Tag Archives: universal basic income

New welfare program Universal Basic Income comes to California

The U.S. government has a dizzying array of taxpayer-funded welfare programs, including:

  1. Negative Income Tax
  2. SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps
  3. Housing Assistance
  4. SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
  5. Pell Grants
  6. TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
  7. Child Nutrition
  8. Head Start
  9. Job Training Programs
  10. WIC (healthy food for Women, Infants and Children)
  11. Child Care
  12. LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program)
  13. Lifeline (Obama Phone)

As if those welfare programs aren’t enough, the Left have been floating the idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI).

UBI is no longer hypothetical, but is being realized in two California cities — Oakland and Stockton.

Lukas Mikelionis reports for Fox News, July 9, 2019, that in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Oakland, Y Combinator, a startup incubator, is giving out $1,500 a month to randomly selected residents. It’s expected the money will soon be distributed to 100 recipients with a prospect of expanding the program to 1,000 people who will receive $1,000 monthly.

Next year, the city of Stockton in California’s Central Valley will begin a pilot Universal Basic Income program, in which a hundred residents will receive $500 a month without conditions, i.e., recipients can spend the money on anything they want without any strings attached. After 18 months, a decision will be made on expanding the UBI across all of Stockton.

On how welfare recipients misspend taxpayer funds, see:

The Stockton UBI program’s utopian goal is to eventually ensure that no one in the city of 300,000 lives in “poverty”. How “poverty” is defined is unclear.

Stockton’s economy is in shambles — from foreclosures (the city was declared America’s foreclosure capital); millions in debt from expensive development projects to lure in tourism; a median household income nearly $8,000 lower than the national median; and as many as 1-in-4 residents living below the poverty line. The city declared bankruptcy in 2012.

Stockton’s Universal Basic Income experiment has financial backing from wealthy Silicon Valley moguls, including Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, 34, whose Economic Security Project contributed $1 million to the project. Hughes told CNN: “It is such a fundamental idea behind America that if you work hard, you can get ahead, and you certainly don’t live in poverty. But that isn’t true today, and it hasn’t been true in the country for decades. I believe that unless we make significant changes today, the income inequality in our country will continue to grow and call into question the very nature of our social contract.”

But Hughes has no intention to extend his own money for the UBI program. Instead, he wants the government to fund UBI welfare from higher taxes on the “wealthy” and high-tech companies. See “Facebook co-founder: Tax the rich at 50% & give $500/month to low income earners to fix income inequality“.

Note: Chris Hughes is notorious for ruining The New Republic magazine, which he purchased a majority share of in 2012 as what the New York Times calls “a vanity project”. After mass departure of the magazine’s staff, he sold it 4 years later. Hughes is an open homosexual, married to Sean Eldridge, political director of Freedom to Marry. The couple bought a $2 million residence in New York’s 19th congressional district with the reported purpose of permitting Eldridge to run for the congressional seat there. Eldridge lost his 2014 bid for a congressional seat by 30 points. Following that and the mass resignation from The New Republic, The Daily Beast dubbed the two “America’s Worst Gay Power Couple”.

Other business moguls have endorsed the UBI idea, though mostly in rhetoric, including billionaire Richard Branson, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Tesla’s Elon Musk, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Musk wrote in a tweet last month: “Universal income will be necessary over time if AI takes over most human jobs.” Zuckerberg said in his May 2017 Harvard commencement speech: “We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

Others who have spoken out in favor of universal basic income, whether by name or in effect, are Senator Bernie Sanders (S-V) and Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary (source).

Both Sanders and Reich are millionaire socialists (an oxymoron!):

  • Bernie Sanders owns three homes, including a $600,000 lakeside summer home he purchased just 5 days after the end of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in which he betrayed his “useful idiot” supporters by enthusiastically endorsing Hillary Clinton. In June 2018, Newsweek reports that in 2017, for the second year in a row, Sanders made more than $1 million.
  • Robert Reich has an estimated net worth of $4 million.

It is the perverse nature of the Left to refuse to learn from precedents.

