Author Topic: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?  (Read 16994 times)

kite

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Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« on: May 06, 2019, 09:30:28 AM »
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/06/universal-basic-income-public-realm-poverty-inequality

I'm not the least bit surprised.  But I still want to know why so many people believed it would. 

TheContinentalOp

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2019, 09:43:12 AM »
I guess it depends on what you mean by "works".

Lots of people have different ideas on what UBI should achieve and how large it should be.

There are the "replace all social welfare programs" and "eliminate the bureaucracy"  and "give that money directly to people" crowd.

And there are those who are advocating an additional stipend above and beyond current welfare spending.

I've seen numbers as low as $250/mo. to U$30,000/yr.

My biggest gripe is that I don't ever see anyone talking about how it will work with kids.

If you don't enlarge the UBI for families with kids, the first time people irresponsibly spend their UBI and the kids go hungry at the end of the month, there will be a call to  include kids.

And if you include kids, you invent all sorts of perverse incentives, including for immigrants (legal and illegal) to give birth in the US.

sol

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2019, 09:51:58 AM »
The Guardian is an openly biased (conservative) publication, and they make no claims at being a "news" source.  So you kind of have to take their stories with a grain of salt, understanding that they're selling an agenda.  They're like the PR arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "thinktank" and lobbying group that pushes Reagan-era economic and social policies that are widely considered primitive and regressive today.  edit:  I'm apparently confusing my news sources.

For example, this article claims that that various UBI schemes "don't work" and then uses a variety of arbitrary metrics to determine what "works" and what doesn't, shifting between them to find some way in which each different UBI scheme mentioned doesn't solve all of society's problems.  But UBI isn't designed to solve all problems, it's designed to alleviate extreme poverty and undue suffering and by that metric it works remarkably well.  Of course, that's the one metric that The Guardian doesn't mention.

Of course it doesn't solve wealth inequality.  Why would it?  Their main argument against each UBI scheme is that it "isn't sustainable" as if that somehow means it doesn't reduce poverty.  Alaska's petroleum dividend is dubbed "unsustainable" because at some point in the future Alaska might run out of oil, and so the program is apparently a failure today?  Finland's dividend is dubbed "unsustainable" because new political alliances can vote to overturn it, so that means it's a failure too?  What kind of crappy metric is "sustainability" for a government spending program?

And then they criticize all of the various UBI schemes as "crowding out" other investments in poverty reduction, which is pretty rich coming from an economic school of thought that originated the very idea of UBI as a replacement for social service programs.  Let's not forget it was the hardline conservatives of the 60s-80s who wanted to abolish government subsidies for affordable housing and food stamps and just give poor people cash money instead.  They argued that government cheese was an infringement of personal liberties, and that poor people would spend cash payments the most efficient way possible by the magic of the free market, if only government would stop trying to tell them where and how to live.  The whole idea of gutting our welfare state and replacing it with UBI is a republican wet dream, because it costs the government less, absolves government of responsibility for poor spending decisions by poor people exacerbating their poverty, and (perhaps most importantly) gives just as much money to billionaires as it does to homeless people and is thus seen as "more fair".

And then the cherry on top of this particular article is that their reporting is basically the opposite of the conclusions in the study they're citing.  The original study they're talking about is definitely written from a  "progressive" liberal viewpoint, and it explicitly promotes the benefits of UBI for alleviating extreme poverty and then goes into some detail about why progressive prefer expanding the current social safety net instead (see previous paragraph).  When The Guardian writes about this study to say "UBI doesn't work" it's kind of like Trump tweeting that the Mueller report "totally exonerates" him.  Um, no.  The exact opposite of that.  You're lying in the most transparently obvious way about the content of the document you're referencing, in an attempt to sow confusion and spin public reaction among people who can't be bothered to actually read the thing for themselves to see what a baldface liar you are.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 10:56:17 AM by sol »

Malkynn

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2019, 09:54:25 AM »
The Guardian is an openly biased (conservative) publication, and they make no claims at being a "news" source.  So you kind of have to take their stories with a grain of salt, understanding that they're selling an agenda.  They're like the PR arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "thinktank" and lobbying group that pushes Reagan-era economic and social policies that are widely considered primitive and regressive today.

For example, this article claims that that various UBI schemes "don't work" and then uses a variety of arbitrary metrics to determine what "works" and what doesn't, shifting between them to find some way in which each different UBI scheme mentioned doesn't solve all of society's problems.  But UBI isn't designed to solve all problems, it's designed to alleviate extreme poverty and undue suffering and by that metric it works remarkably well.  Of course, that's the one metric that The Guardian doesn't mention.

Of course it doesn't solve wealth inequality.  Why would it?  Their main argument against each UBI scheme is that it "isn't sustainable" as if that somehow means it doesn't reduce poverty.  Alaska's petroleum dividend is dubbed "unsustainable" because at some point in the future Alaska might run out of oil, and so the program is apparently a failure today?  Finland's dividend is dubbed "unsustainable" because new political alliances can vote to overturn it, so that means it's a failure too?  What kind of crappy metric is "sustainability" for a government spending program?

And then they criticize all of the various UBI schemes as "crowding out" other investments in poverty reduction, which is pretty rich coming from an economic school of thought that originated the very idea of UBI as a replacement for social service programs.  Let's not forget it was the hardline conservatives of the 60s-80s who wanted to abolish government subsidies for affordable housing and food stamps and just give poor people cash money instead.  They argued that government cheese was an infringement of personal liberties, and that poor people would spend cash payments the most efficient way possible by the magic of the free market, if only government would stop trying to tell them where and how to live.  The whole idea of gutting our welfare state and replacing it with UBI is a republican wet dream, because it costs the government less, absolves government of responsibility for poor spending decisions by poor people exacerbating their poverty, and (perhaps most importantly) gives just as much money to billionaires as it does to homeless people and is thus seen as "more fair".

