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General Discussion => Welcome and General Discussion => Topic started by: MoneyGoatee on June 16, 2019, 09:57:34 AM

Title: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: MoneyGoatee on June 16, 2019, 09:57:34 AM
One of the democratic candidates, Andrew Yang, proposes universal basic income of $12k a year for every person.  Is this something mustachians would support?  Many Americans who earn $25k or less simply have too little money to use the mustachian strategies to achieve FIRE.  An extra $12K a year (for a family of 4 that would be an extra $48k a year) would definitely help with their savings.  But of course, the question is could the nation even afford this?  How would the stock markets, which mustachians depend on, be affected?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: FIREstache on June 16, 2019, 10:02:02 AM
I absolutely oppose it!  See my posts in the off topic section, where this was recently beat to death.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/why-did-anyone-ever-think-ubi-would-work/

One of the democratic candidates, Andrew Yang, proposes universal basic income of $12k a year for every person.

Actually, not everyone would end up getting it, because they would have to give up more (such as a meager $1400 SS benefit) in order to receive UBI, while those receiving generous pensions and those earning sweet incomes would still receive UBI on top of their pension/income.  Yet, those SS recipients would still be paying the higher taxes and prices that result.  How fair is that?  There are other reasons why it's a bad idea, which would result in unintended consequences, but refer to the linked thread.  It's a crazy unfair idea that we can't afford that would do more harm than good.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Cassie on June 16, 2019, 10:14:18 AM
Not if itís going to replace our other social benefits.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on June 16, 2019, 11:40:25 AM
One of the democratic candidates, Andrew Yang, proposes universal basic income of $12k a year for every person.  Is this something mustachians would support?


I am  leery of UBI for two reasons: Institution of UBI  would fulfill Marx's maxim and consolidate the  congressional redistributionists' power.

If, as predicted by some researchers and technologists, many millions  of employees lose their jobs due to technological advances UBI may be indispensable.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: MrUpwardlyMobile on June 16, 2019, 12:14:16 PM
Generally sounds pretty awful and doesnít seem to make sense in our system.  It would require a massive overhaul of everything in the American system and safety net to really consider this.  I just canít get behind that with any current proposal.The Democrat candidate pool is looking pretty terrible again.  Maybe theyíll get their act together during the subsequent presidential race.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: freedomfightergal on June 17, 2019, 07:47:31 PM
If 2/3 of the people don't have jobs they won't be able to pay for anything.  That will crash the economy.  Then you will have a lot of very upset angry people. 

While ~ .05% will be rich unsympathetic fatcats, controlling the government too no doubt.


The economy needs the people to be able to spend.

Other countries have much better welfare systems that create a more stable economy and less crime, (see Australia). I'm not seeing this as a welfare system though.  I think it is an evolution in the economy.  Robots, AI etc will do a lot of the work, we can all share in the profits.  After all our forefathers created the evolution of the society that has led to this.  I also believe we won't become a nation of bums.  People will do more of what they want.  Starting with most importantly, actually parenting their children instead of leaving them in childcare centers, that sound like a better society.

Also, it's not a lot of money. But enough to hopefully stop a sudden avalanche of homeless, hungry people.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: undercover on June 17, 2019, 07:59:12 PM
I think UBI is a natural inevitability of a highly automated society. It's that simple. Has nothing to do with whether I want it to happen or not. All signs point to it's going to happen. I guess I don't necessarily support it now since I think it's largely unnecessary. But in the future I will since I think the consolidation of markets (retail/tech/etc..) is going to mean higher concentrations of wealth which will create civil unrest. And of course automation is happening alongside this so there just simply won't be jobs for a lot of people.

All of this is a question of timing, but of course it's still interesting to discuss the best ways to implement it when necessary.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: scottish on June 18, 2019, 03:48:24 PM

 I think we should enable people to reach their potential.   

I don't think the current culture would do that with a UBI.   There is too much internet and too much consumerism.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: cowpuncher10 on June 19, 2019, 01:11:28 PM
UBI is absolutely terrifying to me. Literally getting something for nothing.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on June 19, 2019, 01:49:03 PM
UBI is absolutely terrifying to me. Literally getting something for nothing.

UBI may be a double-edged sword that cuts well for some and poorly for others.

It may  benefit ascetics while deadening others' financial aspirations.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: MoneyGoatee on June 19, 2019, 02:05:10 PM
Maybe a one-time handout of $N to everyone?  Then do it again N years afterwards?  Would that be a good middle ground instead of giving out UBI to everyone every year?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: v8rx7guy on June 19, 2019, 02:12:08 PM
No thanks.  But if UBI does come to fruition,  you can bet I'll be cashing in double by raising rent $500/mo on each of my duplex units!  I know they can afford it.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: solon on June 19, 2019, 02:13:41 PM
No thanks.  But if UBI does come to fruition,  you can bet I'll be cashing in double by raising rent $600/mo on each of my duplex units!  I know they can afford it.

My thoughts exactly. Wouldn't UBI cause the cost of living to up?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: MoneyGoatee on June 19, 2019, 02:29:50 PM
No thanks.  But if UBI does come to fruition,  you can bet I'll be cashing in double by raising rent $500/mo on each of my duplex units!  I know they can afford it.

But then, people you buy from would also raise prices on you.  So everyone would raise prices on everyone, same as no one raising prices on anyone.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: cowpuncher10 on June 19, 2019, 02:36:22 PM
Maybe a one-time handout of $N to everyone?  Then do it again N years afterwards?  Would that be a good middle ground instead of giving out UBI to everyone every year?

This is a tongue in cheek comment and not meant to inflame and might be a bit of a strawman as well.

People do such a great job and are responsible with their tax returns every year...I would use that as a substitution and example of why this suggestion would NOT be the best option.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on June 19, 2019, 02:42:27 PM
Maybe a one-time handout of $N to everyone?  Then do it again N years afterwards?  Would that be a good middle ground instead of giving out UBI to everyone every year?

I think not for the reason that the vast majority of the populace has a very high propensity to spend almost all money they receive very soon after its receipt.

Thus, the  rationale of a spendthrift trust applies to a large,  one-time $N UBI and its replenishment years later as well as an annual UBI payment.

I think UBI/per month would be  best for most of its recipients.

The technocrats can figure a way to disburse monthly payments efficiently.

While I understand the paternalism of  my answer it's a given that  too many people are poor at managing money.



Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: v8rx7guy on June 19, 2019, 02:43:31 PM
No thanks.  But if UBI does come to fruition,  you can bet I'll be cashing in double by raising rent $500/mo on each of my duplex units!  I know they can afford it.

But then, people you buy from would also raise prices on you.  So everyone would raise prices on everyone, same as no one raising prices on anyone.

Imagine that.  Well the good news is that I'm mostly Mustachian and bringing in 2X more than the poor souls who can't take advantage of all the extra money being pumped into the economy.  Best news is that I'm also already a homeowner with a fixed rate mortgage.  Can't imagine what a home would cost after UBI was implemented. 

Sounds like a great rich get richer scheme to me!  I'm sure it'll win some votes though.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: lemonlyman on June 19, 2019, 02:46:27 PM
Being for or against is irrelevant. I agree that it's inevitable. The seed of the idea will go more mainstream this election. As more jobs get displaced by automation, it'll permeate both sides of the aisle. How it's to be instituted will be the debate.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Telecaster on June 19, 2019, 03:02:32 PM
No thanks.  But if UBI does come to fruition,  you can bet I'll be cashing in double by raising rent $600/mo on each of my duplex units!  I know they can afford it.

My thoughts exactly. Wouldn't UBI cause the cost of living to up?

In theory, if it is fully funded through taxes then no, because the same amount of money remains in the economy.  In the previous poster's example, rents are set (mostly) by supply and demand.  If suddenly incomes were increased by $12,000 per year, that wouldn't cause an increase in the number of people looking for rental units.   But it might increase the demand for higher end units, as some people could afford to upgrade from their current living conditions.   But in that case, the previous poster would have to upgrade his units as well in order to capture that market.     
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: solon on June 19, 2019, 03:12:55 PM
No thanks.  But if UBI does come to fruition,  you can bet I'll be cashing in double by raising rent $600/mo on each of my duplex units!  I know they can afford it.

My thoughts exactly. Wouldn't UBI cause the cost of living to up?

In theory, if it is fully funded through taxes then no, because the same amount of money remains in the economy.  In the previous poster's example, rents are set (mostly) by supply and demand.  If suddenly incomes were increased by $12,000 per year, that wouldn't cause an increase in the number of people looking for rental units.   But it might increase the demand for higher end units, as some people could afford to upgrade from their current living conditions.   But in that case, the previous poster would have to upgrade his units as well in order to capture that market.   

Well, it seems to me that demand for everything would go up. Anyone selling anything (products, services, rents) would raise their prices because they know their target market has more cash now.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on June 19, 2019, 03:20:41 PM
No thanks.  But if UBI does come to fruition,  you can bet I'll be cashing in double by raising rent $600/mo on each of my duplex units!  I know they can afford it.

My thoughts exactly. Wouldn't UBI cause the cost of living to up?


Maybe.

Maybe not.

For UBI to increase COL aggregate UBI   would have to exceed the  lost income that necessitated establishment of UBI.

If as projected, 25-40% of the workforce loses their jobs won't aggregate income and spending decrease even though the 25-40% receives UBI?

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: v8rx7guy on June 19, 2019, 03:28:32 PM
No thanks.  But if UBI does come to fruition,  you can bet I'll be cashing in double by raising rent $600/mo on each of my duplex units!  I know they can afford it.

My thoughts exactly. Wouldn't UBI cause the cost of living to up?


Maybe.

Maybe not.

For UBI to increase COL aggregate UBI   would have to exceed the  lost income that necessitated establishment of UBI.

If as projected, 25-40% of the workforce loses their jobs won't aggregate income and spending decrease even though the 25-40% receives UBI?

Maybe.   But the problem is that 25-40% are not losing their jobs in the near future but UBI is still being proposed by at least one 2020 potential Presidential nominee.

https://www.yang2020.com/policies/the-freedom-dividend/
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EvenSteven on June 19, 2019, 03:31:30 PM
No thanks.  But if UBI does come to fruition,  you can bet I'll be cashing in double by raising rent $600/mo on each of my duplex units!  I know they can afford it.

My thoughts exactly. Wouldn't UBI cause the cost of living to up?

In theory, if it is fully funded through taxes then no, because the same amount of money remains in the economy.  In the previous poster's example, rents are set (mostly) by supply and demand.  If suddenly incomes were increased by $12,000 per year, that wouldn't cause an increase in the number of people looking for rental units.   But it might increase the demand for higher end units, as some people could afford to upgrade from their current living conditions.   But in that case, the previous poster would have to upgrade his units as well in order to capture that market.   

Well, it seems to me that demand for everything would go up. Anyone selling anything (products, services, rents) would raise their prices because they know their target market has more cash now.

What if their competitors keep their price the same, and increase their profits by getting more sales and put the person who raised their prices out of business?

In other words, price depends on both supply and demand.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Steeze on June 19, 2019, 03:49:35 PM
Not if itís going to replace our other social benefits.

Only if it replaces all other benefits.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: FIREstache on June 19, 2019, 04:19:49 PM
Maybe a one-time handout of $N to everyone? Then do it again N years afterwards?  Would that be a good middle ground instead of giving out UBI to everyone every year?

Except it's not proposed to be given to everyone.  The proposals I've seen including the democrat candidate mentioned, state that you would lose your earned $1400/mo SS benefit if you wanted to receive the $1000/mo UBI handout.  Which really means, no UBI for you.  So essentially, you're screwing those SS recipients who paid into the system over a career, while pension recipients and wealthy income earners would receive $1000/mo on top of what they already receive/earn.  That's absolutely ridiculous.  If it's really UBI, everyone should get it without exclusions and without having to give up other earned benefits, whether SS, pension, or what have you.  But that's not how it's ever being proposed.  It's a horrible idea anyway, but the unfairness of the proposals makes it even worse.

No thanks.  But if UBI does come to fruition,  you can bet I'll be cashing in double by raising rent $600/mo on each of my duplex units!  I know they can afford it.

My thoughts exactly. Wouldn't UBI cause the cost of living to up?

Yes, but some people aren't going to receive the UBI, such as the SS recipients that are earning a meager average $1400/mo in benefit, so for those people, they're getting triple screwed.  First for not receiving the UBI that everyone else gets, second for having to pay the higher taxes to fund UBI, and third for paying higher prices for everything as a result of UBI that everyone else gets.

No thanks.  But if UBI does come to fruition,  you can bet I'll be cashing in double by raising rent $500/mo on each of my duplex units!  I know they can afford it.

But then, people you buy from would also raise prices on you.  So everyone would raise prices on everyone, same as no one raising prices on anyone.

No, the SS recipients (and possibly others) not receiving the UBI because they've earned a meager SS benefit through a career of paying FICA taxes are the ones really losing out because, despite not receiving any UBI, they'll still have to pay the higher taxes to fund it and pay the higher prices that result from it, yet they still have to live on their same meager earned SS benefit, so those price increases and tax hikes will be real and painful for them when they are already struggling to get by on their limited benefit which is taxed higher every year due to SS tax thresholds which are not indexed to inflation along with higher health care out of pocket costs and ever increasing Medicare parts/supplemental costs on top of their other increasing expenses.  UBI would just be piling on - more bad times.  It's truly a horrible thing to screw SS recipients that way.

.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Telecaster on June 19, 2019, 06:39:07 PM
No, the SS recipients (and possibly others) not receiving the UBI because they've earned a meager SS benefit through a career of paying FICA taxes are the ones really losing out because, despite not receiving any UBI, they'll still have to pay the higher taxes to fund it and pay the higher prices that result from it, yet they still have to live on their same meager earned SS benefit, so those price increases and tax hikes will be real and painful for them when they are already struggling to get by on their limited benefit which is taxed higher every year due to SS tax thresholds which are not indexed to inflation along with higher health care out of pocket costs and ever increasing Medicare parts/supplemental costs on top of their other increasing expenses.  UBI would just be piling on - more bad times.  It's truly a horrible thing to screw SS recipients that way.

Andrew Wang's proposal would be paid for by a VAT.  It is certainly reasonable to conclude the VAT's cost would show up in higher consumer prices.  But you can't double count both higher prices and higher taxes.  The taxes are baked into the higher prices.   

That said, SS benefits are indexed to the CPI.  If consumer prices went up, so would the SS benefits.   So I don't see how this particularly hurts SS recipients. 

One group that would benefit are people getting less than $1,000/month in SSI benefits.  A large number of these people are women who undertook child raising duties and accordingly don't have the work history and/or gave up career opportunities to stay at home. 

You have good points about the SS tax thresholds and increasing medical costs, but those issues are independent of UBI. 

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: StockBeard on June 19, 2019, 07:19:13 PM
I'm in favor of universal income in principle. I do see how poor implementations of it would be counterproductive though, as described by most people above.

In principle, I think universal income would be key to human freedom in modern democracies. A mechanism that would empower people to really choose whether they want to work for money or not, or to really choose their employer, would in my opinion lead to happier, healthier, and more ethical people. I don't think most people have a choice of who they work for nowadays, and many of us would not work for their current employer if money was out of the equation, and if we could really have a say in some of the business's ethical choices.

Hopefully, on a forum where almost everyone tries to be freed from the shackles of "employment for money", that kind of goal should resonate a bit. Now, in terms of the implementation of it, maybe universal income is not the best way, but I think, if implemented correctly, it could get us closer to that goal.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on June 19, 2019, 11:31:47 PM
I don't believe in redistribution of income (other than that required to pay for a universal medical and welfare safety net), so if the UBI is predicated on providing a level of healthcare and a minimal safety net to ensure everyone has 3 meals and a roof, I'm all for it. If it's predicated on providing a moderately good standard of living that currently people have to work for, I'm against it.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: DaMa on June 20, 2019, 06:20:22 AM
In theory, I like the safety net of UBI, but it would never work.  Give everyone another $1000 a month, and most people would just increase their standard of living to the new level.  Lose a job, and you are in the exact same spot. 

We do need a better welfare system, though.  My niece recently lost her job.  She found another job paying $11 an hour, but since school's out, she has extra daycare costs ($350 per week for two school age, one toddler).  She'll take home about $40 a week.  Her income is just barely too high to qualify for childcare assistance.  She'd be better off collecting unemployment for the summer.  But the childcare subsidy would allow her to work and pay another person to work, the daycare provider.  Two taxpayers instead of none.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Home Stretch on June 20, 2019, 07:31:03 AM
Three thoughts:

1. This is a classic slippery-slope type of situation. Let's pretend we elect Yang and he implements his $12k/year for everyone over 18. In 2024, a candidate comes along and runs on $15k/year for everyone over 18. Who are the 22 year-olds voting for, I wonder? It would never end.

2. We already have reasonable policies in place that can be tweaked. For example, minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would, in effect, raise the "basic income", for anyone able to work an unskilled job. We would only have to raise the minimum wage to $13/hour to get minimum-wage earners an additional $12k/year.

3. I would much rather focus on single-payer/universal health care. I am staring down the barrel of a $700/mo insurance premium starting next month for just my SO and I - $8,400/year. I know it's a stretch, but if we could radically change our insurance system and wean ourselves off of the inefficiencies of all these giant insurance companies and red tape, I think we could reduce the expense of healthcare AND improve the quality by allowing preventative access to all.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on June 20, 2019, 07:33:51 AM
I see pros and cons to the possible implementation of UBI, anyone who says with confidence that it is a good or bad idea is kidding themselves. Too many moving parts to be sure of anything. I do see the eventual need for a way to distribute wealth to a workforce replaced by robots and UBI is the best I can imagine right now, but maybe someone will come up with a better idea by the time we really need it.

For now, I think the US should prioritize some form of universal healthcare.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on June 20, 2019, 07:43:03 AM
Three thoughts:

1. This is a classic slippery-slope type of situation. Let's pretend we elect Yang and he implements his $12k/year for everyone over 18. In 2024, a candidate comes along and runs on $15k/year for everyone over 18. Who are the 22 year-olds voting for, I wonder? It would never end.

2. We already have reasonable policies in place that can be tweaked. For example, minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would, in effect, raise the "basic income", for anyone able to work an unskilled job. We would only have to raise the minimum wage to $13/hour to get minimum-wage earners an additional $12k/year.

3. I would much rather focus on single-payer/universal health care. I am staring down the barrel of a $700/mo insurance premium starting next month for just my SO and I - $8,400/year. I know it's a stretch, but if we could radically change our insurance system and wean ourselves off of the inefficiencies of all these giant insurance companies and red tape, I think we could reduce the expense of healthcare AND improve the quality by allowing preventative access to all.

1. The slippery slope argument can be used to argue against just about anything. Personally I'm supportive of some form of UBI at some point in the future, but I think starting a $1,000/month (today's dollars) is too high.

2. Raising the minimum wage pushes employers toward automation which is exactly the problem that UBI seeks to address. It's the unemployed, whether temporary or long term, that will be a problem in the future.

3. Absolutely
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: nancyjnelson on June 20, 2019, 08:29:59 AM
I'm not really crazy about UBI.

I would totally support free healthcare and free education.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Home Stretch on June 20, 2019, 09:00:45 AM
Three thoughts:

1. This is a classic slippery-slope type of situation. Let's pretend we elect Yang and he implements his $12k/year for everyone over 18. In 2024, a candidate comes along and runs on $15k/year for everyone over 18. Who are the 22 year-olds voting for, I wonder? It would never end.

2. We already have reasonable policies in place that can be tweaked. For example, minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would, in effect, raise the "basic income", for anyone able to work an unskilled job. We would only have to raise the minimum wage to $13/hour to get minimum-wage earners an additional $12k/year.

3. I would much rather focus on single-payer/universal health care. I am staring down the barrel of a $700/mo insurance premium starting next month for just my SO and I - $8,400/year. I know it's a stretch, but if we could radically change our insurance system and wean ourselves off of the inefficiencies of all these giant insurance companies and red tape, I think we could reduce the expense of healthcare AND improve the quality by allowing preventative access to all.

1. The slippery slope argument can be used to argue against just about anything. Personally I'm supportive of some form of UBI at some point in the future, but I think starting a $1,000/month (today's dollars) is too high.

2. Raising the minimum wage pushes employers toward automation which is exactly the problem that UBI seeks to address. It's the unemployed, whether temporary or long term, that will be a problem in the future.

3. Absolutely

Yes, slippery slope can be a kind of B.S. "catch-all" argument, but I truly see it as a bit more acute in this case, because you're starting the central re-distribution of $X amount of no-strings-attached cash. It's just a very easy thing for any American, anywhere on the intellectual spectrum, to comprehend. "Oh, well candidate A wants to give me $12k but candidate B wants to give me $15k - I know who I'm voting for!". Unlike other, more abstract/nuanced policy points, UBI as advertised by candidates like Yang has a specific dollar amount tied to it.

Raising the minimum wage will push employers toward more automation - very true. However, I'd rather take the step now of raising it to flush out all of the employers who can/will do this anyway. At least then we have an honest assessment of where we lie in regards to automation in the retail/food service/unskilled labor pool. The alternative is to continue the farce of paying people poverty-level wages and then having to subsidize them anyway in the form of food stamps, subsidized housing, etc... because almost nobody can live on $250/week.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Paul der Krake on June 20, 2019, 09:07:27 AM
The last thing I want is to see idiots with more free time than currently. Hard pass for me.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on June 20, 2019, 09:26:41 AM
Three thoughts:

1. This is a classic slippery-slope type of situation. Let's pretend we elect Yang and he implements his $12k/year for everyone over 18. In 2024, a candidate comes along and runs on $15k/year for everyone over 18. Who are the 22 year-olds voting for, I wonder? It would never end.

2. We already have reasonable policies in place that can be tweaked. For example, minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would, in effect, raise the "basic income", for anyone able to work an unskilled job. We would only have to raise the minimum wage to $13/hour to get minimum-wage earners an additional $12k/year.

3. I would much rather focus on single-payer/universal health care. I am staring down the barrel of a $700/mo insurance premium starting next month for just my SO and I - $8,400/year. I know it's a stretch, but if we could radically change our insurance system and wean ourselves off of the inefficiencies of all these giant insurance companies and red tape, I think we could reduce the expense of healthcare AND improve the quality by allowing preventative access to all.

1. The slippery slope argument can be used to argue against just about anything. Personally I'm supportive of some form of UBI at some point in the future, but I think starting a $1,000/month (today's dollars) is too high.

2. Raising the minimum wage pushes employers toward automation which is exactly the problem that UBI seeks to address. It's the unemployed, whether temporary or long term, that will be a problem in the future.

3. Absolutely

Yes, slippery slope can be a kind of B.S. "catch-all" argument, but I truly see it as a bit more acute in this case, because you're starting the central re-distribution of $X amount of no-strings-attached cash. It's just a very easy thing for any American, anywhere on the intellectual spectrum, to comprehend. "Oh, well candidate A wants to give me $12k but candidate B wants to give me $15k - I know who I'm voting for!". Unlike other, more abstract/nuanced policy points, UBI as advertised by candidates like Yang has a specific dollar amount tied to it.

Raising the minimum wage will push employers toward more automation - very true. However, I'd rather take the step now of raising it to flush out all of the employers who can/will do this anyway. At least then we have an honest assessment of where we lie in regards to automation in the retail/food service/unskilled labor pool. The alternative is to continue the farce of paying people poverty-level wages and then having to subsidize them anyway in the form of food stamps, subsidized housing, etc... because almost nobody can live on $250/week.

That's fair. It would also be very difficult for a politician to support lowering of a UBI. The numbers are so direct and easy for voters to see.

I used to be against the idea of the government subsidizing living costs of the employed, but I've somewhat changed my mind on that. If an employer can only justify paying someone $15,000 when they need $20,000 to get by, is it better to have them employed and costing the government $5,000 or unemployed and costing the government $20,000? Of course it's not always a binary choice, it's a bit more complicated than that, but I can see both sides of that argument.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: jlcnuke on June 20, 2019, 11:14:50 AM
When we have people making millions and a 45% unemployment rate because jobs have just disappeared and none have been invented to fill the void left from the old jobs disappearing, then I'll be happy to consider a UBI.

While we have a <4% unemployment rate and great potential for future growth and only fear-mongering of "the AI are going to take our jobs!" as a "good" reason to think people can't earn their own money, I'll continue to oppose it. Redistribution of wealth and income needs to have an urgent and serious reason to be considered in my opinion, and that's what UBI is. It's not "free money", it's taking money from some people and giving it to others.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Home Stretch on June 21, 2019, 08:06:26 AM
Well, the response so far seems to be a resounding "NO", mustachians do not support UBI.

Case closed!
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Raenia on June 21, 2019, 08:18:03 AM
Some do, some don't.  If you take a look at the thread in Off Topic that was linked earlier on, you'll see quite a lot of discussion on both sides.  Mustachians don't agree on much, outside our little sphere, and sometimes not even there!
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Caroline PF on June 21, 2019, 02:22:56 PM
I would support a UBI under the following circumstances

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: freedomfightergal on June 21, 2019, 03:02:55 PM
How much money was handed back to companies with the massive tax cuts, about 15% of trillions?
How much was the Bank Bailout - $12.8 Trillion in total

How much did your taxes reduce?
How much of a financial bailout did anyone that is an Employee get?

Seems to me only all the Corporations are winning - with OUR tax dollars.

Now those same companies are automating the jobs away - ok fair enough, it's the way of the world.  Yet pay levels are stagnant, benefits are reducing whilst Health Insurance costs soar. 

So why can't the public benefit by a pittance compared to the money-showers for Corps?

If it weren't for the automation - that is already happening it probably wouldn't be necessary.  But it is already happening and it is going to cause major social and economic problems fast without some kind of strategy in place.

In Australia they have the DOLE for anyone unemployed they get a small allowance to survive.  I must admit when I lived in Australia I thought it was a bit much.  But now that I live in the US I can see the benefits.  It reduces crime, it reduces ghetto's and horrifying poverty for children because everyone no matter what has some income.  The Goods and Services Tax, (GST) was brought in to help restructure the tax collection system to make it more fair and not soley on the shoulders of the workers, similar to a VAT.  It did not apply to food. 

I think a VAT applied to consumer goods and not basic necessities like food, gas and utilities, collected and paid back to the people in the form of a UBI makes a lot of sense.  A lot of companies don't pay Federal tax eg Amazon, if they collected a VAT, it would cover a lot of the UBI, and they have automated a slew of jobs already and will continue to do so ie drone deliveries...no more driver deliveries.

I'm not saying I think people should be paid for nothing.  I think we should support citizens when there are not enough jobs. 

I highly recommend Andrew Yang's book,  "The War on Normal People", he explains the trajectory of the labor market so well in an entertaining way.

Peace
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: alienbogey on June 21, 2019, 10:10:37 PM
The projected U.S. government deficit for FY 2020 is $1.1 trillion and a Democratic candidate is proposing to "give" everybody $12,000/yr.  Other candidates are proposing to "give" everyone free health care.  Others are proposing to "give" everyone free college education.

A $1.1 TRILLION budget deficit and they are proposing massive increases in spending.  Well, of course they are.

If the AI prognostication actually happen then UBI may become necessary at some point in the future, but we'll be well and truly bankrupt before then.  We already are.


Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: nancyjnelson on June 22, 2019, 01:58:37 AM
Quote
How much money was handed back to companies with the massive tax cuts, about 15% of trillions?


The average taxpayer pays $200/year for food stamps and $80 for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (aka Welfare).  In comparison, the average family pays $6,000 annually for corporate welfare (subsidies, tax breaks, etc).
 
Yes, I see that I used average taxpayer and average family - not a direct comparison - but these are the stats I could find without spending hours on it.   

In 2015 military spending (all regular expenses of the DoD including war spending, nuclear weapons, military assistance and other Pentagon-related spending) was $598.5 billion annually https://www.nationalpriorities.org/campaigns/military-spending-united-states/ (https://www.nationalpriorities.org/campaigns/military-spending-united-states/). That breaks down to $1.64 billion each day.

Many of us on this forum are worried about slippery slopes and undeserving (as we see them) people being comfortable.  Maybe we should all step back and take a look at what type of country we are becoming. What can we afford?  I believe what we CANNOT afford is to beggar our population in the interest of enriching the military-industrial complex.   
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on June 22, 2019, 02:30:38 AM
I agree there's too much funding going to military but if we were to magically wrest back that funding I would support pro rata tax decreases for everyone, rather than redistribution.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: nancyjnelson on June 22, 2019, 10:31:09 AM
I think as one of the richest countries in the world we should direct some of our wealth to bring up the standard of living of those who need it, whether they are "deserving" in the puritanical sense or not.  Jarod Kuschner, for example, is not what I would consider deserving, but he and his family have benefited to an obscene degree from public funds and from financial regulations that were written by people like him to benefit people like him.

I think we should invest in the country - schools, infrastructure, reliable mass transit, environment, etc - before looking at lowering taxes. And we would need to take a serious look at the entire tax structure before we start lowering tax rates all around. 

There is something wrong that I paid more federal taxes in 2018 than General Motors, Chevron, Amazon, Halliburton, Netflix, Whirlpool, Aramark, Goodyear, IBM or many other companies. We're getting it backwards when we get upset with individuals/families on welfare or food stamps - or with the idea of providing these people with more when they didn't work for it - when these corporations are literally making away like bandits.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: use2betrix on June 22, 2019, 11:29:08 AM

There is something wrong that I paid more federal taxes in 2018 than General Motors, Chevron, Amazon, Halliburton, Netflix, Whirlpool, Aramark, Goodyear, IBM or many other companies. We're getting it backwards when we get upset with individuals/families on welfare or food stamps - or with the idea of providing these people with more when they didn't work for it - when these corporations are literally making away like bandits.

Do you think we would be better off if these companies disappeared, along with the millions of jobs associated with them? Those jobs, that also entail all the tax paying jobs that go along with them?

If we all of a sudden reduced their earnings by 35%, that would basically trickle immediately down to their employees via a reduction in force or pay.. Or by simply shutting down as they no longer remain profitable as a company..

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: MrUpwardlyMobile on June 22, 2019, 11:33:09 AM
The last thing I want is to see idiots with more free time than currently. Hard pass for me.

Can we be friends? This post was hilarious. 👍
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: I-Ranger on June 22, 2019, 11:50:06 AM

There is something wrong that I paid more federal taxes in 2018 than General Motors, Chevron, Amazon, Halliburton, Netflix, Whirlpool, Aramark, Goodyear, IBM or many other companies. We're getting it backwards when we get upset with individuals/families on welfare or food stamps - or with the idea of providing these people with more when they didn't work for it - when these corporations are literally making away like bandits.

Do you think we would be better off if these companies disappeared, along with the millions of jobs associated with them? Those jobs, that also entail all the tax paying jobs that go along with them?

If we all of a sudden reduced their earnings by 35%, that would basically trickle immediately down to their employees via a reduction in force or pay.. Or by simply shutting down as they no longer remain profitable as a company..

So the choice is binary? We either refrain from collecting taxes from them or they go out of business?

Somehow, some way, I think the companies mentioned would find a way to survive if they had to pay more in taxes. And they're not going to cut a bunch of employees if the demand for their product is still there. 
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: use2betrix on June 22, 2019, 12:08:41 PM

There is something wrong that I paid more federal taxes in 2018 than General Motors, Chevron, Amazon, Halliburton, Netflix, Whirlpool, Aramark, Goodyear, IBM or many other companies. We're getting it backwards when we get upset with individuals/families on welfare or food stamps - or with the idea of providing these people with more when they didn't work for it - when these corporations are literally making away like bandits.

Do you think we would be better off if these companies disappeared, along with the millions of jobs associated with them? Those jobs, that also entail all the tax paying jobs that go along with them?

If we all of a sudden reduced their earnings by 35%, that would basically trickle immediately down to their employees via a reduction in force or pay.. Or by simply shutting down as they no longer remain profitable as a company..

So the choice is binary? We either refrain from collecting taxes from them or they go out of business?

Somehow, some way, I think the companies mentioned would find a way to survive if they had to pay more in taxes. And they're not going to cut a bunch of employees if the demand for their product is still there.

Yes. Itís 100% binary.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: I-Ranger on June 22, 2019, 05:16:07 PM

There is something wrong that I paid more federal taxes in 2018 than General Motors, Chevron, Amazon, Halliburton, Netflix, Whirlpool, Aramark, Goodyear, IBM or many other companies. We're getting it backwards when we get upset with individuals/families on welfare or food stamps - or with the idea of providing these people with more when they didn't work for it - when these corporations are literally making away like bandits.

Do you think we would be better off if these companies disappeared, along with the millions of jobs associated with them? Those jobs, that also entail all the tax paying jobs that go along with them?

If we all of a sudden reduced their earnings by 35%, that would basically trickle immediately down to their employees via a reduction in force or pay.. Or by simply shutting down as they no longer remain profitable as a company..

So the choice is binary? We either refrain from collecting taxes from them or they go out of business?

Somehow, some way, I think the companies mentioned would find a way to survive if they had to pay more in taxes. And they're not going to cut a bunch of employees if the demand for their product is still there.

Yes. Itís 100% binary.

Since it's that simple, we should collect more taxes from individual citizens, give that cash to huge companies, and then there's no way these companies will ever go out of business or layoff anyone. :)

I don't think Amazon, GM, Halliburton, etc. are all such fragile houses of cards that an uptick in their paid taxes from zero to something a bit above zero causes them to collapse, but I guess we agree to disagree. Must be tough for Bezos to be livin' paycheck-to-paycheck like that. Hope he has a solid E-fund. :)
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on June 23, 2019, 08:34:54 AM
I think there are some serious issues with UBI, mostly motivational and psychological ones.  I don't know how price discovery works under UBI and it sounds immediately inflationary on its face.  Bloop Bloop made some good posts in the Off Topic thread about quid pro quo and how it breaks under UBI.

I also feel that we are steamrolling towards some new normal in the economy where people are much less involved in the business process.  I certainly notice it when I buy stuff--I interact with far fewer employees now to live day-to-day.

There are other anomalies in the economy too, velocity of money seems to be slowing, middle class is evaporating, etc.  Low rates, gold, bitcoin...

I don't know how much of this is undiscovered territory or how much of it is simply the usual unknown that always exists and I'm just paying more attention to it now.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Hula Hoop on June 23, 2019, 09:00:07 AM
UBI here in Italy ("reddito di cittidinanza") has had some unexpected effects.  For example, in the North of Italy they always relied on seasonal workers from the (poorer) South to work as life guards.  This year the pool and beach club owners are all complaining as they can't get enough workers.  The Southerners who usually migrate to the North for seasonal work just aren't coming this year.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on June 23, 2019, 09:10:25 AM
Instead of UBI, how about greatly expanding the saver's credit for low income earners?

Instead of a government 50% match on your first $2000 of retirement contribution, make it a 500% match on the first $1000.

This would allow someone working a minimum wage job to save at a level which would give them a comfortable retirement in ~30 years without taking much money out of their current living needs.  It would give them a big incentive to work.

So you contribute $1000 to a IRA, the government kicks in $5,000, you have $6000 going in.

Could tweak the numbers a bit.   There will always be minimum wage jobs out there for things the robots don't want to do.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on June 24, 2019, 08:01:45 AM

There is something wrong that I paid more federal taxes in 2018 than General Motors, Chevron, Amazon, Halliburton, Netflix, Whirlpool, Aramark, Goodyear, IBM or many other companies. We're getting it backwards when we get upset with individuals/families on welfare or food stamps - or with the idea of providing these people with more when they didn't work for it - when these corporations are literally making away like bandits.

Do you think we would be better off if these companies disappeared, along with the millions of jobs associated with them? Those jobs, that also entail all the tax paying jobs that go along with them?

If we all of a sudden reduced their earnings by 35%, that would basically trickle immediately down to their employees via a reduction in force or pay.. Or by simply shutting down as they no longer remain profitable as a company..

Just like the TCJA resulted in increased pay... oh, nevermind.

This assumption doesn't play out in reality and doesn't make theoretical sense either. Why would an employer pay more than necessary to get the job done? If you assume taxing employers will result in lower wages then you must assume employers are currently paying more than needed to keep their employees optimally productive.