Finland experimented with UBI by giving €560 (US $657) per month to 2,000 unemployed working-age people. The program, however, came to an abrupt end in April after the Finnish government decided against continuing to fund the program. (The Guardian)

See also:

~Eowyn

Facebook co-founder: Tax the rich at 50% & give $500/month to low income earners to fix income inequality

chris hughes

I wonder how much of his $450 million net worth he’s given away to address income inequality?

From CNBC: Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes thinks the government should give cash handouts to people with the lowest incomes in order to fight income inequality. And he thinks the money should come from higher taxes on wealthy individuals and even big tech companies, like Facebook.

Hughes, 34, was one of Facebook’s co-founders, along with Mark Zuckerberg and three of their Harvard classmates, in 2004. He was Facebook’s spokesperson for the company’s first three years, before leaving to finish his Harvard degree and then to work on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign as a media strategist.

He says he’s made “half a billion dollars for three years of work” based on the value of his initial stock in Facebook, and his “lucky break” is exactly what’s wrong with America today.

That is indicative of a fundamental unfairness in our economy. Income inequality in our country has not been this bad since the Great Depression. And even though we’re reading the headlines that unemployment is at 3.9 percent and the stock market is at record highs, what’s actually happening is that the median incomes in our country haven’t budged in nearly 40 years. At the same time stories like mine create an illusion of economic opportunity,” he told Techcrunch contributors Adriana Stan and Tom Goodwin on their “Interesting People in Interesting Times” podcast.

Hughes, author of “Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn,” is not necessarily a believer in the idea of universal basic income (UBI) — championed by entrepreneur Andrew Yang and also supported by billionaires such as Richard Branson and even Facebook’s Zuckerberg — which would see a standard cash payment handed out to all citizens no matter their employment status. UBI “is infeasible in America today,” Hughes explained on the podcast, because making payments to everyone in the U.S. is an “unaffordable” proposition.

However, Hughes believes a reconfigured U.S. tax code could effectively transfer money from wealthy people like himself to those in need, from the unemployed to American workers struggling to make ends meet. He says on the podcast that the “most urgent thing we can do” is roll back tax code changes that lowered rates on corporations and the 1 percent and instead give a $500 monthly tax credit to every working American who currently earns less than $50,000 per year to create an “income floor” — a minimum amount of money that people earn.

The plan would cost roughly $290 billion a year in total, Hughes said in April. He proposed that the government taxpayers pay for the handouts by imposing a 50 percent tax rate on both income and capital gains for any Americans who earn more than $250,000 per year. (Individuals who earn more than $200,000 per year currently have their income taxed at 35 percent, based on the latest tax overhaul.)

By giving low-income workers $500 a month, Hughes contends, you would guarantee they would not earn less than $6,000 per year. “That’s not enough money to live on. That’s not enough money to put up your feet and, like, watch video games — the fear of a lot of folks out there. But it is a massive amount of money in the lives of many working people in our country,” he said on the podcast.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

Finland will end its “basic income” experiment by year’s end

universal basic income

Pay attention and learn a lesson, Bernie.

From Fox News: The Finnish government reportedly announced Tuesday that it will end the country’s universal basic income program by year’s end — and appears to be taking on new measures to cut benefits to those who do not actively seek employment.

Finland was considered the first European country to pay a monthly check of $685 to its unemployed between ages 25 and 58. It was considered a pilot program — serving 2,000 randomly selected jobless people — that its founders hoped to expand.

“It’s a pity that it will end like this,” Olli Kangas, who oversees the Finnish government agency that focuses on social welfare and helped design the program, told the New York Times.

“The government has chosen to try a totally different path,” Kangas said. “Basic income is unconditional. Now, they are pursuing conditionality.”

David Whitley summed up Finland’s decision in the Orlando Sentinel.

“Proponents said the program wasn’t comprehensive enough to gauge its merits,” Whitley wrote. “Critics say it would have required a 30 percent tax increase on an already over-taxed population to be viable.”