And then the cherry on top of this particular article is that their reporting is basically the opposite of the conclusions in the study they're citing.  The original study they're talking about is definitely written from a  "progressive" liberal viewpoint, and it explicitly promotes the benefits of UBI for alleviating extreme poverty and then goes into some detail about why progressive prefer expanding the current social safety net instead (see previous paragraph).  When The Guardian writes about this study to say "UBI doesn't work" it's kind of like Trump tweeting that the Mueller report "totally exonerates" him.  Um, no.  The exact opposite of that.  You're lying in the most transparently obvious way about the content of the document you're referencing, in an attempt to sow confusion and spin public reaction among people who can't be bothered to actually read the thing for themselves to see what a baldface liar you are.

What @sol said ^^^

Heywood57

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2019, 10:06:27 AM »
The volume of oil thru the Alaska pipeline has been declining since 1988

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Alaska_Pipeline_System#/media/File:Alaska_Crude_Oil_Production.PNG

mathlete

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2019, 10:28:14 AM »
We'd better figure out how to make it work, because machines will out compete us at every last job some day and there's nothing we can do to stop that.

sol

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2019, 10:28:22 AM »
The volume of oil thru the Alaska pipeline has been declining since 1988

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Alaska_Pipeline_System#/media/File:Alaska_Crude_Oil_Production.PNG

So has global oil production.  Also grain production and fish consumption and the price of pickles.  So what?

Alaska's version of UBI reduces extreme poverty by spending some of the state's budget on direct payments to individuals instead of welfare programs.  There are many ways to criticize that program, but citing the pipeline's throughput doesn't seem to be one of them.  At the very least, if you stretch your imagination a little, you might reference the state's total petro profits instead of it's pipeline volume.

As an added benefit, Alaska has reported that by alleviating extreme poverty with cash payments, they see an ~8% decrease in property crimes in the months after the dividend payments are made.  Apparently people are less likely to jack your stuff if they're not desperately poor all the time.

FIRE 20/20

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2019, 10:29:57 AM »
I am skeptical about UBI but after reading that article and select sections of the paper it references I certainly don't trust their conclusions.  I'm interested in seeing where the UBI discussion goes in the coming years, but the article and paper do not address many of the core issues and uses evidence in opposite ways to support its conclusions. 
For instance, the paper states in a few different ways that the evidence from the current trials are insufficient to show benefits from UBI - for example, "The schemes vary enormously in purpose, type, scale and funding source, as well as in their political and economic context. Claims that any of these practical schemes provide “evidence” that “proves” the case for UBI are fanciful."
and
"Evidence is severely limited."

The paper then proceeds to draw hard and fast conclusions, such as, "Making cash payments to individuals to increase their purchasing power in a free-market economy is not a viable route to solving problems caused or exacerbated by neoliberal market economics."

What?  If you go out of your way to talk about how little evidence there is and then immediately proceed to draw firm conclusions then something is going wrong.

sol, while I generally agree with your post I do feel obligated to point out one thing.  Anna Coote is both the author of the article as well as a co-author of the cited study.  I don't see where in the article she disagrees with the report's conclusions. 


Watchmaker

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2019, 10:42:50 AM »
The Guardian is an openly biased (conservative) publication, and they make no claims at being a "news" source.  So you kind of have to take their stories with a grain of salt, understanding that they're selling an agenda.  They're like the PR arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "thinktank" and lobbying group that pushes Reagan-era economic and social policies that are widely considered primitive and regressive today.

I agree with your criticisms of this particular article (written by a fellow of the New Economics Foundation), but the Guardian is a left-leaning publication, surely? And they certainly claim to be a news source.

kite

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2019, 10:43:32 AM »
The Guardian is an openly biased (conservative) publication, and they make no claims at being a "news" source.  So you kind of have to take their stories with a grain of salt, understanding that they're selling an agenda.  They're like the PR arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "thinktank" and lobbying group that pushes Reagan-era economic and social policies that are widely considered primitive and regressive today.

Nope.  Not openly biased conservative publication. Not even close.  It's center-left.  You're either ignorant, a troll, or intentionally shutting down conversation with misleading hyperbole for reasons I'm not aware.  I gather that thoughtful, respectful and meaningful discussion is not possible here and that is a pity.  I'll make my exit. 

Louisville

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2019, 10:53:50 AM »
The Guardian is an openly biased (conservative) publication, and they make no claims at being a "news" source.  So you kind of have to take their stories with a grain of salt, understanding that they're selling an agenda.  They're like the PR arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "thinktank" and lobbying group that pushes Reagan-era economic and social policies that are widely considered primitive and regressive today.

Nope.  Not openly biased conservative publication. Not even close.  It's center-left.  You're either ignorant, a troll, or intentionally shutting down conversation with misleading hyperbole for reasons I'm not aware.  I gather that thoughtful, respectful and meaningful discussion is not possible here and that is a pity.  I'll make my exit.
Wow. Pot, meet kettle....

sol

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2019, 10:57:46 AM »
but the Guardian is a left-leaning publication, surely? And they certainly claim to be a news source.

I guess I'm confusing my sources?  I've been blocking all kinds of sites from my news feed recently because they keep giving me ridiculous content suggestions, so I've become a little sensitive about biased reporting.

I'll amend.

Part of my response was motivated by the OP's comments about UBI, which struck me as reminiscent of the typical modern alt-right opposition to UBI as some sort of crazy communist idea, the same way they criticize universal healthcare.  The study cited is definitely critical of UBI, but only because she feels it doesn't go far enough.  It seems disengenuous to cite a headline that says "UBI doesn't" work when the article is about why expanding the current social safety net programs is a better idea.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 11:02:58 AM by sol »

tct

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2019, 11:02:44 AM »
Regardless if it works,  it's too expensive.  Here in the U.S., debt/spending is already out of control. Can't imagine anyone would think this is a viable option here.

sol

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2019, 11:03:55 AM »
Regardless if it works,  it's too expensive.  Here in the U.S., debt/spending is already out of control. Can't imagine anyone would think this is a viable option here.

