Universal Basic Income

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Universal Basic Income

Postby grzegorz on Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:20 am

chud wrote:A former co-worker told me that he and his friends asked Andy Ngo if he wanted to walk with them, and he said no and continued on his own; I think he wanted to just cover events and not be a part of any group, which is dangerous when there are violent people like Antifa around.

I saw that the only Democractic presidential candidate (as of yesterday) who spoke out against what happened to Andy Ngo was Andrew Yang.
I was not familiar with him or his positions, so I watched his appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast and he is an interesting guy. Very well spoken and has well thought out answers to current problems, not just speaking platitudes and slogans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTsEzmFamZ8

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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby everything on Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:11 pm

unfortunately it's not enough to be smart and articulate, and it can actually hurt.

giving people money is maybe one good soundbite, but otoh, you need more than that.

I wonder if the tiny amount of swing voters in MI, WI, PA know how important their votes are, and what's happening there.
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby grzegorz on Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:07 pm

What's interesting is that Yang outlines why Trump won that is because of the jobs lost to automation. People (Trump) blame NAFTA, trade deals, immigrants (both documented and undocumented) when actually automation driven by silicon valley is what has destroyed the careers of many middle aged men with a high school education and truck drivers and those in retail are next. The idea of simply retraining these people isn't enough (according to Yang) and these people want big changes and thought Trump would be that change.

But I agree unfortunately in this age of short attention spans bumper sticker slogans and three word chants are what get people elected.

Yang has not received much or any coverage. I have always liked his ideas but if it wasn't for Rogan (who I am no longer listen to due to his click bait guest list) I would not have heard his ideas so extensively. If it bleeds it leads and unfortunately Yang doesn't have the click bait style slogans that get the social media attention unlike Trump.

Dying of Whiteness covers similar topics and is not anti-white in any way but rather tries to get people to understand what is happening in Middle America.
Last edited by grzegorz on Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby everything on Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:44 pm

yeah Yang's PR/marketing approach just isn't right.

His automation argument won't fly b/c that is a silicon valley argument about what is GOING to happen. They are possibly right, but
1. normal people don't get it.
2. normal people don't give a shit.
3. they care about what has happened to them already or what is happening now.
4. someone like trump can better convince them to blame someone else like china or immigrants more easily.

The automation thing is quite interesting as a side thing. The argument is that something simple like ATMs, Redbox, Netflix streaming, online orders forms a "robot" and eliminates a bunch of jobs (like Blockbuster employees). But there are various things like DoorDash or Starbucks online ordering that ends up having just as many retail or gig economy jobs. Here is where blaming someone else (should be execs and Wall St) seems like an easier argument. The fat cats sent the manufacturing jobs, call center jobs, computer science jobs (like for the Boeing MAX), other jobs overseas. So what's left? Yes "full employment" but it's gig-economy underemployment. Everyone needs their side hustle. If we're busy doing this side hustle, can we really comprehend and buy these wrong-sounding super abstract intellectual arguments? I don't think so.
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby grzegorz on Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:40 am

It's trickle up economics.

Not as sexy as an anti antifa thread full of click bait headlines from Sandy Hook deniers but someone offering solutions to a crumbling society.
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby everything on Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:38 pm

I want it to work. Just don't think it's an argument that will sway voters.

If I had an extra $1000 per month, not sure I'd actually start any company or join a riskier venture. Maybe that would help the youngest, smartest, most ambitious, most visionary founders. I doubt it can swing the voters in PA, MI, WI back.
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby yeniseri on Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:05 pm

Automation does not have to be as it is predicted or directed to be!
Corporations want to get the highest ROI based on that differential x pay (i.e $15/16 -- current min. pay) they do not want to pay workers CEO X is satisfied with his $20-50 million per year + stock options+ insurance, hospitalization, etc while decrying the extra $5-$7 per hours for the US workers. Just watched a CNN report on 'The Undocumented Worker" with Ed Lavanderia and it amazes me that the same work US American refuse to do, they look down on the undocumented workers just because they can!
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby middleway on Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:23 am

I really like Mr Yang, I thought he came across very well in the podcast and think, if i were in the USA, he would be one of my shortlisted candidates.

I think that in principle UBI is a great idea, but I keep coming back to several problems with which i have not heard anyone address.

1) Market adjustments
When companies know that the market place suddenly has a certain amount of increased available capitol it may adjust its pricing to maximize profits. We simple need to look at the price of a Coca Cola in India vs USA or UK. The product is the same but in India it costs about £0.20 in the UK anything up to £2.50.

This is due to the available market. I would envisage a large guaranteed influx of capitol into a specific market to be reflected in a price hike across multiple big businesses, especially those that disproportionately are supported by lower income families like fast food/junk food companies. So the cost of living increase would sap up a large proportion of the UBI benefit for those most in need of it.