As for job loss that would occur to some extent, but it would only be positions which are paid nearly as much as the value they bring in. If a position compensated at $20/hour provides a value to the business of $21 and raising taxes reduces the value to $19, then yes, a tax increase may eliminate that position but there must be a cutoff somewhere.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: A Fella from Stella on June 24, 2019, 11:46:07 AM
I supported it when it was a Republican-led program called The FairTax, and I like Yang's approach, too.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: freedomfightergal on June 24, 2019, 04:50:13 PM

There is something wrong that I paid more federal taxes in 2018 than General Motors, Chevron, Amazon, Halliburton, Netflix, Whirlpool, Aramark, Goodyear, IBM or many other companies. We're getting it backwards when we get upset with individuals/families on welfare or food stamps - or with the idea of providing these people with more when they didn't work for it - when these corporations are literally making away like bandits.

Do you think we would be better off if these companies disappeared, along with the millions of jobs associated with them? Those jobs, that also entail all the tax paying jobs that go along with them?

If we all of a sudden reduced their earnings by 35%, that would basically trickle immediately down to their employees via a reduction in force or pay.. Or by simply shutting down as they no longer remain profitable as a company..

They will disappear if unemployment is so high no one can consume.  They won't disappear if they collect a VAT, (like many other countries) and pass that VAT onto the unemployed and destitute, who then buy products/services from those same companies.

Those same companies are doing their best to get rid of as many staff as possible, and just had a 15% tax cut that didn't trickle down to me, (owner bought a new yacht).  Amazon alone has automated warehouses and sucked up $30 Billion in retail, so that many workers have already lost their jobs, malls are closing, retails stores are closing.

I don't see this as sticking it to Business, but keeping the economy going and society stable.  The US is a wealthy country,yet it's like visiting your Billionaire Uncle who makes you pay equal share of the dinner check when you make minimum wage.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: freedomfightergal on June 24, 2019, 04:54:09 PM

There is something wrong that I paid more federal taxes in 2018 than General Motors, Chevron, Amazon, Halliburton, Netflix, Whirlpool, Aramark, Goodyear, IBM or many other companies. We're getting it backwards when we get upset with individuals/families on welfare or food stamps - or with the idea of providing these people with more when they didn't work for it - when these corporations are literally making away like bandits.

Do you think we would be better off if these companies disappeared, along with the millions of jobs associated with them? Those jobs, that also entail all the tax paying jobs that go along with them?

If we all of a sudden reduced their earnings by 35%, that would basically trickle immediately down to their employees via a reduction in force or pay.. Or by simply shutting down as they no longer remain profitable as a company..

So the choice is binary? We either refrain from collecting taxes from them or they go out of business?

Somehow, some way, I think the companies mentioned would find a way to survive if they had to pay more in taxes. And they're not going to cut a bunch of employees if the demand for their product is still there.

Yes. Itís 100% binary.

Since it's that simple, we should collect more taxes from individual citizens, give that cash to huge companies, and then there's no way these companies will ever go out of business or layoff anyone. :)

I don't think Amazon, GM, Halliburton, etc. are all such fragile houses of cards that an uptick in their paid taxes from zero to something a bit above zero causes them to collapse, but I guess we agree to disagree. Must be tough for Bezos to be livin' paycheck-to-paycheck like that. Hope he has a solid E-fund. :)

LOL! awesome!  Yes I wonder what Bezos thinks of UBI....

Poor companies, Trump will probably promise them another tax cut, my Boss, (business owner) can buy a bigger boat and make me send more work to China, I'll pay more for my healthcare since "his business can't afford it".  ugh  save save save
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: meatgrinder on June 24, 2019, 05:03:24 PM
1. With unemployment historically low, I see no need. Automation has occurred throughout history and more rapidly recently yet we continue to find new jobs and areas of employment. Buggy whip makers, industrial revolution, pony express, telegraph etc.

2. When people start voting for the candidate that can pay them the most and get the most people on the "dole", I don't think it will be fun time for capitalism or all of the mustachians that are heavily invested in the stock market.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: GrumpyPenguin on June 24, 2019, 05:04:47 PM
I support it at some point in the future as a likely inevitable need -- though we're not there yet.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: freedomfightergal on June 24, 2019, 05:21:41 PM
I think there is a ton of underemployment, you know the middle manager now working at Starbucks, that kind of thing, also lot's of College grads bartending etc.  So I think the unemployment figures are not a true indication of current employment, but time will tell so no point really debating it.

What is blindingly clear is the amount of automation though, eg: -

ATM's replaced a lot of Bank tellers
closing retail stores & malls - millions of retail workers gone
self pump Gas stations
Ticket machines
online banking
online retail
robots in warehouses
robots on production lines
machines taking your phone calls - hate these!
Robovisors replacing Investment advisors

soon to come: -
self drive vehicles putting all truck drivers and taxi drivers to pasture
Artificial intelligence handling customer service calls
All insurance jobs will be replaced with AI
Legal search work replaced by AI
Radiology jobs will be performed by AI -
So many others, many websites and books can explain it better than I can

so if the job pool shrinks rapidly and we have very high unemployment, what should we do?

I think UBI is the answer

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: AccidentialMustache on June 24, 2019, 08:18:31 PM
What are mustachians but the "do it yourself" UBI?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on June 25, 2019, 01:19:57 AM
Despite the increase in automation, unemployment and underemployment are still at very healthy levels so until that looks like it's trending up, there's no point discussing UBI. The current system is just fine.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on June 25, 2019, 08:13:01 AM
Not if itís going to replace our other social benefits.

Only if it replaces all other benefits.

I like Yang. I've heard him on several long form podcasts and I think he does a good job of
(1) defining the problem in a way that people can understand,
(2) speaking in a ways that might gain bipartisan support, and
(3) He's costed out the program (and it's phenomenally expensive). I think because he knows he's not going to win he can be honest about the cost. He talks about adding a VAT tax that specifically targets tech companies to raise revenue to help pay for the program. I think it's good to have a costed out program so that we can understand what the costs look like when other candidates talk about UBI.


Here are some questions I have about UBI:
(a) How "U" is UBI. Would it be better to role it out to folks with lower incomes first (on a staggered basis so it doesn't penalize people as much for working / making more)? But maybe doing this increases the administrative burden and reduces the efficiency gains you'd get with UBI.

(b) Would UBI replace Social Security? This isn't something I've heard a definitive answer for. I've heard him say that it would replace welfare programs, but SS isn't really that. I could probably get this answer by looking through how the plan is costed out, but I haven't gone to that level of detail. He says that people would have the option to opt in / out at roll out. Would that option go away in the future so other programs (including SS) disappear?

(c) How would inflation of the pay out be managed? I think one of the dangers of UBI is that every election cycle will have candidates promising to inflate the payout (more candy = more votes). Does the US government directly control the amount of the payment, or is it some arms length institution (something like the Fed maybe?)?

(d) Are there any measures he'd put in place to prevent giant tech companies from avoiding the tax increase?

(e) Historically, how do VAT taxes affect inflation?  I assume that these costs are mostly passed on to consumers. What are estimates of cost inflation vs. the payout (what's the expected net change in purchasing power to individuals)?

I think that UBI may eventually become necessary. I think anyone saying they're going to implement something like this now is basically lying because the cost is so high. In Yang's case, I think it's clear that he's a candidate that's trying to raise awareness about a problem rather than one who may win and actually put this system into place.

For now, I think I like a plan like Roland's increased Saver's credit better because it's (i) more targeted and (ii) has to be far less expensive.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: A Fella from Stella on June 25, 2019, 08:19:20 AM

(b) Would UBI replace Social Security? This isn't something I've heard a definitive answer for. I've heard him say that it would replace welfare programs, but SS isn't really that. I could probably get this answer by looking through how the plan is costed out, but I haven't gone to that level of detail. He says that people would have the option to opt in / out at roll out. Would that option go away in the future so other programs (including SS) disappear?

With the Freedom Dividend, there would actually be room to privatize SS. I haven't been able to support it, but if there's UBI, then SS can go into something like a fund that people choose.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: freedomfightergal on June 25, 2019, 09:57:30 AM
https://www.wsj.com/articles/accenture-retrains-its-workers-as-technology-upends-their-jobs-11561318022?mod=itp_wsj&yptr=yahoo

Article in the Wall Street Journal about some white collar jobs being automated now: -
The firm, an adviser on automation, helps employees at the company prepare for new roles when layoffs loom
By Lauren Weber
Updated June 23, 2019 5:33 pm ET
Five months after Dorian Twiggs packed up her life in Detroit and moved to Charlotte, N.C., to work as a mortgage underwriter for Accenture PLC, a manager pulled her and some colleagues into an office and told them their jobs were disappearing. Instead of getting laid off, they would be retrained for software roles.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Home Stretch on June 26, 2019, 06:58:18 PM
I think there is a ton of underemployment, you know the middle manager now working at Starbucks, that kind of thing, also lot's of College grads bartending etc.  So I think the unemployment figures are not a true indication of current employment, but time will tell so no point really debating it.

What is blindingly clear is the amount of automation though, eg: -

ATM's replaced a lot of Bank tellers
closing retail stores & malls - millions of retail workers gone
self pump Gas stations
Ticket machines
online banking
online retail
robots in warehouses
robots on production lines
machines taking your phone calls - hate these!
Robovisors replacing Investment advisors

soon to come: -
self drive vehicles putting all truck drivers and taxi drivers to pasture
Artificial intelligence handling customer service calls
All insurance jobs will be replaced with AI
Legal search work replaced by AI
Radiology jobs will be performed by AI -
So many others, many websites and books can explain it better than I can

so if the job pool shrinks rapidly and we have very high unemployment, what should we do?

I think UBI is the answer

I can't help reading that list of jobs and just going down it: "Nope, nope, nope, nope." No, I would never want to work for $7.25, $10, even $30/hour doing any one of those jobs.

The reality is, we are 100% going to automate every job that sucks. In my opinion, this is absolutely a net win for society. We will have more room for creativity and jobs that require a real human touch. I don't wish on anyone a life of doing a job a basic-ass 2019 robot can do. That shit sucks.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Leisured on June 27, 2019, 11:20:16 PM
This has all happened before, but on a small scale. Even in the ancient world, rich landowners often stopped working and had a leisured life. Such nobles, if they had ability, sometimes followed the 'path of honor' which meant being statesmen. This happens today among aristocrats (in monarchies) or patricians (in republics).

The difference today is that machines are emerging as a slave class, and most people will eventually live like patricians of modest means, that is joining the gentleman class.

I became aware of these matters in the sixties, and assumed that most people would aspire to becoming part of the leisured class. Apparently many people do not aspire to do better. Many people do not understand that full employment in an automated economy is a sign of failure and stupidity.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: A Fella from Stella on June 28, 2019, 05:37:32 AM
This has all happened before, but on a small scale. Even in the ancient world, rich landowners often stopped working and had a leisured life. Such nobles, if they had ability, sometimes followed the 'path of honor' which meant being statesmen. This happens today among aristocrats (in monarchies) or patricians (in republics).

The difference today is that machines are emerging as a slave class, and most people will eventually live like patricians of modest means, that is joining the gentleman class.

I became aware of these matters in the sixties, and assumed that most people would aspire to becoming part of the leisured class. Apparently many people do not aspire to do better. Many people do not understand that full employment in an automated economy is a sign of failure and stupidity.

I've heard that Kuwait is like this because of the oil money, but don't really know.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: jim555 on June 28, 2019, 06:19:19 AM
UBI, I can't believe this dumb idea is even being discussed.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Buffalo Chip on June 28, 2019, 06:48:30 AM
This is largely a political issue and I take great pains to avoid politics.

From a historical perspective, ever since the beginning of the industrial revolution there has been a fear that automation would result in starvation, displacement, and all manner of evil. For the most part those fears havenít materialized and as a result we live in an incredibly luxurious society. ďThis time is different!!Ē Until it isnít.

Rather than debate the merits of yet another welfare program, Iíd rather people focus on what they can do to position themselves and their own for success.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: jlcnuke on June 28, 2019, 07:19:09 AM
This is largely a political issue and I take great pains to avoid politics.

From a historical perspective, ever since the beginning of the industrial revolution there has been a fear that automation would result in starvation, displacement, and all manner of evil. For the most part those fears havenít materialized and as a result we live in an incredibly luxurious society. ďThis time is different!!Ē Until it isnít.

Rather than debate the merits of yet another welfare program, Iíd rather people focus on what they can do to position themselves and their own for success.

But, but, what are all the blacksmith's and bakers and weavers doing now?? oh wait... workers found new professions when the old ones disappeared. A little thing called "progress" happened over the years and people, as they always do, adapted.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Buffalo Chip on June 28, 2019, 09:12:38 AM
This is largely a political issue and I take great pains to avoid politics.

From a historical perspective, ever since the beginning of the industrial revolution there has been a fear that automation would result in starvation, displacement, and all manner of evil. For the most part those fears havenít materialized and as a result we live in an incredibly luxurious society. ďThis time is different!!Ē Until it isnít.

Rather than debate the merits of yet another welfare program, Iíd rather people focus on what they can do to position themselves and their own for success.

But, but, what are all the blacksmith's and bakers and weavers doing now?? oh wait... workers found new professions when the old ones disappeared. A little thing called "progress" happened over the years and people, as they always do, adapted.


Canít sell snake oil if you donít have any chumps.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: PDXTabs on June 28, 2019, 06:53:34 PM
I'm hugely in support of it.

In the last month I have read The War on Normal People by Andrew Yang, Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America by Chris Arnade, and Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari. Two of them specifically suggest a UBI and all three of them have further convinced me that it the right thing to do both socially and economically.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: catprog on June 28, 2019, 07:32:41 PM
Here is my thinking.

For Australia if you earn money coming off welfare you end up with only get to keep 10cents with income taxes, welfare reductions and medicare levy.


If you simplify the welfare system by making everyone get the UBI, you can use the tax system as the only way to get money for the government instead of complicating it by combing it with welfare.

As for funding it.

-To pay everyone 20 thousand you need to find a total of 500 billion.

-160,125 billion is spent on welfare. (ignore the disability support system)

-Replacing the bottom three income rates with a single 47% rate means the additional tax at 90k is exactly equal to the 20k UBI (Not sure exactly how much this raises though)


Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: FIREstache on June 28, 2019, 08:20:24 PM
I vehemently oppose UBI.

UBI through every proposed plan I've ever read about, including Yang's, is absolutely terrible!  No one is thinking this stuff through at all.  I don't see how anyone can possibly support such nonsense when they learn the actual details of these UBI proposals including the unfairness in actually being NON-universal as well as the price tag.

One-issue Yang's dividend / UBI is a non-universal payment that is redistribution of income up from the poor and elderly.  If you received $1400/mo SS check that you worked your entire career to earn, you do NOT get Yang's $1000 dividend, but you WILL pay the higher costs/taxes for everything to fund other people's UBI.  So the net effect, is your financial hardships of scraping by on SS will be even worse thanks to Yang's UBI raising your expenses while you get NOTHING!  Same with poor people receiving about a $1000/mo in benefits from social welfare programs.  Sorry, you don't get the $1000/mo UBI either - it would be break-even with your current benefits you would have to give up, but you'll pay more in costs/taxes to fund other people's UBI.  So if it hurts all these poor people mentioned so far, who will UBI benefit?  Some unemployed receiving no or very little social welfare and younger low income people will benefit, but also those wealthy people bringing in generous pensions or earning high incomes will make out very well because they'll get 100% of their sweet pensions and income, PLUS the UBI on top of it, even if they have many millions of $$$ saved.  It's pure gravy for them.  So it's really advantageous to the wealthier people at the expense of some of the poorest who get nothing except higher costs.   At the end of the day, it's just pandering for votes, and the plan is  not acceptable and is way too expensive, especially when done so unfairly in such a way that some of the most vulnerable American citizens are actually hurt by the plan because they receive nothing but will pay the higher costs to fund wealthy people's UBI payments.

Some references:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-universal-basic-income-is-a-bad-idea-2019-06-19
https://www.cbpp.org/poverty-and-opportunity/commentary-universal-basic-income-may-sound-attractive-but-if-it-occurred
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/2/13/18220838/universal-basic-income-ubi-nber-study
https://wjla.com/news/nation-world/andrew-yang-loves-math-but-does-his-universal-basic-income-proposal-add-up
https://fee.org/articles/why-the-freedom-dividend-wont-work-as-explained-by-andrew-yang-himself

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: js82 on June 28, 2019, 09:05:01 PM

If, as predicted by some researchers and technologists, many millions  of employees lose their jobs due to technological advances UBI may be indispensable.

Conceptually, I think we're going to need some pretty major changes to our tax code and/or social benefits structure to address the economic impact of cheaper, more capable automation/AI.  As I said in another thread, one version of this might not be UBI, but rather something the Earned Income Tax Credit on steroids, offset by a larger tax on capital gains and/or high incomes.

In short, there will still be useful things that humans can do(value > $0), but the cost at which AI/automation can do these things will put a cap on wages, which means lots of work won't pay a living wage for most people.  This can conceivably be addressed through tax/benefits policy, but think the turbocharged Earned Income Tax Credit is a superior option to the UBI (though I'd love to hear counter-arguments).

While the details would need to be ironed out, the benefit of the policy I describe above is that it incentivizes work, particularly work that is not highly paid but still valuable.  This has the dual benefits of creating a larger, more productive economy, as well as the inherent dignity/sense of purpose that comes with earning money rather than idly collecting a check.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: MoneyGoatee on September 09, 2019, 12:02:01 PM
UBI would cause a double whammy if the main wage earner in your family suddenly dies and you lose both his or her income *AND* the $12000-a-year UBI.  That would be tough for the surviving family members.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: kite on September 10, 2019, 11:58:21 AM
One of the democratic candidates, Andrew Yang, proposes universal basic income of $12k a year for every person.  Is this something mustachians would support?  Many Americans who earn $25k or less simply have too little money to use the mustachian strategies to achieve FIRE.  An extra $12K a year (for a family of 4 that would be an extra $48k a year) would definitely help with their savings.  But of course, the question is could the nation even afford this?  How would the stock markets, which mustachians depend on, be affected?

UBI is a delightful rabbit hole for people who aren't very good at math to engage in a thought exercise akin to the mindset of hopeful lottery winners.  I expected that Mustachians would be better at math, but there are some fans of UBI in our midst. 
It's a verbal trick, that word "universal" suggests such a scheme is more fair and more moral than what we currently have: means-tests and needs-tests.  Those of us who are poor, ill, disabled, very young or very old qualify for benefits.  Those of us who are not, simply do not.  Reflexively, I recognize that it would be horribly unfair for me, a healthy, intelligent & college educated person to collect a benefit equal to that of my neighbor, Dawn, who is developmentally disabled and needs an assortment of benefits (federal, state & county) that far exceed $12,000 annually.  Baked into the 'universal' idea is that recipients would no longer have to prove their need, and thus would escape the 'shame' of being needy.  The unproven assumption in this new paradigm is that we scrap the patchwork of benefits from an assortment of different sources, reaping savings in reduced overhead in administering those benefits.  Section 8, SNAP, WIC, Medicaid are costly programs, but each of them sprang from need, fulfilling a well articulated purpose.  If we intend to chuck these programs in order to fund a level cash payout, we need to consider what happens to the need and if cash actually fixes it.   
There is also a common math error in the administration and overhead where savings are promised.  In turning everyone (resident? citizen? adult?) into a recipient, we expand the population served by five.  This doesn't represent a reduction in overhead.  It's a five-fold expansion in client population.  The idea that you could scrap the programs aimed at leveling the playing field supporting those who have less ability, skill & resources by giving them them same "universal" benefit as their highly talented, nourished and able-bodied fellow citizens is a cruel joke.  People with the least ability to fend for themselves will be tossed to the wolves.   UBI programs depend upon us forgetting every single thing we know about human nature and decades worth of experience in social service delivery programs.
Likewise, those who presume automation and AI will usher in an era of fewer opportunities for employment also miss the current and future demographic realities.  Automation has never eliminated the net number of required workers.  It only changes the nature of work, eliminating some fields and generating entirely new fields.  Sure, we need fewer taxi cab drivers, but the pending avalanche of Alzheimer's in the boomer population will demand a massive number of home health aides.  Where care giving, like child care, was once almost the exclusive task of an unpaid family member, it is increasingly a job for which someone must be hired.  We've all had fewer children to look after us, free of charge, in our dotage.  For this reason alone, our nationwide need for immigrants remains high.  There aren't ever going to be enough out of work cabbies. 
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on September 10, 2019, 12:16:24 PM
One of the democratic candidates, Andrew Yang, proposes universal basic income of $12k a year for every person.  Is this something mustachians would support?  Many Americans who earn $25k or less simply have too little money to use the mustachian strategies to achieve FIRE.  An extra $12K a year (for a family of 4 that would be an extra $48k a year) would definitely help with their savings.  But of course, the question is could the nation even afford this?  How would the stock markets, which mustachians depend on, be affected?

UBI is a delightful rabbit hole for people who aren't very good at math to engage in a thought exercise akin to the mindset of hopeful lottery winners.  I expected that Mustachians would be better at math, but there are some fans of UBI in our midst. 
It's a verbal trick, that word "universal" suggests such a scheme is more fair and more moral than what we currently have: means-tests and needs-tests.  Those of us who are poor, ill, disabled, very young or very old qualify for benefits.  Those of us who are not, simply do not.  Reflexively, I recognize that it would be horribly unfair for me, a healthy, intelligent & college educated person to collect a benefit equal to that of my neighbor, Dawn, who is developmentally disabled and needs an assortment of benefits (federal, state & county) that far exceed $12,000 annually.  Baked into the 'universal' idea is that recipients would no longer have to prove their need, and thus would escape the 'shame' of being needy.  The unproven assumption in this new paradigm is that we scrap the patchwork of benefits from an assortment of different sources, reaping savings in reduced overhead in administering those benefits.  Section 8, SNAP, WIC, Medicaid are costly programs, but each of them sprang from need, fulfilling a well articulated purpose.  If we intend to chuck these programs in order to fund a level cash payout, we need to consider what happens to the need and if cash actually fixes it.   
There is also a common math error in the administration and overhead where savings are promised.  In turning everyone (resident? citizen? adult?) into a recipient, we expand the population served by five.  This doesn't represent a reduction in overhead.  It's a five-fold expansion in client population.  The idea that you could scrap the programs aimed at leveling the playing field supporting those who have less ability, skill & resources by giving them them same "universal" benefit as their highly talented, nourished and able-bodied fellow citizens is a cruel joke.  People with the least ability to fend for themselves will be tossed to the wolves.   UBI programs depend upon us forgetting every single thing we know about human nature and decades worth of experience in social service delivery programs.
Likewise, those who presume automation and AI will usher in an era of fewer opportunities for employment also miss the current and future demographic realities.  Automation has never eliminated the net number of required workers.  It only changes the nature of work, eliminating some fields and generating entirely new fields.  Sure, we need fewer taxi cab drivers, but the pending avalanche of Alzheimer's in the boomer population will demand a massive number of home health aides.  Where care giving, like child care, was once almost the exclusive task of an unpaid family member, it is increasingly a job for which someone must be hired.  We've all had fewer children to look after us, free of charge, in our dotage.  For this reason alone, our nationwide need for immigrants remains high.  There aren't ever going to be enough out of work cabbies.

Maybe read the actual plan before criticizing it?

https://www.yang2020.com/what-is-freedom-dividend-faq/

Quote
Current welfare and social program beneficiaries would be given a choice between their current benefits or $1,000 cash unconditionally Ė most would prefer cash with no restriction.

Quote
Those who served our country and are facing a disability because of it will continue to receive their benefits on top of the Freedom Dividend

Quote
Under the Freedom Dividend, those who are legally disabled would have a choice between collecting SSDI and the Freedom Dividend, or collecting SSDI and SSI, whichever is more generous.

I'm not necessarily in favor of Andrew Yang's "Freedom Dividend" or even UBI in general, but I am open minded to the concept and the reasons it may be beneficial in the future.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: GodlessCommie on September 10, 2019, 12:30:09 PM
Surprised that no one mentioned Alaska. Where a similar scheme, tied to oil revenue, was (is?) in place.

I don't recall any news about the state turning Marxist, collapse of the economy, or the state sliding down the slippery slope in any other way.

Also, not very surprised that the forum where the plurality earns close to triple the national average is of the opinion that there is no problem with underemployment.

Now, I don't have a dog in this fight - but the arguments like "lazy bastards who work two minimum wage jobs will stop doing that" don't sound convincing. Neither is Yang gang fandom.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on September 10, 2019, 12:47:49 PM
I don't even see how we can realistically prototype this idea.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 10, 2019, 12:51:01 PM
Yes!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 10, 2019, 01:11:07 PM
Working class America largely suffers from a Loser's Mentality IMO. CBO projections have the TCJA adding nearly $2 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years. Do you think that gave pause to anyone who lobbied for the tax cuts? Do you think their imaginations were constrained by feasibility?

We now know that (surprise!) the tax cuts have largely been used to fund share repurchases. Basically, we went into debt to put more money in the pockets of wealthy capitalists. And the promised economic gains have mostly failed to materialize. We were told that it was pathetic that the economy failed to grow by 3% or more in none of the 8 years of the previous administration. Now that the current administration has passed their signature legislation, the 3% yardstick has all but disappeared from the narrative. An economic adviser to the President was on one of the Sunday shows a few weeks ago talking about how remarkable it was that the economy grew by 2.5% last year. What a change of tune, right?

I'm not sure I favor Yang in the upcoming election, but boy do I love that he's introduced UBI to the national conversation. The American working class has to start thinking bigger.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Telecaster on September 10, 2019, 01:16:40 PM
The unproven assumption in this new paradigm is that we scrap the patchwork of benefits from an assortment of different sources, reaping savings in reduced overhead in administering those benefits.  Section 8, SNAP, WIC, Medicaid are costly programs, but each of them sprang from need, fulfilling a well articulated purpose.  If we intend to chuck these programs in order to fund a level cash payout, we need to consider what happens to the need and if cash actually fixes it.   
There is also a common math error in the administration and overhead where savings are promised.  In turning everyone (resident? citizen? adult?) into a recipient, we expand the population served by five.  This doesn't represent a reduction in overhead.

Why wouldn't it?  UBI requires the government to track three things: citizenship, if you are over 18, and how to send you the money.   And except for the latter, they already know those things.  But for example, Section 8 requires the potential landlord to fill out an application, and then the property has to be physically inspected for compliance by the housing authority.   Then the prospective tenant has to fill out an application that is reviewed for eligibility, and then prospective tenant has to be screened and pass a background check.    Right there, you can see UBI has way less overhead.  Medicaid, I imagine, is even more complicated. 

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on September 10, 2019, 01:21:06 PM
UBI is a delightful rabbit hole for people who aren't very good at math to engage in a thought exercise akin to the mindset of hopeful lottery winners.

boy do I love that he's introduced UBI to the national conversation.

I'm so glad "mathlete" chimed in after this
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on September 10, 2019, 01:23:16 PM
The unproven assumption in this new paradigm is that we scrap the patchwork of benefits from an assortment of different sources, reaping savings in reduced overhead in administering those benefits.  Section 8, SNAP, WIC, Medicaid are costly programs, but each of them sprang from need, fulfilling a well articulated purpose.  If we intend to chuck these programs in order to fund a level cash payout, we need to consider what happens to the need and if cash actually fixes it.   
There is also a common math error in the administration and overhead where savings are promised.  In turning everyone (resident? citizen? adult?) into a recipient, we expand the population served by five.  This doesn't represent a reduction in overhead.

Why wouldn't it?  UBI requires the government to track three things: citizenship, if you are over 18, and how to send you the money.   And except for the latter, they already know those things.  But for example, Section 8 requires the potential landlord to fill out an application, and then the property has to be physically inspected for compliance by the housing authority.   Then the prospective tenant has to fill out an application that is reviewed for eligibility, and then prospective tenant has to be screened and pass a background check.    Right there, you can see UBI has way less overhead.  Medicaid, I imagine, is even more complicated.
The overhead is somewhat necessary as it facilitates means testing.  Handing out money is not good for people that cannot budget for themselves.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 10, 2019, 01:32:39 PM
The overhead is somewhat necessary as it facilitates means testing.  Handing out money is not good for people that cannot budget for themselves.

The presumption is that poor people are poor not because they can't manage money, but because they have so little to manage. Scarcity makes you make poor decisions.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 10, 2019, 01:33:46 PM
I'm so glad "mathlete" chimed in after this

It's unfortunate that I spent all that time studying math in college only to find myself lost in the rabbit hole anyway :)
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on September 10, 2019, 01:39:18 PM
The overhead is somewhat necessary as it facilitates means testing.  Handing out money is not good for people that cannot budget for themselves.

The presumption is that poor people are poor not because they can't manage money, but because they have so little to manage. Scarcity makes you make poor decisions.

Many poor people have mental illness and drug problems, it's akin to saying "homeless people just need homes".  I wish it were so simple.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on September 10, 2019, 01:45:00 PM
Mods, please relegate yet another UBI conversation to Off Topic, where it belongs with the others. This invariably is political, and not "Welcome and General Discussion".
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: moof on September 10, 2019, 01:59:51 PM
It is worthwhile to take a step back and ask yourself how you would design a safety net if you could have absolute authority over the law of the land for a day.

The citizenry of this country consists of everything from newborn babies who absolutely have zero control over their own well-being, to rich eccentric Billionaires with God like power to control not only their own destiny but also the destiny of the country at large.  While many adults can and do work to support themselves, there is a good segment who do not, or cannot.

How should society take care of someone who has a work preventing physical or mental disability?  Should they get a stipend and allowed to live out a modest life, or should they be shamed and relegated to the proverbial gutter?  Both are options that we have to varying degrees today, with a slow slide further to the latter each passing year.  I have a couple friends with adult children with major disabilities.  The rules around what assets they can hold and what they are paid each month are truly both awful.  One story involved a disabled guy who cycled through jail on a minor offense, tried to get his benefits reinstated on exit, but after several months of bureaucracy to get them re-instated could not (yes, he was entitled, just that the gears were moving slow).  He finally intentionally stole from Best Buy to try and get arrested so he could go back to jail and at least have food/shelter of some sort.  He failed to get a cop to arrest him while holding stolen goods and ended up going the suicide route.  Truly awful stuff, but it is the reality of how our society deals with those who cannot.

Similarly, how should old workers be handled?  Do you earn the right to a safety net like social security, or should everyone be left to save to support themselves?

The thought experiment can go on for ages, but it often boils down to the fact that there will ALWAYS be a large segment of the population (half or more) that cannot be reasonably expected to be paying their way at any given time.  Designing a system that deals with that is easier said than done, and UBI is one novel solution that seems less hellish than our current layers of systems that quite effectively trap people in poverty (look up the phase-out of benefits for a single parent with a couple kids versus income).
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 10, 2019, 02:01:23 PM
Many poor people have mental illness and drug problems, it's akin to saying "homeless people just need homes".  I wish it were so simple.

Most probably don't though. They're working people living at the margins.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: RangerOne on September 10, 2019, 02:06:44 PM
Here is a random oversimplification of communism that pops into my head now and again.

I think it is still worth aspiring to be a civilization not constrained by the need for the concept of money. I feel we are stuck with money and capitalism today because it is the only system so far that can imperfectly mitigate abuse of power by a single government or powerful group of people.

Communism on paper could work but historically it has always devolved quickly into a totalitarian society. Simply because people suck and can't be trusted with too much power. The only way to mitigate abuse is to try to make powerful people compete.

But in a future where AI is potentially more capable than humans and also aren't constrained by our shitty instincts. I think it is possible a communist society could work if it were controlled by an AI. Probably a good dystopian scifi writers prompt. But I think it could turn out well.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: RangerOne on September 10, 2019, 02:20:17 PM
On UBI:

What I like in theory:

Guarantee stigma free fiscal resources to everyone. Pumps money back into the economy which will be used on services. I don't think this is really like communism. If anything the government is exercising less power by deferring nearly all decisions about how to use public money to individuals. And yes you would have to eliminate almost all social safety nets. Maybe even social security. It is literally the easiest thing the government could do.

What I don't like:

1. No study done on UBI appears to be a of scale required to prove this would turn out the way the theory goes.

2. I don't think any constrained study would be enough to show this works or doesn't work. It would probably always be too short or too small in scope.

3. The unintended consequences of how things would work out boggle the mind. It would drastically alter money going into the free market.

We can't even agree to try a public option for health care. Something we know by the way works and generally works better than our system in nearly every other modern society in the world. Its hard to think we would even consider a more drastic intervention like UBI...

Our best bet for testing UBI? Eventually have AI so sophisticated that we can effectively make parallel earths simulating the behavior of millions of people living in a country. And run them through generations of life under various economic models and see which ones turn out best. I think that test is more likely to be possible than any experiment in the real world adequately showing the results of UBI without a full untested implementation.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: OurTown on September 10, 2019, 02:23:07 PM
Google "fully automated luxury communism."  Not to be confused with "fully automated luxury gay space communism," which is just silly.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 10, 2019, 02:41:18 PM
Communism on paper could work but historically it has always devolved quickly into a totalitarian society. Simply because people suck and can't be trusted with too much power.

Setting aside for a moment, that UBI <> Communism (I don't think you're necessarily saying that), we already turn that power over the the plutocracy. The United States involves itself in wars at the whims of oil interests and defense contractors. And the US is ostensibly one of the "good" countries.

Our best bet for testing UBI? Eventually have AI so sophisticated that we can effectively make parallel earths simulating the behavior of millions of people living in a country. And run them through generations of life under various economic models and see which ones turn out best. I think that test is more likely to be possible than any experiment in the real world adequately showing the results of UBI without a full untested implementation.

If we wait until we have an AI that can do that, it's too late. Machines have already taken all jobs that exist and that we could ever even conceive of.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: fattest_foot on September 10, 2019, 03:14:21 PM
The presumption is that poor people are poor not because they can't manage money, but because they have so little to manage. Scarcity makes you make poor decisions.

Seems like the "Overheard at Work" and variations of that thread would be a pretty good indicator, just here on MMM, that people are poor because they can't manage money. And it has seemingly no correlation to earnings.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: wenchsenior on September 10, 2019, 03:44:34 PM
Surprised that no one mentioned Alaska. Where a similar scheme, tied to oil revenue, was (is?) in place.

I don't recall any news about the state turning Marxist, collapse of the economy, or the state sliding down the slippery slope in any other way.

Also, not very surprised that the forum where the plurality earns close to triple the national average is of the opinion that there is no problem with underemployment.

Now, I don't have a dog in this fight - but the arguments like "lazy bastards who work two minimum wage jobs will stop doing that" don't sound convincing. Neither is Yang gang fandom.

I'm ambivalent about the idea of UBI, though potentially persuadable. However, this article offers an interesting perspective.

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/9/5/20849020/alaska-permanent-fund-universal-basic-income (https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/9/5/20849020/alaska-permanent-fund-universal-basic-income)
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: scottnews on September 10, 2019, 06:54:31 PM
Surprised that no one mentioned Alaska. Where a similar scheme, tied to oil revenue, was (is?) in place.

I don't recall any news about the state turning Marxist, collapse of the economy, or the state sliding down the slippery slope in any other way.

Also, not very surprised that the forum where the plurality earns close to triple the national average is of the opinion that there is no problem with underemployment.

Now, I don't have a dog in this fight - but the arguments like "lazy bastards who work two minimum wage jobs will stop doing that" don't sound convincing. Neither is Yang gang fandom.

I'm ambivalent about the idea of UBI, though potentially persuadable. However, this article offers an interesting perspective.

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/9/5/20849020/alaska-permanent-fund-universal-basic-income (https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/9/5/20849020/alaska-permanent-fund-universal-basic-income)

This is a great article.  Sen. Mike Dunleavy promised up to $6700, and he won.   Now he is making cuts in public broadcasting, their ferry system, medicade, and to their university system.

He won't tax the rich. 

Robinhood taxes never last.  People with money can afford smart accountants and lawyers to end those taxes.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on September 11, 2019, 06:55:55 AM
The presumption is that poor people are poor not because they can't manage money, but because they have so little to manage. Scarcity makes you make poor decisions.

Seems like the "Overheard at Work" and variations of that thread would be a pretty good indicator, just here on MMM, that people are poor because they can't manage money. And it has seemingly no correlation to earnings.

