Lion of the Blogosphere

Basic income in FiveThirtyEight and in Switzerland

There’s an article at FiveThirtyEight about the “basic income,” which is automatic money from the government. I was unaware that there’s a referendum in Switzerland (which won’t pass) to create such a system there. This means that the issue is getting traction.

It’s inevitably the future as robots replace humans and humans become useless. Already, the majority of jobs are make-work or value transference jobs which are unnecessary. But the article misses some key issues, such as:

(1) Poor people have low IQs and low future-time orientation and will not use their basic income in a manner that SWPL sociologists and journalists will approve of.

(2) Immigrants are already rushing the borders. Without a fence and strict border control, all of the people from the poor countries will want to rush into the country with a basic income.

But on the plus side (if this is really a plus, not sure that it is), the basic human psychology of desire for higher status will keep most people employed (if they are able to find work) so they can have more stuff and live in a better neighborhood than low-class non-labor-force-participant people living off only the basic income.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 1, 2016 at 9:54 am

Posted in Economics

36 Responses

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  1. and will not use their basic income in a manner that SWPL sociologists and journalists will approve of.

    Yes, it will/would have all kinds of ramifications that no one has thought of yet. It’s recently been proposed here in Ontario, and I thought to myself, you know what? The way they framed it, my family would end up with a heck of a lot *more* money since my wife is a stay-at-home-mom and theoretically “doesn’t work”. I’d LOVE to see liberal western governments funding and subsidizing SAHMs!!

    Samson J.

    May 1, 2016 at 11:12 am

  2. We should keep low IQ people out and destroy the robots that take away people’s jobs. Look at the Amish for example, everyone has work, family, tons of kids. Who needs robots? I’ve heard the head of the Russian Communist party yesterday. The guy made perfect sense: nationalize natural resources, free education, free medical care, forced labor for parasites who don’t want to work. These were the good things about the USSR and he wants to bring it all back. Good program. Now, obviously this isn’t the program for the USA, but replacing people with robots and low IQ retards isn’t a program either. When are you finally gonna have a post of what is the greatness of America and what it means to make it great again?

    Yakov

    May 1, 2016 at 11:48 am

    • There should be quotation marks around “free.” Seemingly free to individuals, but the taxpayers get the bill. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, which can be conveniently abbreviated as TANSTAAFL.

      nebbish

      May 1, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      • People are already paying the bill for poor people’s welfare and not getting anything out of it. Why not benefits for middle-class people so at least you get some of your tax money returned to you?

        The current system discourages work because people don’t want to lose their benefits if they get a job. Benefits that are not lost if you get a job would encourage people to get jobs.

      • That oil and gas in the ground belongs to the people and should be used for their benefits, not for the benefit of a dozen oligarchs. This is how people used to have free education and health care. No quotation marks are necessary.

        Yakov

        May 1, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      • Unemployment benefits in NJ max out around $650/wk (which is the probably the only great thing about Joisey).

        Who wants to get hire at a job that pays a minimum wage, which pays significantly less for a 40hr/wk, when you factor in taxes, while collecting benefits? And minimum wage jobs are the most prevalent in the job market right now.

        JS

        May 1, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      • ‘Who wants to get hire at a job that pays a minimum wage, which pays significantly less for a 40hr/wk, when you factor in taxes, while collecting benefits? And minimum wage jobs are the most prevalent in the job market right now.’

        People with long future time orientation, obviously. They get themselves a job of the books and collect unemployment. This is so basic, I font know why you are asking.

        Yakov

        May 1, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      • I’m not sure if anyone in this country has any high future time orientation left in them, given our current anti-intellectual climate and rapacious consumption culture.

        JS

        May 1, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    • As an engineer who specialized in plant automation, I think I have some insight into this. Getting rid of robots is a terrible. idea. Not because it would cost me business — I currently own a company doing something completely different — but because it would raise costs and lower productivity making America poorer and less competitive.