2) Lack of Education
Part of UBI's appeal is that it is targeting the poorest and least educated sectors of society in order to bring the standard of living up. However, there is little to no discussion on educating these sectors of society on careful money management in order to maximize the effectiveness of the UBI. Without this education or the changing of priorities, I think that the UBI payment is not likely to be used as intended. I friend of mine works in social services here in the UK and is consistently astonished that the poor, unemployed families that she works with priorities things like Cigarettes or Alcohol over essentials like good food or clothing for their children when they get their social cheques.

3) Make the poor richer and the rich richer ... so what changes!
The idea with UBI is that everyone gets it, its universal. So rather than moving the goalposts to give the most needy a leg up, i can help but think it moves the entire game over a bit but ultimately doesnt change anything. Personally i would simply stick that money in a savings account. I think that's what most people in my financial position would do. As Everything says, I highly doubt there are a substantial portion of the population that are budding founders of new and innovative products or hopeful Artists of some kind. It simply doesn't seem to address the divide between the haves and the have not's.

Good topic, but a complicated one for sure.

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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby Steve James on Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:57 am

Universal doesn't have to mean that everyone "gets" something. It can mean that everyone "has" something. (That's unlike our present Social Security where everyone, even the richest, contribute to the system and therefore receive benefits. Gate, Musk, Bezos, and Buffett will receive SS whether they need it or not). The degree of "need" is not universal, even among the poorest.

There could be a "base" income that families who didn't make above a certain level would get, but it would have to be different from state to state. I wouldn't predict it, but I think some people might prefer to be poor in some places instead of others. And, that's the other half of income problem: i.e., where does the money come in the first place? If it's from taxes, people in the populous states, the wealthy, and the "small business owners" will not want to support people in other states.

It also seems that people equate "income" with buying potential, and that we expect people who receive it to buy what we think they should. Sure, I see people using their food program cards to buy cigarettes and beer. But, not even poor people live on beer and cigarettes. They eat like ... most of the people, and are just as honest or not.

Well, imo, universal health care makes more sense, and we know how many people feel about that. Of course, we have food programs and public housing. However, the former are all being threatened, and few people want to live in public housing.

The fact is that we spend money on other things, including "defense" --which means subsidizing the defense industry. The argument is that it's more important to bail out a bank than forgive a student loan.

Nobody wants "socialism," but everybody thinks the government owes them something --including allowing them to f over someone else. That idea is so good that some argue that it's God's plan, which is New Testament irony. My point is that this really isn't a matter of money, or wealth redistribution, or socialism. It's a question of why someone would want someone else to have something. That reason might be religious; it might be because one sees them as family, neighbors, or friends. It might be altruism. The reason isn't important; only the desire. The dollars and cents are solvable after that. Without it, people will see it in terms of personal gain and loss.
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby Michael on Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:17 am

I've heard Yang speak recently, but I haven't listened to this interview with Rogan. My reaction to UBI is that is is an idea that fits with the Democratic thought leaders right now and gives Yang entrance to that domain, which he has used very well to get a lot of positive attention and a place in the debates, where he was the absolute worst performer among the 20. He actually said "....laughing their asses off..." during one of the two times that he spoke, and then complained later his mic was cut off. It's not like spare my virgin ears or anything, but among a group of 20 people on live TV, he managed to be the only one to say something that mainstream media finds offensive.

UBI doesn't fit into the scheme of our monetary system. UBI and personal income tax are ideologically opposed, so there's no way they can co-exist and therefore the UBI proposal is just a thought experiment. Income tax is cash flow from the people to the banks and UBI would effectively be cash flow in the other direction. They can not co-exist on the premise that Yang has given, where it would include everyone; the banks will not allow it.
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby Pero on Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:49 am

middleway wrote:...
2) Lack of Education
Part of UBI's appeal is that it is targeting the poorest and least educated sectors of society in order to bring the standard of living up. However, there is little to no discussion on educating these sectors of society on careful money management in order to maximize the effectiveness of the UBI. Without this education or the changing of priorities, I think that the UBI payment is not likely to be used as intended. I friend of mine works in social services here in the UK and is consistently astonished that the poor, unemployed families that she works with priorities things like Cigarettes or Alcohol over essentials like good food or clothing for their children when they get their social cheques. ...

