Universal Basic Income

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by We r teh bR0gz, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. We r teh bR0gz

    We r teh bR0gz No can haz resistunse

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    Not necessarily looking to discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of UBI as such, though I assume some will.

    I am just curious to know if any country on Earth has actually implemented a UBI scheme that is still ongoing?

    Thanks!
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  2. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 high speed, low drag

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    Zimbabwe should if they don't already! They literally have nothing to lose at this point anyway so why not try it?
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  3. Elwood

    Elwood I know what I'm about, son.

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    Seconded, I'm curious as well. Come on, WF. Educate me.
  4. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Most countries have, they are called pensions...

    Seriously the irony is that the largest scheme I know of which has gained support and stuck is in....the US. The Alaska Permanent Fund is the closest thing to a national (or state) level system, although it doesn't actually meet the requirements given that the sums involved are insufficient to meet the average person's needs.

    Other examples of (quasi) programs arguably include things like Tax Credits and Child Welfare schemes round the world, but this is closer to a working example.
  5. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Here's the relevant Wiki article. As you can see from reading it, there have been a number of trials around the world, and the results have generally been positive (though the trials are also often canceled despite this). Their definition is a bit broad, however, since it includes the annual payment Alaskans get based on the oil revenues taken in by the state, and not simply people getting X amount a month/week from the government.
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  6. We r teh bR0gz

    We r teh bR0gz No can haz resistunse

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    Yeah, I read that article and it left me the impression that no country on Earth currently has what would meet the definition of a UBI, which is why I asked. I figured the resident experts here would know.
  7. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    But there are cities, states, and provinces that are experimenting with it, and, again, those have generally been successful. As I pointed out in the Lawyerforge thread, this is the kind of thing that would upend society and make things "harder" for those at the top, so getting it implemented on a national scale isn't going to be easy, even though it offers tremendous benefits for a society.
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  8. We r teh bR0gz

    We r teh bR0gz No can haz resistunse

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    Right, I am really just looking for examples of a nation that have implemented it on a national scale as permanent program. If there isn't any, that's fine. I was just under the impression that there was somewhere.
  9. Amaris

    Amaris Guest

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    This. If people have a guaranteed income that keeps them from homelessness and starvation, they're less likely to take a shitty job that doesn't pay well. It would also mean fewer people going into the military in order to pay for basic necessities (or for things like education).
  10. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Given that so many of the shitty jobs are already being replaced by automation (a trend that will only accelerate), UBI would mean people holding down two or three jobs just to pay the rent and groceries will be less likely to get sick, will live longer lives with an improved QoL, have more time with their families, and have opportunities to learn new things. IOW, an overall improvement in society for all but the drones at the top.
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  11. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    From a Wikipedia article on Basic Income in Canada, this excerpt deals with Ontario's 2017 attempt.

    In Ontario's Basic Income Pilot Project, 4,000 people received about $150,000,000 per year, in monthly installments. According to the CBC, "Single participants receive[d] up to $16,989 a year while couples receive[d] up to $24,027, less 50 per cent of any earned income."[16] The communities served included Hamilton, Brantford, Thunder Bay and Lindsay.[16]

    Although the incoming Progressive Conservative government had promised to maintain the three year pilot program, its cancellation was announced in August 2018, 10 months after the previous Liberal administration started distributing payments.[17][18]

    Minister of Children and Youth Services Lisa MacLeod said the decision was taken due to high costs, and because ministry staff indicated that "the program didn't help people become 'independent contributors' to the economy.".[16][17]

    In fact, most anecdotal reports in the popular press do not indicate that entrepreneurship was a preferred goal for participants, (although one anecdotal report described a couple who kept their existing business afloat with the program's payments).[19]

    About 70% of participants were already employed when entering the program, in low-paid positions which made it difficult to pay expenses such as rent and food.[20]

    Journalistic reports tended to focus on non-entrepreneurial participant outcomes contributing to personal stability, such as augmenting disability payments, paying for education and student loans, purchasing new eyeglasses while remaining in a low-paid museum job, paying for transportation costs (such as bus fare to work rather than walking for an hour and a half), and purchasing necessary items like fresh produce, hospital parking passes, "winter clothes they couldn't [previously] afford and staying warm", etc.[19][21]