Conservatives have argued that UBI is cheaper than welfare, subsidized housing, social security, etc.  They don't advocate adding it on top of our current welfare state, they advocate using it to replace our current welfare state.

Watchmaker

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2019, 11:13:54 AM »
The Guardian is an openly biased (conservative) publication, and they make no claims at being a "news" source.  So you kind of have to take their stories with a grain of salt, understanding that they're selling an agenda.  They're like the PR arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "thinktank" and lobbying group that pushes Reagan-era economic and social policies that are widely considered primitive and regressive today.

Nope.  Not openly biased conservative publication. Not even close.  It's center-left.  You're either ignorant, a troll, or intentionally shutting down conversation with misleading hyperbole for reasons I'm not aware.  I gather that thoughtful, respectful and meaningful discussion is not possible here and that is a pity.  I'll make my exit.

Kite, I don't think Sol is any of those things. As you can see, it seems like he was just confusing the Guardian with some other source, which he's acknowledged.  Can we get back to discussing the issue at hand?

Regardless if it works,  it's too expensive.  Here in the U.S., debt/spending is already out of control. Can't imagine anyone would think this is a viable option here.

What does too expensive even mean when we're talking about dramatically re-configuring the economy? It would cost less than the GDP, so it seems at least within the bounds of possibility.


tct

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2019, 11:14:36 AM »
I agree it would be cheaper to distribute UBI than current welfare subsidies, however that won't solve the issues that welfare was intended to fix. What about the mentally ill and the drug users. Can we expect that they or their children will be housed and fed if UBI were to replace section 8 housing and SNAP?

kite

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2019, 01:20:10 PM »
The Guardian is an openly biased (conservative) publication, and they make no claims at being a "news" source.  So you kind of have to take their stories with a grain of salt, understanding that they're selling an agenda.  They're like the PR arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "thinktank" and lobbying group that pushes Reagan-era economic and social policies that are widely considered primitive and regressive today.

Nope.  Not openly biased conservative publication. Not even close.  It's center-left.  You're either ignorant, a troll, or intentionally shutting down conversation with misleading hyperbole for reasons I'm not aware.  I gather that thoughtful, respectful and meaningful discussion is not possible here and that is a pity.  I'll make my exit.
Wow. Pot, meet kettle....

Excuse me?
He fired off an error ridden ad hominem attack (which itself earned a "what Sol said") , then when called out on the error claims he was confused.  Sure, he corrected.
And in his correction, makes an accusation of similarity to the alt-right. 
Even if that claim were remotely true, which it is not, name calling is evidence one is not interested in dialogue. 
I'm walking away from this because the chance for conversation here is already ruined.

efree

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2019, 01:47:03 PM »
Excuse me?
He fired off an error ridden ad hominem attack (which itself earned a "what Sol said") , then when called out on the error claims he was confused.  Sure, he corrected.
And in his correction, makes an accusation of similarity to the alt-right. 
Even if that claim were remotely true, which it is not, name calling is evidence one is not interested in dialogue. 
I'm walking away from this because the chance for conversation here is already ruined.
sol is a respected poster, not a troll. Also, it's not the best look to announce you're walking away and then keep posting.

As for UBI, I think it will come eventually, as someone already said, because machines are going to take away more and more jobs. Maybe in 30 years? I don't know.

cowpuncher10

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2019, 02:09:51 PM »
The Guardian is an openly biased (conservative) publication, and they make no claims at being a "news" source.  So you kind of have to take their stories with a grain of salt, understanding that they're selling an agenda.  They're like the PR arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "thinktank" and lobbying group that pushes Reagan-era economic and social policies that are widely considered primitive and regressive today.

Nope.  Not openly biased conservative publication. Not even close.  It's center-left.  You're either ignorant, a troll, or intentionally shutting down conversation with misleading hyperbole for reasons I'm not aware.  I gather that thoughtful, respectful and meaningful discussion is not possible here and that is a pity.  I'll make my exit.
Wow. Pot, meet kettle....

Excuse me?
He fired off an error ridden ad hominem attack (which itself earned a "what Sol said") , then when called out on the error claims he was confused.  Sure, he corrected.
And in his correction, makes an accusation of similarity to the alt-right. 
Even if that claim were remotely true, which it is not, name calling is evidence one is not interested in dialogue. 
I'm walking away from this because the chance for conversation here is already ruined.

Don't worry. You're not the only one annoyed with his often antagonistic and aggressive posts to anything he perceives as "conservative"....there are a number of us.

Cassie

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2019, 02:13:12 PM »
UBI can't replace the other welfare program. People won't be able to survive.

sol

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2019, 02:17:12 PM »
I'm walking away from this because the chance for conversation here is already ruined.

I'm sure we will all miss your invaluable contributions to this thread.

For the rest of the community, UBI has long been a contentious topic and I think it's great that it's getting a little moment in the limelight due to support from some 2020 candidates.  If people like Andrew Yang are going to be taken seriously, they'll have to grapple with some of these same questions.  Why is it better to give everyone $1k per month than to increase spending on our current anit-poverty programs by the equivalent ~$300b that UBI would cost?  Congress mostly ties itself in knots over how to cut welfare spending, not dramatically increase it. 

The author of this study thinks UBI is an ineffective solution because she's arguing for wholesale labor force restructuring, including massive expansions to unions and worker's rights.  That seems far more unlikely than just redirecting some of our current anti-poverty spending to UBI, because it would fundamentally disrupt a thousand different industries.  She's apparently far left of Andrew Yang, so citing her criticisms of UBI in an attempt to bolster conservative economic policies is kind of a stretch, right?  Like Hillary and Bernie disagree on some stuff, but you don't usually see Trump embracing Bernie's far-left criticisms of Hillary's center-left economic plans in order to support his far-right ideas.  That appears to be what the OP here has done.

doggyfizzle

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2019, 04:00:15 PM »
The volume of oil thru the Alaska pipeline has been declining since 1988

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Alaska_Pipeline_System#/media/File:Alaska_Crude_Oil_Production.PNG

Right, but the PMF "dividend" each year paid to Alaska residents is not wholly based on oil sales volumes in Alaska, nor throughput in the Alyeska pipeline.  Assets in the PMF are above $60 billion, and dividends paid out are small enough to ensure principal still grows each year.  Alaska citizens have in the past also voted overwhelmingly to continue support for the PMF dividend level being set low enough to prevent erosion of invested principal and prevent politicians from raiding it due to budget deficits.  As someone who works in the oil & gas industry, I really do think the PMF is a marvel of putting to use revenues from a depleting resource base for both current and future generations.