A self selecting group of people with poor money management skills are a good indicator of reality? I doubt it. That's like taking a highlight reel and presenting it as the norm.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 11, 2019, 08:03:20 AM
The presumption is that poor people are poor not because they can't manage money, but because they have so little to manage. Scarcity makes you make poor decisions.

Seems like the "Overheard at Work" and variations of that thread would be a pretty good indicator, just here on MMM, that people are poor because they can't manage money. And it has seemingly no correlation to earnings.

I'm pretty sure that being poor is correlated with earnings.
Title: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LoanShark on September 11, 2019, 08:13:58 AM
No. Thereís no such thing as a free lunch. Why should I pay people for doing nothing?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: YttriumNitrate on September 11, 2019, 08:14:56 AM
I really don't care whether universal basic income is implemented. If it is, I will exploit it to the fullest extend possible. Heck, if my state ever eliminates the means testing for food stamps, I'll use them to the maximum extent possible. See for example:https://thefga.org/video/millionaire-food-stamps-rob-undersander/ (https://thefga.org/video/millionaire-food-stamps-rob-undersander/).

Of course, if UBI isn't implemented I'll benefit from the lower taxes during my working days.

Probably the ideal situation would be that UBI is implemented on the day I retire.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 11, 2019, 08:17:04 AM
No. Thereís no such thing as a free lunch. Why should I pay people for doing nothing?

You're getting paid too.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LoanShark on September 11, 2019, 09:02:38 AM
No. Thereís no such thing as a free lunch. Why should I pay people for doing nothing?

You're getting paid too.

No, I wouldn't be. I'm a massive net payer into the tax system.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 11, 2019, 09:05:54 AM
No, I wouldn't be. I'm a massive net payer into the tax system.

Oh. I didn't realize we were in the presence of a Rockefeller. ;-)

If that's the case then, at the end of 2017, we committed to going nearly $2 trillion in debt over the next decade to give you free money for doing nothing too. How is UBI any different?

To me, it's different because the money goes to people with a higher marginal propensity to consume, which is probably better for the economy. That, and they derive more utility from it.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LoanShark on September 11, 2019, 09:24:09 AM
No, I wouldn't be. I'm a massive net payer into the tax system.

Oh. I didn't realize we were in the presence of a Rockefeller. ;-)

If that's the case then, at the end of 2017, we committed to going nearly $2 trillion in debt over the next decade to give you free money for doing nothing too. How is UBI any different?

To me, it's different because the money goes to people with a higher marginal propensity to consume, which is probably better for the economy. That, and they derive more utility from it.

You can't tax people into prosperity...but I suspect we're on different ends of the spectrum of that philosophical debate.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 11, 2019, 09:35:38 AM
You can't tax people into prosperity...but I suspect we're on different ends of the spectrum of that philosophical debate.

But we can fabricate money out of thin air to baselessly reward the holders of capital? I do understand your revulsion to the government taking money and spending it in ways it thinks is better than the market. That just sounds bad and wrong on the face of it. And often times, I would agree that it is bad and wrong. But we already do this in roundabout ways all the time. The government bends over backwards to appease capital. I don't think it's so much to ask that it do the same to correct the market failures that affect working people.

I think taxing and redistributing has largely worked in countries with a much lower GINI coefficient and higher HDI score than the United States. Those metrics are a decent enough proxy for prosperity.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: panda on September 11, 2019, 01:32:47 PM
I get the impression that UBI is a really good way to see how well people understand macro economics, and generally people have only a vague idea at best.


Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on September 11, 2019, 02:43:07 PM
I get the impression that UBI is a really good way to see how well people understand macro economics, and generally people have only a vague idea at best.
Care to elaborate?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: freedomfightergal on September 16, 2019, 08:41:06 AM
After reading the book, "The War on Normal People" by Andrew Yang, I believe UBI is the only way to save the economy from a crash of epic proportions.  Automation & AI will reduce the number of available jobs by the millions - some estimate 70%!  With epic unemployment, no-one will have money so the businesses will suffer, sure there'll be some lucky people - the business owners with the robots doing all the work, but a few billionaires can only buy so many consumer goods.  It's in our interests to pay UBI, to help people from starving, becoming homeless, to help them transition to a new economic model, where they can start their own small business & share in the savings created by Automation.

EG- The trucking industry which has already started some runs with zero drivers, has 3.5million drivers.  The industry will save $168 Billion.  The VAT of 10% on the Trucking industry would then go to pay the drivers UBI - it's a slice of the savings.  Similarly, Amazon is killing off retail & automating warehousing & delivery - if they save say 20% in worker reductions, adding 10% VAT & paying it back to the people, is the people sharing in the savings of their automation. 

People would spend their UBI back into the economy pumping it up & keeping it alive.

I'm surprised people seem to freak out about people 'gasp' getting money (back), yet don't mention the Trillions given to the Banks, AIG, GM, Farmers, Fossil Fuel subsidies, war games, and just recently there was a news article about sending the Ukraine $250 Million - no one was saying 'how are we going to pay for that', and 'how dare they, it's our income tax money', I'd prefer it going back to the people.  I've lived in different countries & those that take the best care of their poor, with the best safety nets have the least crime, poverty, homelessness & result unrest eg Australia, Canada, Norway...

Ps Highly recommend reading the book, or listening to the Joe Rogan podcast interviewing Andrew Yang
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: panda on September 16, 2019, 09:18:57 AM
I get the impression that UBI is a really good way to see how well people understand macro economics, and generally people have only a vague idea at best.
Care to elaborate?
Very short answer: UBI is an incredibility complex subject and people that spend massive amount of time doing nothing but economics are arguing up a storm about how effective it may or may not be (in academic speak: there is robust discourse about the topic). It's also a macro economic topic that requires a pretty good rounding in national policy to really understand the arguments for against.

Yet, outside that discourse most of the arguments (for or against) boil down to partisan talking points that wouldn't even pass muster in a high school level course.

Kind of like how the argument that national budgets need to be run the same way as hold budgets just doesn't work. A better argument would be a comparison to corporations which need to take out bonds due to variable cashflow.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 16, 2019, 09:51:01 AM
Very short answer: UBI is an incredibility complex subject and people that spend massive amount of time doing nothing but economics are arguing up a storm about how effective it may or may not be (in academic speak: there is robust discourse about the topic). It's also a macro economic topic that requires a pretty good rounding in national policy to really understand the arguments for against.

Yet, outside that discourse most of the arguments (for or against) boil down to partisan talking points that wouldn't even pass muster in a high school level course.

Kind of like how the argument that national budgets need to be run the same way as hold budgets just doesn't work. A better argument would be a comparison to corporations which need to take out bonds due to variable cashflow.

In some ways, I agree with you. And I'm incredibly partial to your comparison about household budgets vs. the country as a whole. That drives me up a wall. Countries can print their own money and can conceivably persist virtually forever while increasing their productivity. Households, on the other hand, are made up of people who will ultimately breakdown. So on and so on.

But for UBI though, I don't think you need a degree in economics to foresee that most human labor will be marginalized to the point of worthlessness and that sticking to the notion that people need to earn their keep will cause a lot of suffering.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: panda on September 16, 2019, 11:09:34 AM
In some ways, I agree with you. And I'm incredibly partial to your comparison about household budgets vs. the country as a whole. That drives me up a wall. Countries can print their own money and can conceivably persist virtually forever while increasing their productivity. Households, on the other hand, are made up of people who will ultimately breakdown. So on and so on.
Also, don't forget that we can look at major corporations as well. Even ones with the healthiest books will issue bonds for large CapEx projects since their real revenues are not consist over time.

Quote
But for UBI though, I don't think you need a degree in economics to foresee that most human labor will be marginalized to the point of worthlessness and that sticking to the notion that people need to earn their keep will cause a lot of suffering.
That's a social argument against UBI though and not an economic one. There have been some small scale studies into UBI and while you do end up having some bad actors (who may have been a prioi) generally you see an overall economic and educational improvmenet along with more entrepreneurship. However, there's a bit question about if the small-scale projects would even scale, or if UBI should just be used to lift some populations out of poverty.

When you get down to it, most of the arguments against UBI tend to be social as opposed to economic. It's really hard to model the economics of something that really hasn't been done at scale before.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: v8rx7guy on September 16, 2019, 11:24:10 AM
Still waiting for this to happen so that I can up my rent on my tenants!
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: panda on September 16, 2019, 12:53:10 PM
Still waiting for this to happen so that I can up my rent on my tenants!
I'm guessing your rents aren't part of a marketplace? ;)

In essence, how is it different from the standard deduction, except that it can result in negative taxes for low income earners?
Depending on the implementation and who you ask, not really that different barring lump sum versus monthly payments.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on September 16, 2019, 04:09:59 PM
That's a social argument against UBI though and not an economic one. There have been some small scale studies into UBI and while you do end up having some bad actors (who may have been a prioi) generally you see an overall economic and educational improvmenet along with more entrepreneurship. However, there's a bit question about if the small-scale projects would even scale, or if UBI should just be used to lift some populations out of poverty.

When you get down to it, most of the arguments against UBI tend to be social as opposed to economic. It's really hard to model the economics of something that really hasn't been done at scale before.

I think we may have our wires crossed. I was trying to argue for UBI.

More specifically, I was trying to argue for the ability to argue for UBI without having an economics degree.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EngagedToFIRE on September 16, 2019, 04:26:37 PM
After reading the book, "The War on Normal People" by Andrew Yang, I believe UBI is the only way to save the economy from a crash of epic proportions.  Automation & AI will reduce the number of available jobs by the millions - some estimate 70%!  With epic unemployment, no-one will have money so the businesses will suffer, sure there'll be some lucky people - the business owners with the robots doing all the work, but a few billionaires can only buy so many consumer goods.  It's in our interests to pay UBI, to help people from starving, becoming homeless, to help them transition to a new economic model, where they can start their own small business & share in the savings created by Automation.

EG- The trucking industry which has already started some runs with zero drivers, has 3.5million drivers.  The industry will save $168 Billion.  The VAT of 10% on the Trucking industry would then go to pay the drivers UBI - it's a slice of the savings.  Similarly, Amazon is killing off retail & automating warehousing & delivery - if they save say 20% in worker reductions, adding 10% VAT & paying it back to the people, is the people sharing in the savings of their automation. 

People would spend their UBI back into the economy pumping it up & keeping it alive.

I'm surprised people seem to freak out about people 'gasp' getting money (back), yet don't mention the Trillions given to the Banks, AIG, GM, Farmers, Fossil Fuel subsidies, war games, and just recently there was a news article about sending the Ukraine $250 Million - no one was saying 'how are we going to pay for that', and 'how dare they, it's our income tax money', I'd prefer it going back to the people.  I've lived in different countries & those that take the best care of their poor, with the best safety nets have the least crime, poverty, homelessness & result unrest eg Australia, Canada, Norway...

Ps Highly recommend reading the book, or listening to the Joe Rogan podcast interviewing Andrew Yang

We are at nearly full employment right now.  So the doomsday everyone loses their job scenario is kind of make believe... at the moment.  The issue is that politicians want to implement UBI, now.  While at full employment, then talk about automation and all that nonsense.  The thing is, we'll know when it's time to implement UBI because the market will dictate it.  When you are at full employment, the discussion about automation taking everyone's job and needing to implement UBI is kind of ridiculous.  We are nowhere near needing to have a serious discussion about UBI, it should be one of the last things our politicians should be focusing on.  In fact, automation may just mean we don't need more labor, as opposed to killing jobs, it may just make the existing jobs higher paying and reduce the need to import more workers.  But UBI?  No.  We aren't even close to that, yet.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: PDXTabs on September 16, 2019, 07:49:09 PM
We are at nearly full employment right now.

You have to be looking for work to get counted in those statistics. Prime age male labor force participation is dropping fast.

The labor force participation rate among men has been on the decline... 69 percent in June, down from 86.2 percent 70 years ago.
https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/employment-prime-age-men (https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/employment-prime-age-men)

I'm afraid to see what happens when it gets to 50%.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on September 16, 2019, 09:25:17 PM
I think a lot of (maybe all of) the proponents of UBI favour utilitarianism as a moral philosophy. Not everyone subscribes to that.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: ctuser1 on September 17, 2019, 07:08:41 AM
I think the devil is in the details.

UBI in the manner and scale that Alaksa did it, is good! Their implementation was messed up, however. They did not diversify their portfolio and the SWR was messed around with by the political, rather than actuarial calculations. Fix that, and Alaska plan is golden. i.e. invest into a diversified portfolio that bets on the direction of the entire economy (that starts sounding very much like an index fund to me), and give out a SWR calculated conservatively. As the portfolio grows (i.e. economy grows), your share grows too!!

This mechanism will take a looooong time to take effect. That is okay, I think!! Despite what popular opinions suggest, AI will only impact a small number of areas - nothing our current safety nets can't handle (unless we get into a demographic crisis like Japan/Europe)!! So investing in such an UBI fund with a special fund set aside for that purpose is not a bad idea at all. When our grandchildren's grandchildren come around - magic of compounding will ensure we have a nest egg to guarantee a livable UBI to everyone.

If/when such "UBI fund" ownership of the economic activities start becoming a majority share of the market cap, then some more interesting questions will arise. Does it become more like communism - with public ownership of the economic activities? Communist economies are famously inefficient!!

Anyone thinking of UBI as a cheap quick-fix for the now and here, without putting in the time/compounding into it is smoking something really strong - mathematically speaking.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on September 18, 2019, 07:23:41 AM
After reading the book, "The War on Normal People" by Andrew Yang, I believe UBI is the only way to save the economy from a crash of epic proportions.  Automation & AI will reduce the number of available jobs by the millions - some estimate 70%!  With epic unemployment, no-one will have money so the businesses will suffer, sure there'll be some lucky people - the business owners with the robots doing all the work, but a few billionaires can only buy so many consumer goods.  It's in our interests to pay UBI, to help people from starving, becoming homeless, to help them transition to a new economic model, where they can start their own small business & share in the savings created by Automation.

Gahhh.... Can't believe I'm getting sucked in to another UBI debate on the MMM forums. :)

I understand the fear that intuitively, 1) automation and technology will eliminate a lot of current jobs (which is true), which will then 2) lead to massive unemployment. Unfortunately, economics is not always intuitive, and 2 doesn't necessarily follow 1. In fact for much of recorded history, technology and other changes have eliminated jobs; sometimes society has broken through those periods without any issues, whereas other times there has been massive social unrest. Note there hasn't really been the equivalent of nationwide UBI in the past (that I'm aware of). So, what has worked in the past and why has it worked?

The market economy has generally worked to resolve 'technological unemployment' issues in the past, with government intervention to ensure that the basic needs of the people could be met even if there were large gaps in unemployment with the associated inability to pay for those needs. The harder question to answer, is why has it worked? Those few billionaires that you describe have been around for a long time. The Carnegies, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, etc. fit that bill. What do people do with all that money? They certainly aren't paying robots with it. Money, all money, is simply a transactional symbol for someone's labor. Whether you are buying a widget from Amazon (where some small percentage of your money goes to the widget makers in China, the Amazon programmers, the UPS truck drivers, and even government employees in the form of taxes) or whatever, all of that money is paying someone's labor. Now, the billionaires could do a few things with that money: 1) store it all in a Scrooge McDuck vault, which would be a huge boon to the government in the form of seigniorage (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seigniorage (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seigniorage)) (and of course the government of the U.S. is by the people, for the people, etc.); 2) invest the money in companies, which pay the labor of people to generate profits; or 3) pay for the labor of people directly in the form of goods and services. As you can see, anything they do with their money results in that money being returned to laborers in some form or fashion (even if the government may need to intervene occasionally (like in the 1930s) to provide jobs).

We are at nearly full employment right now.

You have to be looking for work to get counted in those statistics. Prime age male labor force participation is dropping fast.

The labor force participation rate among men has been on the decline... 69 percent in June, down from 86.2 percent 70 years ago.
https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/employment-prime-age-men (https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/employment-prime-age-men)

I'm afraid to see what happens when it gets to 50%.

If you look deeper into the statistics, much of the increase in the people not looking for work are either students or, gasp, retired early. If someone wants a job, they can get one right now as long as they are at least semi-functional.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on September 18, 2019, 03:18:08 PM
How much would 3 daily meals totalling 2200 calories, warm shelter (I'm thinking a hostel type environment), an internet connection and a VR headset cost per person? Because I think that would be the extent of the "UBI" requirements, and I think if you institute that in bulk, it wouldn't be super expensive.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: YttriumNitrate on September 18, 2019, 04:19:26 PM
How much would 3 daily meals totalling 2200 calories, warm shelter (I'm thinking a hostel type environment), an internet connection and a VR headset cost per person? Because I think that would be the extent of the "UBI" requirements, and I think if you institute that in bulk, it wouldn't be super expensive.
Looking at prisons would probably give us a good idea. (https://lao.ca.gov/policyareas/cj/6_cj_inmatecost (https://lao.ca.gov/policyareas/cj/6_cj_inmatecost)) Removing the obvious things that wouldn't be needed (liked $35k on security) it looks like you could house and feed people for about $600 per person per month excluding healthcare.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: panda on September 19, 2019, 09:09:18 AM
How much would 3 daily meals totalling 2200 calories, warm shelter (I'm thinking a hostel type environment), an internet connection and a VR headset cost per person? Because I think that would be the extent of the "UBI" requirements, and I think if you institute that in bulk, it wouldn't be super expensive.
I'm not even sure that a VR headset would be a requirement. If you look at something like the Social Security in the United States, the original intent was to ensure that the elderly had basic food and shelter needs met so that they didn't end up destitute (great societies do not allow their elderly to beg on the street!).

I'd have to look up exactly how they determined things, but I seem to recall the first checks were around $22.50 and a full house could be rented for $18.00. So figure being able to rent an apartment with enough left over for food - scraping by, but not destitute! People tend to forget that Social Security was not meant to fund your retirement, it was meant to augment it by covering the basics so your family wouldn't be put out, or your own savings or nominal earnings could cover other necessitates and entertainment.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Optimiser on September 19, 2019, 09:59:42 AM
In essence, how is it different from the standard deduction, except that it can result in negative taxes for low income earners?

One difference, at least in the Andrew Yang version of UBI, is that it would be funded by a value added tax and not an income tax. A VAT is a tax on consumption and thus those at high income levels can choose to not pay it by saving their money instead of spending it.

For any adult who spends less than $120,000/year, this would be an increase in income.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on September 23, 2019, 04:00:07 AM
I think it's hard to know where the break even point is with a VAT tax.

I think it gets applied at several points along the supply chain not just the point of final sale.

That increases the cost of goods sold on everything which means profit has to increase to maintain the same profit margins.

I could be wrong but I think adding a VAT tax by 1% would increase prices by more than just 1%.

I was still pretty young when Canada implemented the GST (VAT), so I don't remember the effect it had on prices... I also seem to remember tax being baked into the price before the GST so the consumer didn't actually know the tax rate on specific items.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: panda on September 23, 2019, 09:23:58 AM
I was still pretty young when Canada implemented the GST (VAT), so I don't remember the effect it had on prices... I also seem to remember tax being baked into the price before the GST so the consumer didn't actually know the tax rate on specific items.
In all fairness, it would be really nice if the price on the shelf was the price paid at the register. Even with out VAT or GST, we have the technology, you would think that retailers would have done this by now.

In the UK the VAT is applied based upon the final sale price and I seem to recall that the EU is the same?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on September 24, 2019, 07:43:44 AM
I was still pretty young when Canada implemented the GST (VAT), so I don't remember the effect it had on prices... I also seem to remember tax being baked into the price before the GST so the consumer didn't actually know the tax rate on specific items.
In all fairness, it would be really nice if the price on the shelf was the price paid at the register. Even with out VAT or GST, we have the technology, you would think that retailers would have done this by now.

In the UK the VAT is applied based upon the final sale price and I seem to recall that the EU is the same?

From Investopedia (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/v/valueaddedtax.asp (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/v/valueaddedtax.asp)):
A value-added tax (VAT) is a consumption tax placed on a product whenever value is added at each stage of the supply chain, from production to the point of sale. The amount of VAT that the user pays is on the cost of the product, less any of the costs of materials used in the product that have already been taxed.

and

A VAT is levied on the gross margin at each point in the manufacturing-distribution-sales process of an item. The tax is assessed and collected at each stage, in contrast to a sales tax, which is only assessed and paid by the consumer at the very end of the supply chain.

Say, for example, Dulce is an expensive candy manufactured and sold in the country of Alexia. Alexia has a 10% value-added tax.



So, my understanding is that all the "middlemen" have to pay taxes for the value added which would make prices inflate by more than just the rate of the tax (i.e. a 1% VAT tax would likely increase the cost of the good it was applied to by > 1%). But, I may be wrong on that part. Things are almost always more expensive in Canada than the US, but there are many reasons for that (VAT tax is one of them I think, but not the only one).

Aside: I'd also be fine with taxes being included in prices in the store provided that the tax rates were known (which I don't think was the case in Canada at the time). I don't think stores would do this though because it's psychologically easier to buy something at $9.99 than at $11.29 (using Ontario's 13% HST which "harmonizes" the GST (VAT) and PST (sales tax))[/list]
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on September 24, 2019, 10:29:49 AM
So, my understanding is that all the "middlemen" have to pay taxes for the value added which would make prices inflate by more than just the rate of the tax (i.e. a 1% VAT tax would likely increase the cost of the good it was applied to by > 1%). But, I may be wrong on that part. Things are almost always more expensive in Canada than the US, but there are many reasons for that (VAT tax is one of them I think, but not the only one).

I could be wrong, but I think you have it backwards. Sales tax has to be paid by all middlemen (and hence tends to be greater than the stated rate), whereas value added tax equals the actual tax rate applied to the final cost to the consumer.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on September 25, 2019, 01:57:01 PM
So, my understanding is that all the "middlemen" have to pay taxes for the value added which would make prices inflate by more than just the rate of the tax (i.e. a 1% VAT tax would likely increase the cost of the good it was applied to by > 1%). But, I may be wrong on that part. Things are almost always more expensive in Canada than the US, but there are many reasons for that (VAT tax is one of them I think, but not the only one).

I could be wrong, but I think you have it backwards. Sales tax has to be paid by all middlemen (and hence tends to be greater than the stated rate), whereas value added tax equals the actual tax rate applied to the final cost to the consumer.

I'm also not an expert.

But I think the definitions and example from investipedia show how it works.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on September 25, 2019, 02:50:07 PM
So, my understanding is that all the "middlemen" have to pay taxes for the value added which would make prices inflate by more than just the rate of the tax (i.e. a 1% VAT tax would likely increase the cost of the good it was applied to by > 1%). But, I may be wrong on that part. Things are almost always more expensive in Canada than the US, but there are many reasons for that (VAT tax is one of them I think, but not the only one).

I could be wrong, but I think you have it backwards. Sales tax has to be paid by all middlemen (and hence tends to be greater than the stated rate), whereas value added tax equals the actual tax rate applied to the final cost to the consumer.

I'm also not an expert.

But I think the definitions and example from investipedia show how it works.

I agree Investopedia has it right, though its example appears to be somewhat confusing. If you do the math, the country of Alexia gets 10% ($1.00) of the retail cost of the item ($10.00): $0.50 from the retailer, $0.30 from the manufacturer, and $0.20 from the producers of the raw materials. Now if a 10% sales tax was used along the supply chain instead, Alexia would have received $1.79, and the final cost would have been $11.79 rather than $11 (assuming all parties are making the same profits): $0.20 sales tax from purchasing the raw materials; $0.52 from the manufacturer (since the price needed to increase to $5.20 to cover the tax); and $1.07 from the retailer from an initial cost of $10.72.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on September 25, 2019, 08:37:45 PM
Here's my thinking as a borderline communist.

- Inequality is on the rise, which is bad for society for a host of reasons
- Inequality in the extremes is totally unnecessary and not at all advantageous
- Neither is enforcing that everyone lives on the same income despite differences in effort, skill, social value, contribution or merit (and I'd argue equally that people like teachers deserve more and CEOs deserve less based on that, but alas)

But a UBI won't reduce inequality - it will enforce it. If there's an increase in a class of people who own/control vast amounts of wealth AND an increase in the number of people for whom $12,000 is a significant part of their income then we'll have, effectively, a 2 tiered system LOCKED IN PLACE.

I do believe that the social issues at the heart of the thinking about UBI (rising inequality, lack of social mobility, concentration of wealth, increasing UNDERemployment) is a call to action, however I don't see a UBI as a silver bullet nor even as a good first step without good commitments on affordable/free childcare, affordable/free social housing, affordable/free health care and affordable/free education.

If we truly believe that everyone deserves a chance (I do) then we need to honour that by making some of the most significant steps in enabling people to reach their potential.

I, for one, don't see companies as particularly valuable, especially with the neoliberal, trickle-down bullshit that so obviously doesn't work.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: joshuagraham_xyz on October 09, 2019, 08:44:50 AM
In theory, if it is fully funded through taxes then no, because the same amount of money remains in the economy.  In the previous poster's example, rents are set (mostly) by supply and demand.  If suddenly incomes were increased by $12,000 per year, that wouldn't cause an increase in the number of people looking for rental units.   But it might increase the demand for higher end units, as some people could afford to upgrade from their current living conditions.   But in that case, the previous poster would have to upgrade his units as well in order to capture that market.   
I think part of the reason that apartments in more expensive locals are rented at all is because folks have to be there to access the good jobs.  With UBI, folks don't need to be there, and so they will spend the cash in cheap locales.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: PDXTabs on October 09, 2019, 09:01:21 AM
But a UBI won't reduce inequality - it will enforce it. If there's an increase in a class of people who own/control vast amounts of wealth AND an increase in the number of people for whom $12,000 is a significant part of their income then we'll have, effectively, a 2 tiered system LOCKED IN PLACE.

You are talking about a direct transfer of wealth from the people that make enough money to pay to people that have nothing. I don't think that your math adds up. If you take someone making $6K/yr and suddenly they make $18K/yr that's a huge improvement.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: joshuagraham_xyz on October 09, 2019, 09:09:51 AM
UBI would cause a double whammy if the main wage earner in your family suddenly dies and you lose both his or her income *AND* the $12000-a-year UBI.  That would be tough for the surviving family members.
The idea is that there would be one less mouth to feed.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 09, 2019, 04:22:23 PM
But a UBI won't reduce inequality - it will enforce it. If there's an increase in a class of people who own/control vast amounts of wealth AND an increase in the number of people for whom $12,000 is a significant part of their income then we'll have, effectively, a 2 tiered system LOCKED IN PLACE.

You are talking about a direct transfer of wealth from the people that make enough money to pay to people that have nothing. I don't think that your math adds up. If you take someone making $6K/yr and suddenly they make $18K/yr that's a huge improvement.

I'm not really doing any math - nor do I think I need to to support my point.

If the argument goes that:
- Automation, AI and disruptive technologies reduce the # of jobs (especially middle class jobs)
- While at the same time enriching those who invest in them (who are almost exclusively previously wealthy people like VCs, Angel investors, etc)
- So UBI provides a basic level of income for people who find the economy excluding them due to structural changes

Then I think you necessarily get:
- A class of people with a lot of money - involved and powerful in the economy
- An shrinking middle class (as a lot of MC jobs become automated or technology'd away)
- An increasing class of people with (relatively) no money - unable to meaningfully participate in the economy either as actors or as decision makers

That seems, to me, to be LESS equality, not more. Since the middle class shrinks.

Now predicting the future is always a murky prospect, so there could be a lot of bad assumptions at play, but if the assumptions that a UBI is based on are accurate then I don't see a UBI as doing anything other than enforcing inequality.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 10, 2019, 06:39:16 AM
But a UBI won't reduce inequality - it will enforce it. If there's an increase in a class of people who own/control vast amounts of wealth AND an increase in the number of people for whom $12,000 is a significant part of their income then we'll have, effectively, a 2 tiered system LOCKED IN PLACE.

You are talking about a direct transfer of wealth from the people that make enough money to pay to people that have nothing. I don't think that your math adds up. If you take someone making $6K/yr and suddenly they make $18K/yr that's a huge improvement.

I'm not really doing any math - nor do I think I need to to support my point.

If the argument goes that:
- Automation, AI and disruptive technologies reduce the # of jobs (especially middle class jobs)
- While at the same time enriching those who invest in them (who are almost exclusively previously wealthy people like VCs, Angel investors, etc)
- So UBI provides a basic level of income for people who find the economy excluding them due to structural changes

Then I think you necessarily get:
- A class of people with a lot of money - involved and powerful in the economy
- An shrinking middle class (as a lot of MC jobs become automated or technology'd away)
- An increasing class of people with (relatively) no money - unable to meaningfully participate in the economy either as actors or as decision makers

That seems, to me, to be LESS equality, not more. Since the middle class shrinks.

Now predicting the future is always a murky prospect, so there could be a lot of bad assumptions at play, but if the assumptions that a UBI is based on are accurate then I don't see a UBI as doing anything other than enforcing inequality.

I don't see your point here. If there is a significant class who is unable to participate in the economy due to automation they will have far less wealth than the class who owns the capital. If UBI is provided, of course that divide would still exist but it would be slightly less. This doesn't sound like an argument against UBI, it sounds like an argument for some alternative that you haven't described yet.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: YttriumNitrate on October 10, 2019, 08:39:34 AM
If the argument goes that:
- Automation, AI and disruptive technologies reduce the # of jobs (especially middle class jobs)

It's interesting that people think automation and technological advances will reduce the total number of jobs. Looking back at the past 200 years, automation and technology have certainly killed off jobs, but have also created countless new ones at a far greater pace.

Perhaps the problem is that we have a good idea of the jobs that are going to be killed off, but don't know what new jobs will be created. Imagine telling a farmer 200 years ago that there was 95+% chance that his job would be eliminated. That would be terrifying since he wouldn't know the new jobs that would take its place.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: TheContinentalOp on October 10, 2019, 12:44:52 PM
If the argument goes that:
- Automation, AI and disruptive technologies reduce the # of jobs (especially middle class jobs)

It's interesting that people think automation and technological advances will reduce the total number of jobs. Looking back at the past 200 years, automation and technology have certainly killed off jobs, but have also created countless new ones at a far greater pace.

Perhaps the problem is that we have a good idea of the jobs that are going to be killed off, but don't know what new jobs will be created. Imagine telling a farmer 200 years ago that there was 95+% chance that his job would be eliminated. That would be terrifying since he wouldn't know the new jobs that would take its place.

One problem is that the people at the lower end of the IQ scale are becoming more unemployable.

Couple hundred years ago someone with a IQ of 80 maybe couldn't live on his own, but could productively contribute on a farm and earn his own keep. That's not true today (at least in the US).

As technology/society advances this becomes an increasing problem: lacking cognitive skills,  businesses can't risk property damage, liability, customer interaction issues, increasing minimum wage prices them out of the job market.

As time progresses this is going to continue to rise. What happens when it hits 100 and half the people are unemployable?

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 10, 2019, 01:16:30 PM
UBI is a terrible idea.

It is a raised floor on the price of labour.

If there is some task out there that will pay less than UBI, then UBI is in effect saying: "doing nothing is worth more than doing something." That's insane.

Ultimately, people make choices based on the incentives and constraints placed upon them by circumstances such as market forces, laws, and social pressure. Incentivizing people to do nothing, and forcing other people to subsidize that lack of activity, is a recipe for disaster.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: panda on October 10, 2019, 01:25:47 PM
UBI is a terrible idea.

It is a raised floor on the price of labour.

If there is some task out there that will pay less than UBI, then UBI is in effect saying: "doing nothing is worth more than doing something." That's insane.

Ultimately, people make choices based on the incentives and constraints placed upon them by circumstances such as market forces, laws, and social pressure. Incentivizing people to do nothing, and forcing other people to subsidize that lack of activity, is a recipe for disaster.
That's not accurate.

UBI says that you get $1,000/month then working a job that pays $1,000/month means your gross income that month is $2,000. As such, UBI can actually make low paid jobs more desirable since nay work will increase your gross monthly income. In some of the limited case studies done, UBI was actually shown to increase entrepreneurship since people knew they would always have a minimum income each month.

On the other hand, raising the minimum wage increases the floor on the price of labor.

To get even more technical, in theory a well implemented UBI would actually allow minimum wage laws to be repealed since employment would not be mandatory to cover basic expenses. That would then allow the marketplace to more accurately set the value of those jobs.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 10, 2019, 01:26:11 PM
UBI is a terrible idea.

It is a raised floor on the price of labour.

If there is some task out there that will pay less than UBI, then UBI is in effect saying: "doing nothing is worth more than doing something." That's insane.

Ultimately, people make choices based on the incentives and constraints placed upon them by circumstances such as market forces, laws, and social pressure. Incentivizing people to do nothing, and forcing other people to subsidize that lack of activity, is a recipe for disaster.

All of your arguments are more applicable to current welfare programs (US) than to UBI.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Alternatepriorities on October 10, 2019, 02:26:06 PM
UBI in the manner and scale that Alaksa did it, is good! Their implementation was messed up, however. They did not diversify their portfolio and the SWR was messed around with by the political, rather than actuarial calculations. Fix that, and Alaska plan is golden. i.e. invest into a diversified portfolio that bets on the direction of the entire economy (that starts sounding very much like an index fund to me), and give out a SWR calculated conservatively. As the portfolio grows (i.e. economy grows), your share grows too!!

I don't know if UBI is a good idea or not... As an Alaskan I'd like to share a couple of pitfalls from the PFD (Permanent Fund Dividend) that I never see mentioned in the national discussion.

1. People who were previously self sufficient have come to depend on the PFD. Lifestyle inflation means people were unhappy returning to a previous spending level when the PFD was reduced to make the budget work. Last election our current governor (a republican for those keeping score) ran primarily on restoring the old PFD formula ie. increasing the amount of money people would get this year. If we are going to have a national UBI we will need a mechanism to keep politicians from running on a promise of "free" money. I'm aware that politicians already reward their voters, but a UBI could make it much easier to buy votes.

2. Every article I read that mentions the PFD as an example of UBI finds people who spent it on college, or stocking up on food and fuel for the winter to interview. In reality every October (when the PFD is deposited) is feeding frenzy of consumerism worthy of multiple posts on the wall of shame and comedy. This year I started hearing ads on the radio at least 6 weeks before the PFD arrived for TVs, cars, furniture, and vacations. If the PFD is our guide be prepared for UBI to massively increase consumerism.

3. Alaska massively increased state spending when oil was $100+ a barrel and hasn't been able to balance it's budget in a few years. The PFD has become the same kind of 3rd rail that SS is a the national level. It's not currently sustainable, but there are not enough people in Juneau with the integrity to risk their reelection by dealing with it. The current "solution" essentially assumes a 5.25% SWR but even then some were arguing for a 5.9% draw this year to ensure a "full" PFD. (They did ultimately settle on a smaller PFD at a 5.25% draw but it was a close call).
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 10, 2019, 03:15:02 PM
2. Every article I read that mentions the PFD as an example of UBI finds people who spent it on college, or stocking up on food and fuel for the winter to interview. In reality every October (when the PFD is deposited) is feeding frenzy of consumerism worthy of multiple posts on the wall of shame and comedy. This year I started hearing ads on the radio at least 6 weeks before the PFD arrived for TVs, cars, furniture, and vacations. If the PFD is our guide be prepared for UBI to massively increase consumerism.

The same thing happens around tax (refund) time, or around Christmastime. When advertisers know people have money and are willing to spend. For anyone living paycheck the paycheck, the same thing happens every two weeks too. This is a fundamental issue of human psychology, rather than something specific to UBI, PFD, or any other disbursement program. 

I know we have an anti-consumerist bent around here, but if we can take off our mustachian hats for a moment, and pull our economist stockings over our head, expanding consumption in a consumerist economy like the United States is probably a good thing. Money does buy happiness. At least, as contemporary research shows, until you're making north of around $80K a year.

It's good for aggregate happiness to nudge people further along the happiness/income curve. Of course, that alone isn't reason enough to implement UBI, but we have other reasons. Like workers getting a comparatively small share of the productivity gains from the past 40 years, or the impending devaluation of human labor that will come with automation.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Alternatepriorities on October 10, 2019, 03:53:42 PM
2. Every article I read that mentions the PFD as an example of UBI finds people who spent it on college, or stocking up on food and fuel for the winter to interview. In reality every October (when the PFD is deposited) is feeding frenzy of consumerism worthy of multiple posts on the wall of shame and comedy. This year I started hearing ads on the radio at least 6 weeks before the PFD arrived for TVs, cars, furniture, and vacations. If the PFD is our guide be prepared for UBI to massively increase consumerism.