    Anti-poverty groups were "stunned" by the decision to discontinue the program. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty declared that the decision "demonstrates a reckless disregard for the lives of nearly 4,000 people."[16] Local politicians in Hamilton passed a resolution "denouncing" discontinuation of the program.[22]

    In contrast, from the viewpoint of the current government, this basic income pilot program is considered an ineffective use of resources, because the first priority for addressing poverty needs to be getting all residents off of welfare rolls and into employment, not providing assistance to people who are already working.[20]

    Research into effective interventions for individuals suffering poverty and insecurity as a result of low-paid or precarious employment can be challenging, and researcher Kwame McKenzie noted that it is not easy to get 6,000 people to participate in a study. Ending the study early will make it difficult to gather conclusive data regarding the research goal of determining "what happens when low-wage, precarious workers receive a financial top-up."[20]

    One op-ed writer opined that the study was being ended early due to fears that the results would show that the program worked.[18]

    Some conservatives are so concerned with punishing poor people and shaming them into becoming "productive" citizens that they will go so far as to sabotage programs that don't, even if they might be more cost effective.
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  12. Max Rebo

    Max Rebo Banned

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    You stupid
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  13. Rimjob Bob

    Rimjob Bob Wordforge's Least Competent Wokelord

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    If C-virus lockdowns go on for years, now may be the moment in history for UBI.
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  14. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Brilliant comeback, Sparky. Make your argument.
  15. Spaceturkey

    Spaceturkey official beverage of antifa

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    yup... basically all the people that got it wound up doing crazy shit like getting their lives together by getting out of debt, accumulating sufficient household necessities, and in some cases even going back to school.

    right now the fed is dropping everyone who's job is suspended $2000 for at least the next four months. Either shit's better by then or at least regular Employment insurance will be able to catch up with the backlog.

    what I think is blowing their minds is how many people work in cash jobs well below the poverty line and how completely insufficient disability and welfare supports are when contrasted with the cost of living, to say nothing of the unsustainablity of minimum wage.

    on the subject of welfare costs vs UBI.

    it's delivered by municipalities and funded provincially. Toronto has several hundred employees taking up multiple floors of some very prime real estate. Delivery through federal and provincial tax credits would save millions and still be able to bring rates up to baseline poverty.
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  16. Bailey

    Bailey It's always Christmas Eve Super Moderator

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    Exactly.

    There is an impression by some that the majority of poor people are that way because they just don't want to do what is required to get out of their situation.

    Now, there certainly are some people who would be willing to just live on the minimum and scrape by, however for every person like that there are many who would love to be making more of their life but aren't able to take the chances required to go further.

    So much of our welfare systems are built around trying to punish the former, when what they should be focused on is enabling the latter.

    We will get some waste, some will exploit it, however the overall progress and productivity of our societies will go up more than enough to compensate for that.
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  17. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    My issue with a UBI isn't the basic concept, but the immense culture of dependency it would foster. It would instantly create a whole huge group of voters who would automatically vote for whichever politico promised to make the monthly stipend larger. Deficits would explode as every election cycle saw increases in the payment. It would be welfare times a thousand. Generations would be trapped in a dreadful cycle of dependency on the government teat. To work it would have to be indexed to your income from your employment, so that the monthly amount you recieved would go down as your employment income went up. Above a certain wage, you wouldn't get any benefit at all. Which kind of kills the "universal" part of it.
  18. We r teh bR0gz

    We r teh bR0gz No can haz resistunse

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    Bingo. That's exactly my hangup.

    [​IMG]
  19. Spaceturkey

    Spaceturkey official beverage of antifa

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    ummm.. under current rates here, it'd be welfare times three without the ridiculous overheads of municipalities maintaining offices and staffs.

    all of a sudden, your formerly impoverised population can participate in the consumer side of the economy.... not sure how more people buying stuff creates a deficit?
    above a certain wage, in this case is 18-24K/annum, yes, the benefit credit goes down. If you don't need it, why worry? All sorts of people get all sorts of tax benefits that others don't.

    You already have huge blocs of voters reliant on gov't spending.

