The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, May 06, 2019


Among the many leftist schemes that run counter to human nature is the suggestion that everyone should be guaranteed a basic income, regardless of one's desire to hold down a paying job. The notion of "universal basic income" (UBI) has been bandied about by leftwing politicians for some time now, and has even been tried "experimentally." The idea is to take money from productive taxpayers (who generally have jobs or own businesses that provide jobs to others) and give that money (often with few strings attached) to those who are in poverty. This concept takes the notion of "free stuff" to a ridiculous extreme, but some progressives have argued it's a solution for those who are "the most vulnerable."

Anna Coote, writing in the leftwing Guardian, reports on a recent study of "universal basic income" prepared by Public Services International, a decidedly left-wing, pro-Union organization:
A study published this week sheds doubt on ambitious claims made for universal basic income (UBI), the scheme that would give everyone regular, unconditional cash payments that are enough to live on. Its advocates claim it would help to reduce poverty, narrow inequalities and tackle the effects of automation on jobs and income. Research conducted for Public Services International, a global trade union federation, reviewed for the first time 16 practical projects that have tested different ways of distributing regular cash payments to individuals across a range of poor, middle-income and rich countries, as well as copious literature on the topic.

It could find no evidence to suggest that such a scheme could be sustained for all individuals in any country in the short, medium or longer term – or that this approach could achieve lasting improvements in wellbeing or equality ...
I guess there's a reason that work and compensation for that work has been a part of human existence for thousands of years. But leftists can't seem to get past the notion that workers are somehow "exploited" for the work they do and that people who choose not to work should be supported by those that do work. They can't seem to process the notion that a small but significant percentage of the public would game a system like "universal basic income" or that programs that already provide historically generous support to "those who are most vulnerable" already provide income or income equivalents (e.g., food stamps).

Cootes continues with more from the study:
The cost of a sufficient UBI scheme would be extremely high according to the International Labour Office, which estimates average costs equivalent to 20-30% of GDP in most countries. Costs can be reduced – and have been in most trials – by paying smaller amounts to fewer individuals. But there is no evidence to suggest that a partial or conditional UBI scheme could do anything to mitigate, let alone reverse, current trends towards worsening poverty, inequality and labour insecurity. Costs may be offset by raising taxes or shifting expenditure from other kinds of public expenditure, but either way there are huge and risky trade-offs.
In the world of leftist politics, there seems to to no societal problem that can't be solved with more taxes and bigger government intrusion into our lives. Given the results of this study, it would be interesting to poll the 20-plus Democrat presidential contenders to see where they stand on UBI.