      I’d be willing to support Leon’s “guaranteed minimum income” (which Friedman used to call the “negative income tax”) if it was bare subsistence and came with very strict provisions to keep it from attracting third world parasites.

      destructure

      May 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      • Basic Income is nothing more than Welfare handouts made universal.

        The U.S. would become a nation of freeloaders, of parasites, creating a sense of entitlement in those who receive while contributing little or nothing; and anger & resentment in the productive people who get fleeced to support the bums.

        silberstreak

        May 2, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      • If you say it as an engineer, I won’t argue. To replace 140 people on the plant floor with robots that do a better job makes sense, but it’s got to stop somewhere. If it robots or us, we have to destroy them.

        Yakov

        May 2, 2016 at 6:37 pm

  3. The guy makes sense. Trump and him will get alone. I like his last words:’whoever does t work, doesn’t eat! ‘

    Sent from my MetroPCS 4G LTE Android device

    Yakov

    May 1, 2016 at 12:35 pm

  4. Can’t wait for the constant whining that it isn’t enough and demand for raises. People on welfare or SSI already do that. It will never be enough.

    Mrs Stitch

    May 1, 2016 at 1:02 pm

  5. Let’s face it: BGI will *only* work if given to people of a certain IQ and who have proven a certain level of responsibility.

    Of course, this would lead to disparate impact. . .

    fakeemail

    May 1, 2016 at 2:43 pm

  6. We already have de facto basic income experiments; they’re called inner city ghettos. Status is achieved through illegal activities and violent crime. I’m not sure how, over time, a country with some sort of universal basic income wouldn’t turn into some big, violent ghetto. And of course that doesn’t even count how it’s going to be paid for when so few people will be paying taxes anyway.

    Sorry but I want most people either at work or out looking. If they get to sit home, left to their own devices, you’ll have the purge, 24/7.

    Mike Street Station

    May 1, 2016 at 4:43 pm

  7. pbs.org, 03/24/16 – Do you live in a bubble? A quiz.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/do-you-live-in-a-bubble-a-quiz-2/

    Do you live in a bubble? There exists a new upper class that’s completely disconnected from the average white American and American culture at large, argues Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist and author. Take this 25-question quiz, based on a similar one published in Murray’s 2012 book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010,” to find out just how thick your bubble is…

    If you grew up in a working-class neighborhood, you are going to have a high score even if you are now an investment banker living on Park Avenue…Growing up in a middle-class neighborhood also scores points for you on several questions…The average score was 40, and the median score was 40. Scores ranged from 0 to 100.

    Sample question: “Do you now or have you ever owned a pick-up truck?”

    I scored a 25.

    E. Rekshun

    May 1, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    • I grew up in a working class neighborhood, yet no one in my family has ever owned a pickup truck. I think this is not a good question.

      • Pickup truck have gotten staggeringly expensive. Some exceed the $75,000 mark.

        Peter

        ironrailsironweights

        May 1, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      • I grew up in a working class neighborhood, yet no one in my family has ever owned a pickup truck.

        You grew up in New York, dood.

        One of the things I realized lately is that Lion conceives of proles differently than most people because most of us think of rednecks when we think of proles. Lion, from NYC, doesn’t.

        Samson J.

        May 1, 2016 at 11:15 pm

  8. Social.Security Disability already functions as a sort of basic income. People who don’t want to work, or for some reason can’t find work, and are willing to accept a very modest income can fake a disability and collect SSDI.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    May 1, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    • Actually, only a certain class of people knows how to fake a disability. There are a lot of middle-class people who would do it if they knew about the scam, but they don’t. This is what I mean about the current system taxing the middle-class to benefit the bottom. Why shouldn’t people who pay into the system also get benefit out of it?

      Furthermore, SS disability is one of those programs with HUGE negative incentives. If you ever make any income again, you demonstrate that you don’t need it and lose your disability income.