The same thing happens around tax (refund) time, or around Christmastime. When advertisers know people have money and are willing to spend. For anyone living paycheck the paycheck, the same thing happens every two weeks too. This is a fundamental issue of human psychology, rather than something specific to UBI, PFD, or any other disbursement program. 

I know we have an anti-consumerist bent around here, but if we can take off our mustachian hats for a moment, and pull our economist stockings over our head, expanding consumption in a consumerist economy like the United States is probably a good thing. Money does buy happiness. At least, as contemporary research shows, until you're making north of around $80K a year.

It's good for aggregate happiness to nudge people further along the happiness/income curve. Of course, that alone isn't reason enough to implement UBI, but we have other reasons. Like workers getting a comparatively small share of the productivity gains from the past 40 years, or the impending devaluation of human labor that will come with automation.

Maybe I missed something, but isn't the entire premise of MMM that this contemporary research is flawed?

I agree with both your first and third points though. The ladder is precisely why we need to have a discussion of UBI and the former is why I question if it could make a meaningful difference.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 10, 2019, 05:15:48 PM
I don't see your point here. If there is a significant class who is unable to participate in the economy due to automation they will have far less wealth than the class who owns the capital. If UBI is provided, of course that divide would still exist but it would be slightly less. This doesn't sound like an argument against UBI, it sounds like an argument for some alternative that you haven't described yet.

My point is that if the aim of UBI is to increase equality (which maybe it is, maybe it isn't) the best way to do that is to protect/invest/create middle class jobs, which are the main driver of equality. Rather than give people a (relatively) large amount of free money that still is fairly poor (what's 18k? 50% of the median salary in the USA?).

I don't have a solution to this pressing problem, I just think UBI will entrench inequality rather than alleviate it, though I do want us to try and alleviate it.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 10, 2019, 05:19:35 PM
It's interesting that people think automation and technological advances will reduce the total number of jobs. Looking back at the past 200 years, automation and technology have certainly killed off jobs, but have also created countless new ones at a far greater pace.

Perhaps the problem is that we have a good idea of the jobs that are going to be killed off, but don't know what new jobs will be created. Imagine telling a farmer 200 years ago that there was 95+% chance that his job would be eliminated. That would be terrifying since he wouldn't know the new jobs that would take its place.

I'm less interested in the total job # than the type of job changed.

So far, in my lifetime, technology in Australia has created some new jobs, but it has also contributed a lot of casual, gig, poorly paid roles where companies eschew basic responsibilities in our system (paying super annuation, for example) so that workers' hourly rate is effectively 15-20% lower (after tax and super). So these jobs are what should basically be the new paper route or working at a shop (for kids entering work, easy, accessible, low skill, flexible), but you can't really raise a family as a Deliveroo rider.

So even if the # of jobs increased by a few percent, if the types of jobs are like this that's still a net loss. Middle class jobs build equality, especially when combined with taxes of businesses and individuals channeled into social programs. That's the society I'm hoping for.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 15, 2019, 10:28:42 AM
- Inequality is on the rise, which is bad for society for a host of reasons
- Inequality in the extremes is totally unnecessary and not at all advantageous

Inequality has existed in every economic system, including communism, since the beginning of economies. Inequality is the normal state of nature. Why anyone thinks that equality would just come about naturally without human greed interfering is beyond my comprehension.

Ultimately, inequality isn't as salient a concern as the net wealth of a society.

If you look at free market versus centrally-planned economies, inequality exists in both types, but free markets always have greater net wealth. The result is that even the least wealthy people in a free market tend to have more wealth in their own possession than do the average participants of a centrally-planned economy.

It's better to have a smaller piece of a massive pie, than to have an equal-sized crumb as everyone else.

- Neither is enforcing that everyone lives on the same income despite differences in effort, skill, social value, contribution or merit (and I'd argue equally that people like teachers deserve more and CEOs deserve less based on that, but alas)

You are correct, it is unfair to try and decide contributions legislatively, especially when some individuals make greater contributions to a nation's wealth than others. We must be careful about making qualitative judgments about who is "deserving" of what, especially when doing so interferes with our ability to make efficient judgments about the market.

So how are we to decide who gets what?

As it turns out, prices (and wages, which are the price of labour) do just that.

Money is a measure of how much people care about something. The more money you get for what you do, the more people care about you doing it. Prices, when they are not interfered with, allow us to get a real sense of how much a society cares about this service or that, this product or that.

So one person who doesn't care about football might say that a football player shouldn't receive 13 millions dollars for throwing a ball and running fast. But his salary speaks otherwise about the opinions of people who do care about football, and their opinions must not be ignored for personal reasons.

The trouble arrives when we try to interfere with prices under the pretenses of fairness. This is what UBI is - an interference with prices - and it will have the same problems as other kinds of price interference such as rent control, minimum wage, government subsidies of goods/services, etc.

When we interfere with prices, we are interfering with the one means we have for determining what people value from moment to moment.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: panda on October 15, 2019, 10:42:05 AM
The trouble arrives when we try to interfere with prices under the pretenses of fairness. This is what UBI is - an interference with prices - and it will have the same problems as other kinds of price interference such as rent control, minimum wage, government subsidies of goods/services, etc.
Universal Basic Income (UBI) has nothing to do with prices, and this seems to be a fundamental disconnect with a lot of people as well. Most of the proposals for UBI would have each person getting a fixed amount of money each month (ex., $1000) which is ideally indexed to a basic cost of living (i.e., basic shelter, food, utilities) that ensures survival but not necessary a high standard of living. Thus, people would still be motivated to work to advance past that basic standard of living, while entrepreneurs would have a safety net knowing their basic needs would be set.

Arguably the Standard Deduction is an employment linked UBI since the government is earmarking sufficient funds for basic survival as non-taxable. Obviously it's not quite the same as UBI, but the basic idea is there.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 15, 2019, 11:37:46 AM
Universal Basic Income (UBI) has nothing to do with prices...

It is a price. Specifically, it is a price floor.

Even if only working individuals are allowed to collect UBI, you are raising the price of their labour by whatever amount UBI pays out to them.

Most of the proposals for UBI would have each person getting a fixed amount of money each month (ex., $1000) which is ideally indexed to a basic cost of living (i.e., basic shelter, food, utilities)

The money for UBI will have to come from a tax. The existence of that tax will prompt producers of goods and services to raise their prices in order to maintain their profit margins (the introduction of taxes always has this effect). So even in the best case scenario, people will have slightly more money, but prices will go up, including the basic cost of survival. Nothing changes, no additional safety net is created.

More likely, some of that money will be fed into public coffers to be misspent or misappropriated by bureaucrats.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: bacchi on October 15, 2019, 11:58:24 AM
Universal Basic Income (UBI) has nothing to do with prices...

It is a price. Specifically, it is a price floor.

Even if only working individuals are allowed to collect UBI, you are raising the price of their labour by whatever amount UBI pays out to them.

Most of the proposals for UBI would have each person getting a fixed amount of money each month (ex., $1000) which is ideally indexed to a basic cost of living (i.e., basic shelter, food, utilities)

The money for UBI will have to come from a tax. The existence of that tax will prompt producers of goods and services to raise their prices in order to maintain their profit margins (the introduction of taxes always has this effect). So even in the best case scenario, people will have slightly more money, but prices will go up, including the basic cost of survival. Nothing changes, no additional safety net is created.

More likely, some of that money will be fed into public coffers to be misspent or misappropriated by bureaucrats.

Some of that money is already being collected and distributed.

Further, since the floor is a lot lower than the ceiling (meaning paid employment, aka the median per capita income), the actual rate of inflation for goods and services won't jump as much as a UBI. This is how the minimum wage works. Raising the minimum wage to $10/hour from $7/hour does not increase all goods and services by $3/hour. There will be some adjustment at the lower levels but the HQ manager will not get a corresponding $6000/yr boost in salary.

A UBI will absolutely be a safety net.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 15, 2019, 12:01:59 PM
The money for UBI will have to come from a tax. The existence of that tax will prompt producers of goods and services to raise their prices in order to maintain their profit margins (the introduction of taxes always has this effect). So even in the best case scenario, people will have slightly more money, but prices will go up, including the basic cost of survival. Nothing changes, no additional safety net is created.

More likely, some of that money will be fed into public coffers to be misspent or misappropriated by bureaucrats.

I have to disagree with the bolded part. Certainly, prices for necessities will go up by some degree (if more people are buying necessities who wouldn't have otherwise), but nowhere near enough to say that no safety net is created.

Arguably the Standard Deduction is an employment linked UBI since the government is earmarking sufficient funds for basic survival as non-taxable. Obviously it's not quite the same as UBI, but the basic idea is there.

Arguably, anything-linked UBI is no longer universal, since it is linked to some contingent requirement. I prefer to think of the Standard Deduction as the 0% tax bracket.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Telecaster on October 15, 2019, 07:39:49 PM
Money is a measure of how much people care about something. The more money you get for what you do, the more people care about you doing it. Prices, when they are not interfered with, allow us to get a real sense of how much a society cares about this service or that, this product or that.

That's at best incomplete.   Prices allow us to get a sense of how much the free market cares about this or that product or service.

Society cares about a lot of things the free market can't/doesn't provide:  Police, fire protection, the military, prisons, roads, bridges, emissions standards, food inspection, air traffic control, health care for seniors, volcano monitoring, school lunch, the Post Office, air traffic control....I think you get the point.  None of those things are provided by the free market.  For most people, even drinking water isn't provided by the free market. 





Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: MikeO on October 16, 2019, 08:50:13 AM
stupid idea....it would be as effective as the minimum wage hike to $15 an hour.  Ask those at Target employees how it worked for them.  Sure they get $15 an hour but now they can't get a full work week.  Not only did it cut their pay but now they lose benefits because they aren't working the minimum hours per year to qualify. 

Nothing is free, and until people realize that all these schemes will only provide short term illusions of benefit.  You want to make more money, learn something, and work hard at it for 20+ years. 
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: panda on October 16, 2019, 09:04:52 AM
It is a price. Specifically, it is a price floor.
Again, no, it isn't a price floor. Recall that a price floor is an externally imposed minimum price that can be paid for a product, good, commodity, or service. This means that minimum wage is a price floor (the government sets a minimum price that can be paid for labor). However, UBI fails this definition since you are receiving it without exchanging any products, goods, commodities, or services. Furthermore, under UBI minimum wage could either drastically reduced. In fact some economists are actually arguing that UBI would be a wage subsidy under that scenario which would allow the marketplace to better set price for labor.

Arguably the Standard Deduction is an employment linked UBI since the government is earmarking sufficient funds for basic survival as non-taxable. Obviously it's not quite the same as UBI, but the basic idea is there.

Arguably, anything-linked UBI is no longer universal, since it is linked to some contingent requirement. I prefer to think of the Standard Deduction as the 0% tax bracket.
Correct, it is a really pained connection and is mostly used to demonstrate that conceptually the idea isn't exactly new.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 16, 2019, 09:39:16 AM
Arguably the Standard Deduction is an employment linked UBI since the government is earmarking sufficient funds for basic survival as non-taxable. Obviously it's not quite the same as UBI, but the basic idea is there.
Arguably, anything-linked UBI is no longer universal, since it is linked to some contingent requirement. I prefer to think of the Standard Deduction as the 0% tax bracket.
Correct, it is a really pained connection and is mostly used to demonstrate that conceptually the idea isn't exactly new.

I agree, conceptually UBI is very similar to other schemes, though it is somewhat unique in the universality of the approach. A better analogy to UBI would be social security, as it is essentially a basic income for people who have worked at least ten years in the U.S. and are over the minimum age requirement.

I also think the proponents of UBI are coming from a similar vantage point as the proponents for social security. The concept behind social security is that people who have worked in the U.S. for a minimum period of time will be covered with a basic income should they not be able to find work due to their old age or disability (the expansion to everyone over a specific age was probably more of a ploy to convince the average person that it wasn't just a monetary redistribution to the poor). UBI proponents seem to be saying that current employment demographic trends are such that we shouldn't restrict this right only to people beyond a certain age that have already worked a minimum period of time; rather, the right of a basic guaranteed income should be expanded to everyone living within the borders of the country.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: panda on October 16, 2019, 10:09:13 AM
I also think the proponents of UBI are coming from a similar vantage point as the proponents for social security. The concept behind social security is that people who have worked in the U.S. for a minimum period of time will be covered with a basic income should they not be able to find work due to their old age or disability (the expansion to everyone over a specific age was probably more of a ploy to convince the average person that it wasn't just a monetary redistribution to the poor). UBI proponents seem to be saying that current employment demographic trends are such that we shouldn't restrict this right only to people beyond a certain age that have already worked a minimum period of time; rather, the right of a basic guaranteed income should be expanded to everyone living within the borders of the country.
I'd have to dig out a couple of my history books again, but I seem to recall that Social Security was originally presented more as a safety net for the country's elderly since (paraphrasing) "a great society should be able to provide for its most vulnerable citizens." If I recall correctly, tying the benefits to the number of years worked was something that was added after it was passed since originally it just said you had to be above a certain age?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 16, 2019, 10:38:59 AM
Again, no, it isn't a price floor. Recall that a price floor is an externally imposed minimum price that can be paid for a product, good, commodity, or service. This means that minimum wage is a price floor (the government sets a minimum price that can be paid for labor). However, UBI fails this definition since you are receiving it without exchanging any products, goods, commodities, or services. Furthermore, under UBI minimum wage could either drastically reduced. In fact some economists are actually arguing that UBI would be a wage subsidy under that scenario which would allow the marketplace to better set price for labor.

UBI meets your definition of a price floor.

If you are enacting UBI (the receipt of money without exchanging any products, goods, commodities, or services in return), you are externally imposing a price floor for doing nothing.

The non-imposed normal market payout for doing nothing is $0.

Edit: I understand that UBI does not meet the strict definition of a price floor - it's closer to a subsidy. I see this as a semantic matter.

Money is supposed to be an abstract representation of concrete value created via work. I have a problem with money being paid when no work has been done to justify it. That is what UBI is, and I have not seen compelling evidence that justifies its implementation.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: panda on October 16, 2019, 11:32:36 AM
UBI meets your definition of a price floor.

If you are enacting UBI (the receipt of money without exchanging any products, goods, commodities, or services in return), you are externally imposing a price floor for doing nothing.

The non-imposed normal market payout for doing nothing is $0.
Actually, you really need to review rent seeking behavior because there are a lot of cases were the market value of doing nothing is significantly higher than zero. Likewise, a lot of cost benefit analysis work assess the value of the status quo (typically "do nothing") against some form of action.

Second, your understanding of a price floor is still wrong so here's a challenge: find a reputable economist (or someone that has verified credentials as an economist) that says that UBI is a price floor. If you are right then it should take that long to do so.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 16, 2019, 11:51:10 AM
Again, no, it isn't a price floor. Recall that a price floor is an externally imposed minimum price that can be paid for a product, good, commodity, or service. This means that minimum wage is a price floor (the government sets a minimum price that can be paid for labor). However, UBI fails this definition since you are receiving it without exchanging any products, goods, commodities, or services. Furthermore, under UBI minimum wage could either drastically reduced. In fact some economists are actually arguing that UBI would be a wage subsidy under that scenario which would allow the marketplace to better set price for labor.

UBI meets your definition of a price floor.

If you are enacting UBI (the receipt of money without exchanging any products, goods, commodities, or services in return), you are externally imposing a price floor for doing nothing.

The non-imposed normal market payout for doing nothing is $0.

Edit: I understand that UBI does not meet the strict definition of a price floor - it's closer to a subsidy. I see this as a semantic matter.

Money is supposed to be an abstract representation of concrete value created via work. I have a problem with money being paid when no work has been done to justify it. That is what UBI is, and I have not seen compelling evidence that justifies its implementation.

I mentioned this earlier but you didn't reply so I'll say it again - this is true of all forms of welfare.

Are you saying that you are against all forms of welfare? Are you opposed to paying for the basic necessities for those who cannot provide for themselves?

And even if you are, removing all forms of welfare is not what's up for discussion. It's whether UBI would be a better solution than what we have now. If your choice was binary, current system vs. UBI, what would be your arguments specifically against UBI?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 16, 2019, 12:36:21 PM
If your choice was binary, current system vs. UBI, what would be your arguments specifically against UBI?

The current system is set up so that people who cannot physically work (old or infirm) have a basic income for subsidence. UBI would expand those benefits to people who can, theoretically, work.

The free market system has evolved from primitive economies to one where value is exchanged in direct proportion to the value that is provided to each party (theoretically, of course), with money being the fungible medium of exchange. This is, in my opinion, a desirable state of nature. Any alternatives should serve to rectify the inherent disadvantages of this system.

One disadvantage of the free market is that there isn't a government-sponsored "safety net". Over the years, various safety nets have been proposed, some of which have been implemented. What these safety nets generally have had in common are that they are to support people who cannot physically support themselves due to disability or old age. UBI takes away those contingent requirements.

Here are my arguments against UBI:

The most common refrain I hear from the proponents of UBI is that the economy is changing to the degree that even able-bodied people are having trouble finding work, and thus being able to provide enough value to society to justify the value associated with basic subsistence. I personally don't buy this argument for a variety of reasons (this would require a post in its own right).

A second argument from UBI enthusiasts is that people could be creating great things if they didn't have to spend their time groveling for jobs (which the current welfare system requires). I don't disagree that there might be some people like this out there, but I would argue they are so few and far between as to be immaterial to the argument.

Third, I don't think the second-order effects can be fully understood until after such a plan was implemented. I believe these effects would be a lot more negative effects than some of the positive first-order effects that are predicted. Since the philosophy of MMM is predicated on knowing the value of things like time, money, survival needs, etc., a further removal from the connection of these things to the work put in to achieve them is one of those undesirable second-order effects.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 16, 2019, 01:00:54 PM
I must not have seen your reply.

Let's split this up so it does not become a double-barrelled question:

Are you saying that you are against all forms of welfare?

Helping people is a noble cause, one that I am completely on-board with.

I am saying that I am against all forms of compulsory taxation that have welfare as a justification.

Notice that I am choosing my words advisedly. Tax money ostensibly collected for the purpose of public assistance is not always used to that end - and even when it is, it isn't always done successfully.

Are you opposed to paying for the basic necessities for those who cannot provide for themselves?

I have no problem with charities or not-for-profit organizations whose goal is to provide financial assistance. I have personally donated to many causes over the course of my life, even when my own money situation was difficult.

The principle difference is that donating to a charity or non-profit is voluntary.

If your choice was binary, current system vs. UBI, what would be your arguments specifically against UBI?

No justification is required to be skeptical. Skepticism is the default position in science, until evidence is provided indicating that a hypothesis has truth value to it. I have not been presented with evidence that UBI has been applied more successfully in the past when compared to non-compulsory welfare provisioning, so I remain skeptical.

That being said, I can play along for the sake of discussion.

One can point to numerous instances in history where government has interfered with the price of goods or labour, or provided subsidies and assistance, with the stated goal of improving the lives of people, but with the actual result of creating shortages, surpluses, cartels, and all the way up to economic disasters and famines. There is evidence and reason enough to be reluctant to try for another centrally-planned solution when so many have failed catastrophically in the past.

Better, I think, that we do nothing as opposed to doing active harm.

But isn't it cold to simply do nothing? Callous? Aren't we ignoring the plight of fellow human beings?

When people are suffering and in distress, there is a powerful compulsion to do something. Sometimes, this desire to feel useful in combating the tragedy of the universe's indifference to us can lead us to make poorly thought-out decisions for the sake of conscience. We end up causing harm in our attempts to propitiate our consciences, and we rationalize the harm done by our misguided efforts by invoking our good initial intentions.

I prefer, instead, to believe in human ingenuity, charity, willpower. I prefer to believe in people's ability to adapt and become stronger in the face of hardship. And above all, I believe in people's freedom from compulsion by outside forces.

Until evidence emerges, preferably historical examples, of UBI being applied both beneficially and with no equal-or-greater negative side effects, we must be skeptical of it, however much it may appeal to our sensibilities as charitable people.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EvenSteven on October 16, 2019, 01:09:24 PM
Again, no, it isn't a price floor. Recall that a price floor is an externally imposed minimum price that can be paid for a product, good, commodity, or service. This means that minimum wage is a price floor (the government sets a minimum price that can be paid for labor). However, UBI fails this definition since you are receiving it without exchanging any products, goods, commodities, or services. Furthermore, under UBI minimum wage could either drastically reduced. In fact some economists are actually arguing that UBI would be a wage subsidy under that scenario which would allow the marketplace to better set price for labor.

UBI meets your definition of a price floor.

If you are enacting UBI (the receipt of money without exchanging any products, goods, commodities, or services in return), you are externally imposing a price floor for doing nothing.

The non-imposed normal market payout for doing nothing is $0.

Edit: I understand that UBI does not meet the strict definition of a price floor - it's closer to a subsidy. I see this as a semantic matter.

Money is supposed to be an abstract representation of concrete value created via work. I have a problem with money being paid when no work has been done to justify it. That is what UBI is, and I have not seen compelling evidence that justifies its implementation.

I found some very compelling evidence for the implementation of money being paid when no work has been done to justify it:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1037/0002-9432.72.2.182

There is a wealth of similar and related studies.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 16, 2019, 02:15:48 PM
I found some very compelling evidence for the implementation of money being paid when no work has been done to justify it:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1037/0002-9432.72.2.182

There is a wealth of similar and related studies.

From the abstract (the rest is behind a paywall): "Three policy implications are discussed: (a) increasing access to federal food programs, (b) promoting breastfeeding, and (c) working toward reducing child poverty."

I can get onboard with (a) and (b). As for (c), it could improve child nutrition, but not in the absence of improved knowledge of nutrition and responsible spending by the parents. In other words, what percentage of the supplemental income would actually be spent on nutrition? Meanwhile, the U.S. government has these programs in place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_Nutrition_Service#Nutrition_assistance_programs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_Nutrition_Service#Nutrition_assistance_programs).

Very tangentially related: I find the poverty line to be an interesting statistic if MMM in his early blogging/retirement days could be counted under that statistic, as seems likely from this information: https://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty/guidance/poverty-measures.html (https://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty/guidance/poverty-measures.html) and https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-series/historical-poverty-thresholds/thresh11.xls (https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-series/historical-poverty-thresholds/thresh11.xls). (Especially when one considers that capital gains are not factored into the equation.)
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on October 16, 2019, 02:27:26 PM
I think we should move to a four day work week first.  Make Fridays Great Again.  It wouldn't reduce productivity that much, it would help people in their personal/social lives, and some people would probably start volunteering or otherwise working for free, a la UBI.

I'd like to see a more consensual post-scarcity model, if possible.

Lack of consent(taxes -> welfare) require means testing so people don't get angry.

Consensual donations don't require that as much.

Just a thought.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EvenSteven on October 16, 2019, 02:43:34 PM
I found some very compelling evidence for the implementation of money being paid when no work has been done to justify it:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1037/0002-9432.72.2.182

There is a wealth of similar and related studies.

From the abstract (the rest is behind a paywall): "Three policy implications are discussed: (a) increasing access to federal food programs, (b) promoting breastfeeding, and (c) working toward reducing child poverty."

I can get onboard with (a) and (b). As for (c), it could improve child nutrition, but not in the absence of improved knowledge of nutrition and responsible spending by the parents. In other words, what percentage of the supplemental income would actually be spent on nutrition? Meanwhile, the U.S. government has these programs in place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_Nutrition_Service#Nutrition_assistance_programs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_Nutrition_Service#Nutrition_assistance_programs).

Very tangentially related: I find the poverty line to be an interesting statistic if MMM in his early blogging/retirement days could be counted under that statistic, as seems likely from this information: https://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty/guidance/poverty-measures.html (https://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty/guidance/poverty-measures.html) and https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-series/historical-poverty-thresholds/thresh11.xls (https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-series/historical-poverty-thresholds/thresh11.xls). (Especially when one considers that capital gains are not factored into the equation.)

The bolded part sounds suspiciously like people getting stuff without the work to justify it.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on October 16, 2019, 02:45:14 PM
A second argument from UBI enthusiasts is that people could be creating great things if they didn't have to spend their time groveling for jobs (which the current welfare system requires). I don't disagree that there might be some people like this out there, but I would argue they are so few and far between as to be immaterial to the argument.

Yes. I don't think we are all just artistic/musical/computer prodigies waiting to be unleashed, if only we didn't have to punch on at McDonald's every morning.

I have no great issue with the idea of having a universal safety net, but to give it unconditionally (i.e. to able-bodied people, for doing nothing) troubles me, for reasons I've discussed in other threads. If nothing else, it would make low-level goods and services significantly more expensive, since there would no longer be any market for menial jobs, or it would be distorted in any case beyond recognition if a liveable wage was payable for literally zero effort.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 16, 2019, 02:47:18 PM
...snip...

Until evidence emerges, preferably historical examples, of UBI being applied both beneficially and with no equal-or-greater negative side effects, we must be skeptical of it, however much it may appeal to our sensibilities as charitable people.

I think you've made incorrect assumptions about my position. I'm highly skeptical of UBI but I'm also open minded and interested in solid arguments for and against. If you're looking for historical evidence of a successful UBI I don't know what to tell you.

Where I've said "welfare" in previous posts I meant to say "government provided welfare" (also, assistance would have been a better word than welfare). From your response it sounds like you are in fact against that.

But my last and most relevant question was what arguments do you have specifically against UBI? I understand what you're saying when you state that skepticism is the default position and that you don't need to make arguments against UBI until someone else makes a proper argument in favor of UBI, but regardless, you have in fact made arguments against UBI. I've pointed out that all of those arguments can apply at least as well to current forms of government assistance. What I'm looking for is arguments that apply specifically to UBI.

If you don't have any and all of your arguments are against any form of government assistance, there's nothing wrong with that, but it would benefit the discussion if that was made clear.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Alternatepriorities on October 16, 2019, 02:58:12 PM
After reading through many of the comments on this thread I listened to a 2 hour interview with Yang. He makes the best argument for the need to do something before the next technological revolution I've heard. If someone is going to convince me UBI is a good idea it will probably be him. I might be biased by the MATH hat though...

Still, I have to wonder why we as a society shouldn't pay people to actually make the world we live in nicer instead. Why hand out free money to able bodied people when there is still trash along our roadways, graffiti on the walls, dilapidated buildings in many towns, and 100% of our waste isn't recycled. Not to mention all the bike paths and hiking trails that could be built. Maybe the robots will do all of those jobs eventually, but until then I think I'd rather spend a trillion a year something like the CCC instead of a UBI.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 16, 2019, 03:08:56 PM
I found some very compelling evidence for the implementation of money being paid when no work has been done to justify it:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1037/0002-9432.72.2.182

There is a wealth of similar and related studies.

From the abstract (the rest is behind a paywall): "Three policy implications are discussed: (a) increasing access to federal food programs, (b) promoting breastfeeding, and (c) working toward reducing child poverty."

I can get onboard with (a) and (b). As for (c), it could improve child nutrition, but not in the absence of improved knowledge of nutrition and responsible spending by the parents. In other words, what percentage of the supplemental income would actually be spent on nutrition? Meanwhile, the U.S. government has these programs in place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_Nutrition_Service#Nutrition_assistance_programs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_Nutrition_Service#Nutrition_assistance_programs).

Very tangentially related: I find the poverty line to be an interesting statistic if MMM in his early blogging/retirement days could be counted under that statistic, as seems likely from this information: https://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty/guidance/poverty-measures.html (https://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty/guidance/poverty-measures.html) and https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-series/historical-poverty-thresholds/thresh11.xls (https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-series/historical-poverty-thresholds/thresh11.xls). (Especially when one considers that capital gains are not factored into the equation.)

The bolded part sounds suspiciously like people getting stuff without the work to justify it.

Yes, the stuff that directly addresses the need. Money indirectly addresses the need, and I'd argue substituting an equivalent amount of UBI money (or even double the money) for these nutrition programs would not improve the nutrition of the poor.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on October 16, 2019, 03:11:16 PM
After reading through many of the comments on this thread I listened to a 2 hour interview with Yang. He makes the best argument for the need to do something before the next technological revolution I've heard. If someone is going to convince me UBI is a good idea it will probably be him. I might be biased by the MATH hat though...

Still, I have to wonder why we as a society shouldn't pay people to actually make the world we live in nicer instead. Why hand out free money to able bodied people when there is still trash along our roadways, graffiti on the walls, dilapidated buildings in many towns, and 100% of our waste isn't recycled. Not to mention all the bike paths and hiking trails that could be built. Maybe the robots will do all of those jobs eventually, but until then I think I'd rather spend a trillion a year something like the CCC instead of a UBI.

Because people need incentives to do unpleasant tasks.  See: highly paid plumbers.
People don't just go out of their way to do unpleasant work.
See: company lunchrooms (communism)
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 16, 2019, 03:15:26 PM
Still, I have to wonder why we as a society shouldn't pay people to actually make the world we live in nicer instead. Why hand out free money to able bodied people when there is still trash along our roadways, graffiti on the walls, dilapidated buildings in many towns, and 100% of our waste isn't recycled. Not to mention all the bike paths and hiking trails that could be built. Maybe the robots will do all of those jobs eventually, but until then I think I'd rather spend a trillion a year something like the CCC instead of a UBI.

Well put. And 100% agree that if unemployment actually became a huge issue, that a government work program would be a significantly better solution than UBI.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 16, 2019, 03:18:31 PM
After reading through many of the comments on this thread I listened to a 2 hour interview with Yang. He makes the best argument for the need to do something before the next technological revolution I've heard. If someone is going to convince me UBI is a good idea it will probably be him. I might be biased by the MATH hat though...

Still, I have to wonder why we as a society shouldn't pay people to actually make the world we live in nicer instead. Why hand out free money to able bodied people when there is still trash along our roadways, graffiti on the walls, dilapidated buildings in many towns, and 100% of our waste isn't recycled. Not to mention all the bike paths and hiking trails that could be built. Maybe the robots will do all of those jobs eventually, but until then I think I'd rather spend a trillion a year something like the CCC instead of a UBI.

Because people need incentives to do unpleasant tasks.  See: highly paid plumbers.
People don't just go out of their way to do unpleasant work.
See: company lunchrooms (communism)

Perhaps I misunderstand your message, but the primary incentive would be to earn money to purchase food and other necessities. The same reason most of us work jobs.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 16, 2019, 03:26:37 PM
If you don't have any and all of your arguments are against any form of government assistance, there's nothing wrong with that, but it would benefit the discussion if that was made clear.

Yes. I am against any and all forms of tax-payer-funded assistance: UBI, subsidies to farmers, welfare, social security, etc. The same basic arguments apply to all of them.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EvenSteven on October 16, 2019, 03:30:08 PM
I found some very compelling evidence for the implementation of money being paid when no work has been done to justify it:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1037/0002-9432.72.2.182

There is a wealth of similar and related studies.

From the abstract (the rest is behind a paywall): "Three policy implications are discussed: (a) increasing access to federal food programs, (b) promoting breastfeeding, and (c) working toward reducing child poverty."

I can get onboard with (a) and (b). As for (c), it could improve child nutrition, but not in the absence of improved knowledge of nutrition and responsible spending by the parents. In other words, what percentage of the supplemental income would actually be spent on nutrition? Meanwhile, the U.S. government has these programs in place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_Nutrition_Service#Nutrition_assistance_programs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_Nutrition_Service#Nutrition_assistance_programs).

Very tangentially related: I find the poverty line to be an interesting statistic if MMM in his early blogging/retirement days could be counted under that statistic, as seems likely from this information: https://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty/guidance/poverty-measures.html (https://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty/guidance/poverty-measures.html) and https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-series/historical-poverty-thresholds/thresh11.xls (https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-series/historical-poverty-thresholds/thresh11.xls). (Especially when one considers that capital gains are not factored into the equation.)

The bolded part sounds suspiciously like people getting stuff without the work to justify it.

Yes, the stuff that directly addresses the need. Money indirectly addresses the need, and I'd argue substituting an equivalent amount of UBI money (or even double the money) for these nutrition programs would not improve the nutrition of the poor.

Quite possibly. But my point remains. There is good evidence that providing unearned welfare does indeed have evidence to support it being a good idea.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 16, 2019, 04:09:22 PM
If you don't have any and all of your arguments are against any form of government assistance, there's nothing wrong with that, but it would benefit the discussion if that was made clear.

Yes. I am against any and all forms of tax-payer-funded assistance: UBI, subsidies to farmers, welfare, social security, etc. The same basic arguments apply to all of them.

This is a slippery slope. Would you be ok with people literally dying in the streets because they could not afford food? You seem to assume that private charity would eliminate this possibility, but then if this were the case we wouldn't see so many advertisements for charities showing starving people, would we?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 16, 2019, 04:54:05 PM
If you don't have any and all of your arguments are against any form of government assistance, there's nothing wrong with that, but it would benefit the discussion if that was made clear.

Yes. I am against any and all forms of tax-payer-funded assistance: UBI, subsidies to farmers, welfare, social security, etc. The same basic arguments apply to all of them.

This is a slippery slope. Would you be ok with people literally dying in the streets because they could not afford food?


People are already dying in the streets because they cannot afford food or shelter, despite the availability of social programs. Have a look a New York City. The city has thousands of rent-controlled derelict properties currently in state repossession, and dozens of homeless dying every winter like clockwork. Social programs haven't fixed that problem.

Now, one might say "Well, just add more social programs to cover the rest. Problem solved." But you still haven't justified the assumption that social programs do a better job of feeding/sheltering people than people could just by working hard without interference.

You cannot assume the conclusion you are trying to prove.

You seem to assume that private charity would eliminate this possibility, but then if this were the case we wouldn't see so many advertisements for charities showing starving people, would we?

I didn't say that charities are the solution to hunger.

I said voluntary charitable donations are a preferable strategy to state-mandated tax-payer-funded assistance programs.

Governments are inefficient because of their inherent constraints and their perverse incentives (here, a "perverse incentive" means that a politician profits personally by taking actions that are against the interests of the people she is supposed to represent).

Government inefficiency is the principal argument against any kind of state-administered program.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: BTDretire on October 17, 2019, 07:51:28 AM
If you don't have any and all of your arguments are against any form of government assistance, there's nothing wrong with that, but it would benefit the discussion if that was made clear.

Yes. I am against any and all forms of tax-payer-funded assistance: UBI, subsidies to farmers, welfare, social security, etc. The same basic arguments apply to all of them.

Re: social security, I'll admit many people get back more than they paid in and maybe even more than if the money had been invested well. But, if your going to be against it as "tax-payer-funded assistance", please send me a check for all the FICA I paid in over the last 50 years, also, I'd like to get a decent growth rate on the money that was taken from me.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: BTDretire on October 17, 2019, 08:12:46 AM
Are we giving this $1,000 a month to everyone and continuing the same amount of payments from all the other welfare programs?
 Is the $1,000 per person in the household?
 Is there an age limit?
I suggest there should be, otherwise, get your childs birth paid for by hardworking taxpayers then get $12,000 a year for the next 18 years. Do that 5 or 6 times and you could have a nice standard of living and still not take care of the kids.
 And, are all the mustachians sitting on their $1M+ collecting their Obamacare going to get  another $12,000 a year from hardworking taxpayers.
 Note" US population 329.8M, US workers 131.7M, Percent of workers that actually pay Federal income Taxes, 51%. 131.7/329.8=40%. That means that only 20% of the US population are hardworking taxpayers supporting the system. We might want to think seriously about how hard we squeeze them.
  I personally don't like taxing corporations, but, that is the only way we get some money out of those that don't pay Federal income taxes.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 17, 2019, 08:43:48 AM
Are we giving this $1,000 a month to everyone and continuing the same amount of payments from all the other welfare programs?
 Is the $1,000 per person in the household?
 Is there an age limit?
I suggest there should be, otherwise, get your childs birth paid for by hardworking taxpayers then get $12,000 a year for the next 18 years. Do that 5 or 6 times and you could have a nice standard of living and still not take care of the kids.
 And, are all the mustachians sitting on their $1M+ collecting their Obamacare going to get  another $12,000 a year from hardworking taxpayers.
 Note" US population 329.8M, US workers 131.7M, Percent of workers that actually pay Federal income Taxes, 51%. 131.7/329.8=40%. That means that only 20% of the US population are hardworking taxpayers supporting the system. We might want to think seriously about how hard we squeeze them.
  I personally don't like taxing corporations, but, that is the only way we get some money out of those that don't pay Federal income taxes.

