate because each has their place and is important, but do not mix well together; this also includes Biblical references that usually get twisted for means that justify ends.
Finally, it goes without saying that most people I know, including myself, are much happier with some greenbacks and change in their pocket. When you are happy, crime tends to be far from the mind. I see nothing wrong with being happy, and YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU!
When I first published this story, there was a link to it that happened to be on Medium at the time but is no longer there, so this is an entirely new story and is current.
More inspiration going forwards will come from here:
Contrary to some partisans in the mainstream media, most of us that are poor are not lazy moochers. If anything, those that demonize the poor are guilty of corporate welfare.
New research from Stanford shows what poor people tend to do when given money. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below. http://tytnetwork.com/go“A recently published research paper (paywall) by David Evans of the World Bank and Anna Popova of Stanford University shows that giving money to the poor has a negative effect on the consumption of tobacco and alcohol. Evans and Popova’s research is based on an examination of nineteen studies that assess the impact of cash transfers on expenditures of tobacco and alcohol. Not one of the 19 studies found that cash grants increase tobacco and alcohol consumption and many of them found that it leads to a reduction.In addition to looking at results from individual studies, the researchers also conducted a meta-analysis — a statistical technique for combining the results from across studies — to find the overall effect on tobacco and alcohol consumption of receiving cash. Their meta-analysis found that the overall effect was slightly negative.Why on earth would this be? Evans and Popova highlight several possibilities.One, the cash transfers may change a poor household’s economic calculus. Before receiving the cash, any spending on education or health might have seemed futile, but afterwards, parents might decide that a serious investment in their children’s school was sensible. To make this happen, it might mean cutting back on booze and smoking.”*
Read more here: http://qz.com/853651/definitive-data-…
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It is stories such as this is why I submitted my plan for a Universal Basic Income with some responses, some of which I did not even consider. The first image to the left is shortly after I applied for disability, that had the required physical exam.
The image on the right is some 2 1/2 years later on approval on the 3rd attempt. What I have been told on the subject is that this is not unusual, at least for not getting it on the 1st try. Albeit a law firm that has a vested interest in handling these types of claims, this is a thing and has some explanation to why this is so (Binder and Binder, 2011). Part of what the article refers to may have played a part in this.
In rural Alabama, a man faced a difficult choice: Keep looking for work, or apply for disability?
Binder and Binder. (2011, July 14). Long Approval Process For Social Security Disability Claims. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.binderandbinder.com/In-The-News/Why-Do-Social-Security-Disability-Claims-Take-So-Long-to-be-Approved.shtml