FIREstache

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2019, 04:08:04 PM »
UBI can't replace the other welfare program. People won't be able to survive.

Yeah, I'm not fan of UBI.  The lame testing I've read about hasn't been very convincing that it would serve any positive end.  People pay into social security all of their careers and get a payout that correlates to what they pay in, and they can even hold off on taking benefits to increase their monthly benefit when they finally decide to take it.  It's very different than UBI, where someone gets something for contributing nothing.

afox

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2019, 04:25:54 PM »
UBI can't replace the other welfare program. People won't be able to survive.

Do you have any evidence either for or against this claim? Especially if you remove the welfare administration costs (huge) and people have more money to spend. I think people are better at budgeting for their basic needs than you are giving them credit for.

The person that said drug addicts would just spend their UBI on drugs instead of food, can't people just sell their food stamps for drug money now?  This might surprise people but most drug addicts have jobs, food, and homes now. I know you are thinking of the person living on the street but that's someone with a mental illness with drug use as a symptom (or an incredibly frugal person who chooses not to work).

Also, what is the difference between UBI and simply lowering taxes by the amount of the UBI? If Andrew Yang were to talk about lowering every americans taxes by 12k per year would make that make him a conservative :) I know some americans pay no federal income tax but they pay some kind of tax at least in the form of consumption taxes and you can always give people a tax credit.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 04:36:18 PM by afox »

Man The Fire

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2019, 04:38:01 PM »
The Guardian is an openly biased (conservative) publication, and they make no claims at being a "news" source.  So you kind of have to take their stories with a grain of salt, understanding that they're selling an agenda.  They're like the PR arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "thinktank" and lobbying group that pushes Reagan-era economic and social policies that are widely considered primitive and regressive today.

Nope.  Not openly biased conservative publication. Not even close.  It's center-left.  You're either ignorant, a troll, or intentionally shutting down conversation with misleading hyperbole for reasons I'm not aware.  I gather that thoughtful, respectful and meaningful discussion is not possible here and that is a pity.  I'll make my exit.
Wow. Pot, meet kettle....

Excuse me?
He fired off an error ridden ad hominem attack (which itself earned a "what Sol said") , then when called out on the error claims he was confused.  Sure, he corrected.
And in his correction, makes an accusation of similarity to the alt-right. 
Even if that claim were remotely true, which it is not, name calling is evidence one is not interested in dialogue. 
I'm walking away from this because the chance for conversation here is already ruined.

Don't worry. You're not the only one annoyed with his often antagonistic and aggressive posts to anything he perceives as "conservative"....there are a number of us.

Well said. Sadly if your politics aren't to the left of Noam Chomsky, hell even to the left of AOC, it's prohibitively difficult to have a conversation on the MMM forums on anything not exceedingly concrete and technical. Sol is the #1 reason that's the case. Luckily the internet has plenty of better places for personal finance these days. Too bad as I do enjoy checking out MMM on occasion.

afox

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2019, 10:31:45 PM »

Well said. Sadly if your politics aren't to the left of Noam Chomsky, hell even to the left of AOC, it's prohibitively difficult to have a conversation on the MMM forums on anything not exceedingly concrete and technical. Sol is the #1 reason that's the case. Luckily the internet has plenty of better places for personal finance these days. Too bad as I do enjoy checking out MMM on occasion.

Oh yeah, like the ar15 forum?  Your words have just as much weight as Sol's do here. Please convince me that your right of Noam Chomskey ideas, im listening! You;ll have to use facts and reason though, as im nor gullible or easily frightened.

sol

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2019, 10:49:39 PM »
Your words have just as much weight as Sol's do here.

I'll do you one better, and extend an open invitation to AlienRobotAnthropologist, cowpuncher, and anyone else who finds my posts controversial to please engage with the community with your views as a counterbalance to mine. 

We're all effectively equal here, in terms of our access to the shared discussion, and I admit that it kind of peeves me when people with virtually zero post history show up to say "this place sucks and I won't contribute."  Why not?  What is it about this discussion that you feel makes it so worthless that you can't contribute anything except a post saying "I won't contribute"?  If you see something you disagree with, then please tell us why.  Your opinion is just as valid as mine is, you have just as much access as I do, and just as many people will read your posts as read mine.  So if you think mine are wrong and yours are right, then put your money where your mouth is and let the community decide.  I welcome all new voices, even ones I disagree with. 

Just follow the forum rules and you'll be fine. 

damyst

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2019, 01:49:13 AM »
Also, what is the difference between UBI and simply lowering taxes by the amount of the UBI? If Andrew Yang were to talk about lowering every americans taxes by 12k per year would make that make him a conservative :) I know some americans pay no federal income tax but they pay some kind of tax at least in the form of consumption taxes and you can always give people a tax credit.

44 percent of Americans paid no income tax as of 2018.
If you view this issue from the standpoint of a middle-class / upper-middle class income earner (which a lot of people mistakenly do), it becomes pretty hard to understand the arguments being brought forward. When discussing government income support programs, the part of the population that pays substantial income tax is almost not even worth thinking about.

Low income earners do pay some consumption taxes, as you mentioned. They don't pay as much of those as you do, because they don't buy as much stuff. Now say the government refunded every dollar that they paid in consumption taxes immediately. How much of a difference would that money make in terms of affording rent, healthcare, education, retirement savings? Not as much as we'd like.