The title of the thread asks about support for UBI, which leaves the answers to some of your questions open ended but in the OP they specifically refer to Andrew Yang's proposal. If you're asking about the Freedom Dividend specifically, answers can be found here.

https://www.yang2020.com/what-is-freedom-dividend-faq/

To get you started:
- some assistance programs would remain and others would be eliminated. For example Social Security Disability Insurance would stack with UBI but SNAP benefits would end.
- 18+ year olds would receive UBI
- yes, everyone would receive UBI regardless of their other sources of income

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on October 17, 2019, 08:46:08 AM
After reading through many of the comments on this thread I listened to a 2 hour interview with Yang. He makes the best argument for the need to do something before the next technological revolution I've heard. If someone is going to convince me UBI is a good idea it will probably be him. I might be biased by the MATH hat though...

Still, I have to wonder why we as a society shouldn't pay people to actually make the world we live in nicer instead. Why hand out free money to able bodied people when there is still trash along our roadways, graffiti on the walls, dilapidated buildings in many towns, and 100% of our waste isn't recycled. Not to mention all the bike paths and hiking trails that could be built. Maybe the robots will do all of those jobs eventually, but until then I think I'd rather spend a trillion a year something like the CCC instead of a UBI.

Because people need incentives to do unpleasant tasks.  See: highly paid plumbers.
People don't just go out of their way to do unpleasant work.
See: company lunchrooms (communism)

Perhaps I misunderstand your message, but the primary incentive would be to earn money to purchase food and other necessities. The same reason most of us work jobs.
Yes, you're correct, I misread that paragraph.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 17, 2019, 08:59:51 AM
Re: social security, I'll admit many people get back more than they paid in and maybe even more than if the money had been invested well.

Indeed. That's how pyramid schemes are supposed to work.

But, if your going to be against it as "tax-payer-funded assistance", please send me a check for all the FICA I paid in over the last 50 years, also, I'd like to get a decent growth rate on the money that was taken from me.

Good luck getting that money out of the particular politician who squandered it.

That's the other problem with sweeping programs like social security or UBI. Once they are put into law, it's very difficult to repeal them, even after you have come to realize they were a bad idea.
Title: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: nancyfrank232 on October 17, 2019, 09:35:40 AM
- 18+ year olds would receive UBI
- yes, everyone would receive UBI regardless of their other sources of income

Yes please! Iíll take it
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 17, 2019, 10:23:02 AM
If you don't have any and all of your arguments are against any form of government assistance, there's nothing wrong with that, but it would benefit the discussion if that was made clear.
Yes. I am against any and all forms of tax-payer-funded assistance: UBI, subsidies to farmers, welfare, social security, etc. The same basic arguments apply to all of them.
This is a slippery slope. Would you be ok with people literally dying in the streets because they could not afford food?

People are already dying in the streets because they cannot afford food or shelter, despite the availability of social programs. Have a look a New York City. The city has thousands of rent-controlled derelict properties currently in state repossession, and dozens of homeless dying every winter like clockwork. Social programs haven't fixed that problem.
I agree with a lot of what you wrote. Above is the passage that I disagree with.

Yes, people are dying. But social programs aren't intended to save everyone ("No Child Left Behind" excepted...). Social programs are intended to save the people who want saving. So the drug addicts who are more interested in their next fix than an actual plan to save themselves, are not going to be helped by most social programs. But the family living paycheck to paycheck that loses their primary income source, they need the assistance until they can get back on their feet.

In addition, there are many social programs that I feel were generally ill-conceived, though of course they come from good intentions. I feel rent-control is one of those. It distorts the housing market significantly enough that people use where they live as a proxy for economic gain (because it is much cheaper than other locations), and therefore it reduces the options of finding better living locations that reflect their true needs.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 17, 2019, 11:42:02 AM
But social programs aren't intended to save everyone ("No Child Left Behind" excepted...). Social programs are intended to save the people who want saving.

This is really the core of what I've been getting at. Intention.

It doesn't matter what a program is intended to do. It only matters what it actually does.

On the whole, social programs suck. They're mismanaged, their funding is misappropriated, and their ultimate outcomes are a distortion of their stated goals.

If our aim is to promote the greatest social good, then (idiosyncratically) the best course of action is to do nothing and let people's ingenuity, determination, and hard work solve their own problems without forcibly siphoning the ingenuity, determination, hard work of other people.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 17, 2019, 12:12:40 PM
But social programs aren't intended to save everyone ("No Child Left Behind" excepted...). Social programs are intended to save the people who want saving.

This is really the core of what I've been getting at. Intention.

It doesn't matter what a program is intended to do. It only matters what it actually does.

On the whole, social programs suck. They're mismanaged, their funding is misappropriated, and their ultimate outcomes are a distortion of their stated goals.

If our aim is to promote the greatest social good, then (idiosyncratically) the best course of action is to do nothing and let people's ingenuity, determination, and hard work solve their own problems without forcibly siphoning the ingenuity, determination, hard work of other people.

You claimed that government aid doesn't save everyone. Boofinator pointed out that saving everyone isn't the intent. You took one word from that post and changed the subject. This no longer feels like a sincere discussion.

As for the bolded, you've made it pretty clear that this is your opinion but you haven't provided any evidence for why this is true.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bucksandreds on October 17, 2019, 12:48:31 PM
I cant argue that a UBI is absolutely a perfect thing that needs to be enacted instantly. But logically, giving EVERYONE $12,000 per year on top of their income reduces income inequality. A person making minimum wage now makes nearly double off UBI plus work and I would make like 8% more. No way prices would raise drastically (logically there would be some inflation) because most people make more than minimum wage and so their income would not go up anywhere close to double. Again, I cant say that this is the perfect solution. The people on here who vehemently disagree with it ARE giving illogical reasons why it wouldn't work. If you're idealogically opposed to $ for nothing then fine. Please stop posting B.S. about how this wouldn't improve income inequality and how prices would just go up $12,000 per person. Small inflation associated with UBI, combined with a VAT WOULD absolutely hurt HIGH spenders (people who spend 6 figures plus per year) and financially benefit all others. There is no logical argument about that.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bucksandreds on October 17, 2019, 12:54:03 PM
Percent of workers that actually pay Federal income Taxes, 51%. 131.7/329.8=40%. That means that only 20% of the US population are hardworking taxpayers supporting the system. We might want to think seriously about how hard we squeeze them.
 

That is such a intellectually dishonest argument that I'm not sure any further retort is warranted.

https://www.cbpp.org/research/misconceptions-and-realities-about-who-pays-taxes
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 17, 2019, 12:56:47 PM
But social programs aren't intended to save everyone ("No Child Left Behind" excepted...). Social programs are intended to save the people who want saving.

It doesn't matter what a program is intended to do. It only matters what it actually does.

On the whole, social programs suck. They're mismanaged, their funding is misappropriated, and their ultimate outcomes are a distortion of their stated goals.

If our aim is to promote the greatest social good, then (idiosyncratically) the best course of action is to do nothing and let people's ingenuity, determination, and hard work solve their own problems without forcibly siphoning the ingenuity, determination, hard work of other people.

I don't disagree with your first two paragraphs. Outcomes are what matter, and in general bureaucratic programs suck in generating positive outcomes for the money spent.

Your third paragraph is where I disagree. The same argument can really be used for any government expenditure. Military? Nah, we don't need them, the second amendment and a citizen militia could defend us and save some 3% of GDP. CDC? Nope, human immune systems have been evolving for millions of years to fight these diseases. Etc., etc.

As for social programs specifically, 1) Who cares if they are an inefficient use of resources in the short term if they accomplish a stronger long-term society? and 2) Government is simply a civil compact between the people, for the people; instituting social programs that require a tax on the people is simply an agreement that individual people are too selfish by themselves (not in a bad way, just in a self-interested way) to accomplish this objective, but government has the power to tax and distribute the money if it accomplishes a greater good. So the government is forcing the people to pay taxes, but at the same time it is the social contract of the people with the government that gives the government the authority to tax.

The actual "good" that any social programs accomplish is difficult to quantify. I prefer to consider whether I would benefit from the program if I was in dire straights, while not putting too large of a burden on the greater society. if the answer is yes, then I consider that specific social program a morally good program. (I feel UBI fails this test in that it does put a large burden on greater society, in not expecting people to have to provide value to society to receive income.)
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on October 17, 2019, 01:18:16 PM
Small inflation associated with UBI, combined with a VAT WOULD absolutely hurt HIGH spenders (people who spend 6 figures plus per year) and financially benefit all others. There is no logical argument about that.

If you're earning $200,000 previously and min wage is $25,000, and now with the passage of the UBI you're earning $212,000 (we will put aside the fact that you probably have to pay more tax to make it work) and min wage + UBI is $37,000, your spending power has just gone from 8x min wage to 5.7x min wage. This doesn't account for tax, but the point is obvious: you suddenly have less spending power, and this affects all transactions you make other than perhaps luxury goods/services which were not market-priced anyway. So now you want a cheap take-out meal, or an Uber, or someone to mow your lawns, or someone to babysit, or any other basic good/service: suddenly your relative purchasing power has shrunk by a third relative to what you previously had.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Telecaster on October 17, 2019, 02:21:06 PM
If you're earning $200,000 previously and min wage is $25,000, and now with the passage of the UBI you're earning $212,000 (we will put aside the fact that you probably have to pay more tax to make it work) and min wage + UBI is $37,000, your spending power has just gone from 8x min wage to 5.7x min wage. This doesn't account for tax, but the point is obvious: you suddenly have less spending power, and this affects all transactions you make other than perhaps luxury goods/services which were not market-priced anyway. So now you want a cheap take-out meal, or an Uber, or someone to mow your lawns, or someone to babysit, or any other basic good/service: suddenly your relative purchasing power has shrunk by a third relative to what you previously had.

Uh no.  Your spending ability went from $200K/year to $212K/year.  That is NOT a decrease.

The above sentence says nothing regarding the notion that UBI is a good idea or not, but your purchasing ability would not decrease by a third.  Come on! 

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on October 17, 2019, 02:38:38 PM
If you're earning $200,000 previously and min wage is $25,000, and now with the passage of the UBI you're earning $212,000 (we will put aside the fact that you probably have to pay more tax to make it work) and min wage + UBI is $37,000, your spending power has just gone from 8x min wage to 5.7x min wage. This doesn't account for tax, but the point is obvious: you suddenly have less spending power, and this affects all transactions you make other than perhaps luxury goods/services which were not market-priced anyway. So now you want a cheap take-out meal, or an Uber, or someone to mow your lawns, or someone to babysit, or any other basic good/service: suddenly your relative purchasing power has shrunk by a third relative to what you previously had.

Uh no.  Your spending ability went from $200K/year to $212K/year.  That is NOT a decrease.

The above sentence says nothing regarding the notion that UBI is a good idea or not, but your purchasing ability would not decrease by a third.  Come on!

I'm not sure if you're wilfully ignoring my argument, or just incapable of understanding the term "relative".
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 17, 2019, 03:05:07 PM
If you're earning $200,000 previously and min wage is $25,000, and now with the passage of the UBI you're earning $212,000 (we will put aside the fact that you probably have to pay more tax to make it work) and min wage + UBI is $37,000, your spending power has just gone from 8x min wage to 5.7x min wage. This doesn't account for tax, but the point is obvious: you suddenly have less spending power, and this affects all transactions you make other than perhaps luxury goods/services which were not market-priced anyway. So now you want a cheap take-out meal, or an Uber, or someone to mow your lawns, or someone to babysit, or any other basic good/service: suddenly your relative purchasing power has shrunk by a third relative to what you previously had.

Uh no.  Your spending ability went from $200K/year to $212K/year.  That is NOT a decrease.

The above sentence says nothing regarding the notion that UBI is a good idea or not, but your purchasing ability would not decrease by a third.  Come on!

I'm not sure if you're wilfully ignoring my argument, or just incapable of understanding the term "relative".

It's difficult to refute your argument because the logic is so twisted. If I had to pick just one flaw it would be that your explanation assumes market prices are set exclusively by the price that minimum wage earners can afford.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on October 17, 2019, 03:17:55 PM
No, it doesn't assume market prices are set "exclusively" in that manner, but it assumes that that is a significant contributor.

For example, people drive Uber now because it's an alternative to minimum wage which pays a little more than minimum wage. If you no longer needed that money to survive (because of UBI), then Uber's prices would have to go up. I'm sure you agree with that.

So suddenly a whole bunch of goods and services see their price increasing. Which means that for everyone their spending power decreases.

Now if your total income goes from a $25k min wage to $37k min wage + UBI (i.e. increases 50%), then you have more absolute spending power as long as prices don't increase 50%. Meanwhile, if your total income goes from $200k to $212k (increase of 6%), then you have less spending power if prices rise by more than 6%. This doesn't even account for the likelihood that taxes will increase from UBI.

Now you might say that if someone on $212k only spends $40k a year, then as long as the "new" spending doesn't exceed $52k (i.e. a 30% increase), he or she is still better off. But this neglects the fact that the remaining non-spent portion of wages now has less investment power than before, because of general inflation.

But, it's a logical fallacy to say that my explanation "assumes market prices are set exclusively by the price that minimum wage earners can afford." If I was saying that, then I'd be saying that the UBI would increase all prices by 50%. I'm not saying the price increase will be anything like that. However, I suspect the average rate of inflation would be significant. And yes, for things like Uber, I think the increase would be close to 50%.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: kite on October 17, 2019, 03:26:17 PM
I cant argue that a UBI is absolutely a perfect thing that needs to be enacted instantly. But logically, giving EVERYONE $12,000 per year on top of their income reduces income inequality. A person making minimum wage now makes nearly double off UBI plus work and I would make like 8% more. No way prices would raise drastically (logically there would be some inflation) because most people make more than minimum wage and so their income would not go up anywhere close to double. Again, I cant say that this is the perfect solution. The people on here who vehemently disagree with it ARE giving illogical reasons why it wouldn't work. If you're idealogically opposed to $ for nothing then fine. Please stop posting B.S. about how this wouldn't improve income inequality and how prices would just go up $12,000 per person. Small inflation associated with UBI, combined with a VAT WOULD absolutely hurt HIGH spenders (people who spend 6 figures plus per year) and financially benefit all others. There is no logical argument about that.

When 'everyone' qualifies for a subsidy, the prices do rise.  That's exactly what happened to college tuition. 
Inequality would still exist and become even more extreme.  Because 'everyone' is not actually everyone.  There is going to be zero support for a UBI entitlement to be extended to immigrants.  None.  And yet they are a large part of the poorest of the poor in our communities.  Among our immigrant populations, about 12 million or so are undocumented.  Those are the very poor, often scraping by without access welfare or SSI, without access to banking on whom prices will have gone up by 12,000 per year (or whatever the mythic number) at the same time that the champions of UBI believe that we no longer have need of foodbanks, shelters or charity medical care because 'everyone' just got a raise. 

We already have the EITC, which is a marvelous method of boosting the income of the working poor in an unrestricted manner.  As a bonus, it gives more to those with dependents.  Other need-based aid options offer incentives to producers and parts of the supply chain.  ie... Housing subsidies ensure housing availability & standards, Ag Subsidies (that's what SNAP is) ensure that farmers grow food and stores that serve the poor stock things besides liquor.  WIC checks are the reason that specific nutritious foods & baby formula is available in poor neighborhoods instead of something like the paint thinner that has been passed off in other countries. 
My opposition to UBI is about more than an ideological opposition to handouts.   I believe that aid should be means tested because some people need more than others and they always will.  It is immoral for those of us who don't need anything to give ourselves a boost that ultimately takes away from those who are in need.  And to do this systemically and fund it with a regressive tax as we seek to close the programs that were devised in response to need is cruel.     
I have a few loved ones scraping by below poverty levels.  And if you took away their subsidized apartment, their welfare & their food stamps, they would starve or die of exposure.  You see, they aren't poor because the economy is tough or because of technology.  They are poor because they aren't equipped to manage the activities of daily living.  They need food & shelter provided by someone else.  All their available cash gets frittered away in a manic cycle of their bipolar illness or on a daily basis on lottery tickets or on booze & eating at the diner.   My uncle is a nice guy.  He drops $20/daily at the diner.  Which accounts for most of his $800/month check.  The rest of it goes for gas & car insurance.  He's always going to need his free housing.  Always. 
My beef with every UBI proposal I've read (including Yang's) is that they are touted as a solution to poverty when they are nothing of the sort.  You should spend a heck of alot more time with actual poor people before concluding that what they need is $1000/month in cash.  For most of them, it will never be enough.  And the consequences of eliminating all the other patchwork of services is a catastrophe.   
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: v8rx7guy on October 17, 2019, 03:49:58 PM
If a recent high school grad got married straight out of school , could that couple FIRE in a LCOL with the $24,000/yr UBI payment while never working a day in their lives?  Seems quite plausible, and I'm not sure it feels "right"... though who am I to say what "right" is?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on October 17, 2019, 04:29:48 PM
The comment on immigrants is interesting to me, mostly because it points out a practical issue: how do we track who has already received UBI?  People will require bank accounts?  That means they need photo id and probably a mailing address.   Otherwise, how would fraud be prevented?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LoanShark on October 17, 2019, 06:32:23 PM
I cant argue that a UBI is absolutely a perfect thing that needs to be enacted instantly. But logically, giving EVERYONE $12,000 per year on top of their income reduces income inequality. A person making minimum wage now makes nearly double off UBI plus work and I would make like 8% more. No way prices would raise drastically (logically there would be some inflation) because most people make more than minimum wage and so their income would not go up anywhere close to double. Again, I cant say that this is the perfect solution. The people on here who vehemently disagree with it ARE giving illogical reasons why it wouldn't work. If you're idealogically opposed to $ for nothing then fine. Please stop posting B.S. about how this wouldn't improve income inequality and how prices would just go up $12,000 per person. Small inflation associated with UBI, combined with a VAT WOULD absolutely hurt HIGH spenders (people who spend 6 figures plus per year) and financially benefit all others. There is no logical argument about that.

When 'everyone' qualifies for a subsidy, the prices do rise.  That's exactly what happened to college tuition. 
Inequality would still exist and become even more extreme.  Because 'everyone' is not actually everyone.  There is going to be zero support for a UBI entitlement to be extended to immigrants.  None.  And yet they are a large part of the poorest of the poor in our communities.  Among our immigrant populations, about 12 million or so are undocumented.  Those are the very poor, often scraping by without access welfare or SSI, without access to banking on whom prices will have gone up by 12,000 per year (or whatever the mythic number) at the same time that the champions of UBI believe that we no longer have need of foodbanks, shelters or charity medical care because 'everyone' just got a raise. 

We already have the EITC, which is a marvelous method of boosting the income of the working poor in an unrestricted manner.  As a bonus, it gives more to those with dependents.  Other need-based aid options offer incentives to producers and parts of the supply chain.  ie... Housing subsidies ensure housing availability & standards, Ag Subsidies (that's what SNAP is) ensure that farmers grow food and stores that serve the poor stock things besides liquor.  WIC checks are the reason that specific nutritious foods & baby formula is available in poor neighborhoods instead of something like the paint thinner that has been passed off in other countries. 
My opposition to UBI is about more than an ideological opposition to handouts.   I believe that aid should be means tested because some people need more than others and they always will.  It is immoral for those of us who don't need anything to give ourselves a boost that ultimately takes away from those who are in need.  And to do this systemically and fund it with a regressive tax as we seek to close the programs that were devised in response to need is cruel.     
I have a few loved ones scraping by below poverty levels.  And if you took away their subsidized apartment, their welfare & their food stamps, they would starve or die of exposure.  You see, they aren't poor because the economy is tough or because of technology.  They are poor because they aren't equipped to manage the activities of daily living.  They need food & shelter provided by someone else.  All their available cash gets frittered away in a manic cycle of their bipolar illness or on a daily basis on lottery tickets or on booze & eating at the diner.   My uncle is a nice guy.  He drops $20/daily at the diner.  Which accounts for most of his $800/month check.  The rest of it goes for gas & car insurance.  He's always going to need his free housing.  Always. 
My beef with every UBI proposal I've read (including Yang's) is that they are touted as a solution to poverty when they are nothing of the sort.  You should spend a heck of alot more time with actual poor people before concluding that what they need is $1000/month in cash.  For most of them, it will never be enough.  And the consequences of eliminating all the other patchwork of services is a catastrophe.

Or, perhaps, ďif we took away their subsidiesĒ...they would figure out they need to provide for themselves?

Why should we pay for your uncleís $20/day diner habit? Why is that our responsibility?
Title: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: nancyfrank232 on October 17, 2019, 06:51:10 PM
Uh no.  Your spending ability went from $200K/year to $212K/year.  That is NOT a decrease.

The above sentence says nothing regarding the notion that UBI is a good idea or not, but your purchasing ability would not decrease by a third.  Come on!

Iím not intelligent enough to comment about the societal benefit of UBI, but what I can comment on is what would happen to me if UBI is implemented for all 18+ year olds irrespective of other sources of income

From what Iíve read, most low income people spend their UBI on groceries and other necessities

https://futurism.com/basic-income-money-spent-necessities

UBI is uninteresting in increasing my purchasing power. That wasnít even what I was thinking about when I heard about UBI

If UBI is implemented I would happily collect it

But I wouldnít be using my UBI for groceries and necessities. It would all be invested. All of it

Eventually I would quickly achieve a return from UBI that would give me passive income equivalent to my annual UBI and increase my purchasing power without having to even touch my UBI

UBI would just be cash flow source #23 for me. And would use it to generate cash flow source #24 and so on

After few years I will have done far more for my net worth with the UBI than a low income person will have done with theirs

Personally I donít see UBI having any significance when it comes to addressing inequality. Not the way I would use it anyway
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: pdxmonkey on October 17, 2019, 07:49:15 PM
I like the idea of a UBI. I think $1000 monthly is far too high/costly as a number to start out with for a national experiment. I'd like to see it help with savings, emergencies, etc and see how a smaller amount works out tax policy wise in terms of having to pay for it prior to supporting a larger amount.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on October 17, 2019, 10:30:21 PM
Uh no.  Your spending ability went from $200K/year to $212K/year.  That is NOT a decrease.

The above sentence says nothing regarding the notion that UBI is a good idea or not, but your purchasing ability would not decrease by a third.  Come on!

Iím not intelligent enough to comment about the societal benefit of UBI, but what I can comment on is what would happen to me if UBI is implemented for all 18+ year olds irrespective of other sources of income

From what Iíve read, most low income people spend their UBI on groceries and other necessities

https://futurism.com/basic-income-money-spent-necessities

UBI is uninteresting in increasing my purchasing power. That wasnít even what I was thinking about when I heard about UBI

If UBI is implemented I would happily collect it

But I wouldnít be using my UBI for groceries and necessities. It would all be invested. All of it

Eventually I would quickly achieve a return from UBI that would give me passive income equivalent to my annual UBI and increase my purchasing power without having to even touch my UBI

UBI would just be cash flow source #23 for me. And would use it to generate cash flow source #24 and so on

After few years I will have done far more for my net worth with the UBI than a low income person will have done with theirs

Personally I donít see UBI having any significance when it comes to addressing inequality. Not the way I would use it anyway

In reality, the money would have to come from somewhere, and it would be coming from your other sources of income either in the form of higher taxes and/or in the form of higher costs on certain goods/services.
Title: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: nancyfrank232 on October 17, 2019, 11:20:18 PM
In reality, the money would have to come from somewhere, and it would be coming from your other sources of income either in the form of higher taxes and/or in the form of higher costs on certain goods/services.

Of course. And thatís fine

Iím not one who complains about higher taxes when I increase rent on my tenants, company dividend checks increase, or my properties appreciate. Itís not difficult for a person with means to reduce, shelter or defer taxes

The point is that investors would be using the UBI in a vastly different manner than the poor

My UBI wonít go to $0 paying for groceries, utilities and other necessities 

The difference in net worth gain from deployed $1000/mo UBI between someone like myself and a low income person would be obvious sooner than later

(And removal of UBI after itís implemented would hurt a low income person a lot more)

https://globalnews.ca/news/4365399/ontario-cancels-basic-income-pilot-project/

UBI in the hands of a low income person will go to $0 just for them to survive. Extra money in an affluent investorís hands just creates more money above and beyond the extra money received

UBI has benefits for low income individuals, but addressing financial inequality isnít one of them
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: BTDretire on October 18, 2019, 08:45:43 AM
Percent of workers that actually pay Federal income Taxes, 51%. 131.7/329.8=40%. That means that only 20% of the US population are hardworking taxpayers supporting the system. We might want to think seriously about how hard we squeeze them.
 

That is such a intellectually dishonest argument that I'm not sure any further retort is warranted.

https://www.cbpp.org/research/misconceptions-and-realities-about-who-pays-taxes
I hate that "but they pay payroll taxes" argument, meaning FICA taxes. Taxes paid into FICA is a fee that funds you and your family in a disability program and it provides money for your children should you die or be disabled. At retirement age it pays you a livable income in your old age. The legislators may have mixed the pools of money, but it still stands, they look at what you paid in to see what you receive.
 We can disagree on the subject, but I clearly said, "pay Federal income Taxes"
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: kite on October 18, 2019, 10:59:04 AM
I cant argue that a UBI is absolutely a perfect thing that needs to be enacted instantly. But logically, giving EVERYONE $12,000 per year on top of their income reduces income inequality. A person making minimum wage now makes nearly double off UBI plus work and I would make like 8% more. No way prices would raise drastically (logically there would be some inflation) because most people make more than minimum wage and so their income would not go up anywhere close to double. Again, I cant say that this is the perfect solution. The people on here who vehemently disagree with it ARE giving illogical reasons why it wouldn't work. If you're idealogically opposed to $ for nothing then fine. Please stop posting B.S. about how this wouldn't improve income inequality and how prices would just go up $12,000 per person. Small inflation associated with UBI, combined with a VAT WOULD absolutely hurt HIGH spenders (people who spend 6 figures plus per year) and financially benefit all others. There is no logical argument about that.

When 'everyone' qualifies for a subsidy, the prices do rise.  That's exactly what happened to college tuition. 
Inequality would still exist and become even more extreme.  Because 'everyone' is not actually everyone.  There is going to be zero support for a UBI entitlement to be extended to immigrants.  None.  And yet they are a large part of the poorest of the poor in our communities.  Among our immigrant populations, about 12 million or so are undocumented.  Those are the very poor, often scraping by without access welfare or SSI, without access to banking on whom prices will have gone up by 12,000 per year (or whatever the mythic number) at the same time that the champions of UBI believe that we no longer have need of foodbanks, shelters or charity medical care because 'everyone' just got a raise. 

We already have the EITC, which is a marvelous method of boosting the income of the working poor in an unrestricted manner.  As a bonus, it gives more to those with dependents.  Other need-based aid options offer incentives to producers and parts of the supply chain.  ie... Housing subsidies ensure housing availability & standards, Ag Subsidies (that's what SNAP is) ensure that farmers grow food and stores that serve the poor stock things besides liquor.  WIC checks are the reason that specific nutritious foods & baby formula is available in poor neighborhoods instead of something like the paint thinner that has been passed off in other countries. 
My opposition to UBI is about more than an ideological opposition to handouts.   I believe that aid should be means tested because some people need more than others and they always will.  It is immoral for those of us who don't need anything to give ourselves a boost that ultimately takes away from those who are in need.  And to do this systemically and fund it with a regressive tax as we seek to close the programs that were devised in response to need is cruel.     
I have a few loved ones scraping by below poverty levels.  And if you took away their subsidized apartment, their welfare & their food stamps, they would starve or die of exposure.  You see, they aren't poor because the economy is tough or because of technology.  They are poor because they aren't equipped to manage the activities of daily living.  They need food & shelter provided by someone else.  All their available cash gets frittered away in a manic cycle of their bipolar illness or on a daily basis on lottery tickets or on booze & eating at the diner.   My uncle is a nice guy.  He drops $20/daily at the diner.  Which accounts for most of his $800/month check.  The rest of it goes for gas & car insurance.  He's always going to need his free housing.  Always. 
My beef with every UBI proposal I've read (including Yang's) is that they are touted as a solution to poverty when they are nothing of the sort.  You should spend a heck of alot more time with actual poor people before concluding that what they need is $1000/month in cash.  For most of them, it will never be enough.  And the consequences of eliminating all the other patchwork of services is a catastrophe.

Or, perhaps, ďif we took away their subsidiesĒ...they would figure out they need to provide for themselves?

Why should we pay for your uncleís $20/day diner habit? Why is that our responsibility?

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/74-1/h39

Take it up with those guys.  Or rather, the current crop of representatives.  My point is that we have millions of people who eke out a living on something around the magic number of dollars that Mr. Yang proposes to give everyone.  And the poorest tenth are always going to be the poorest 10%, no matter what.  And their plight will get even worse because of rent-seeking.  And because a VAT is a regressive tax policy that hits the poor the hardest. 

And UBI isn't taking away anybody's subsidies.  It's giving one to every citizen with zero need to do so. 
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Vashy on October 19, 2019, 02:21:55 AM
I support UBI, and actually think it flow logically from "human dignity", and my belief is based on observation among friends and family:
- One family member wanted to starts a business but was worried about "losing her benefits" (housing assistance), even though income from the side hustle would be volatile. End result: either she's doing the side hustle illegally (ie without paying tax) or didn't do it (I'm not 100% positive how this turned out).
- I know tons of artists (again, volatile income) for whom UBI would be a game-changer. Being able to create without having to worry about being able to make rent would lead to more and better work.
- One friend reached the top of the corporate ladder in his specific field but hit burnout. UBI would have helped him re-educate and re-tool towards the job he really wanted to do, which involved full-time courses and schooling without having to worry about money too much on top of a major life crisis.
- It would force companies to pay salaries for jobs that are hard/undesirable that are enough to attract and keep people in those jobs.They'd also have to treat employees better because they'd have the ability to walk away.
- I think it would be a major boon for small start-ups and businesses and overall entrepreneurship. More art and literature.
- Automation will take lots of jobs away. UBI and upskilling ("lifelong learning") can help weather that change.
- It would prevent countless misery in the benefits system. In the UK, lots of disabled and people on benefits have killed themselves when their benefits were halted. There's hunger in the sixth-largest economy on the planet - UBI would literally save lives (see "human dignity").
- More people might be able to afford to look after their children or elderly/infirm relatives instead of having to go to work to make rent.
- I still believe that people would go to work, but the collective mental fug and pressure would lift, arguably making society on the whole happier and more relaxed. It's kind of funny how our productivity has increased so much over the past couple generations but we work the same amount of hours. I'd be quite happy with that 10- or 20-hour workweek that Keynes prophesied for our age. I'd spend the time getting more skills, creating more art, travelling more and spending time with friends and family.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on October 19, 2019, 04:06:27 AM
I support UBI, and actually think it flow logically from "human dignity", and my belief is based on observation among friends and family:
- One family member wanted to starts a business but was worried about "losing her benefits" (housing assistance), even though income from the side hustle would be volatile. End result: either she's doing the side hustle illegally (ie without paying tax) or didn't do it (I'm not 100% positive how this turned out).
- I know tons of artists (again, volatile income) for whom UBI would be a game-changer. Being able to create without having to worry about being able to make rent would lead to more and better work.
- One friend reached the top of the corporate ladder in his specific field but hit burnout. UBI would have helped him re-educate and re-tool towards the job he really wanted to do, which involved full-time courses and schooling without having to worry about money too much on top of a major life crisis.
- It would force companies to pay salaries for jobs that are hard/undesirable that are enough to attract and keep people in those jobs.They'd also have to treat employees better because they'd have the ability to walk away.
- I think it would be a major boon for small start-ups and businesses and overall entrepreneurship. More art and literature.
- Automation will take lots of jobs away. UBI and upskilling ("lifelong learning") can help weather that change.
- It would prevent countless misery in the benefits system. In the UK, lots of disabled and people on benefits have killed themselves when their benefits were halted. There's hunger in the sixth-largest economy on the planet - UBI would literally save lives (see "human dignity").
- More people might be able to afford to look after their children or elderly/infirm relatives instead of having to go to work to make rent.
- I still believe that people would go to work, but the collective mental fug and pressure would lift, arguably making society on the whole happier and more relaxed. It's kind of funny how our productivity has increased so much over the past couple generations but we work the same amount of hours. I'd be quite happy with that 10- or 20-hour workweek that Keynes prophesied for our age. I'd spend the time getting more skills, creating more art, travelling more and spending time with friends and family.

I agree with it in principle and see how it would help lots of people and don't necessarily believe that it would reduce the incentive to work.

But my understanding is that the "U" in UBI means that it will ~ double the US budget.

I don't think that's feasible.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on October 19, 2019, 08:31:30 AM
How does UBI work on a small scale?

Say you have 10 people on an island and they agree on a UBI.   What happens when all 10 go on UBI?

Who gathers the fish and coconuts, who keeps the fire going?

This is the part I really don't understand but perhaps at some larger scale it does work.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: bacchi on October 19, 2019, 10:59:21 AM
How does UBI work on a small scale?

Say you have 10 people on an island and they agree on a UBI.   What happens when all 10 go on UBI?

Who gathers the fish and coconuts, who keeps the fire going?

?? They starve or freeze, obviously.

Quote
This is the part I really don't understand but perhaps at some larger scale it does work.

Where does the UBI income come from? Does the island lease land or have a foreign company coconut tax? Tourism? Oil?

Is the UBI enough to pay others to fish or pick coconuts?

Do any of the islanders want anything that costs more than UBI, like a fancy house or a new board or a golf cart or a yacht? Maybe one of them wants his children to study in a good university.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: BTDretire on October 19, 2019, 11:06:10 AM
Roland you have it right, don't doubt yourself.
 Can you image how productivity would drop if everyone got the same income no matter how much or how little you produce.
 Can you also see that an illegal underground capitalist society often develops because human achievement will find a way to produce to improve their condition. It happens in all societies that have tight controls to enforce equality, no matter how
poor that equality is on the economic scale.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: bacchi on October 19, 2019, 11:19:46 AM
Can you also see that an illegal underground capitalist society often develops because human achievement will find a way to produce to improve their condition. It happens in all societies that have tight controls to enforce equality, no matter how
poor that equality is on the economic scale.

We're still discussing UBI, right?

No UBI proponent has ever suggested that a UBI recipient can't improve their condition. In fact, a UBI may often do the opposite and experiments (e.g., Canada) have found that a base income allows the poor to go back to school.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: rocketpj on October 19, 2019, 01:06:15 PM

I agree with it in principle and see how it would help lots of people and don't necessarily believe that it would reduce the incentive to work.

But my understanding is that the "U" in UBI means that it will ~ double the US budget.

I don't think that's feasible.

Meh.  Shut down a couple of aircraft carriers, maybe only have enough nuclear missiles to kill the whole planet 3x over instead of 10x, maybe don't invade random countries for stupid reasons.  Still be the world's most powerful country and also have zero poverty.  Sounds like a win.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on October 19, 2019, 01:36:42 PM
Meh.  Shut down a couple of aircraft carriers, maybe only have enough nuclear missiles to kill the whole planet 3x over instead of 10x, maybe don't invade random countries for stupid reasons.  Still be the world's most powerful country and also have zero poverty.  Sounds like a win.

Quit being world police also.   Why do we have to protect South Korea and Japan from North Korea?  Why do we have to protect Taiwan from China?   Why do we have to protect Europe from a renewed and expanding Russia?

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Telecaster on October 19, 2019, 02:16:35 PM
Roland you have it right, don't doubt yourself.
 Can you image how productivity would drop if everyone got the same income no matter how much or how little you produce.
 Can you also see that an illegal underground capitalist society often develops because human achievement will find a way to produce to improve their condition. It happens in all societies that have tight controls to enforce equality, no matter how
poor that equality is on the economic scale.