      • What is especially weird about SSDI is that the government *wants* people to get it even though it’s an expensive program. Recipients are no longer part of the labor force and therefore reduce the unemployment rate. In order to get more people out of the labor market and onto SSDI the government almost never enforces the laws against age discrimination.

        Peter

        ironrailsironweights

        May 1, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      • Why don’t they know? I get adds on my phone from shysters telling me that I may be entitled to disability. Why is it so hard to make a phone call? I think there are a lot of people who won’t do it because they still have core American values, not because they can’t find out.

        Yakov

        May 1, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      • “Actually, only a certain class of people knows how to fake a disability.”

        Just find a doctor who will sign-off on your “””depression””””.
        http://trilema.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/tlp.html

        Dsgntd_plyr

        May 1, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    • Does everyone get Social Security Disability? No. Thus it is nothing like a basic income. The concept behind basic income is that every adult gets it. Thus, unlike disability and welfare it does not divide people into workers and non-workers. It does not punish or reward people from shifting from one category to the other. It gives people flexibility to take part-time jobs, time off to start businesses, allows people to driver harder bargains with their employers, etc…

      Spoons

      May 1, 2016 at 11:54 pm

  9. (1) Poor people have low IQs and low future-time orientation and will not use their basic income in a manner that SWPL sociologists and journalists will approve of.

    (2) Immigrants are already rushing the borders. Without a fence and strict border control, all of the people from the poor countries will want to rush into the country with a basic income.

    (1) That’s why the basic income has to be coupled with eliminating needs-based welfare programs. You can’t blow your basic income on drugs and then expect to be bailed out by the government with extra programs. You have to help yourself with the basic income and friends, family, neighbors, community, etc. The basic income should be implemented to incentivize people to invest in themselves and their friends, family, neighborhood, and community.

    (2) The basic income sort of turns citizens into shareholders, with the basic income being the annual dividend for holding a share of citizenship. This raises awareness among citizens about the monetary value of citizenship and the impact of immigration on diluting that monetary value. Citizens will then become much more actively engaged in the political process with respect to immigration and will be more vigilant about protecting the value of their basic income.

    Tom

    May 1, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    • But on the plus side (if this is really a plus, not sure that it is), the basic human psychology of desire for higher status will keep most people employed (if they are able to find work) so they can have more stuff and live in a better neighborhood than low-class non-labor-force-participant people living off only the basic income.

      Basic income should only pay for housing and basic food costs, classified as a voucher based system like food stamps, and not as cash like social security and unemployment benefits. Furthermore, while we’re at it, such housing is off limits around city centers, where immediate amenities are available to those who can afford the convenience. Those who only live off basic income will be regulated to remote, subsidized and segregated housing, similar to a ghetto and public housing, where they live next to less desirable neighbors.

      America has become this quintessential sick ailing man of the Western World, due to its sheer amount of low IQ undesirables that inhabit the country. There are no effective means of deprolifying its lumprenproletariate and uplifting its NAMs.

      JS

      May 1, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    • Basic income is the end of civilization. This is how Rome self-destructed. Nothing doing. You don’t work – you don’t eat. Why should a person who doesn’t work eat? (I’m not talking about people who have money). Nothing to do? Go conquer a neighboring country and take their wealth away, but don’t sit around watching an idiot box, because the hungry, high energy barbarians will destroy you. You have to be lean, mean and hungry. I wanted to master the electrical trade, so I observed, read books, read NEC and today I did tons of electrical work and got paid for it. Why? Because I’m hungry, hungry to know useful trades and master useful tools, also to make a little money. Now the Mexicans, whose work I was fixing, didn’t know NEC. No ambition, no curiosity, no desire to do a perfect job, no pride in the job well done. Actually, it’s very empowering to know NEC. It’s a very good code that makes sense. This is how you have to be to survive, prosper and win the evolutionary battle.