The difference between UBI and more established forms of income redistribution is mostly technical IMO. At the end of the day, it's about taking money from those who have more, and giving it to those who have less. Every nation in the world does this, because it's ultimately in the best interests of everyone - including the richest elites (although the elites tend to forget this lesson every few decades and must re-learn it, often quite painfully).

Linea_Norway

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2019, 02:35:10 AM »
I had understood that the idea of UBI was to give it to people who lost their jobs because of automation. With robots and AIs, that can be many jobs. The company owners who save lots of money because of using robots/AI instead of people, should pay for the UBI by paying a robot-tax.

I guess it was not meant to tax the normal high income workers, because that tax would become too high. But it is for those company owners (the 0,1%) who will make even more because of the robots.

FrugalToque

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2019, 06:06:22 AM »
I had understood that the idea of UBI was to give it to people who lost their jobs because of automation. With robots and AIs, that can be many jobs. The company owners who save lots of money because of using robots/AI instead of people, should pay for the UBI by paying a robot-tax.

I guess it was not meant to tax the normal high income workers, because that tax would become too high. But it is for those company owners (the 0,1%) who will make even more because of the robots.

I'm old enough, sadly, to remember people saying this back in the 80s, and I still don't think it's happened, or will ever happen.  When automation frees people up, they do other work.

We used to be 90% subsistence farmers.  Then we were 90% factory workers.  Now that machines are doing factory work, we make cell phones and Internet routers.  As that becomes more automated, we make cat videos and monetize blogs.  The unemployment rate is still pretty much the same as it was back in the 80s, or the 50s for that matter.

As for the purpose of the UBI, it's hard to say.  Are we trying to make sure kids stay in school?  Pregnant women/new parents have time off?  No one ever starves to death while the rest of the population lives a rich, well-nourished life?

Toque.

maizeman

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2019, 06:19:51 AM »
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/06/universal-basic-income-public-realm-poverty-inequality

I'm not the least bit surprised.  But I still want to know why so many people believed it would.

So I read through this article and it doesn't seem to say much of anything at all beyond 1) we don't yet have conclusive evidence about how the UBI would work 2) it would indeed cost a lot of money (this is not news) 3) the author would rather spend that money on something else.

Also there is something frustratingly circular about a person writing a newspaper article with phrases like:

The report concludes that the money needed to pay for an adequate UBI scheme “would be better spent on reforming social protection systems, and building more and better-quality public services”

They don't include any evidence or reasoning for WHY they think this would be better, the news is just that the same person who is writing the article also wrote a report which claimed that was the case.

We'd better figure out how to make it work, because machines will out compete us at every last job some day and there's nothing we can do to stop that.

What mathlete said. I think a lot of the opposition to UBI and similar approaches (including perhaps the OP @kite?) is from people who either genuinely don't understand or don't believe how fast automation is coming for vast swaths of the jobs people earn their living from today.

In a world like we will in today, we can argue back and forth about the value of a UBI vs greater spending on traditional social safety net programs vs lower government spending overall.

In a world like the one we will live in 10 or 20 years from now, the need for something like a UBI becomes inarguable. (Although certainly people can still argue about whether that future is really destined to come to pass.)

maizeman

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2019, 06:27:58 AM »
UBI can't replace the other welfare program. People won't be able to survive.

Do you have any evidence either for or against this claim? Especially if you remove the welfare administration costs (huge) and people have more money to spend. I think people are better at budgeting for their basic needs than you are giving them credit for.

The person that said drug addicts would just spend their UBI on drugs instead of food, can't people just sell their food stamps for drug money now?  This might surprise people but most drug addicts have jobs, food, and homes now. I know you are thinking of the person living on the street but that's someone with a mental illness with drug use as a symptom (or an incredibly frugal person who chooses not to work).

I don't know Cassie's intent, but there are certainly a subset of people who wouldn't survive if we just wiped out the traditional social safety net entirely. Food stamps definitely could be substituted with cash payments like a UBI. So could programs like section 8 housing.

The one I worry about is that some, but not all, plans for paying for a UBI include medicaid as one of the programs which could be replaced, and there are definitely some people who are the recipients of far more than $12,000/year in medicaid spending and need that spending to survive. Adults and children with significant developmental disabilities spring to mind as one example of people who genuinely depend on receiving more than $12,000 in services from our existing social safety net.

This is not an argument against implementing a UBI at all though. It's simply pointing out some of the most optimistic projections about how little in new government spending would be required are almost certainly inaccurate.

maizeman

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2019, 06:37:55 AM »
Why is it better to give everyone $1k per month than to increase spending on our current anit-poverty programs by the equivalent ~$300b that UBI would cost?

Are you assuming we'd close down other social programs to provide most of the funding for a UBI and only considering the net increase?

Or did you calculate the monthly cost of the UBI (very approximately 300M adult americans * $1000/month) rather than the annual cost (300M adult americans * $1000/month * 12 months/year)?

Aunt Petunia

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2019, 06:52:43 AM »
I think raising the minimum wage would accomplish most of what UBI intends to accomplish, while also raising tax revenue and simplifying government (because fewer people would qualify for subsidies). I am of the opinion that anyone who works 40 hours per week should be able to afford food, shelter, healthcare, childcare and basic comforts. Right now many welfare recipients are working poor families, so welfare is really subsidizing employers who choose to pay starvation wages. UBI would subsidize these employers even further. UBI would increase inflation at least as much as a living wage would.

pegleglolita

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #34 on: May 07, 2019, 06:58:28 AM »
Not to derail, but when considering where some cuts to the budget might be made, mayhaps we should all keep the following in mind: 


MrDelane

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2019, 07:05:38 AM »
The Guardian is an openly biased (conservative) publication, and they make no claims at being a "news" source.  So you kind of have to take their stories with a grain of salt, understanding that they're selling an agenda.  They're like the PR arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "thinktank" and lobbying group that pushes Reagan-era economic and social policies that are widely considered primitive and regressive today.  edit:  I'm apparently confusing my news sources.