Perhaps of interest:

http://review.chicagobooth.edu/behavioral-science/2018/article/how-poverty-changes-your-mind-set
... Contrary to the refrain that bad decisions lead to poverty, data indicate that it is the cognitive toll of being poor that leads to bad decisions. And actually, decisions that may seem counterproductive could be entirely rational, even shrewd. The findings suggest that to successfully reduce poverty, it would help to take this psychology into account.
...
In a 2013 study published in Science, researchers from the University of Warwick, Harvard, Princeton, and the University of British Columbia find that for poor individuals, working through a difficult financial problem produces a cognitive strain that’s equivalent to a 13-point deficit in IQ or a full night’s sleep lost. Similar cognitive deficits were observed in people who were under real-life financial stress. Theirs is one of multiple studies suggesting that poverty can harm cognition. ...

So I think it might be hard to predict the effect. Agree on the other things you say. Also if the UBI would be the same as what you earn now there is always the chance that you'd simply quit working haha. In the future some sort of UBI is inescapable IMO precisely because of what Yang says, the loss of jobs to automation/artificial intelligence.
Last edited by Pero on Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby BruceP on Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:51 am

middleway's points are pretty much what I was thinking while reading about The Freedom Dividend on Yang's website.

Also, companies (banks, auto, etc) would come up with ways to allow recipients to leverage themselves into debt on the prospect of having upwards of a quarter trillion dollars a year being put into the national economy. A lot of that money would trickle out of the economy very quickly and end up in foreign hands and shareholders' pockets.

What Steve says about those kinds of programs being gamed is also a very real concern, but would actually be within a sector of the economic strata where trickle-up would occur.
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby Peacedog on Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:54 am

I'm opposed to UBI for four main reasons. One of which is purely from observation, another is historical, another practical and the fourth is based off of math.

First, I saw the damage the dole did to an entire generation of young men in the UK. A certain percentage of the population is inherintly lazy and they will find a way to live off of any amount of money no matter how inadequate. I also found this increased petty crime substantially and greatly increased the grey market economy where people were paid under the table and off the books. For this reason alone, the UBI is off the table for me.

Two, all of the people saying technology is going to result in long term chronic unemployment are historically wrong. People find something else to do when they are motivated to do so. This was the same half-assed excuse to oppose the Industrial Revolution by the aristocracy. As in "what will my peasants do if they cannot work the land." In my experience, the people complaining most loudly about this are the same overeducated and underemplyed types who congregate in the US State Department, academia, those who "got theirs"/semi-retired successful businessmen/multigenerational wealthy and the UN. These clowns are almost entirely concerned about their position in life being effected by changing technology and not those whose employment will need to change. As an added bonus, I've never seen this group be correct about anything of general importance.


Third, it is currently en-vouge for developed countries to not control their borders. You cannot have a welfare state and have any significant level of immigration. Doing so results in the immediate creation of an underclass imported from abroad who views the host society as something to be taken advantage of/not to be a part of. Europe and the Middle Eastern immigration crisis is a perfect advantage of this phenomena.


Fourth, with a population of 325 million people, if we gave every citizen $1000/mo that would add a $3.9 trillion annual debt to the US economy. Simply put, the US Federal Government spent $4.1 trillion in 2018. It would literally double US federal expenditures. No method, regardless of effective tax rate, exists to pay for this. Even if you limited this to the poorest 25% of the US population it would increase the federal budget by roughtly 25%.
Last edited by Peacedog on Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby windwalker on Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:33 pm

@peacdog, good post, well-reasoned and thought out.
reduce the population and much of this conversation would be academic.

.
Fourth, with a population of 325 million people, if we gave every citizen $1000/mo that would add a $3.9 trillion annual debt to the US economy. Simply put, the US Federal Government spent $4.1 trillion in 2018. It would literally double US federal expenditures. No method, regardless of effective tax rate, exists to pay for this. Even if you limited this to the poorest 25% of the US population it would increase the federal budget by roughtly 25%.


Math, it has a way of clarifying things.
There is nothing preventing those in favor of this from giving a portion of their salary to someone else,
setting the example.
Last edited by windwalker on Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Universal Basic Income

Postby everything on Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:53 pm

If anyone here lives in Alaska or the SF Bay Area, I'd like to hear about two things:

1. What does anyone do with the $1000 a year?
2. How can the SF economy support teachers, police, chefs, waitstaff, movie theaters, musicians, and so on??? UBI seems to come from this environment.

Then, in the USA, we don't really have taxes on the corporations and the wealthiest. How does Apple end up paying almost no taxes as the often most valuable company in the world? Does that wealth trickle down?

Overall, it does seem inevitable IF automation removes all the jobs. But right now that's an abstract argument about the future for most people. People would rather blame (brown) immigrants or other brown people. They don't understand that raising living standards for all people (who are mostly brown) helps all economies.

Ultimately these are tactically possibly not great arguments:
- there aren't really that many super racist voters, most likely, at least fewer over time as the young and diverse base grows
- people don't understand the automation point
Last edited by everything on Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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