But everybody wouldn't get the same income.  Everyone would have the same minimum income.  Everything above that would be up to the individual.

The three richest men in America are Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett.  All three of them still work.  If they got an additional $12,000/year, it isn't plausible they would suddenly stop working.  Or look at MMM.  He has all the money he needs.  He still works.  The difference is he only does work he wants to do.  Same with any number of other FIRE'ees on these boards. 

So I don't find it plausible that everyone stops working if they get $12,000/year.    I find it more plausible that most people would continue to earn money the same way they do now. 
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on October 19, 2019, 03:35:12 PM
Sure there will still be the 1% that still work (I think in your example of Buffett, Bezos, and Gates it is more like the 0.00001%)

The problem is nobody will want to do the crap jobs and we are not at the point where we can have robots remove used tampons from public toilets or clean up vomit from the bathroom walls in bars and stadiums.

If my understanding of UBI is correct, everyone gets $12,000 a year.   A family of four where one person worked as a janitor and the other worked as a maid, and two children would get $48,000.   I do not see them continuing these jobs if $48,000 is as much or even more than they were earning while working.   It is also super unlikely that they will suddenly be compelled to take up C# programming even though that would be super awesome.   The likely scenario is they stay at home, get bored, do drugs or have more children to increase their share of UBI.

Perhaps this is a very dark view of the world but when you have 40% or something of the US population that don't even know who the current speaker of the house is or even that the earth is round, Idiocracy is where you will end up.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: bacchi on October 19, 2019, 03:57:48 PM
If my understanding of UBI is correct, everyone gets $12,000 a year. 

It's not.

Quote
A family of four where one person worked as a janitor and the other worked as a maid, and two children would get $48,000.

Under 18 children don't get UBI.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on October 19, 2019, 04:31:56 PM
Does UBI replace some of the current low income programs or would it be added on top of them?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: joshuagraham_xyz on October 19, 2019, 05:32:43 PM
UBI is absolutely terrifying to me. Literally getting something for nothing.

What do you think about the ACA premium tax credit and Medicaid expansion?  The ACA is a fantastic FIRE enabler!
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: joshuagraham_xyz on October 19, 2019, 05:36:01 PM
Sure there will still be the 1% that still work (I think in your example of Buffett, Bezos, and Gates it is more like the 0.00001%)

The problem is nobody will want to do the crap jobs and we are not at the point where we can have robots remove used tampons from public toilets or clean up vomit from the bathroom walls in bars and stadiums.

If my understanding of UBI is correct, everyone gets $12,000 a year.   A family of four where one person worked as a janitor and the other worked as a maid, and two children would get $48,000.   I do not see them continuing these jobs if $48,000 is as much or even more than they were earning while working.   It is also super unlikely that they will suddenly be compelled to take up C# programming even though that would be super awesome.   The likely scenario is they stay at home, get bored, do drugs or have more children to increase their share of UBI.

Perhaps this is a very dark view of the world but when you have 40% or something of the US population that don't even know who the current speaker of the house is or even that the earth is round, Idiocracy is where you will end up.

Well, what would happen is that yes, a lot of folks cleaning the sheethouse would decide "no thanks", thereby forcing the employer to raise the wage to motivate someone to come do it, and also putting in a wonderful economic incentive to entrepreneurs to develop a robot to do this.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on October 19, 2019, 07:44:43 PM
So why should the employer have to pay increased costs for menial work?

I might sympathise if the rate of pay for menial work was so low as to not be a living wage. If that was the case then you should get a top-up so that it does meet a liveable wage. But otherwise what is the reason for exempting the worker from the need to work? In your scenario you are just passing on costs up the chain, to the employer, then the employer's customers, etc, all of whom will take a hit.
 
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on October 19, 2019, 08:27:14 PM

Well, what would happen is that yes, a lot of folks cleaning the sheethouse would decide "no thanks", thereby forcing the employer to raise the wage to motivate someone to come do it, and also putting in a wonderful economic incentive to entrepreneurs to develop a robot to do this.

So essentially wage inflation, right?   The cleaning jobs, which require no lengthy training, would command $X and then the jobs which require training and even more stess that used to pay $X would need to pay $X + $Y and so on and so forth until we would need to raise the UBI because even the basics of living were driven up in cost.

I don't see it working any other way right now.   Eventually, when we can 3D print robots who can handle almost all of the menial jobs, then yeah, UBI or something like it.   We will need a way to entertain the masses who are not working though.  Research either into better virtual reality or drugs that make you high and uncaring without side effects.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on October 20, 2019, 03:21:49 AM

I agree with it in principle and see how it would help lots of people and don't necessarily believe that it would reduce the incentive to work.

But my understanding is that the "U" in UBI means that it will ~ double the US budget.

I don't think that's feasible.

Meh.  Shut down a couple of aircraft carriers, maybe only have enough nuclear missiles to kill the whole planet 3x over instead of 10x, maybe don't invade random countries for stupid reasons.  Still be the world's most powerful country and also have zero poverty.  Sounds like a win.

I think double means you have to stop everything we already do to pay for it.

It won't happen. There are just selling the dream.

Maybe they means test it and drop the U.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: TheContinentalOp on October 20, 2019, 08:32:45 AM

- I know tons of artists (again, volatile income) for whom UBI would be a game-changer. Being able to create without having to worry about being able to make rent would lead to more and better work.


God no!

I'm a slush reader for a pro-paying SF market. There's already enough bad writing (Sturgeon's Law) out there. If we're going to subsidize people's lives they ought to thank us my making positive contributions to society: pick up garbage by the side of road, visit homebound seniors, plant a garden, adopt a shelter animal.

The last thing this world needs is more bad artistic endeavors. Ideally we'd tax fan fiction, poetry slams, garage bands, abstract art, etc. to pay for UBI. Also go sic the tax man on online poker, amateur porn, college sports, reality tv shows, and talk radio, all things that generate negative externailites that we also have an overabundance of.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: bacchi on October 20, 2019, 08:49:02 AM

Well, what would happen is that yes, a lot of folks cleaning the sheethouse would decide "no thanks", thereby forcing the employer to raise the wage to motivate someone to come do it, and also putting in a wonderful economic incentive to entrepreneurs to develop a robot to do this.

So essentially wage inflation, right?   The cleaning jobs, which require no lengthy training, would command $X and then the jobs which require training and even more stess that used to pay $X would need to pay $X + $Y and so on and so forth until we would need to raise the UBI because even the basics of living were driven up in cost.

This won't happen. When the sandwich shop started paying more, did you* go to your boss and demand a $2/hour salary increase?


* "you" meaning someone in a well-paid profession making far more than minimum wage
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on October 20, 2019, 08:55:45 AM
Every year I increase my fees by an amount which takes into account inflation. If UBI were implemented, I'd increase my fees by an amount which takes that into account the increase in cost of menial services and basic goods. So the answer to your question is, yes.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: bacchi on October 20, 2019, 09:08:16 AM
Every year I increase my fees by an amount which takes into account inflation. If UBI were implemented, I'd increase my fees by an amount which takes that into account the increase in cost of menial services and basic goods. So the answer to your question is, yes.

That's great. You can increase your fees as much as you'd like.

Prove that a UBI would increase your costs by $12k/year. Note that you're also getting a $12k UBI so maybe prove that you'd be paying $24k more? Or is this, ya know, slightly more complicated?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on October 20, 2019, 09:23:31 AM
Every year I increase my fees by an amount which takes into account inflation. If UBI were implemented, I'd increase my fees by an amount which takes that into account the increase in cost of menial services and basic goods. So the answer to your question is, yes.

That's great. You can increase your fees as much as you'd like.

Prove that a UBI would increase your costs by $12k/year. Note that you're also getting a $12k UBI so maybe prove that you'd be paying $24k more? Or is this, ya know, slightly more complicated?

I've discussed the issues surrounding costs upthread; I'm sure you're capable of searching back a few posts.

P.S. My fees are set by what I think the market will bear, but at the same time, my competitors and I also discuss our rates, so there's an element of reflexivity and reciprocity going on - it is, as you say, complicated because of multiple pricing mechanisms. But at the end of the day. you want your clients thinking, "Gee, he's expensive. If he were any more expensive I wouldn't use him any more." And part of the equation for what counts as expensive or not is the general consumer inflation figure. So if general inflation is 2%, professional fee inflation (on top of that) is 3% and UBI inflation were 2%, I'd be putting it up 7% a year, unless market forces dictated otherwise.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Vashy on October 20, 2019, 09:36:09 AM
God no!

I'm a slush reader for a pro-paying SF market. There's already enough bad writing (Sturgeon's Law) out there. If we're going to subsidize people's lives they ought to thank us my making positive contributions to society: pick up garbage by the side of road, visit homebound seniors, plant a garden, adopt a shelter animal.

The last thing this world needs is more bad artistic endeavors. Ideally we'd tax fan fiction, poetry slams, garage bands, abstract art, etc. to pay for UBI. Also go sic the tax man on online poker, amateur porn, college sports, reality tv shows, and talk radio, all things that generate negative externailites that we also have an overabundance of.

LOL. I'm talking about writers who are already publishing (and technically good at craft), but where, for example, Kindle Unlimited has killed their genre or illness prevents them from publishing the 2-4 books per year they need to keep going. Or where a small publisher has made away with their royalties. That's usually already very readable genre fiction that has an audience.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: bacchi on October 20, 2019, 09:58:46 AM
I've discussed the issues surrounding costs upthread; I'm sure you're capable of searching back a few posts.

P.S. My fees are set by what I think the market will bear, but at the same time, my competitors and I also discuss our rates, so there's an element of reflexivity and reciprocity going on - it is, as you say, complicated because of multiple pricing mechanisms. But at the end of the day. you want your clients thinking, "Gee, he's expensive. If he were any more expensive I wouldn't use him any more." And part of the equation for what counts as expensive or not is the general consumer inflation figure. So if general inflation is 2%, professional fee inflation (on top of that) is 3% and UBI inflation were 2%, I'd be putting it up 7% a year, unless market forces dictated otherwise.

Fair enough. I've no doubt that a UBI would cause inflation, particularly with more "static" costs like rent. This inflation would also be less than the UBI, given the increased velocity of money.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: retired? on October 21, 2019, 11:56:40 AM
It's buying votes, just like much of what Warren is promising.

It'd be better to rework some existing programs.  The safety net is very wide in the U.S.

Just a way to increase the size of government.  Govt never does something more efficiently.  So, for example, looking at Medicare for all....even if the increase in taxes matches the reduction in costs (i.e. citizen is $ neutral), why would anyone want to give up their choices.

Same as free college or forgiving college loans.......too many people go to college unnecessarily as it is.....again, attempts at buying votes.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: jim555 on October 21, 2019, 12:23:05 PM
Commie BS.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on October 21, 2019, 02:45:52 PM
It's buying votes, just like much of what Warren is promising.

It'd be better to rework some existing programs.  The safety net is very wide in the U.S.

Just a way to increase the size of government.  Govt never does something more efficiently.  So, for example, looking at Medicare for all....even if the increase in taxes matches the reduction in costs (i.e. citizen is $ neutral), why would anyone want to give up their choices.

Same as free college or forgiving college loans.......too many people go to college unnecessarily as it is.....again, attempts at buying votes.

This.

Although, I'd also argue that the Trump tax cuts are also an example of buying votes.

Both parties do this. It's just that the people they're buying votes from like different flavors of ice cream.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: catprog on October 21, 2019, 03:07:27 PM
In reality, the money would have to come from somewhere, and it would be coming from your other sources of income either in the form of higher taxes and/or in the form of higher costs on certain goods/services.

Of course. And thatís fine

Iím not one who complains about higher taxes when I increase rent on my tenants, company dividend checks increase, or my properties appreciate. Itís not difficult for a person with means to reduce, shelter or defer taxes

The point is that investors would be using the UBI in a vastly different manner than the poor

My UBI wonít go to $0 paying for groceries, utilities and other necessities 

The difference in net worth gain from deployed $1000/mo UBI between someone like myself and a low income person would be obvious sooner than later

(And removal of UBI after itís implemented would hurt a low income person a lot more)

https://globalnews.ca/news/4365399/ontario-cancels-basic-income-pilot-project/

UBI in the hands of a low income person will go to $0 just for them to survive. Extra money in an affluent investorís hands just creates more money above and beyond the extra money received

UBI has benefits for low income individuals, but addressing financial inequality isnít one of them

Would you really be spending $0 of the UBI on groceries or would you be spending the UBI on groceries and investing the rest of your income?

And what happens if you scrap the lower tax rates to pay for the UBI? (The rate calculated so that someone above X dollars pays the exact amount of the UBI extra)
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 21, 2019, 04:53:13 PM
How does UBI work on a small scale?

Say you have 10 people on an island and they agree on a UBI.   What happens when all 10 go on UBI?

Who gathers the fish and coconuts, who keeps the fire going?

This is the part I really don't understand but perhaps at some larger scale it does work.

It works exactly the same, regardless of the scale. "Free stuff" isn't free. Someone has to catch the fish or collect the coconuts, whether the island tribe has 10 people or 300 million people in it.

UBI forces people who are more productive to subsidize the lives of people who are less productive.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on October 22, 2019, 09:59:00 AM
Meh.  Shut down a couple of aircraft carriers, maybe only have enough nuclear missiles to kill the whole planet 3x over instead of 10x, maybe don't invade random countries for stupid reasons.  Still be the world's most powerful country and also have zero poverty.  Sounds like a win.

Quit being world police also.   Why do we have to protect South Korea and Japan from North Korea?  Why do we have to protect Taiwan from China?   Why do we have to protect Europe from a renewed and expanding Russia?

The Freedom Dividend approximately doubles US spending.

Defense spending is something like 16% of the budget. Total discretionary spending is ~ 30% of the budget.
http://www.painting-with-numbers.com/blog/at-last-a-pie-chart-that-actually-says-something-important (http://www.painting-with-numbers.com/blog/at-last-a-pie-chart-that-actually-says-something-important)

Cutting defense spending to $0 only covers a small fraction of the Freedom Dividend.

Even cutting all discretionary spending to $0 covers about a third of the proposed Freedom dividend.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: freya on October 22, 2019, 10:53:54 AM
If UBI were to pass, I would immediately buy airline stocks.

Because, just think about all the flights packed with 8.75 month pregnant women.  A guaranteed income for life for your kid, and all you have to do is give birth in the lobby or ER of a hospital on US soil!  Unpaid of course, since the hospital won't be able to track them down afterwards.  Quite a return on a ~$2-3K investment.  Who wouldn't be tempted by that?

Clarification:  no requirement to immigrate.  Just a visiting visa and a week or so stay.  This essentially makes any consideration of UBI a complete impossibility in the US.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 22, 2019, 12:34:13 PM
If UBI were to pass, I would immediately buy airline stocks.

Because, just think about all the flights packed with 8.75 month pregnant women.  A guaranteed income for life for your kid, and all you have to do is give birth in the lobby or ER of a hospital on US soil!  Unpaid of course, since the hospital won't be able to track them down afterwards.  Quite a return on a ~$2-3K investment.  Who wouldn't be tempted by that?

The USA is already a desirable place for immigrants. Maybe this moves the needle a little bit, but we're also extremely hostile to immigration at the present.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 22, 2019, 12:47:59 PM
It works exactly the same, regardless of the scale. "Free stuff" isn't free. Someone has to catch the fish or collect the coconuts, whether the island tribe has 10 people or 300 million people in it.

UBI forces people who are more productive to subsidize the lives of people who are less productive.

Under Andrew Yang's plan, it actually forces people who consume more to subsidize everyone, as it's paid for by a VAT tax. Incidentally, this is probably a net win for the type of people who visit this site, given that we pride ourselves on low levels of consumption.

Secondly, we are in charge of the country and the economy. And we can make that economy reward whatever it is we want to reward. The low tax crowd likes to say that our economy, in it's purest and most uninhibited state, rewards productivity. Or to put a friendlier, pro-labor spin on it, it rewards "hard work". This isn't true though. Capitalism rewards capital. It rewards owning things. And our tax code is explicitly friendlier to the rewards of capital than it is to the rewards of labor.

Many of us on here plan to sit on our asses and carve wooden birds or something once we get to a million dollars. Because a million dollars means $40K a year in dividends and cap gains. Our economy actually taxes this at a lower rate than a person fishing or collecting coconuts for a living. Because we decided that this should be the case.

I just got a rent check yesterday. I did not work for that money. I worked for the money to buy the property, but I think that's neither here nor there. Should I even be allowed to own that land? Do I have a legitimate claim? The government says I do. But only because we organized together and decided that should be the case.

We can simply choose to make another decision yet again. That human life is inherently valuable. To reward people just for drawing breath instead of how many widgets they produced that day, or how much in dividends grandpa's old stocks paid them. We don't need to box ourselves in by how things have been done in the past. 
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Phenix on October 22, 2019, 01:03:28 PM
It works exactly the same, regardless of the scale. "Free stuff" isn't free. Someone has to catch the fish or collect the coconuts, whether the island tribe has 10 people or 300 million people in it.

UBI forces people who are more productive to subsidize the lives of people who are less productive.

Under Andrew Yang's plan, it actually forces people who consume more to subsidize everyone, as it's paid for by a VAT tax. Incidentally, this is probably a net win for the type of people who visit this site, given that we pride ourselves on low levels of consumption.

Secondly, we are in charge of the country and the economy. And we can make that economy reward whatever it is we want to reward. The low tax crowd likes to say that our economy, in it's purest and most uninhibited state, rewards productivity. Or to put a friendlier, pro-labor spin on it, it rewards "hard work". This isn't true though. Capitalism rewards capital. It rewards owning things. And our tax code is explicitly friendlier to the rewards of capital than it is to the rewards of labor.

Many of us on here plan to sit on our asses and carve wooden birds or something once we get to a million dollars. Because a million dollars means $40K a year in dividends and cap gains. Our economy actually taxes this at a lower rate than a person fishing or collecting coconuts for a living. Because we decided that this should be the case.

I just got a rent check yesterday. I did not work for that money. I worked for the money to buy the property, but I think that's neither here nor there. Should I even be allowed to own that land? Do I have a legitimate claim? The government says I do. But only because we organized together and decided that should be the case.

We can simply choose to make another decision yet again. That human life is inherently valuable. To reward people just for drawing breath instead of how many widgets they produced that day, or how much in dividends grandpa's old stocks paid them. We don't need to box ourselves in by how things have been done in the past.

Mustachians would also fair well under the Fair Tax, but I don't see that ever gaining ground either.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 22, 2019, 01:54:48 PM
We can simply choose to make another decision yet again. That human life is inherently valuable. To reward people just for drawing breath instead of how many widgets they produced that day, or how much in dividends grandpa's old stocks paid them. We don't need to box ourselves in by how things have been done in the past.

First, our society already considers human life to be valuable. We currently spend vast sums of money to provide security, justice, and welfare (for the needy), among other things. However, our society also acknowledges that it requires work to survive, and to reward someone for not working is a perverse incentive.

Second, we don't reward somebody for the number of widgets that they make; we reward them for the value those widgets provide to people's lives. If you don't believe this, picture a society without any division of labor (it's no surprise that such a thing does not exist).
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 22, 2019, 02:43:48 PM
We can simply choose to make another decision yet again. That human life is inherently valuable. To reward people just for drawing breath instead of how many widgets they produced that day, or how much in dividends grandpa's old stocks paid them. We don't need to box ourselves in by how things have been done in the past.

First, our society already considers human life to be valuable. We currently spend vast sums of money to provide security, justice, and welfare (for the needy), among other things. However, our society also acknowledges that it requires work to survive, and to reward someone for not working is a perverse incentive.

UBI doesn't reward people for "not working". It rewards them (under Yang's model) for being Americans between the ages of 18 and 64. Working (i.e., electing to not not work) doesn't preclude you from the UBI.

Second, we don't reward somebody for the number of widgets that they make; we reward them for the value those widgets provide to people's lives. If you don't believe this, picture a society without any division of labor (it's no surprise that such a thing does not exist).

I know we don't pay by the widget. I was just using the queen's vernacular. Still though, I disagree somewhat on the subject of value.

Value certainly does drive a some compensation, no doubt. But regulatory rent collecting does too. As does simply having money to begin with, or having a dubious land claim. Or successfully navigating arbitrage.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 22, 2019, 02:48:56 PM
UBI doesn't reward people for "not working". It rewards them (under Yang's model) for being Americans between the ages of 18 and 64. Working (i.e., electing to not not work) doesn't preclude you from the UBI.

To put it more clearly, a perverse incentive would be if we paid someone explicitly for not seeking employment. Under a UBI, you're still rewarded and encouraged to seek work, because $12K a year + a salary is better than $12K a year by itself.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 22, 2019, 03:38:11 PM
...we are in charge of the country and the economy. And we can make that economy reward whatever it is we want to reward.

Wrong. Dead wrong.

The economy is an emergent property(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence)).

It is the result of vast numbers of humans and their needs and desires, and vast (but limited) quantities of goods, all interacting with each other.

It is not something you control with a single steering wheel, or a box full of votes.

Now, that's not to suggest that an economy is uncoordinated or unplanned.

Prices are what coordinate an economy. Each person gets to decide what they are willing to pay, or substitute, or eschew altogether, based on the price demanded of them. And because each person decides, each person gets their own tiny measure of control. It is democracy in action.

The result is that the economy ends up in a place that no one could have predicted, but everyone ends up healthier, wealthier, and freer because they are able to self-determine, and to reward the things they want to see more of.

Capitalism rewards capital.  It rewards owning things.

Tell that to Jeff Bezos circa 1999. Or the two engineers that started Google. Or to young James Cash Penney, who barely had a penny to his name.

Or, tell that to A&P, who dominated the retail grocery market until the 1950s, at which point they continuously failed to keep pace with changing consumer wants. Their dominance was shattered inside of a decade, and they shuttered their last store a few years ago.

Effective use of capital is one way to be rewarded in the free market, but it is by no means the only way. And it is certainly NOT a guarantee of success.

Giving people what they want better, cheaper, and faster than your competitors is the only way.

(Also let's not conflate the "free market" with "capitalism" - they are not the same thing).

I just got a rent check yesterday. I did not work for that money. I worked for the money to buy the property, but I think that's neither here nor there. Should I even be allowed to own that land? Do I have a legitimate claim? The government says I do. But only because we organized together and decided that should be the case.

If you don't believe in property rights, then you also must believe that theft isn't a crime. After all, if you don't have a legitimate claim to the stuff in your house, then I should be able to just come and take it from you. And burn your house down too.

We could take this line of thinking one step further. Let's say you don't have ownership over your own body. If you do not get to decide what happens to your own body (i.e. if you do not have ownership of it) then the crimes of assault, rape, and murder are nullified.

This is ridiculous.

Property rights are the most fundamental of rights. They are a philosophical issue far older than the United States. Without property rights, any behaviour is permissible, and civilization fails.

But you don't really believe this, so let's not go there.

We can simply choose to make another decision yet again. That human life is inherently valuable. To reward people just for drawing breath instead of how many widgets they produced that day, or how much in dividends grandpa's old stocks paid them. We don't need to box ourselves in by how things have been done in the past.

I get it. It sucks that some people in our country have it rough. A few have it REALLY rough. Most people have it pretty good. A small number of people have it incredibly good.

But even the worst-off among us today have it better than the best-off people had it 50 years ago. Climate control, digital media players, and wifi can be found in almost every lower-middle-class or lower-class house. Even wealthy people didn't have these things not long ago. Modern-day homeless people have touchscreen smart phones - something that no one had only 20 years ago.

There will always be inequality in the universe. This will not change, no matter how noble and well-intentioned we are.

Things will never be fair, if only because what constitutes "fair" is ever-changing. Human ingenuity creates some cool new thing that only the wealthy can afford (at first), and everyone else cries and declares it unfair. There's no end to that treadmill.

Instead of trying to steer something which cannot be steered (that is, the needs and desires of some 320 million people), let each person decide how they will run their life. Let each person reduce their own consumption, streamline their own lives, and plan happier lives for themselves without twisting their arms and forcing them to subsidize others who are too lazy to do the same.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Telecaster on October 22, 2019, 03:57:08 PM
If UBI were to pass, I would immediately buy airline stocks.

Because, just think about all the flights packed with 8.75 month pregnant women.  A guaranteed income for life for your kid, and all you have to do is give birth in the lobby or ER of a hospital on US soil!  Unpaid of course, since the hospital won't be able to track them down afterwards.  Quite a return on a ~$2-3K investment.  Who wouldn't be tempted by that?

Clarification:  no requirement to immigrate.  Just a visiting visa and a week or so stay.  This essentially makes any consideration of UBI a complete impossibility in the US.

Under the current proposal, only those 18 years and older would receive UBI. 
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 22, 2019, 04:26:28 PM
You've missed that poster's point. We live in an arbitrary world where we decide what we (as a society) will commit to and what will be permissible. Perhaps the roots of some of those things are more easily traced than others, but regardless since most of our systems, institutions and laws are made up we can simply make up different ones when our priorities shift.

No one is looking to end inequality. You're right that such a thing is impossible. What we're trying to do is find a better balance between the rich, the middle class and the poor. Finding a balance is certainly not impossible.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 22, 2019, 04:27:08 PM
If UBI were to pass, I would immediately buy airline stocks.

Because, just think about all the flights packed with 8.75 month pregnant women.  A guaranteed income for life for your kid, and all you have to do is give birth in the lobby or ER of a hospital on US soil!  Unpaid of course, since the hospital won't be able to track them down afterwards.  Quite a return on a ~$2-3K investment.  Who wouldn't be tempted by that?

Clarification:  no requirement to immigrate.  Just a visiting visa and a week or so stay.  This essentially makes any consideration of UBI a complete impossibility in the US.

Under the current proposal, only those 18 years and older would receive UBI.

It's almost as if people are willfully ignoring all of the clarity some posters have been providing.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 22, 2019, 08:10:29 PM
You've missed that poster's point. We live in an arbitrary world where we decide what we (as a society) will commit to and what will be permissible. Perhaps the roots of some of those things are more easily traced than others, but regardless since most of our systems, institutions and laws are made up we can simply make up different ones when our priorities shift.

So what's your theory here? We pass different laws, and then...

...poverty vanishes?

...wealth inequality is reduced?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 22, 2019, 08:18:20 PM
Poverty vanishing is obviously unlikely. But I think wealth inequality reducing would be a good thing. I do not think the UBI will achieve that (nor do I think we need new mechanisms to do so - high marginal tax rate, effective corporate tax and clamping down on tax havens funding broader social programs would be fine).

Obviously many people here DO think that the UBI will decrease wealth inequality. So maybe it will.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on October 23, 2019, 03:52:20 AM
Under Andrew Yang's plan, it actually forces people who consume more to subsidize everyone, as it's paid for by a VAT tax. Incidentally, this is probably a net win for the type of people who visit this site, given that we pride ourselves on low levels of consumption.

...


It think it's political suicide to try to pay for UBI via a VAT tax (really in any way).

Again, I lived in Canada when they passed their VAT tax. The PM at the time was a guy named Brian Mulroney.

He passed a VAT tax that is called the GST (goods & services tax). This tax was revenue neutral, meaning that it wasn't supposed to increase government revenues at all.

In the subsequent election, his party's seat count went from 169 / 295 (57%) to 2 / 295 (0.7%). His party actually broke apart and the splinter group took 52 seats (18%). Neither of these parties formed a federal government for the next four elections (13 years), and the other big Canadian party (the Liberals) dominated the federal government with some of the biggest electoral wins in the country's history.

Yang's proposed VAT tax isn't revenue neutral. It will need to bring in an amount of money equal to the current spending of the largest government in the world to pay for UBI (that's probably more than doubling revenue since the US always runs a deficit). The idea that they are just going to tax huge companies and they're just going to take it without changing practice to evade the tax or passing it on to consumers seems super unrealistic to me.

I think it's interesting because Yang's whole thing is that the impact of automation is going to be so large that people don't understand it's magnitude. But, I think it's also true that the cost of this program is so large that people can't comprehend it.

I like Yang. I think he's one of the few "politicians" that is willing to talk about difficult issues in a way that's focused on finding a solution instead of just demonizing the other team.

I think that's the big value that Yang brings to the Democratic primary. Before Yang, every other politician I'd heard talk about UBI didn't answer the question "how much is it going to cost"? Yang's plan is "modest" in that $1k/month isn't a large sum of money. But because he costed the plan out, it's easier to see that it's not feasible at scale IMO.

Aside: One of the common complaints about consumption taxes like VAT taxes is that they are regressive because people with less money have to spend a higher percentage of it on consumption.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: freya on October 23, 2019, 07:26:31 AM
Obviously many people here DO think that the UBI will decrease wealth inequality. So maybe it will.

It depends on how the increased tax burden is distributed, but yes it has the potential to do that.  However, UBI should not provide a middle class lifestyle, as was proposed (and rightly shot down) in Switzerland.  That would be like saying everyone should be above average :-)  It should only be enough to prevent the worst outcomes of poverty, i.e. homelessness and starvation.  You also need to have solved the healthcare issue, otherwise UBI would simply end up feeding the medical cost monster.  Anything more (cell phone service, a nicer apartment) you should have to work for.  But, unlike current welfare programs, UBI won't trigger any perverse incentives not to work.

Unfortunately UBI would also drain money out of the US like no tomorrow, because the benefit would be available to children of visitors, (legal or not).  That would be a ticking time bomb.  (Having them wait until age 18 won't help, as that takes...oh, about 18 years last I checked - plus there's almost no chance that limitation would stick.)

If that loophole were fixed, which it won't be because there is no political will for it, I might support UBI *if* it were to replace all current welfare programs.  This would remove several layers of bureaucracy at the state, federal, and local levels, the distortions in local markets produced by existing welfare programs, and the barriers imposed on people who qualify for benefits but can't negotiate the tortuous path required to get them.

Example of a market distortion:  rent control in NYC.  It doesn't benefit the right people (e.g. good luck arguing that Rep. Charles Rangell truly needs his two rent controlled apartments) and it drives housing costs up for everyone else.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 23, 2019, 11:09:36 AM
Okay. Let's come at this from a different angle...

What's so bad about wealth inequality?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 23, 2019, 11:18:07 AM
Okay. Let's come at this from a different angle...

What's so bad about wealth inequality?

I don't think any of the UBI proponents are suggesting we should completely eliminate wealth inequality. That's more akin to communism.

The government has some very strong controls on the amount of wealth inequality in the United States, through the implementation of taxes. For example, income taxes have progressive gradations; those gradations could be higher than they are now (as they were not too long ago), or they could be lower than they are now, such as in the case of the various proposed flat tax schemes.

In my mind, the economy prospers with some level of wealth inequality; too much wealth inequality, and conditions get ripe for revolution; too little wealth inequality, and people lose the incentive to work.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 23, 2019, 12:27:07 PM
Thanks for the response!

Wrong. Dead wrong.

We can decide to pay a UBI in the same way that we decided to make a national guaranteed issue option for healthcare in 2010, or the same way we've decided to tax gains from capital at a lower rate than earnings from labor, or that other countries have decided that you're entitled to healthcare, regardless of your ability to pay for it.

Tell that to Jeff Bezos circa 1999. Or the two engineers that started Google. Or to young James Cash Penney, who barely had a penny to his name.

For sure. And in a subsequent post, I clarified that value creation is a component of overall compensation:

"Value certainly does drive some compensation, no doubt. But regulatory rent collecting does too. As does simply having money to begin with, or having a dubious land claim. Or successfully navigating arbitrage."

But the relationship between value creation and overall compensation is fuzzy and nebulous enough, that I don't think this defeats the idea of a UBI. i.e., people in this thread have and will ask, "Why should we pay people who don't create value?" To which I respond, that we pay people all the time for things that don't create value (in the market sense). Rent collecting (regulatory or otherwise), arbitrage, etc.

If you don't believe in property rights, then you also must believe that theft isn't a crime. After all, if you don't have a legitimate claim to the stuff in your house, then I should be able to just come and take it from you. And burn your house down too.

I acknowledge that property rights are a "thing". I'm not making a value judgement one way or the other. Given that, I'm doing my best to take advantage of and profit from property rights. The part I reject, is that making money off of land is something so fundamental, that it is "okay", while receiving a UBI check is "not okay".  I don't work the properties. In fact, I've never even seen some of them. I don't interface with tenants. I didn't build the house. All I have is claim to a piece of property that ultimately came to me through the combination of

1.) having money
2.) buying it from someone who either "got there first", or was able to take it from someone else and successfully defend their claim through the use or threat of violence

Furthermore, the value of my house and my rentals is protected through the very undemocratic, anti-capitalist practice of big money interests lobbying for friendlier landlording laws and blocking the development of competing residential projects.

When I break it down like that, it's hard for me to explain why it's okay for me to collect rent checks, but it's not okay to issue a UBI.

There will always be inequality in the universe. This will not change, no matter how noble and well-intentioned we are.

Things will never be fair, if only because what constitutes "fair" is ever-changing. Human ingenuity creates some cool new thing that only the wealthy can afford (at first), and everyone else cries and declares it unfair. There's no end to that treadmill.

I know that there's no end to the treadmill. And that's a good thing. People should be in a perpetual state of demanding better and more equitable treatment. At some point, we decided that the government should provide free public education to children up to the twelfth grade. In 2010, we decided that the government should guarantee health insurance issues regardless of pre-ex, and provide subsidies for people who have difficulty affording it. UBI is another step on that continuum. It has a ton of potential benefits, and I'd like to see it implemented sooner rather than later. Because I don't want to be having these conversations when it's absolutely necessary for survival in a world where machines out compete us for nearly every job.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 23, 2019, 01:23:52 PM
I don't think any of the UBI proponents are suggesting we should completely eliminate wealth inequality.

Of course they don't want to eliminate it. If wealth inequality were completely eliminated, they would have one less excuse to meddle in other people's affairs.

So they have developed a strategy for guaranteeing that we never eliminate inequality. All they have to do is redefine the parameters that determine "equality".

You and I could have equal incomes, work equal hours, pay equal taxes, and have equal-sized homes. But because your house is in dry, temperate California, and mine is in the humid south of Louisiana, I have to run my AC longer throughout the year, increasing my utility bills compared to your and rendering us "unequal." Using bullshit UBI-style excuse-mongering, I contrive a demand for "fair temperature subsidy" paid for by people who have better "climate fortune".

It's all bullshit.

The desire to help the less fortunate is a noble goal, provided you do it with your own money. Why? Because personal sacrifice is hard.

It's not noble to be generous with someone else's money.

In my mind, the economy prospers with some level of wealth inequality; too much wealth inequality, and conditions get ripe for revolution; too little wealth inequality, and people lose the incentive to work.

I don't know anything about the contents of your mind. Mine is certainly filled with images of double cheese burgers, fast cars, and scantily-clad blonde cheerleaders.

But as I said above, it's pointless to argue about what constitutes equality if the goalpost can be moved. We must assume that inequality will ALWAYS exist.

Given that, we're better off talking about what improves the net wealth of a society, regardless of how that wealth is statistically distributed. And history shows us that net societal wealth increases when governments back off of social programs.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 23, 2019, 01:36:22 PM
I'm going to disagree with a few of your points:

But the relationship between value creation and overall compensation is fuzzy and nebulous enough, that I don't think this defeats the idea of a UBI. i.e., people in this thread have and will ask, "Why should we pay people who don't create value?" To which I respond, that we pay people all the time for things that don't create value (in the market sense). Rent collecting (regulatory or otherwise), arbitrage, etc.

I'll use arbitrage as an example of where value creation can be created from what appears to be a valueless transaction. The arbitrageur buys from a market seller at a lower price, and sells to a market buyer at a higher price. Everybody in the transaction received value: the seller for selling his goods for a price he was agreeable with, the buyer for buying his goods at a cost she was agreeable with, and the arbitrageur for getting a cut of the pie for providing the service of connecting the buyer and seller. As long as the arbitrageur doesn't act unethically by promoting an inefficient system, then he/she is definitely creating value.