Totally unimportant to the conversation at hand, but I was just curious who you might be confusing The Guardian with - was it The Daily Signal by chance? Seems to be the only 'news' source I could find that is connected to the Heritage Foundation.

(they also had 'The Foundry,' which was apparently phased out in 2014).

ericrugiero

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2019, 07:22:06 AM »
UBI sounds like a great idea initially.  Who wouldn't want to have a check every month without doing anything to earn it? 

But, we (in the USA) have a huge problem balancing our budget.  We don't have extra money to give to people.  My problem with UBI is that it's generally proposed without a way to pay for it.  If we cut out welfare or other programs then we can afford to give everyone something.  But, that means less for the people who truly need it. 

Also, the reason typically given for needing to it now is to replace jobs that are being lost to automation.  Look at the current unemployment rate.  You can make an argument that sometime in the future it will be needed but you really can't say it's needed now.  I believe (as do many others) that it will be many years before we might reach a point where automation really puts people out of work.  Machines will continue to replace some jobs but other jobs will become available. 

Side note, my argument against UBI due to budget constrains applies to many other government spending programs as well.  We (USA) are in a mess because we are spending more than we make.  Surely those of us on MMM can agree on that point regardless of our political beliefs. 

Dicey

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2019, 07:28:34 AM »
Your words have just as much weight as Sol's do here.

I'll do you one better, and extend an open invitation to AlienRobotAnthropologist, cowpuncher, and anyone else who finds my posts controversial to please engage with the community with your views as a counterbalance to mine. 

We're all effectively equal here, in terms of our access to the shared discussion, and I admit that it kind of peeves me when people with virtually zero post history show up to say "this place sucks and I won't contribute."  Why not?  What is it about this discussion that you feel makes it so worthless that you can't contribute anything except a post saying "I won't contribute"?  If you see something you disagree with, then please tell us why.  Your opinion is just as valid as mine is, you have just as much access as I do, and just as many people will read your posts as read mine.  So if you think mine are wrong and yours are right, then put your money where your mouth is and let the community decide.  I welcome all new voices, even ones I disagree with. 

Just follow the forum rules and you'll be fine.
Seriously?  Let's not forget this is a personal finance/early retirement forum, with a dash of politics on the side. If you're looking for political discussion that's perfectly tailored to your POV, you might be looking for love in the wrong place. Don't go away completely though. It's kinda fun watching someone with too few posts to have even earned a siggy line take on a well respected senior member of this forum...

maizeman

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2019, 07:50:20 AM »
Also, the reason typically given for needing to it now is to replace jobs that are being lost to automation.  Look at the current unemployment rate.  You can make an argument that sometime in the future it will be needed but you really can't say it's needed now.

The unemployment rate comes up a lot in these discussions. The problem with that measurement is that is only looks at people who are still looking for work, not those who have given up and left the labor force entirely and now depend on the social safety net (for example SS disability), family support (people in their 20s and 30s living with and being supported by their parents, or depending on a spouse who is still employed), or are destitute.

If you look at the overall labor force participation rate, the long term downward trend becomes apparent. Here's what that looks like for the past 70 years (focusing just on men because the trend line doesn't have as many confounding influences. For women, you first see the big increase in participation from women's rights/feminism in the 1960s/70s, peaking around 2000, and in the 21st century has been trending downward in parallel with men's.



So yes, contrary to your assertion above, I can indeed say it is needed now. (You can certainly still disagree with me, you just cannot tell me I'm not allowed say it or not allowed to believe it.)

Quote
I believe (as do many others) that it will be many years before we might reach a point where automation really puts people out of work.

And at the same time I believe the opposite (as do many others).

Is there evidence that would convince you that your current view of this issue is an incorrect one? If so, what would the needed evidence look like?

dude

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #39 on: May 07, 2019, 08:02:05 AM »
Your words have just as much weight as Sol's do here.

I'll do you one better, and extend an open invitation to AlienRobotAnthropologist, cowpuncher, and anyone else who finds my posts controversial to please engage with the community with your views as a counterbalance to mine. 

We're all effectively equal here, in terms of our access to the shared discussion, and I admit that it kind of peeves me when people with virtually zero post history show up to say "this place sucks and I won't contribute."  Why not?  What is it about this discussion that you feel makes it so worthless that you can't contribute anything except a post saying "I won't contribute"?  If you see something you disagree with, then please tell us why.  Your opinion is just as valid as mine is, you have just as much access as I do, and just as many people will read your posts as read mine.  So if you think mine are wrong and yours are right, then put your money where your mouth is and let the community decide.  I welcome all new voices, even ones I disagree with. 

Just follow the forum rules and you'll be fine.
Seriously?  Let's not forget this is a personal finance/early retirement forum, with a dash of politics on the side. If you're looking for political discussion that's perfectly tailored to your POV, you might be looking for love in the wrong place. Don't go away completely though. It's kinda fun watching someone with too few posts to have even earned a siggy line take on a well respected senior member of this forum...

And let's not forget that MMM himself openly states this place is about environmentalism masked as personal finance. The whole point of frugality is to scale back the monstrous level of consumerism that is destroying the only place we have to live. Sadly, the ethos of  environmentalism/conservation has been labeled "left wing" by the pave-the-earth sociopaths on the political right. So yeah, the whole MMM philosophy is, at root, a political one. So it's little wonder the Trump brown shirts get their panties in a bunch on this site.

Also, ad hominem attack?  Where in sol's post was their an ad hominem attack?  I don't think it means what you think it means. And while he did make the initial error of attacking the source based on erroneous information (which he disavowed as soon as he was shown to be wrong), he provided a thorough deconstruction of the flawed/lazy "arguments" and conclusion(s) drawn in the article. THOSE are what one taking the opposite position should be addressing, not the sol's political leanings.

damyst

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #40 on: May 07, 2019, 08:21:57 AM »
Side note, my argument against UBI due to budget constrains applies to many other government spending programs as well.  We (USA) are in a mess because we are spending more than we make.  Surely those of us on MMM can agree on that point regardless of our political beliefs.

