Sunday, January 22, 2017

My Universal Basic Income

A Universal Basic Income is a payment of a certain fixed monthly amount to each citizen without any conditioning.

How did I arrive to be a defender of Universal Basic Income?

Two factors: First, as a Venezuelan I have seen how immense oil revenues received by governments for more than a century now, has not been able to trickle down into a sustainable development of my country. I have also, during the last 15 years, witnessed how the poor in my country received less than 15% of what would have been their per capita share of oil revenues. Consequentially I have come to despise all excessive centralization of any redistributive powers, and foremost all redistribution profiteers.

Second, for a long time I have been concerned about that if we are unable to provide worthy and decent unemployments to those each day more numerous structurally unemployed, these will not allow us employed to work in peace, and social order will implode.

Putting together the need to get rid of redistribution profiteers, and that to adapt to new structural unemployment realities, the Universal Basic Income I propose applies to all citizens of legal working age, and who have not retired and are being benefited from pensions or other similar schemes.

In other words, the needs of children and the needs of retired seniors should be satisfied, but not by means of a Universal Basic Income. To do so would cause useless confusion about UBI's goals.

UBI is to help you get out of bed, not to finance you staying in bed. 

A raise in the minimum wage is raising the bar so that fewer can make the jump for a job. A Universal Basic Income is giving everyone a step stool to help to reach up to a job.

Now, who would be against a Universal Basic Income?

For a starter the redistribution profiteers, because it would clearly eat into the political and economical value and power of their franchise.

Then all those who sincerely think they can decide better on what citizens should spend, the ever-present societal besserwissers, and want to make any such payments conditioned.

Then all those who automatically believe such a guaranteed monthly income would seriously reduce the societal will to work, with dangerous consequences.

Then all those who automatically believe such a guaranteed monthly income would be financially, fiscally, unsustainable.

And indeed, even though I am convinced UBI is possibly the most intelligent way to confront current societal challenges, like robots and other similar automation substituting for human work, I am also convinced that if a UBI program is not developed with utter care, discipline and love; and kept solely as a citizen to citizen, and as a this generation to the next generation affair, then it could result in a lot of bad.

That mainly because it can so easily be captured by other interests, like those wanting to instigate class-wars.

Make UBI payment too high, and then effectively it could reduce the supply of the work-desire that is needed to pay for it. 

Make UBI payments too high and have them not be 100% funded  without new debt or printed money, and it will come crashing down on us.

What is my biggest real concern with UBI? The politicians’ “Vote for me cause I will give you the highest UBI”

In order to stop politicians and redistribution profiteers meddling with UBI for their own small reasons, there might be a need of a Constitutional Amendment to set up the mechanism and the parameters

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Universal Basic Income is better for preventing a social commotion than for curing it.

Canada (home of my grandchildren), please implement the system; start with a low amount perhaps only $100 per month perhaps mostly funded with carbon tax revenues, and take it from there.

PS. To establish and enforce any lien on a Universal Basic Income (UBI) would of course have to be criminalized.

PS. Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook and Google could start to partially fund a UBI for me, by paying me for exploiting my preferences

Don't raise the bar with minimum wages

  give us a UBI step stool instead