Quote
I don't work the properties. In fact, I've never even seen some of them. I don't interface with tenants. I didn't build the house. All I have is claim to a piece of property that ultimately came to me through the combination of

1.) having money
2.) buying it from someone who either "got there first", or was able to take it from someone else and successfully defend their claim through the use or threat of violence

1.) Money represents value you have created in the past that you've not yet used to purchase value from somebody else. So the fact that you had money to purchase the rental, means you've provided more value than you've consumed (or if you're going into debt to purchase the rental, you promise to provide value plus interest in the future). Once you purchase the rental using that money, you're no longer positive on your value, except that now you are offering people shelter, which someone will value for the rent they are paying you. So having money is (mostly) equivalent to having provided value.
2.) There is nothing wrong with "getting there first". That's how life exists and propagates, by exploiting resources that are there. As humans, we have the ability to exploit those resources intelligently, which includes guaranteeing property rights to some extent.

Quote
People should be in a perpetual state of demanding better and more equitable treatment.

Agreed.

Quote
At some point, we decided that the government should provide free public education to children up to the twelfth grade. In 2010, we decided that the government should guarantee health insurance issues regardless of pre-ex, and provide subsidies for people who have difficulty affording it. UBI is another step on that continuum.

There is still debate as to whether government-sponsored "free" education and "free" healthcare results in better or more equitable treatment. Putting aside the particulars of that debate, if "free" healthcare was eliminated in the next five years, would we come to the conclusion that eliminating government-run "free" education is the next step on that continuum? I don't think so, and I believe that each public benefit should be analyzed in its own right.

Quote
Because I don't want to be having these conversations when it's absolutely necessary for survival in a world where machines out compete us for nearly every job.

I think this is the largest fallacy I hear in the argument for UBI. There has been no trend I'm aware of that is pointing in this direction, and I doubt there ever will be. Now I will say that I think it's government's role to help provide employment or welfare for those willing to find work, which may be more or less necessary from time to time, but assuming a vast number of people cannot provide any value to the lives of others is contrary to all historical and current trends.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 23, 2019, 01:47:15 PM
Given that, we're better off talking about what improves the net wealth of a society, regardless of how that wealth is statistically distributed.

Agreed, to some extent. However, there will always be disagreements as to what constitutes "wealth". I think most here wouldn't simply consider it to be GDP, though it certainly plays a role.

Quote
And history shows us that net societal wealth increases when governments back off of social programs.

You've stated this as fact on several occasions. However, I for one am not convinced. I can think of dozens of social welfare programs off the top of my head that have ostensibly increased society's wealth, and I imagine my position is not in the minority. Since you are presenting the contrary opinion to the majority, would you care to back up your position with supporting facts?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 23, 2019, 01:49:33 PM
Okay. Let's come at this from a different angle...

What's so bad about wealth inequality?

Extreme wealth inequality (eg feudal systems, oligarchies like Russia, South Africa, Namibia, etc) results in:
- Increased crime
- Decreased health outcomes (for all members of society)
- Reduced innovation
- Reduced competitiveness
- Capital and political being strongly tied together (ie, buying votes or not having representation at all)
- Reduced educational outcomes
- Decreased wellbeing
- Generational poverty and entrenched social stratification

These are not desirable to me, at all. We see clearly that - in our currently world - and increase in wealth inequality leads to those things.

Now I know reductionists will say 'well if we slide inequality to 0 there'd be problems too' to which the answer is 'of course, so it's good no one wants that'. We just want LESS inequality which, and I've been clear on this previously, comes from building up the middle class, making it easier for poorer people to enter that and consistently and unashamedly regulating and taxing wealth.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 23, 2019, 01:50:36 PM
But the relationship between value creation and overall compensation is fuzzy and nebulous enough, that I don't think this defeats the idea of a UBI. i.e., people in this thread have and will ask, "Why should we pay people who don't create value?" To which I respond, that we pay people all the time for things that don't create value (in the market sense). Rent collecting (regulatory or otherwise), arbitrage, etc.

Your definition of value is very narrow.

A thing doesn't have to be physically tangible in order for it to have value, or even to create value.

Think about an engineering education, for example. The education itself can produce tremendous value, even though it's just a configuration of thoughts inside your head.

Or how about a musical performance? It has a transient form, temporarily altering the state of air molecules and vibrating your eardrum. But hearing it might improve your mood, or inspire you to be productive at work, or to create music on your own which in turn inspires others. It's not tangible either, but it still creates value.

Even rent is valuable. I rent my apartment because I cannot afford a house, I am not interested in owning a house in my area, and my only alternative is living on the street. The rented apartment provides shelter, warmth, and privacy, all of which I value and am willing to pay money for.

The key here is that a thing is valuable if people are willing to pay money for it.

No one thinks sitting on your ass is valuable. No one is willing to pay money for it.

And inflating the existing value of a good or service by some amount arbitrarily determined by a government is a stupid idea.

the value of my house and my rentals is protected through the very undemocratic, anti-capitalist practice of big money interests lobbying for friendlier landlording laws and blocking the development of competing residential projects.

See, this is what I'm trying to communicate.

Even here, you readily agree that government fucks things up because it is comprised of individual representatives whose duty to public service can be compromised by outside incentives.

And yet your proposal for UBI involves implementing more government.

Do you see why that doesn't make any sense?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 23, 2019, 01:59:17 PM
At some point, we decided that the government should provide free public education to children up to the twelfth grade. In 2010, we decided that the government should guarantee health insurance issues regardless of pre-ex, and provide subsidies for people who have difficulty affording it. UBI is another step on that continuum.

There is still debate as to whether government-sponsored "free" education and "free" healthcare results in better or more equitable treatment. Putting aside the particulars of that debate, if "free" healthcare was eliminated in the next five years, would we come to the conclusion that eliminating government-run "free" education is the next step on that continuum? I don't think so, and I believe that each public benefit should be analyzed in its own right.


I don't think the argument here is that it's the next step in the continuum and therefore it's a good idea, but rather, it is a step in the continuum and not a complete change of direction.

Many of the arguments against UBI are fundamental in nature. For example, giving something for nothing can only lead to worse outcomes. But we do give something for nothing. Education, healthcare, assistance for the disabled, so unless someone believes that all of these things lead to worse outcomes, then the fundamental argument is off the table. The bolded still holds true.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 23, 2019, 02:04:52 PM
the value of my house and my rentals is protected through the very undemocratic, anti-capitalist practice of big money interests lobbying for friendlier landlording laws and blocking the development of competing residential projects.

See, this is what I'm trying to communicate.

Even here, you readily agree that government fucks things up because it is comprised of individual representatives whose duty to public service can be compromised by outside incentives.

And yet your proposal for UBI involves implementing more government.

Do you see why that doesn't make any sense?

So the logical conclusion of your statement is "corruption exists; therefore anarchy is the best option"
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 23, 2019, 02:10:31 PM
I don't think the argument here is that it's the next step in the continuum and therefore it's a good idea, but rather, it is a step in the continuum and not a complete change of direction.

Many of the arguments against UBI are fundamental in nature. For example, giving something for nothing can only lead to worse outcomes. But we do give something for nothing. Education, healthcare, assistance for the disabled, so unless someone believes that all of these things lead to worse outcomes, then the fundamental argument is off the table. The bolded still holds true.

Fair enough. But I would argue that the services mentioned don't represent "something for nothing", with the exception of assistance to the disabled (or social security, for that matter, for those who take out more than they put in). With education, we are providing an ability for future adults to provide more value to society. With healthcare, we are ensuring people have the ability to care for themselves using the medical establishment, and healthier people are more valuable to society than unhealthy ones.

UBI would be giving something for nothing, and it would in theory be replacing a system where we give the unemployed something in exchange for at least trying to get a job (and hence return value to society).
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 23, 2019, 02:16:43 PM
There is still debate as to whether government-sponsored "free" education and "free" healthcare results in better or more equitable treatment. Putting aside the particulars of that debate, if "free" healthcare was eliminated in the next five years, would we come to the conclusion that eliminating government-run "free" education is the next step on that continuum? I don't think so, and I believe that each public benefit should be analyzed in its own right.

Your point is well taken. The continuum thing was a little lazy on my part. However, I think the benefit of the UBI does stand on its own right. On balance, we're putting money in places where it has higher marginal utility. Research suggests that direct cash transfers are a very efficient form of public assistance. It braces us against our oncoming robot overlords, ;), etc.

I think this is the largest fallacy I hear in the argument for UBI. There has been no trend I'm aware of that is pointing in this direction, and I doubt there ever will be. Now I will say that I think it's government's role to help provide employment or welfare for those willing to find work, which may be more or less necessary from time to time, but assuming a vast number of people cannot provide any value to the lives of others is contrary to all historical and current trends.

I think there is good reason to think that the future will not follow alongside historical and current trends. The industrial revolution didn't, nor did the development of the microprocessor. The common argument is that those developments meant more jobs, not less. But there's reason to believe that an AI boom would be different.

All it would take is for an emulation of a human brain to run 1% faster than the flesh based competition. And that's one of the more cumbersome and inefficient ways that it could happen. The reality is that we're finding much more efficient ways to automate jobs. Everyone knows about self-driving cars, but think about the last time you called customer service at a large company. I'm guessing an automated program answered the call and said, "In a few words, describe why you're calling. Try something like, 'I want to pay my bill' or 'I want to change my reservation.'" And I'm guessing that this worked reasonably well. If not to completely satisfy your reason for calling, then at least to "triage" you to the right person reasonably fast. Half a million people work in call-centers in the US.

And it's not just customer service reps either. There are a lot of start-ups gaining traction based on the idea that much of the labor attorneys do can be handled through optical character recognition, natural language processing, and good old fashioned flow-charting.

I don't know when all service reps, lawyers, and truck drivers will be out of a job. Whether it's 10 years, or 100. But I think a future where most labor is automated is pretty likely.

I'm cribbing from a book called Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom here.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: TheContinentalOp on October 23, 2019, 02:46:40 PM
Okay. Let's come at this from a different angle...

What's so bad about wealth inequality?

Extreme wealth inequality (eg feudal systems, oligarchies like Russia, South Africa, Namibia, etc) results in:
- Increased crime
- Decreased health outcomes (for all members of society)
- Reduced innovation
- Reduced competitiveness
- Capital and political being strongly tied together (ie, buying votes or not having representation at all)
- Reduced educational outcomes
- Decreased wellbeing
- Generational poverty and entrenched social stratification

These are not desirable to me, at all. We see clearly that - in our currently world - and increase in wealth inequality leads to those things.

Now I know reductionists will say 'well if we slide inequality to 0 there'd be problems too' to which the answer is 'of course, so it's good no one wants that'. We just want LESS inequality which, and I've been clear on this previously, comes from building up the middle class, making it easier for poorer people to enter that and consistently and unashamedly regulating and taxing wealth.

if reducing inequality is the goal, the first thing we should do is stop all low-skilled immigration. Every low-skilled immigrant who enters the county by definition increases the Gini coefficient and adds to inequality.

Also it will be easier to create a UBI, if it's not being handed out to immigrants.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 23, 2019, 02:54:10 PM
There is still debate as to whether government-sponsored "free" education and "free" healthcare results in better or more equitable treatment. Putting aside the particulars of that debate, if "free" healthcare was eliminated in the next five years, would we come to the conclusion that eliminating government-run "free" education is the next step on that continuum? I don't think so, and I believe that each public benefit should be analyzed in its own right.

Your point is well taken. The continuum thing was a little lazy on my part. However, I think the benefit of the UBI does stand on its own right. On balance, we're putting money in places where it has higher marginal utility. Research suggests that direct cash transfers are a very efficient form of public assistance. It braces us against our oncoming robot overlords, ;), etc.

I think this is the largest fallacy I hear in the argument for UBI. There has been no trend I'm aware of that is pointing in this direction, and I doubt there ever will be. Now I will say that I think it's government's role to help provide employment or welfare for those willing to find work, which may be more or less necessary from time to time, but assuming a vast number of people cannot provide any value to the lives of others is contrary to all historical and current trends.

I think there is good reason to think that the future will not follow alongside historical and current trends. The industrial revolution didn't, nor did the development of the microprocessor. The common argument is that those developments meant more jobs, not less. But there's reason to believe that an AI boom would be different.

All it would take is for an emulation of a human brain to run 1% faster than the flesh based competition. And that's one of the more cumbersome and inefficient ways that it could happen. The reality is that we're finding much more efficient ways to automate jobs. Everyone knows about self-driving cars, but think about the last time you called customer service at a large company. I'm guessing an automated program answered the call and said, "In a few words, describe why you're calling. Try something like, 'I want to pay my bill' or 'I want to change my reservation.'" And I'm guessing that this worked reasonably well. If not to completely satisfy your reason for calling, then at least to "triage" you to the right person reasonably fast. Half a million people work in call-centers in the US.

And it's not just customer service reps either. There are a lot of start-ups gaining traction based on the idea that much of the labor attorneys do can be handled through optical character recognition, natural language processing, and good old fashioned flow-charting.

I don't know when all service reps, lawyers, and truck drivers will be out of a job. Whether it's 10 years, or 100. But I think a future where most labor is automated is pretty likely.

I'm cribbing from a book called Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom here.

I'm all for automation when more effective than human labor. But I cannot conceive of a scenario where automation completely eliminates the value that humans can provide to other humans owing to the division of labor. Now, if I were to be proven wrong, then I could probably be convinced that UBI is a good idea; however, I am very skeptical it will ever happen, and I certainly don't feel that it is an issue currently given the low unemployment rate.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: freya on October 23, 2019, 02:57:31 PM
Quote
And history shows us that net societal wealth increases when governments back off of social programs.

This type of debate was carried out during the framing of the US Constitution.  The framers specified a limited number of social institutions that were deemed to be essential for normal functioning, which was more or less defined as providing a supportive environment and level playing field for commerce to thrive.

These included a court system, a "well-armed militia", and a common monetary system.  To this we've added things like interstate highways, public schools, and (to an extent) a patchwork medical system that any individual can access (sort of). 

I agree that the yardstick should be whether society would function better with a given social program in place.  And would it *really* function better, not just in someone's imagination.   I think it is not beyond reason to hypothesize that a UBI might become necessary in a world where automation has developed to the extent that it is no longer possible to keep >95% of the working age population employed.  Our continued high rate of expansion of the underclass combined with steadily increasing hiring costs is only going to accelerate this scenario.  (To give a small idea of the problem:  almost a third of New York state residents are on Medicaid, and it's increasing fast.)

So, we're already supporting a large class of people who effectively can't support themselves.  I'm not sure it's reasonable to ask whether we should do this, so much as HOW to do it.  UBI is probably more efficient than several hundred random, uncoordinated welfare programs, so it's probably going to become inevitable at some point.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 23, 2019, 03:01:29 PM
Your definition of value is very narrow.

A thing doesn't have to be physically tangible in order for it to have value, or even to create value.

Think about an engineering education, for example. The education itself can produce tremendous value, even though it's just a configuration of thoughts inside your head.

Or how about a musical performance? It has a transient form, temporarily altering the state of air molecules and vibrating your eardrum. But hearing it might improve your mood, or inspire you to be productive at work, or to create music on your own which in turn inspires others. It's not tangible either, but it still creates value.

I'm not sure I defined value in any way the precludes music or education. But I'll leave this be in favor of the rest of your post.

Even rent is valuable. I rent my apartment because I cannot afford a house, I am not interested in owning a house in my area, and my only alternative is living on the street. The rented apartment provides shelter, warmth, and privacy, all of which I value and am willing to pay money for.

The key here is that a thing is valuable if people are willing to pay money for it.

But maybe there's a configuration in which people still got shelter, warmth, and privacy, but without ceding a 15% IRR to a nameless, faceless landlord. Perhaps your municipality could decide to be friendlier to co-ops and less friendly to landlords. Then you could elect a board of directors that spent that money that would be a dividend to the landlord on some capital improvements that the apartment needs. Or maybe they just lower rents.

I'm not fundamentally against landlording. As I said, I'm a landlord myself. But I strongly feel that any value that my properties provide comes from builders, contractors, gardeners, the management company, etc. I'm pretty passive. I mostly just sit back and collect checks.

Because of this, I'm not of the opinion that value creation and who gets compensated is fundamentally "correct" under our current construction. There are all sorts of different ways to operate an economy. I'm open to new ideas.

No one thinks sitting on your ass is valuable. No one is willing to pay money for it.

1.) I disagree. Leisure time is extremely valuable. My own leisure time is valuable to me, of course, but I think it's important for everyone to have it as well.
2.) UBI doesn't pay you for sitting on your ass. It pays you irrespective of how you choose to spend your time. No one is compelled to sit on their ass in order to receive a check.

See, this is what I'm trying to communicate.

Even here, you readily agree that government fucks things up because it is comprised of individual representatives whose duty to public service can be compromised by outside incentives.

And yet your proposal for UBI involves implementing more government.

Do you see why that doesn't make any sense?

I think government, and representative democracy in particular, is an unambiguous good for the advancement of mankind. The world is infinitely complex, and understanding and making informed decisions about everything is beyond the capacity of most people. So we outsource much of that thinking to representatives so we can focus on the things we are good at. Representatives, in turn, outsource further to specialists and technocrats. Inevitably, those specialists and technocrats are going to put their thumb on the scale in their own interests. Like a landlord advising the city council on zoning laws.

We should fight corruption where we can, but broadly, I think the system works reasonably well. A steering community (government) checked by the people (voters) who directs human effort (as measured by tax revenue) in the direction of progress at the recommendation of experts (scientists, universities, bureaucrats, business-people, etc.).

The downside is that we're seeing a massive concentration of wealth and earnings. Rather than unwinding the entire system, which serves us reasonably well, I'm in favor of "floor-raising" measures. Guaranteeing healthcare would be a good start. Guaranteeing a base level of income should make the list at some point too.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: TheContinentalOp on October 23, 2019, 03:02:45 PM

Quote
I'm all for automation when more effective than human labor. But I cannot conceive of a scenario where automation completely eliminates the value that humans can provide to other humans owing to the division of labor. Now, if I were to be proven wrong, then I could probably be convinced that UBI is a good idea; however, I am very skeptical it will ever happen, and I certainly don't feel that it is an issue currently given the low unemployment rate.

Automation doesn't have to eliminate the value that humans can provide, all it has to do is drive down wages to a level where it's impossible for a human to survive.

Look at horses. They have comparative advantages to humans. But after the introduction of the internal combustion engine, the value that the vast majority of horses could provide could no longer pay for their room and board.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 23, 2019, 03:06:07 PM
So the logical conclusion of your statement is "corruption exists; therefore anarchy is the best option"

Your logical fallacy here is the False Dilemma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma)).

"Governmental control" and "total anarchy" are not two opposites on a linear continuum.

To suggest that they are is to suggest that two (or more) individuals cannot reach a mutually-advantageous and mutually-acceptable compromise without influence from an outside authority.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 23, 2019, 03:15:47 PM
if reducing inequality is the goal, the first thing we should do is stop all low-skilled immigration. Every low-skilled immigrant who enters the county by definition increases the Gini coefficient and adds to inequality.

But then who would vote the tax-grabbing authoritarians into office? /s
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 23, 2019, 03:22:29 PM
Okay. Let's come at this from a different angle...

What's so bad about wealth inequality?

Extreme wealth inequality (eg feudal systems, oligarchies like Russia, South Africa, Namibia, etc) results in:
- Increased crime
- Decreased health outcomes (for all members of society)
- Reduced innovation
- Reduced competitiveness
- Capital and political being strongly tied together (ie, buying votes or not having representation at all)
- Reduced educational outcomes
- Decreased wellbeing
- Generational poverty and entrenched social stratification

These are not desirable to me, at all. We see clearly that - in our currently world - and increase in wealth inequality leads to those things.

Now I know reductionists will say 'well if we slide inequality to 0 there'd be problems too' to which the answer is 'of course, so it's good no one wants that'. We just want LESS inequality which, and I've been clear on this previously, comes from building up the middle class, making it easier for poorer people to enter that and consistently and unashamedly regulating and taxing wealth.

if reducing inequality is the goal, the first thing we should do is stop all low-skilled immigration. Every low-skilled immigrant who enters the county by definition increases the Gini coefficient and adds to inequality.

Also it will be easier to create a UBI, if it's not being handed out to immigrants.

The US has an ugly history of blaming poor people for its social issues while being hamstrung and run by wealthy, shadowy, non-elected individuals and companies who are more than happy to sit back and use their wealth to direct the country.

Don't buy into the rhetoric that poor people are to blame. The gini co-efficient is one measure, manipulating it doesn't necessarily change much (as per your example, life would be no better for someone in the USA living on the poverty line) even if it looks good on paper. The goal is not to pat ourselves on the back that things appear better, but for them to actually be better. Reducing the bottom 1-2% doesn't really affect the lived experiences of others. Bring the bottom 50% up affects a huge number of lived experiences for the better.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 23, 2019, 03:23:17 PM
I'm all for automation when more effective than human labor. But I cannot conceive of a scenario where automation completely eliminates the value that humans can provide to other humans owing to the division of labor. Now, if I were to be proven wrong, then I could probably be convinced that UBI is a good idea; however, I am very skeptical it will ever happen, and I certainly don't feel that it is an issue currently given the low unemployment rate.

You're right. Unemployment is spectacularly low right now. That makes arguing for UBI all the more difficult. Like climate change, I'd rather we do something now than later, but it's a tough sell when it's nice and balmy in October, and only 3.5% of people are out of work.

But luckily there are other arguments for it. I think Andrew Yang has done a pretty good job of marketing the idea. I love that he doesn't call it welfare, or even UBI, he refers to it by the hilarious moniker, "Freedom Dividend".

The US economy is a $21 trillion powerhouse. While guys like Jeff Bezos scoop up most of the headlines and much of the wealth, all of us are stakeholders in America. Companies like Amazon are helped along by public schools and public universities. Public roads. Public goods and utilities. I think most people are cool with the idea that they owe something back to the public above and beyond the goods and services they sell. Hence, taxes. One use of taxes would be to take a percentage of all the transacting Amazon does, and use it to pay all of the America stakeholders a dividend.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 23, 2019, 03:23:33 PM
if reducing inequality is the goal, the first thing we should do is stop all low-skilled immigration. Every low-skilled immigrant who enters the county by definition increases the Gini coefficient and adds to inequality.

But then who would vote the tax-grabbing authoritarians into office? /s

I don't know, poor people lean blue in the USA, gerrymandering and voter suppression leans red. I'd argue preventing people from voting is pretty authoritarian and there are so many examples of the Republicans doing it one cannot have allegiance with that party in good faith.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: TheContinentalOp on October 23, 2019, 03:30:32 PM
Okay. Let's come at this from a different angle...

What's so bad about wealth inequality?

Extreme wealth inequality (eg feudal systems, oligarchies like Russia, South Africa, Namibia, etc) results in:
- Increased crime
- Decreased health outcomes (for all members of society)
- Reduced innovation
- Reduced competitiveness
- Capital and political being strongly tied together (ie, buying votes or not having representation at all)
- Reduced educational outcomes
- Decreased wellbeing
- Generational poverty and entrenched social stratification

These are not desirable to me, at all. We see clearly that - in our currently world - and increase in wealth inequality leads to those things.

Now I know reductionists will say 'well if we slide inequality to 0 there'd be problems too' to which the answer is 'of course, so it's good no one wants that'. We just want LESS inequality which, and I've been clear on this previously, comes from building up the middle class, making it easier for poorer people to enter that and consistently and unashamedly regulating and taxing wealth.

if reducing inequality is the goal, the first thing we should do is stop all low-skilled immigration. Every low-skilled immigrant who enters the county by definition increases the Gini coefficient and adds to inequality.

Also it will be easier to create a UBI, if it's not being handed out to immigrants.

The US has an ugly history of blaming poor people for its social issues while being hamstrung and run by wealthy, shadowy, non-elected individuals and companies who are more than happy to sit back and use their wealth to direct the country.

Don't buy into the rhetoric that poor people are to blame. The gini co-efficient is one measure, manipulating it doesn't necessarily change much (as per your example, life would be no better for someone in the USA living on the poverty line) even if it looks good on paper. The goal is not to pat ourselves on the back that things appear better, but for them to actually be better. Reducing the bottom 1-2% doesn't really affect the lived experiences of others. Bring the bottom 50% up affects a huge number of lived experiences for the better.

And we can best help bring up the folks from the bottom not forcing them to compete with low-skilled immigrants.

As immigration has increased, wages have stagnated for the middle and lower classes.

Meanwhile the one-percenters have benefited enormously. Notice that across the political spectrum: Kochs, Adelson, Bloomberg, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Buffet, Gates, etc. almost all the billionaires preach more immigration. Even Trump's businesses take advantage of guest workers and illegal aliens. What does that tell you?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 23, 2019, 03:30:58 PM
Look at horses. They have comparative advantages to humans. But after the introduction of the internal combustion engine, the value that the vast majority of horses could provide could no longer pay for their room and board.

Correct, horses have comparative advantages that were essentially eliminated by the invention of the engine. But there are two flaws to the argument: 1) Horses are extremely specialized, being able to do just a couple of tasks really well; in this way, they are more similar to individual jobs or technologies rather than to humans. 2) Humans are running the show (horses weren't); unless we are going to task our robot overlords with running the show, we don't have to worry about being put out to pasture.

Quote
Automation doesn't have to eliminate the value that humans can provide, all it has to do is drive down wages to a level where it's impossible for a human to survive.

This is true, and where I feel government may need to step in to bridge the gap at times. But I still feel that these people can add value to society, in which case jobs can be created (with or without government subsidy).
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: TheContinentalOp on October 23, 2019, 03:34:25 PM
Look at horses. They have comparative advantages to humans. But after the introduction of the internal combustion engine, the value that the vast majority of horses could provide could no longer pay for their room and board.

Correct, horses have comparative advantages that were essentially eliminated by the invention of the engine. But there are two flaws to the argument: 1) Horses are extremely specialized, being able to do just a couple of tasks really well; in this way, they are more similar to individual jobs or technologies rather than to humans. 2) Humans are running the show (horses weren't); unless we are going to task our robot overlords with running the show, we don't have to worry about being put out to pasture.

Quote
Automation doesn't have to eliminate the value that humans can provide, all it has to do is drive down wages to a level where it's impossible for a human to survive.

This is true, and where I feel government may need to step in to bridge the gap at times. But I still feel that these people can add value to society, in which case jobs can be created (with or without government subsidy).

The problem is more and more people are going to be in a position that they won't be able to provide the value to earn a surviving wage for two reasons.

1. Minimum wage laws and other regulations that price their labor out of the market.
2. The increasing cognitive demands of the jobs that are created. 100 years ago, a guy with an IQ of 85 could make it as a farmer. Not today. In a few years folks with IQs of 100 are going to be in the same boat.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 23, 2019, 03:44:56 PM
The problem is more and more people are going to be in a position that they won't be able to provide the value to earn a surviving wage for two reasons.

1. Minimum wage laws and other regulations that price their labor out of the market.
2. The increasing cognitive demands of the jobs that are created. 100 years ago, a guy with an IQ of 85 could make it as a farmer. Not today. In a few years folks with IQs of 100 are going to be in the same boat.

But this hasn't happened. If people with an IQ of 85 or lower weren't able to find a job, we'd have pretty significant unemployment. Ditto for minimum wage.

One idea that has been floated, which I'd be much less opposed to than UBI, is a negative income tax rate at low incomes, and a concurrent lowering of the minimum wage to offset high unemployment (should that come to pass). (A negative income tax is more or less the case currently with the EITC, so really it would just be acknowledging reality.)
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: TheContinentalOp on October 23, 2019, 03:45:18 PM
Serious question:

If you really believe that widespread automation is going to result in mass-unemployment and UBI is needed to save us from this dystopian future, how does it make sense to have any immigration at all, excepting maybe dependent spouses and O-1 visas?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: TheContinentalOp on October 23, 2019, 03:47:31 PM
The problem is more and more people are going to be in a position that they won't be able to provide the value to earn a surviving wage for two reasons.

1. Minimum wage laws and other regulations that price their labor out of the market.
2. The increasing cognitive demands of the jobs that are created. 100 years ago, a guy with an IQ of 85 could make it as a farmer. Not today. In a few years folks with IQs of 100 are going to be in the same boat.

But this hasn't happened. If people with an IQ of 85 or lower weren't able to find a job, we'd have pretty significant unemployment. Ditto for minimum wage.

One idea that has been floated, which I'd be much less opposed to than UBI, is a negative income tax rate at low incomes, and a concurrent lowering of the minimum wage to offset high unemployment (should that come to pass). (A negative income tax is more or less the case currently with the EITC, so really it would just be acknowledging reality.)

Percentage of US population with IQ < 85:    16%
Percentage of  US population in workforce:  63.2%
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 23, 2019, 03:52:53 PM
And we can best help bring up the folks from the bottom not forcing them to compete with low-skilled immigrants.

I disagree - low skilled immigrants perform menial, low paying work that very few people born into a society want to do, even as a way to earn a crust. Trying to bring up everyone by cutting off the bottom end seems a lot like a manager saying they've grown a company by firing 1-2% of the workforce, ok costs have shrunk, but are the workers any better off?

Quote
As immigration has increased, wages have stagnated for the middle and lower classes.

I think this statement is implying a causal relationship (taken in context with your broader points). I see no evidence that low skilled immgirants have any power, sway or ability to affect wages, wage growth, etc. The family that runs Walmart could raise their minimum wages by $3 a hour and have a huge net effect on people compared to a family of low skilled immigrants. Where is the power to dictate wage growth and wage policy? Does it reside with low skilled immigrants? Or even with immigration policy? Where's the evidence for that?

Quote
Meanwhile the one-percenters have benefited enormously. Notice that across the political spectrum: Kochs, Adelson, Bloomberg, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Buffet, Gates, etc. almost all the billionaires preach more immigration. Even Trump's businesses take advantage of guest workers and illegal aliens. What does that tell you?

I don't know all of these individuals, but even from this list I can see some different motivations. Gates and Buffet are known for being vocal about improving the human condition (and putting a lot of money towards that), so I imagine there's an argument from that point of view.

Zuckerberg has a pretty spotty relationship with employees - the workers in the Phillipines helping FB moderate content, etc, get a pretty shitty deal - so I imagine there's a bit of 'saying the nice thing while doing the naughty thing'.

Certainly I doubt that the one percenters want low skilled immigration to keep their profits high (I imagine favourable business tax, no monopoly lawsuits, tax havens, no Unions, etc, allow them much more control than immigration).

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: TheContinentalOp on October 23, 2019, 04:00:44 PM
Quote

I disagree - low skilled immigrants perform menial, low paying work that very few people born into a society want to do, even as a way to earn a crust. Trying to bring up everyone by cutting off the bottom end seems a lot like a manager saying they've grown a company by firing 1-2% of the workforce, ok costs have shrunk, but are the workers any better off?


There are maybe one or two job categories where immigrants are the majority of workers in an industry, and even then Americans are still filling a sizable fraction of those jobs.

Thirty years ago meatpackers made a middle class wage in this country. Now the industry is filled with refugees making the minimum wage or a little higher.

Some jobs should disappear via automation: Agriculture especially. The Netherlands is the second largest ag exporting country in the world. And they did it, not by importing exploitable third world labor, but by automating.

But in US where the ag concerns can privatize the profits and socialize the costs, there's no incentive.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 23, 2019, 04:03:24 PM
That's, umm, why you need policy.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on October 23, 2019, 04:19:15 PM
Farming should be automated.   Fields should be leveled and cleared such that plowing, planting and harvesting can be done by autonomous vehicles.  Sorting can be done with machine vision, packing by robots, loading onto autonomous trucks.

Some of this is already being done.  I worked on a machine vision system to sort blueberries faster and with lower error than 25 human workers could do it (who were probably let go after we installed the system).
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 23, 2019, 04:46:25 PM
But maybe there's a configuration in which people still got shelter, warmth, and privacy, but without ceding a 15% IRR to a nameless, faceless landlord. Perhaps your municipality could decide to be friendlier to co-ops and less friendly to landlords. Then you could elect a board of directors that spent that money that would be a dividend to the landlord on some capital improvements that the apartment needs. Or maybe they just lower rents.

I'm not fundamentally against landlording. As I said, I'm a landlord myself. But I strongly feel that any value that my properties provide comes from builders, contractors, gardeners, the management company, etc. I'm pretty passive. I mostly just sit back and collect checks.

I'm not sure what your concern is regarding the status quo of landlording. You provided value to somebody else in your job in order to earn the money which you then saved until you had enough to purchase the property that the builders made. You exchanged value to the builders, and in turn the renters are now exchanging value to you. If you feel guilty about it, feel free to lower rent and meet face to face with your tenants.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 23, 2019, 04:50:09 PM
The problem is more and more people are going to be in a position that they won't be able to provide the value to earn a surviving wage for two reasons.

1. Minimum wage laws and other regulations that price their labor out of the market.
2. The increasing cognitive demands of the jobs that are created. 100 years ago, a guy with an IQ of 85 could make it as a farmer. Not today. In a few years folks with IQs of 100 are going to be in the same boat.

But this hasn't happened. If people with an IQ of 85 or lower weren't able to find a job, we'd have pretty significant unemployment. Ditto for minimum wage.

One idea that has been floated, which I'd be much less opposed to than UBI, is a negative income tax rate at low incomes, and a concurrent lowering of the minimum wage to offset high unemployment (should that come to pass). (A negative income tax is more or less the case currently with the EITC, so really it would just be acknowledging reality.)

Percentage of US population with IQ < 85:    16%
Percentage of  US population in workforce:  63.2%

1 - Percentage of US population in workforce ≠ Unemployment Rate

And even if it did (which it doesn't), the statistic you would need to present is

Percentage of US population with IQ < 85 that are unemployed
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 23, 2019, 04:51:45 PM
I don't know, poor people lean blue in the USA, gerrymandering and voter suppression leans red. I'd argue preventing people from voting is pretty authoritarian and there are so many examples of the Republicans doing it one cannot have allegiance with that party in good faith.

You are conflating the voters of one party label (Democrats) with the representatives of another party label (Republicans) and making a blanket moral comparison of all "Republicans" and "Democrats" by deliberately confusing what the labels refer to.

Voters and representatives are two different groups of individuals, with different sets of incentives and constraints influencing their behaviour.

You must be careful in how you use your words, otherwise you might inadvertently contribute to misinformation, confusion, and misdirection.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on October 23, 2019, 05:23:05 PM
And we can best help bring up the folks from the bottom not forcing them to compete with low-skilled immigrants.

I disagree - low skilled immigrants perform menial, low paying work that very few people born into a society want to do
Interesting phrasing--sounds like we already have a UBI, but it's for companies and people who don't want to compete in a Western labor market, so they import desperation to protect their margins.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on October 23, 2019, 05:42:27 PM
I don't know, poor people lean blue in the USA, gerrymandering and voter suppression leans red. I'd argue preventing people from voting is pretty authoritarian and there are so many examples of the Republicans doing it one cannot have allegiance with that party in good faith.

You are conflating the voters of one party label (Democrats) with the representatives of another party label (Republicans) and making a blanket moral comparison of all "Republicans" and "Democrats" by deliberately confusing what the labels refer to.

Voters and representatives are two different groups of individuals, with different sets of incentives and constraints influencing their behaviour.

You must be careful in how you use your words, otherwise you might inadvertently contribute to misinformation, confusion, and misdirection.

I'm not going to pretend that voters who support an anti-democratic part are making a moral choice. Voters make their choices, they get to be held accountable. Vote in a party that suppresses voters en masse, gerrymanders districts our the whazoo repeatedly, etc, that's making an objectively harmful choice. A vote is an endorsement, a vote is a choice, a vote is a say, a vote is support.

But thanks for the condescension!
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: freya on October 24, 2019, 05:59:37 AM
And we can best help bring up the folks from the bottom not forcing them to compete with low-skilled immigrants.

As immigration has increased, wages have stagnated for the middle and lower classes.

Meanwhile the one-percenters have benefited enormously. Notice that across the political spectrum: Kochs, Adelson, Bloomberg, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Buffet, Gates, etc. almost all the billionaires preach more immigration. Even Trump's businesses take advantage of guest workers and illegal aliens. What does that tell you?

Keeping wages low has been government policy for years.  Alan Greenspan actually came out and said it directly while he was Federal Reserve chair.  Virtually unlimited low-skilled and illegal immigration has been pushed by politicians on both sides of the aisle.  The H1b program accomplishes the same thing in the STEM fields.  Globalization also helps, by encouraging corporations to transfer jobs to very low wage countries.