Some questions for you:

1. Where does the money in the government budget come from?
2. Can you think of a way to increase the amount of funds available to government?
3. Are you aware that the U.S. government has been executing a policy designed to massively decrease its own available fund pool for the last 30 years?

sol

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #41 on: May 07, 2019, 08:39:21 AM »
he provided a thorough deconstruction of the flawed/lazy "arguments" and conclusion(s) drawn in the article. THOSE are what one taking the opposite position should be addressing, not the sol's political leanings.

It's always easier to throw over the chess board, right?  I understand the desire to say "everything from this one poster is garbage" rather than trying to engage with the content.  We've had a handful of prolific and vocal recent posters who wrote long and detailed responses to topics, working from starting premises that made no sense, and it basically felt futile to even bother trying to read the whole thing, much less go through and refute all of the crazy.  I have rolled my eyes while skipping over looooong off-topic posts because the poster was not making any genuine attempt to engage.  But I would never suggest that that kind of angry ranting should end all debate about a topic, and it certainly hasn't made me refuse to participate with the group discussion.  It clutters up the boards, yes, but like I said above everyone gets to have equal access to member eyeballs here.

I think we have a handful of really insightful and well-spoken posters here (Malkynn, maizeman, nereo, etc) who are actively involved in a variety of different topics and consistently provide cogent and nuanced responses to complicated questions.  Some days I wish the forum were restricted to like the 20 people who most often amuse me, but then about once a week some random person I've never heard of pops up with something surprisingly insightful and really valuable.  Finding those little gems, to me, makes it worthwhile to wade through all of the antagonistic trash from accounts like GetItRight.

Are you assuming we'd close down other social programs to provide most of the funding for a UBI and only considering the net increase?

Or did you calculate the monthly cost of the UBI (very approximately 300M adult americans * $1000/month) rather than the annual cost (300M adult americans * $1000/month * 12 months/year)?

Yes, and yes.  So that's one poorly formulated unstated assumption, then a math error that contradicts my unstated assumption.  You're just going to have wade through all the confusing trash I post in the hopes of finding something worthwhile.  Sorry, man.

ericrugiero

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #42 on: May 07, 2019, 09:06:24 AM »
Also, the reason typically given for needing to it now is to replace jobs that are being lost to automation.  Look at the current unemployment rate.  You can make an argument that sometime in the future it will be needed but you really can't say it's needed now.

The unemployment rate comes up a lot in these discussions. The problem with that measurement is that is only looks at people who are still looking for work, not those who have given up and left the labor force entirely and now depend on the social safety net (for example SS disability), family support (people in their 20s and 30s living with and being supported by their parents, or depending on a spouse who is still employed), or are destitute.

If you look at the overall labor force participation rate, the long term downward trend becomes apparent. Here's what that looks like for the past 70 years (focusing just on men because the trend line doesn't have as many confounding influences. For women, you first see the big increase in participation from women's rights/feminism in the 1960s/70s, peaking around 2000, and in the 21st century has been trending downward in parallel with men's.



So yes, contrary to your assertion above, I can indeed say it is needed now. (You can certainly still disagree with me, you just cannot tell me I'm not allowed say it or not allowed to believe it.)

Quote
I believe (as do many others) that it will be many years before we might reach a point where automation really puts people out of work.

And at the same time I believe the opposite (as do many others).

Is there evidence that would convince you that your current view of this issue is an incorrect one? If so, what would the needed evidence look like?

Point taken, you can say anything you want.  I would argue the evidence doesn't support that it's needed now.  Poor choice of words on my part. 

Regarding the % of people leaving the work force, in many cases that is their choice.  Currently, there are many good jobs available so if anyone is unable to find work it's most likely due to their qualifications, work ethic, not wanting to move, etc.  Also, on a website largely focused on early retirement we can (hopefully) all agree that some people are just choosing to leave the work force and it's not a bad thing.  (You are free to say anything you want of course)  :-)

For me to change my mind on automation hurting the job market, it would take evidence that people are having a harder time finding jobs than in the past.  Unemployment is still the best measure of that I am aware of.  That would convince me we have a problem that needs solved.  At that point, we could discuss whether UBI is the best solution.  In general, I still tend to default to giving able-bodied people opportunities and letting them run with them rather than the government giving handouts. 
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 09:08:18 AM by ericrugiero »

ketchup

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #43 on: May 07, 2019, 09:14:54 AM »
I think raising the minimum wage would accomplish most of what UBI intends to accomplish, while also raising tax revenue and simplifying government (because fewer people would qualify for subsidies). I am of the opinion that anyone who works 40 hours per week should be able to afford food, shelter, healthcare, childcare and basic comforts. Right now many welfare recipients are working poor families, so welfare is really subsidizing employers who choose to pay starvation wages. UBI would subsidize these employers even further. UBI would increase inflation at least as much as a living wage would.
It's funny - I kind of think of the opposite.  I think UBI fixes what a $15/hr (or whatever) minimum wage would strive to solve. :)

Inflation is an issue if money supply increases.  UBI wouldn't come out of thin air.  It would come from existing money in the economy. (Andrew Yang proposes a VAT to raise the bulk of the money for his Freedom Dividend.  Whether or not you think that's the best way, it's not coming from printing money.)

I think boosting minimum wage, at least to the level many talk about ($15/hr) would just further incentivize and therefore accelerate automation. 

McDonald's just recently stopped their long-lived lobbying against a minimum wage raise.  Automation is going to save them enough money and allow them to lay off enough workers that they don't care anymore.

sol

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #44 on: May 07, 2019, 09:22:09 AM »
If you look at the overall labor force participation rate, the long term downward trend becomes apparent. Here's what that looks like for the past 70 years (focusing just on men because the trend line doesn't have as many confounding influences. For women, you first see the big increase in participation from women's rights/feminism in the 1960s/70s, peaking around 2000, and in the 21st century has been trending downward in parallel with men's.



So yes, contrary to your assertion above, I can indeed say it is needed now. (You can certainly still disagree with me, you just cannot tell me I'm not allowed say it or not allowed to believe it.)