    So yeah, every thing you're saying is either proven wrong, hyperbole, or irrelevant.
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  20. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    What proportion of voters do you think that would be? I imagine that a lot of people will work less but I have trouble with the idea that huge swathes will sit and do nothing but vote themselves increases.
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  21. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Then you don't grasp human nature.
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  22. Faceman

    Faceman Negative Creep

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    the people you are describing don’t vote
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  23. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Even better outcome for the political class.
  24. Spaceturkey

    Spaceturkey official beverage of antifa

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    He'd rather those already on gov't teats maintain the status quo of being overpaid at the expense of others?
    or maybe that other people's jobs, no matter how essential, keep them starving and disposable.
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  25. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Would these be the same humans who are filling up social media with how much they're bored from sitting around doing nothing all day? $1K/month is not enough to live on in most of the country, in places like SF it won't even get you a shitty apartment. Adding it to my current income would change my life for the better. I could take care of a zillion things that I need to do, but can't simply because I don't have the money. Am I unique? Probably not. Will there be some people who scam the system? Sure. There always are. But how much money are they going to be getting (in total) from the government coffers? I seriously doubt that it'll compare with the amount of money that big corporations screw the government out of every year.
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  26. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    Your sense of moral superiority is showing. The Manitoba experiment in the mid 70's showed that the fear that people would stop working wasn't justified. Or are you just projecting what you would do in that situation on other people?

    The initial results are striking: the vast majority of Mincome participants kept working.

    Primary wage earners worked a little less, but only slightly.

    Married women backed off too, but mostly to take longer maternity leaves.

    There was a drop in work by teenage boys, but Forget says many simply were able to stay in high school longer. Their families weren’t as desperate for another breadwinner.

    So why haven't you heard of this? Because a conservative government took over in Manitoba and buried the results. Why? Because they weren't interested in facts that would conflict with what they "knew." Punishing and humiliating people for being poor is much more satisfying and feeds a sick need to inflate a sense of moral superiority.
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  27. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    Don't fool yourself that you do.
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  28. We r teh bR0gz

    We r teh bR0gz No can haz resistunse

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    How does this work in "Communist" countries like China, North Korea, Vietnam, etc.

    Is there a kind of "UBI" in those countries or is their internal economic system radically different than what we know in "Western" countries?
  29. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Yes, a five year experiment in one town is a perfect predictor of a national (worldwide?) program that would last for multiple generations. :rolleyes:

    I'd suggest you look instead at the welfare system and the brutal cycle of dependency it spawned for a more realistic glimpse of what a UBI would create.
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  30. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

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    I don't have a huge problem with the idea, but I have a few reservastions.

    First -- is a universal basic income really the best use of our resources? On a gut level, I'd rather we invest in helping people who need it the most, not in sending an extra couple thousand dollars a month to everyone, rich and poor alike. If UBI essentially replaced the current safety net, I'd worry about having a UBI that isn't enough to meet the needs of people who need it the most, and isn't really essential for the majority of people receiving it.

    @Spaceturkey makes a good point that when it's universal, you don't have to worry nearly as much about offices to administer the program, check eligibility, etc. (Not to mention all the things Republicans like to waste money on, like spending millions of dollars to make every welfare recipient pee into a cup just on the off-chance that one of them smoked a bowl last weekend.) But would those savings exceed the extra cost involved in paying a UBI to people who don't need it?

    Of course, another way would be to treat it like the current stimulus program -- a gradual phaseout at higher income levels, determined using information that the IRS already has (therefore, not causing a massive increase in administration). With a phaseout structured the way this one is, there is no disincentive to work, because you will always be better off if you earn more money. But -- when you have thresholds and phaseouts, that's not actually a UBI.

    Second -- would it be inflationary when applied to an entire system? There was an experiment in Mexico that showed it wasn't inflationary when done in individual villages. There's also the Alaska situation, although that's weird in various ways -- so many other factors go into making things more expensive there. But if every single person in the United States had an extra $2,000 a month to spend, how would that not result in prices adjusting to compensate? A UBI seems like it would have a very different effect than a minimum wage increase, where prices don't increase substantially because the wage increase isn't universal and serves mainly to compress the space between low-income and high-income.

    And again, you could mitigate that effect by having a phaseout, but again, that's not a UBI anymore.
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  31. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    A five year study with positive results is enough to suggest that further study is warranted. Of course, if you're looking to dismiss results out of hand that don't fit your worldview, I guess 100 years over the whole country wouldn't be good enough.
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