      Why isn’t there a museum of tools? Like the whole history from a flint hammer till today? There are dozens of specialized hammers, quite amazing. That would be such a good thing. People can visit and come away wanting to learn a trade. Very useful. Man was created to work, incidentally. Check the Bible and see what it says.וַיַּנִּחֵהוּ בְגַן-עֵדֶן, לְעָבְדָהּ וּלְשָׁמְרָהּ. And He placed him in the Garden of Eden to to cultivate it and to guard it. My translation. What did Abraham do? Was a Shepherd. And so was Moses and King David.

      Yakov

      May 1, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    • Basic income should only pay for housing and basic food costs, classified as a voucher based system like food stamps, and not as cash like social security and unemployment benefits.

      That’s not basic income. That’s just what we already have with our welfare programs. It’s a subsidy for the welfare recipients, the housing and food companies, and government employees who administer the program.

      The whole point of basic income is that it is a cash payment, like a dividend, that citizens can use for whatever they want. People can use it to drink themselves to death, or they can use it invest, start a business, pay their rent, buy groceries, etc. Once you start attaching strings to it and have the government involved in how it’s spend and used, it’s no longer a basic income. It becomes a socialist program or a subsidy to certain private corporations.

      Tom

      May 2, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      • Welfare in America is reserved for the underclass, not the Middle Class. Basic Income would be this solution, and it has a better sounding name than “welfare”.

        Basic income does not work in America, because it has too many redundant undesirables and low IQ riff raff. The middle class either descends to the lower classes, with the other social pariahs, or swim hard and keep afloat, what Yakov calls for an evolutionary struggle.

        JS

        May 2, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      • Basic income is not welfare. It doesn’t matter if you’re poor or not. It’s paid to every citizen. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet would get basic income checks.

        Basic income has never been tried in America, so it doesn’t make any sense to say that it does not work in America. Furthermore, it’s not supposed to “work” in some particular fashion. It works simply by giving citizens checks to do whatever they want with. If someone wants to blow it all on Twizzlers, they can do so.

        Tom

        May 2, 2016 at 7:22 pm

  10. Your are darned skippy the low IQ poor won’t spend their money on SWPL approved stuff. That is why it is better to have a low minimum wage and provide services instead. The poor won’t buy insurance of any kind. They have very poor judgement. Penalties have to be swift and severe to get their attention. Childcare for the poor is one of the worst ideas. It makes life far too convenient for them. The motto should be “Millions for birth control, but not a penny for child care.” The poor tend to have profoundly annoying kids, so making them spend as much time as possible with their miserable kids is a strong incentive to take that pill, or get that IUD.

    not too late

    May 1, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    • “Millions for birth control, but not a penny for child care” sounds nice, but unless you’re going to literally reverse means test it, it also means no subsidised child care for the middle class and the affluent. Those people are probably much more sensitive to incentives beyond the next 5 minutes or so, and it’s probably better for society if they do reproduce. Stealthy reverse means testing is probably the thing for it – non-refundable tax credits, for starters, but that might be too easy for them to switch to a refundable tax credit later.

      Greg Pandatshang

      May 2, 2016 at 10:27 am

  11. Related. Huge article about robots taking jobs http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/1dbd8c60-0cc6-11e6-ad80-67655613c2d6.html

    Dsgntd_plyr

    May 1, 2016 at 10:59 pm

  12. You could scale in additional oversight for people who get into trouble. Anyone who commits crimes or spends all their basic income money on drugs has to do mandatory labour for a while instead of getting the basic income for nothing. Easy to avoid this – just stay on the right side of the law and don’t go crazy with drugs.

    Greg Pandatshang

    May 2, 2016 at 10:23 am

  13. I really like living in the city, but if I found myself without a good job in a country with basic income, I’d move out to the middle of nowhere where housing and land was cheap and I wouldn’t have to worry about the quality of my neighbors.

    Albert

    May 2, 2016 at 11:15 pm


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