Confounding factors or not, I think it only makes sense to look at the aggregate workforce participation rate for all genders, and probably adjusted for population cohorts.  If we're talking about macroeconomic impacts of automation displacing human work, any subset of the data seems only a partial answer.

For example, you would naturally expect male workforce participation to decline slightly if female workforce participation increases, for a fixed number of total jobs.  If there are deviations due to things like wars killing off a bunch of working-age men, those probably need to be discussed and addressed in any analysis of those trends.  If anyone wants to argue that machines are killing off human jobs, then jobs sloshing around between different groups of humans need to be aggregated and averaged out.  I'm sure you could make a very convincing graph about the death of work if you plotted the workforce participation rate of boomers, for example.

It's also possible that all of this discussion misses the larger problem.  Given the huge increase in income inequality over the past few decades, it's possible that the real problem isn't just the number of people who have jobs, but the distribution of income among those people.  The world would still suck if every single person had a job, but 99% of them made minimum wage part time and 1% were billionaires.  Increasing automation supports that trend, too, regardless of total workforce participation rates. 

Workforce participation used to be a proxy metric for how many families lived in poverty, and I'm not at all convinced that's still true.  Lots of people who have jobs still live below the poverty line.  Our economy could crumble beneath us long before that chart shows any changes at all.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 09:24:37 AM by sol »

BTDretire

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #45 on: May 07, 2019, 09:24:26 AM »
The Guardian is an openly biased (conservative) publication, and they make no claims at being a "news" source.  So you kind of have to take their stories with a grain of salt, understanding that they're selling an agenda.  They're like the PR arm of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "thinktank" and lobbying group that pushes Reagan-era economic and social policies that are widely considered primitive and regressive today.

Nope.  Not openly biased conservative publication. Not even close.  It's center-left.  You're either ignorant, a troll, or intentionally shutting down conversation with misleading hyperbole for reasons I'm not aware.  I gather that thoughtful, respectful and meaningful discussion is not possible here and that is a pity.  I'll make my exit.
Wow. Pot, meet kettle....

Excuse me?
He fired off an error ridden ad hominem attack (which itself earned a "what Sol said") , then when called out on the error claims he was confused.  Sure, he corrected.
And in his correction, makes an accusation of similarity to the alt-right. 
Even if that claim were remotely true, which it is not, name calling is evidence one is not interested in dialogue. 
I'm walking away from this because the chance for conversation here is already ruined.

Don't worry. You're not the only one annoyed with his often antagonistic and aggressive posts to anything he perceives as "conservative"....there are a number of us.

 +1

sol

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #46 on: May 07, 2019, 09:32:29 AM »
+1

I honestly love how this thread has an ongoing and vigorous intellectual discussion about economic data and UBI that is unfolding in parallel with and interspersed with a bunch of "sols sucks, +1" posts from folks not engaged in that discussion.

If this were my thread, I would change the title to "Does UBI work? / sol sucks!" just so everyone could find what they're looking for.

I'm sorry you're unhappy, BTDretire.  You are officially invited to respond to this thread in a more on-topic way, though, if you see something you disagree with.  I look forward to your input on this subject.

ditheca

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #47 on: May 07, 2019, 09:37:51 AM »
There's an awful big leap from 'no one has run an effective study' to 'UBI can never work.'

It's expensive.  It's unproven.  But the article should have been titled Stop running inconclusive UBI studies, not Universal basic income doesn't work.


Watchmaker

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #48 on: May 07, 2019, 09:48:45 AM »
For me to change my mind on automation hurting the job market, it would take evidence that people are having a harder time finding jobs than in the past.  Unemployment is still the best measure of that I am aware of.  That would convince me we have a problem that needs solved.  At that point, we could discuss whether UBI is the best solution.  In general, I still tend to default to giving able-bodied people opportunities and letting them run with them rather than the government giving handouts.

There's another question to ask, which is how much of the jobs we have now are needed? I contend there are a significant number of unnecessary jobs in our economy. Those unnecessary jobs include pointless paper pusher roles, but also all the "real" jobs that are created by elevated levels of consumption, and the jobs which are a unproductive byproduct of capitalism (like investment advisors or corporate lawyers).

A small percent of work being done (maybe a third? a fifth?) is needed. The rest we'd be better off without (i.e. we'd have more free time and we'd damage the environment less).

We contrive new ways to keep unemployment low since employment is pretty much the only way people can thrive in the current system. But that has lead to many people wasting their lives doing pointless or even damaging things just to justify their continued existence. The way I see it, this community is largely about buying your way out of that deal.

ericrugiero

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #49 on: May 07, 2019, 10:42:49 AM »
For me to change my mind on automation hurting the job market, it would take evidence that people are having a harder time finding jobs than in the past.  Unemployment is still the best measure of that I am aware of.  That would convince me we have a problem that needs solved.  At that point, we could discuss whether UBI is the best solution.  In general, I still tend to default to giving able-bodied people opportunities and letting them run with them rather than the government giving handouts.

There's another question to ask, which is how much of the jobs we have now are needed? I contend there are a significant number of unnecessary jobs in our economy. Those unnecessary jobs include pointless paper pusher roles, but also all the "real" jobs that are created by elevated levels of consumption, and the jobs which are a unproductive byproduct of capitalism (like investment advisors or corporate lawyers).

A small percent of work being done (maybe a third? a fifth?) is needed. The rest we'd be better off without (i.e. we'd have more free time and we'd damage the environment less).

We contrive new ways to keep unemployment low since employment is pretty much the only way people can thrive in the current system. But that has lead to many people wasting their lives doing pointless or even damaging things just to justify their continued existence. The way I see it, this community is largely about buying your way out of that deal.

I agree with this in general.  Automation is changing the types of jobs some people do now.  Some of the jobs created are either unproductive or are created because of the consumerism that is so common.  But, many of the jobs that are being replaced are mindless repetitive tasks that weren't exactly what I would consider a rewarding job.