But some cities, including San Francisco, continue to look into the basic income theory, the Times wrote. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2017 said that basic income should be explored “to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

That was essentially Finland’s theory when announcing the pilot program.

The initial move was met with skepticism from citizens who questioned whether an unemployed young person would be motivated to find a job if they were making a steady income, albeit small.

“There is a fear that with basic income they would just stay at home and play computer games,” Heikki Hiilamo, a professor at the University of Helsinki, told the paper.

DCG

Another taxpayer income redistribution scheme: Hawaii could become the first state to offer its citizens universal basic income

government solve all problems

From Ballotpedia:  According to a report released in September 2015 by the nonprofit Truth in Accounting (TIA), Hawaii ranked 6th worst in the country in “taxpayer burden.”

Hawaii has a state debt of over $14,370,912,000 which calculates to an almost $10,000 debt per citizen.

With this proposed socialist scheme, what could possible go wrong?

From Daily Mail: It may have been the last state to join the United States, but Hawaii may trail blaze and become the first to offer guaranteed basic income (UBI).

A bill was recently passed through both the houses and state legislature in a unanimous vote that declares that all Hawaiians ‘deserve basic financial security’ and prompts state agencies to look over ‘universal basic income’ along with other policy.

‘As innovation and automation and inequality disrupt our economy, we want to make sure that everybody benefits and nobody is left behind,’ said state Representative Chris Lee of Kaliua to Mother Jones. ‘It’s past time that we had a serious talk about not just tweaking our economic policies but having a new discussion from the ground up about what our values and priorities are.’

While Alaska has provided state residents a stipend funded by oil revenue since 1976, Hawaii is the first to consider the income to cover living expenses. Hawaii’s cost of living – the highest in the country – motivated the passing of the resolution in May along with the states reliance on low-paid service industry jobs. 

According to Lee, Hawaii has a very limited manufacturing and tech sector which puts the service-focused economy at risk. The text of the measure mentions the impact of technological advancements which have helped kill jobs in the state.

‘There has been a discussion for a long time about how do we build an economy where everybody can afford to live here and survive,’ Lee said.

Next, Hawaii has to gather a ‘basic economic security workshop group’ comprised of leaders from various sects of public life. They will be tasked with assessing the state’s exposure to ‘disruptive innovation’ and submit studies on UBI.

Lee said: ‘There is definitely a recognition that beyond just talking about basic income that things need to change.  We need to take proactive action to chart a stable path forward for our economy and all of our residents.’

Other states have tossed about the idea of UBI for their residents. California’s Silicon Valley is looking to explore how working to address its displacement of blue-collar workers.

Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna proposed a $1 trillion earned income tax credit for working families. This is seen as a huge step for the movement of UBI.

DCG

Mark Zuckerberg joins Silicon Valley bigwigs in calling for government to give everybody free money

zuckerberg

Zuckerberg: Doesn’t understand how failure can drive one to succeed.

You are personally responsible for finding your own meaningful role, not the government. But that self-sufficiency mentality never crosses the mind of a proggie.

From Yahoo: CEO Mark Zuckerberg called on the need to consider universal basic income for Americans during his Harvard Commencement Speech.

Zuckerberg’s comments reflect those of other Silicon Valley bigwigs, including Sam Altman, the president of venture capital firm Y Combinator.

Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract,” Zuckerberg said during his speech. “We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.

Zuckerberg said that, because he knew he had a safety net if projects like Facebook had failed, he was confident enough to continue on without fear of failing. Others, he said, such as children who need to support households instead of poking away on computers learning how to code, don’t have the foundation Zuckerberg had. Universal basic income would provide that sort of cushion, Zuckerberg argued.

Altman’s view is similar. A year ago, Altman said he thinkseveryone should have enough money to meet their basic needs—no matter what, especially if there are enough resources to make it possible. We don’t yet know how it should look or how to pay for it, but basic income seems a promising way to do this.” Altman believes basic income will be possible as technological advancements “generate an abundance of resources” that help decrease the cost of living.

DCG