Modifying immigration preferences via a points system to favor high skilled, productive immigrants is what the rest of us need to have happen.  It's amazing how few people have realized this.  Meanwhile, it's hilarious how politicians can promote policy A, designed to increase the wealth gap, and policy B, aimed at decreasing the wealth gap, simultaneously.  All I know is that if policy A (unlimited low skilled immigration) is allowed to continue unchecked, policy B (UBI) will become inevitable at some point.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 24, 2019, 06:18:13 AM
So the logical conclusion of your statement is "corruption exists; therefore anarchy is the best option"

Your logical fallacy here is the False Dilemma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma)).

"Governmental control" and "total anarchy" are not two opposites on a linear continuum.

To suggest that they are is to suggest that two (or more) individuals cannot reach a mutually-advantageous and mutually-acceptable compromise without influence from an outside authority.

Fine, anarchy was not the correct term. But then you are advocating for a complete lack of government control?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 24, 2019, 09:22:13 AM
I don't know, poor people lean blue in the USA, gerrymandering and voter suppression leans red. I'd argue preventing people from voting is pretty authoritarian and there are so many examples of the Republicans doing it one cannot have allegiance with that party in good faith.

You are conflating the voters of one party label (Democrats) with the representatives of another party label (Republicans) and making a blanket moral comparison of all "Republicans" and "Democrats" by deliberately confusing what the labels refer to.

Voters and representatives are two different groups of individuals, with different sets of incentives and constraints influencing their behaviour.

You must be careful in how you use your words, otherwise you might inadvertently contribute to misinformation, confusion, and misdirection.

I'm not going to pretend that voters who support an anti-democratic part are making a moral choice. Voters make their choices, they get to be held accountable. Vote in a party that suppresses voters en masse, gerrymanders districts our the whazoo repeatedly, etc, that's making an objectively harmful choice. A vote is an endorsement, a vote is a choice, a vote is a say, a vote is support.

But thanks for the condescension!

Politicians in both parties have been caught participating in vote suppression and manipulation - both recently, and in the past.

If that's the case, then by your reasoning all voters are complicit in voter suppression and manipulation. Personally, I don't hold someone accountable for the actions of others.

As for feeling condescended, that was not my intention. But if you can't have your reasoning analyzed without feeling personally attacked, maybe you shouldn't discuss political issues on the internet.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 24, 2019, 09:49:33 AM
So the logical conclusion of your statement is "corruption exists; therefore anarchy is the best option"

Your logical fallacy here is the False Dilemma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma)).

"Governmental control" and "total anarchy" are not two opposites on a linear continuum.

To suggest that they are is to suggest that two (or more) individuals cannot reach a mutually-advantageous and mutually-acceptable compromise without influence from an outside authority.

Fine, anarchy was not the correct term. But then you are advocating for a complete lack of government control?

I am advocating for a reduction in government interference. The government's sole responsibility is to safeguard the rights of the people - that's all. I cite the Declaration of Independence as my source.

So the real question being discussed here is, "Is universal basic income a right that the government is sanctioned to defend?"

My answer to this question is no. UBI cannot be a right, because it conflicts with the other rights stated in the Declaration of Independence. Declaring UBI to be a right is logically inconsistent - that is, it produces a contradiction.

If you would like to hear more, just let me know. Otherwise I won't belabour the point.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 24, 2019, 10:18:54 AM
So the logical conclusion of your statement is "corruption exists; therefore anarchy is the best option"

Your logical fallacy here is the False Dilemma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma)).

"Governmental control" and "total anarchy" are not two opposites on a linear continuum.

To suggest that they are is to suggest that two (or more) individuals cannot reach a mutually-advantageous and mutually-acceptable compromise without influence from an outside authority.

Fine, anarchy was not the correct term. But then you are advocating for a complete lack of government control?

I am advocating for a reduction in government interference. The government's sole responsibility is to safeguard the rights of the people - that's all. I cite the Declaration of Independence as my source.

So the real question being discussed here is, "Is universal basic income a right that the government is sanctioned to defend?"

My answer to this question is no. UBI cannot be a right, because it conflicts with the other rights stated in the Declaration of Independence. Declaring UBI to be a right is logically inconsistent - that is, it produces a contradiction.

If you would like to hear more, just let me know. Otherwise I won't belabour the point.

My point in asking was to clarify your baseline. Given that you feel the government should only exist to protect rights, I don't think there's really any point in discussing UBI. The disagreement is in something much more fundamental and now that we know that we can respond accordingly.

I would still be interested in your evidence that government assistance has only ever resulted in worse outcomes. If there is no evidence, I'll have to assume that you did not reason your way into this belief and therefore no amount of evidence will reason you out of it.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Telecaster on October 24, 2019, 10:26:20 AM
I am advocating for a reduction in government interference. The government's sole responsibility is to safeguard the rights of the people - that's all. I cite the Declaration of Independence as my source.

So the real question being discussed here is, "Is universal basic income a right that the government is sanctioned to defend?"

My answer to this question is no. UBI cannot be a right, because it conflicts with the other rights stated in the Declaration of Independence. Declaring UBI to be a right is logically inconsistent - that is, it produces a contradiction.

If you would like to hear more, just let me know. Otherwise I won't belabour the point.

I've never heard anyone say UBI is a right, have you? 
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 24, 2019, 10:43:22 AM
So the logical conclusion of your statement is "corruption exists; therefore anarchy is the best option"

Your logical fallacy here is the False Dilemma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma)).

"Governmental control" and "total anarchy" are not two opposites on a linear continuum.

To suggest that they are is to suggest that two (or more) individuals cannot reach a mutually-advantageous and mutually-acceptable compromise without influence from an outside authority.

Fine, anarchy was not the correct term. But then you are advocating for a complete lack of government control?

I am advocating for a reduction in government interference. The government's sole responsibility is to safeguard the rights of the people - that's all. I cite the Declaration of Independence as my source.

So the real question being discussed here is, "Is universal basic income a right that the government is sanctioned to defend?"

My answer to this question is no. UBI cannot be a right, because it conflicts with the other rights stated in the Declaration of Independence. Declaring UBI to be a right is logically inconsistent - that is, it produces a contradiction.

If you would like to hear more, just let me know. Otherwise I won't belabour the point.

My point in asking was to clarify your baseline. Given that you feel the government should only exist to protect rights, I don't think there's really any point in discussing UBI. The disagreement is in something much more fundamental and now that we know that we can respond accordingly.

I would still be interested in your evidence that government assistance has only ever resulted in worse outcomes. If there is no evidence, I'll have to assume that you did not reason your way into this belief and therefore no amount of evidence will reason you out of it.

My evidence is disparately compiled. It'll take some time to put it together and then find relevant links, but if there is enough interest then I'll do that.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 24, 2019, 10:46:23 AM
I am advocating for a reduction in government interference. The government's sole responsibility is to safeguard the rights of the people - that's all. I cite the Declaration of Independence as my source.

So the real question being discussed here is, "Is universal basic income a right that the government is sanctioned to defend?"

My answer to this question is no. UBI cannot be a right, because it conflicts with the other rights stated in the Declaration of Independence. Declaring UBI to be a right is logically inconsistent - that is, it produces a contradiction.

If you would like to hear more, just let me know. Otherwise I won't belabour the point.

I've never heard anyone say UBI is a right, have you?

The government's sole responsibility is to protect the rights of the people.

If you are recruiting the government to provide UBI, then you are implicitly declaring UBI to be a right.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 24, 2019, 11:14:03 AM
I am advocating for a reduction in government interference. The government's sole responsibility is to safeguard the rights of the people - that's all. I cite the Declaration of Independence as my source.

So the real question being discussed here is, "Is universal basic income a right that the government is sanctioned to defend?"

My answer to this question is no. UBI cannot be a right, because it conflicts with the other rights stated in the Declaration of Independence. Declaring UBI to be a right is logically inconsistent - that is, it produces a contradiction.

If you would like to hear more, just let me know. Otherwise I won't belabour the point.

I've never heard anyone say UBI is a right, have you?

The government's sole responsibility is to protect the rights of the people.

If you are recruiting the government to provide UBI, then you are implicitly declaring UBI to be a right.

Or perhaps someone could disagree with the part of the Declaration of Independence which says the government's sole responsibility is to protect the rights of the people?

Not that they would need to disagree, as the Declaration of Independence doesn't actually say that.

What it says is:
Quote
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

Saying the purpose is to secure rights is not the same as saying it is the sole purpose.

AND even if it did say that, shouldn't we put more weight on what is said in the constitution than the Declaration of independence?

According to the Constitution:
Quote
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Telecaster on October 24, 2019, 11:25:58 AM
The government's sole responsibility is to protect the rights of the people.

If you are recruiting the government to provide UBI, then you are implicitly declaring UBI to be a right.

In a democracy, the government's role is to do whatever we collectively decide it should do.   In our society, that means doing everything from researching medical breakthroughs, to providing land grant universities, to building roads, to going to the moon.  You can argue the government shouldn't be doing those things, but it clearly does do them.

And no reasonable person would say that going to the moon or the Interstate freeway system is a "right" by any normal definition of the term.   UBI clearly isn't a right.   And we should discuss it like it it actually is:  Public policy. 
 
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 24, 2019, 11:56:55 AM
Or perhaps someone could disagree with the part of the Declaration of Independence which says the government's sole responsibility is to protect the rights of the people?

Not that they would need to disagree, as the Declaration of Independence doesn't actually say that.

What it says is:
Quote
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

Saying the purpose is to secure rights is not the same as saying it is the sole purpose.

AND even if it did say that, shouldn't we put more weight on what is said in the constitution than the Declaration of independence?

According to the Constitution:
Quote
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

Indeed. The key here is recognizing how the powers of government are laid out (in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, which functions like a "statement of intent").

Firstly, the powers given to the government are enumerated powers - meaning they are designated with specificity, and they are finite in number.

Secondly, any rights not enumerated to the government are reserved for the states, or with the people (tenth amendment). The people are meant to have the greatest amount of freedom and discretion possible in their daily lives.

Thirdly, the Bill of Rights as a whole functions as a set of restrictions on what the federal government may NOT do. The potential for abuse is high when power is supreme. The intent is to limit the scope of what the federal government may do precisely because it is the supreme authority within its scope.

All of this is hardly surprising. A cursory reading of the Declaration of Independence, or of colonial history, will show that the colonies were dissatisfied with the king because he disobeyed his own laws whenever he liked, selectively enforced laws across his domain, made seeking a redress of grievances tremendously inconvenient, and outright ignored those requests for redress whenever he wanted. The colonists were keenly aware of what can happen when authority is both centralized and absolute, because they experienced its effects.

Limiting the scope of government was their fundamental intent.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 24, 2019, 12:06:24 PM
The government's sole responsibility is to protect the rights of the people.

If you are recruiting the government to provide UBI, then you are implicitly declaring UBI to be a right.

Or perhaps someone could disagree with the part of the Declaration of Independence which says the government's sole responsibility is to protect the rights of the people?

Not that they would need to disagree, as the Declaration of Independence doesn't actually say that.

What it says is:
Quote
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

Saying the purpose is to secure rights is not the same as saying it is the sole purpose.

AND even if it did say that, shouldn't we put more weight on what is said in the constitution than the Declaration of independence?

According to the Constitution:
Quote
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

Indeed. The key here is recognizing how the powers of government are laid out (in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, which functions like a "statement of intent").

Firstly, the powers given to the government are enumerated powers - meaning they are designated with specificity, and they are finite in number.

Secondly, any rights not enumerated to the government are reserved for the states, or with the people (tenth amendment). The people are meant to have the greatest amount of freedom and discretion possible in their daily lives.

Thirdly, the Bill of Rights as a whole functions as a set of restrictions on what the federal government may NOT do. The potential for abuse is high when power is supreme. The intent is to limit the scope of what the federal government may do precisely because it is the supreme authority within its scope.

All of this is hardly surprising. A cursory reading of the Declaration of Independence, or of colonial history, will show that the colonies were dissatisfied with the king because he disobeyed his own laws whenever he liked, selectively enforced laws across his domain, made seeking a redress of grievances tremendously inconvenient, and outright ignored those requests for redress whenever he wanted. The colonists were keenly aware of what can happen when authority is both centralized and absolute, because they experienced its effects.

Limiting the scope of government was their fundamental intent.

I'm a little confused here. None of this seems to refute the 3 reasons I gave for why

"If you are recruiting the government to provide UBI, then you are implicitly declaring UBI to be a right."

is a false statement.

Do you have an argument against any of these 3 reasons?

1) What is written in the founding documents is not fact.
2) The Declaration does not say what you claim it says.
3) The Constitution directly contradicts what you claim the Declaration says.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 24, 2019, 12:24:10 PM
I'm a little confused here. None of this seems to refute the 3 reasons I gave for why

"If you are recruiting the government to provide UBI, then you are implicitly declaring UBI to be a right."

is a false statement.

Do you have an argument against any of these 3 reasons?

1) What is written in the founding documents is not fact.
2) The Declaration does not say what you claim it says.
3) The Constitution directly contradicts what you claim the Declaration says.

First, let me ask you question, just so that I am clear on your perspective.

What do you think a right actually is? How would you define the word?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 24, 2019, 12:40:00 PM
I'm a little confused here. None of this seems to refute the 3 reasons I gave for why

"If you are recruiting the government to provide UBI, then you are implicitly declaring UBI to be a right."

is a false statement.

Do you have an argument against any of these 3 reasons?

1) What is written in the founding documents is not fact.
2) The Declaration does not say what you claim it says.
3) The Constitution directly contradicts what you claim the Declaration says.

First, let me ask you question, just so that I am clear on your perspective.

What do you think a right actually is? How would you define the word?

That's a complicated question, but luckily a solid definition of "rights" is not needed for any of the reasons I've listed. I would stand by them no matter what definition you'd like to use.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 24, 2019, 01:11:04 PM
a solid definition of "rights" is not needed

Yes it is. We cannot have a productive conversation about the purpose of governments (and indeed of civilization) without a working definition of what a "right" is.

The whole reason we care about rights is because they enforce limitations on human behaviour.

In short, without rights, any kind of behaviour is fair game.

For example, without property rights, I can steal your stuff if I am able, and you can't complain about it to anyone. Without the right to liberty, I can abduct you and lock you in my basement forever if I am able, and you cannot seek redress from anyone in the event that you are able to escape.

In this kind of condition, mutual trust between unfamiliar people is impossible. And that means civilization is impossible.

That would suck.

This is why we invented the notion of a "right" - a limitation on what other people can do, as a way to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty" - to quote the same passage of the Constitution that you did.

I would stand by them no matter what definition you'd like to use.

Given what I've said above, I would define a right like this:

"An entitlement that a person has, the existence of which creates a restriction on the behaviour of others."

Does this sound like a definition you can agree with?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 24, 2019, 01:44:10 PM
I'm not sure what your concern is regarding the status quo of landlording. You provided value to somebody else in your job in order to earn the money which you then saved until you had enough to purchase the property that the builders made. You exchanged value to the builders, and in turn the renters are now exchanging value to you. If you feel guilty about it, feel free to lower rent and meet face to face with your tenants.

I don't feel guilty about it. I just don't think I bring much value to the situation. It's just "the way things are".

But I think a world in which people can own land that they have no intention of living on or using, other than to charge other people who do have a use for the land a fee probably has less "value" in it than a hypothetical world where we have a different configuration around land use.

Let me put it this way: I can explain to a five year old tenant what value the home builder brings. I can explain to her the value that the plumber brings. Or the management company. In fact, those things hardly even need an explanation. It's much more difficult to explain the value that I bring as the owner.

I have capital. So I bought the property form the guy who bought it form the gal who bought it from the guy who got there first. The five year old is scratching her head on where the value comes from.

The way we've set things up, I'm greatly rewarded for my ability to manage capital. So that's what I do. Just because this set-up benefits me, doesn't mean it's the only way to set things up, or even the best way. It's just the way things are.

But we can do it differently if we want to.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 24, 2019, 01:56:48 PM
a solid definition of "rights" is not needed
Yes it is. We cannot have a productive conversation about the purpose of governments (and indeed of civilization) without a working definition of what a "right" is.

This is not a conversation about the purpose of governments. It is a conversation about whether or not your claims are true:

"The government's sole responsibility is to safeguard the rights of the people - that's all. I cite the Declaration of Independence as my source."

and

"The government's sole responsibility is to protect the rights of the people. If you are recruiting the government to provide UBI, then you are implicitly declaring UBI to be a right."

But the real reason I pursued these claims was to see how you would respond. You've attempted to move the conversation on to unnecessary tangents and change the subject. This tells me that you aren't interested in having an honest discussion, so I'm just going to leave it at that.

If you feel that I've unfairly represented your intent, please go back to  Post #295 (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/do-mustachians-support-universal-basic-income/msg2483537/#msg2483537) and dispute my specific arguments. And again, the definition of rights is not important in this context. My argument is that these documents do not say what you claim they say and even if they did, that doesn't make it a fact. We could replace the word "rights" with "bananas" and I would stand by what I've said.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 24, 2019, 02:36:11 PM
Let me put it this way: I can explain to a five year old tenant what value the home builder brings. I can explain to her the value that the plumber brings. Or the management company. In fact, those things hardly even need an explanation. It's much more difficult to explain the value that I bring as the owner.

I have capital. So I bought the property form the guy who bought it form the gal who bought it from the guy who got there first. The five year old is scratching her head on where the value comes from.

Here's how I would explain it to a five year old: You bring value in two ways as a landlord: 1) first, through your primary employment, you presumably brought somebody else value, by which you were able to afford the house, and 2) second, by not spending your money on things for yourself, you paid the home builders, carpenters, plumbers, etc. to build you a house*, which you then let somebody else use for shelter (and which that person gladly paid you rent for the benefit of that shelter).

In other words, if capital didn't exist, who would pay the home builders to build the houses? (Note that capital is simply shorthand for deferred spending on personal consumption in favor of consumption for somebody else.)

*Or one of the previous capitalists from which you bought the home paid these tradesmen.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EvenSteven on October 24, 2019, 02:42:34 PM
I'm not sure what your concern is regarding the status quo of landlording. You provided value to somebody else in your job in order to earn the money which you then saved until you had enough to purchase the property that the builders made. You exchanged value to the builders, and in turn the renters are now exchanging value to you. If you feel guilty about it, feel free to lower rent and meet face to face with your tenants.

I don't feel guilty about it. I just don't think I bring much value to the situation. It's just "the way things are".

But I think a world in which people can own land that they have no intention of living on or using, other than to charge other people who do have a use for the land a fee probably has less "value" in it than a hypothetical world where we have a different configuration around land use.

Let me put it this way: I can explain to a five year old tenant what value the home builder brings. I can explain to her the value that the plumber brings. Or the management company. In fact, those things hardly even need an explanation. It's much more difficult to explain the value that I bring as the owner.

I have capital. So I bought the property form the guy who bought it form the gal who bought it from the guy who (murdered the people who) got there first. The five year old is scratching her head on where the value comes from.

The way we've set things up, I'm greatly rewarded for my ability to manage capital. So that's what I do. Just because this set-up benefits me, doesn't mean it's the only way to set things up, or even the best way. It's just the way things are.

But we can do it differently if we want to.

The bolded bit should at least get a small mention in this back and forth.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 24, 2019, 03:11:42 PM
Here's how I would explain it to a five year old: You bring value in two ways as a landlord: 1) first, through your primary employment, you presumably brought somebody else value, by which you were able to afford the house, and 2) second, by not spending your money on things for yourself, you paid the home builders, carpenters, plumbers, etc. to build you a house*, which you then let somebody else use for shelter (and which that person gladly paid you rent for the benefit of that shelter).

In other words, if capital didn't exist, who would pay the home builders to build the houses? (Note that capital is simply shorthand for deferred spending on personal consumption in favor of consumption for somebody else.)

*Or one of the previous capitalists from which you bought the home paid these tradesmen.

I think that's a pretty excellent explanation. As good as any.

The hangup* is that I believe there's probably paradigm in which the present-day renter, or a collective of present day renters, pay the home-builders and the maintenance people and whoever else. And it's cheaper because fat cat capitalists like me aren't skimming our 15% off the top.

I'm probably describing something similar to a housing co-op.

*a secondary hangup is that I think anyone's right to own land is extremely tenuous at best. But we're already getting into super-heady territory. Truthfully, I accept and participate in the concept of land ownership and land lording because it's served us well. But maybe there's a better way to do it.

The bolded bit should at least get a small mention in this back and forth.

lol. I paid service to this in an earlier post. But yes, you're correct.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 24, 2019, 03:45:25 PM
The hangup* is that I believe there's probably paradigm in which the present-day renter, or a collective of present day renters, pay the home-builders and the maintenance people and whoever else. And it's cheaper because fat cat capitalists like me aren't skimming our 15% off the top.

I'm probably describing something similar to a housing co-op.

Let's analyze this a little.

The paradigm in which the present day renter (singular) pays the home-builder and maintenance people is quite common, and is called home ownership. Instead of paying the landlord who had purchased the house, they pay the bank through their mortgage over the amortization schedule.

Now, with renters (plural), the reason I don't think we see much of this on a large scale (with the exception of marriage, and occasional roommates going in on a house together) is that dwellings are by nature more personal than a business that requires multiple people to run.

That being said, there is a common form of cooperative for shared common spaces, and that is the friendly neighborhood HOA.

As for the term "fat-cat capitalists", I think it only applies if people aren't using their money toward productive means. I look at some of the richest people in the world (Bezos, Gates, Buffet), and I wouldn't term any of these people fat-cat capitalists, because they continue to work very hard day-in and day-out, with business practices that are supposedly ethical (Zuckerberg I think is venturing into fat-cat territory). Once one sacrifices their morals or ethics to make more capital, that's when they enter fat-cat capitalist country (at least in my book).
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Alternatepriorities on October 24, 2019, 03:50:41 PM
The hangup* is that I believe there's probably paradigm in which the present-day renter, or a collective of present day renters, pay the home-builders and the maintenance people and whoever else. And it's cheaper because fat cat capitalists like me aren't skimming our 15% off the top.

If your renters had the capital to pay the builder I presume they would do so on another plot of land? If they had the trust of the builder they could promise to pay over time, but that's just inventing credit and making the builder the capitalist.

*a secondary hangup is that I think anyone's right to own land is extremely tenuous at best. But we're already getting into super-heady territory. Truthfully, I accept and participate in the concept of land ownership and land lording because it's served us well. But maybe there's a better way to do it.
Is there really a difference between property tax and a perpetual lease from the governing authority/society?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on October 24, 2019, 04:25:24 PM
Landlords also adopt risk and renters generally pay some premium for this.

Here's a question: if vacancies spike and rental rates drop below mortgage payments, are the tenants now profiteering?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 24, 2019, 05:11:07 PM
The paradigm in which the present day renter (singular) pays the home-builder and maintenance people is quite common, and is called home ownership. Instead of paying the landlord who had purchased the house, they pay the bank through their mortgage over the amortization schedule.

If your renters had the capital to pay the builder I presume they would do so on another plot of land? If they had the trust of the builder they could promise to pay over time, but that's just inventing credit and making the builder the capitalist.

The presumption is that if we got rid of the concept buying land (or "getting there first" or "using violence against the guy who got there first") simply to rent collect off of other people who want to use it, then buying a home or joining a co-op would be easier and cheaper.

And I use the term "fat cat capitalist" with tongue in cheek. I consider myself a capitalist. I don't think I'm a "bad" person or anything.

Landlords also adopt risk and renters generally pay some premium for this.

Here's a question: if vacancies spike and rental rates drop below mortgage payments, are the tenants now profiteering?

Of course. Capital risk is a thing. People can and do lose money when going into landlording or investing. But on the macro, capital risk is largely mitigated by the way we choose to run things. States and municipalities love landowners. And the Federal government showed some love too in the housing crash. Even if places where that love is written less explicitly into legislative register or the tax code, it's shown implicitly in the form of zoning.

The more obvious and less esoteric example is with equities. Yes, there is theoretical risk inherent in investing in US equities. But does anyone on here really even consider that risk beyond short-term volatility? I know I don't. Because the last time equities went south, the Federal government bought up troubled assets and the Fed put us in a low interest rate environment for the next ten years. And what do you know? A quick turnaround in equities and a subsequent 10 year bull run.

My point isn't to criticize TARP or QE. I think these were the right moves to make at the time. But you can file them away in a ledger titled "Really Really Nice Things That Society Does for Capital Holders." Right next "Allow for depreciation write-offs on appreciating assets."

You guys have put together a pretty good case for why allowing capital holders to buy land and seek rents is a good thing. Cool. Let's do it.

Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke put together a pretty good case for why we should bail out troubled assets and keep interest rates low. Cool. Let's do it.

Andrew Yang has put together a pretty good case for why we should pay all Americans between 18-64 a monthly dividend. We can decide to do this in the same way that we routinely decide to do things that benefit capital.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: robartsd on October 25, 2019, 05:41:19 PM
Landlords also adopt risk and renters generally pay some premium for this.

Here's a question: if vacancies spike and rental rates drop below mortgage payments, are the tenants now profiteering?
Of course. Capital risk is a thing. People can and do lose money when going into landlording or investing. But on the macro, capital risk is largely mitigated by the way we choose to run things. States and municipalities love landowners. And the Federal government showed some love too in the housing crash. Even if places where that love is written less explicitly into legislative register or the tax code, it's shown implicitly in the form of zoning.
Landlords risk far more than the capital they've already sunk into a property; there are plenty of potential liabilities that come with land ownership.

The more obvious and less esoteric example is with equities. Yes, there is theoretical risk inherent in investing in US equities. But does anyone on here really even consider that risk beyond short-term volatility? I know I don't. Because the last time equities went south, the Federal government bought up troubled assets and the Fed put us in a low interest rate environment for the next ten years. And what do you know? A quick turnaround in equities and a subsequent 10 year bull run.
Yes, when buying broad based index funds, most of us here believe our primary risk is volatility - not long term capital loss. Plenty of individual stock pickers do risk long term capital loss, the saving grace of index funds is the diversification. A landlord diversifying over many properties (especially if diversifying over multiple types of properties and regions) can similarly reduce risks. Of course both diversifying over thousands of stocks and diversifying over thousands of properties is very difficult to do as an individual investor, so somebody invented mutual funds and real estate investment trusts.

Andrew Yang has put together a pretty good case for why we should pay all Americans between 18-64 a monthly dividend. We can decide to do this in the same way that we routinely decide to do things that benefit capital.
I agree with this premise; but I also agree that the Federal government has grossly overstepped the Constitution over the past 100-150 years (including basically all of the other examples of what "we" decided to do).

Indeed. The key here is recognizing how the powers of government are laid out (in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, which functions like a "statement of intent").

Firstly, the powers given to the government are enumerated powers - meaning they are designated with specificity, and they are finite in number.

Secondly, any rights not enumerated to the government are reserved for the states, or with the people (tenth amendment). The people are meant to have the greatest amount of freedom and discretion possible in their daily lives.

Thirdly, the Bill of Rights as a whole functions as a set of restrictions on what the federal government may NOT do. The potential for abuse is high when power is supreme. The intent is to limit the scope of what the federal government may do precisely because it is the supreme authority within its scope.

All of this is hardly surprising. A cursory reading of the Declaration of Independence, or of colonial history, will show that the colonies were dissatisfied with the king because he disobeyed his own laws whenever he liked, selectively enforced laws across his domain, made seeking a redress of grievances tremendously inconvenient, and outright ignored those requests for redress whenever he wanted. The colonists were keenly aware of what can happen when authority is both centralized and absolute, because they experienced its effects.

Limiting the scope of government was their fundamental intent.

Of course reality is that we (or more accurately the past few generations of our countrymen) have consented to be governed by a powerful Federal government and "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." I can't argue that our current Federal government's evils are insufferable enough that we should throw it off; perhaps @EscapedApe feels differently.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Optimiser on October 28, 2019, 11:46:48 AM
No one thinks sitting on your ass is valuable. No one is willing to pay money for it.

I realize the conversation has moved on, but this stood out to me so I wanted to comment on it.

I actually disagree with this point. There are many people who currently engage in activities that are harmful to society. There is value in paying those people to sit on their asses.

For anyone who currently engages in prostitution, drug dealing, theft, etc., not because they find those activities intrinsically valuable, but because they meet their need to earn money, I think we would be better off as a society to simply pay enough that they don't need to commit crimes.

We currently disincentive these behaviors, by making them illegal. However, this turns out to be very expensive, and judging by the number of people that are currently incarcerated, not all that effective.

I'm not saying UBI wouldn't eliminate crime, but a lot of crime is committed by people who are trying to meet their financial needs. Paying these people to do nothing is valuable.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 28, 2019, 12:46:53 PM
No one thinks sitting on your ass is valuable. No one is willing to pay money for it.

I realize the conversation has moved on, but this stood out to me so I wanted to comment on it.

I actually disagree with this point. There are many people who currently engage in activities that are harmful to society. There is value in paying those people to sit on their asses.

For anyone who currently engages in prostitution, drug dealing, theft, etc., not because they find those activities intrinsically valuable, but because they meet their need to earn money, I think we would be better off as a society to simply pay enough that they don't need to commit crimes.

We currently disincentive these behaviors, by making them illegal. However, this turns out to be very expensive, and judging by the number of people that are currently incarcerated, not all that effective.

I'm not saying UBI wouldn't eliminate crime, but a lot of crime is committed by people who are trying to meet their financial needs. Paying these people to do nothing is valuable.

Your logic rests on several assumptions:

1) Most people engage in these illegal activities because they currently have no other means to make money.

2) The income from UBI ($12k per year) would be enough to encourage people to stop performing these behaviors (or not perform them to begin with).

3) UBI would reduce overall crime, rather than increase crime.

4) UBI would reduce overall poverty, rather than increase poverty.

Without getting too deep, I don't think any of these assumptions are a foregone conclusion with UBI.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Optimiser on October 28, 2019, 02:43:27 PM
No one thinks sitting on your ass is valuable. No one is willing to pay money for it.

I realize the conversation has moved on, but this stood out to me so I wanted to comment on it.

I actually disagree with this point. There are many people who currently engage in activities that are harmful to society. There is value in paying those people to sit on their asses.

For anyone who currently engages in prostitution, drug dealing, theft, etc., not because they find those activities intrinsically valuable, but because they meet their need to earn money, I think we would be better off as a society to simply pay enough that they don't need to commit crimes.

We currently disincentive these behaviors, by making them illegal. However, this turns out to be very expensive, and judging by the number of people that are currently incarcerated, not all that effective.

I'm not saying UBI wouldn't eliminate crime, but a lot of crime is committed by people who are trying to meet their financial needs. Paying these people to do nothing is valuable.

Your logic rests on several assumptions:

1) Most people engage in these illegal activities because they currently have no other means to make money.

2) The income from UBI ($12k per year) would be enough to encourage people to stop performing these behaviors (or not perform them to begin with).

3) UBI would reduce overall crime, rather than increase crime.

4) UBI would reduce overall poverty, rather than increase poverty.

Without getting too deep, I don't think any of these assumptions are a foregone conclusion with UBI.

I totally agree. My main point is that sitting a person sitting on their ass is actually more valuable to society than the alternative for a subset of the population.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on October 28, 2019, 03:05:58 PM
No one thinks sitting on your ass is valuable. No one is willing to pay money for it.

I realize the conversation has moved on, but this stood out to me so I wanted to comment on it.

I actually disagree with this point. There are many people who currently engage in activities that are harmful to society. There is value in paying those people to sit on their asses.

For anyone who currently engages in prostitution, drug dealing, theft, etc., not because they find those activities intrinsically valuable, but because they meet their need to earn money, I think we would be better off as a society to simply pay enough that they don't need to commit crimes.

We currently disincentive these behaviors, by making them illegal. However, this turns out to be very expensive, and judging by the number of people that are currently incarcerated, not all that effective.

I'm not saying UBI wouldn't eliminate crime, but a lot of crime is committed by people who are trying to meet their financial needs. Paying these people to do nothing is valuable.

Your logic rests on several assumptions:

1) Most people engage in these illegal activities because they currently have no other means to make money.

2) The income from UBI ($12k per year) would be enough to encourage people to stop performing these behaviors (or not perform them to begin with).

3) UBI would reduce overall crime, rather than increase crime.

4) UBI would reduce overall poverty, rather than increase poverty.

Without getting too deep, I don't think any of these assumptions are a foregone conclusion with UBI.

I totally agree. My main point is that sitting a person sitting on their ass is actually more valuable to society than the alternative for a subset of the population.
But paying someone to sit on their ass doesn't guarantee they will.  So the incentive issues still remain.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 28, 2019, 03:15:46 PM
I totally agree. My main point is that sitting a person sitting on their ass is actually more valuable to society than the alternative for a subset of the population.

I can agree with that statement. (With the caveat that 1) we don't know who belongs in that subset, 2) with UBI, we'd be paying literally everyone, not just those in the subset, 3) there might there be a larger subset of the population where value decreases due to UBI, making UBI a net negative.)
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 28, 2019, 11:05:04 PM
No one thinks sitting on your ass is valuable. No one is willing to pay money for it.

I realize the conversation has moved on, but this stood out to me so I wanted to comment on it.

I actually disagree with this point. There are many people who currently engage in activities that are harmful to society. There is value in paying those people to sit on their asses.

For anyone who currently engages in prostitution, drug dealing, theft, etc., not because they find those activities intrinsically valuable, but because they meet their need to earn money, I think we would be better off as a society to simply pay enough that they don't need to commit crimes.

We currently disincentive these behaviors, by making them illegal. However, this turns out to be very expensive, and judging by the number of people that are currently incarcerated, not all that effective.

I'm not saying UBI wouldn't eliminate crime, but a lot of crime is committed by people who are trying to meet their financial needs. Paying these people to do nothing is valuable.

The evidence already disagrees with you.

Drug dealers presently take advantage of existing social programs like food stamps supplemental income provided by the state. The existence of these programs in no way dissuades them from seeking other illegal sources of income.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: robartsd on October 29, 2019, 09:45:25 AM
The evidence already disagrees with you.

Drug dealers presently take advantage of existing social programs like food stamps supplemental income provided by the state. The existence of these programs in no way dissuades them from seeking other illegal sources of income.
I agree that many more crimes are committed out of greed rather than need. The only hope I'd have for UBI reducing crime is that those who would have entered a life of crime due to need (then escalated) would never take the first step into it - I don't think it would amount to much.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on October 29, 2019, 10:27:09 AM
While the philosophical argument is interesting its not really relevant IMO. We have to ask 2 questions:

1) Can we afford to instantaneously double the expenses of the largest government in human history?

2) Is Yes above, what is the opportunity cost of UBI vs any other use of the huge amount of money required.

UBI seems mostly like a political ploy to buy the broadest spectrum of voters possible. Especially if you believe that there's no chance that it actually happens because the price tag is basically unimaginably high.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 29, 2019, 11:15:09 AM
The only hope I'd have for UBI reducing crime is that those who would have entered a life of crime due to need (then escalated) would never take the first step into it - I don't think it would amount to much.

All socialist-style policies are passed with hope and good intentions.

And those policies always end disastrously.

You'd think that the historical evidence of socialism's failures would have clued people in by now. But our drive to feel good and virtuous is more powerful than reason, evidently.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 29, 2019, 11:52:42 AM
The only hope I'd have for UBI reducing crime is that those who would have entered a life of crime due to need (then escalated) would never take the first step into it - I don't think it would amount to much.

All socialist-style policies are passed with hope and good intentions.

And those policies always end disastrously.

You'd think that the historical evidence of socialism's failures would have clued people in by now. But our drive to feel good and virtuous is more powerful than reason, evidently.

So the public school system, electric grid, police/fire departments, and every form of financial assistance for the disabled and elderly, all disastrous?

Or perhaps you're referring to a more strict definition of "socialist-style policies" only including instances where the public owns the means of production of some good? But then that would have nothing to do UBI. Help me out here, can you be more specific?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 29, 2019, 12:29:07 PM
While the philosophical argument is interesting its not really relevant IMO. We have to ask 2 questions:

1) Can we afford to instantaneously double the expenses of the largest government in human history?

2) Is Yes above, what is the opportunity cost of UBI vs any other use of the huge amount of money required.

UBI seems mostly like a political ploy to buy the broadest spectrum of voters possible. Especially if you believe that there's no chance that it actually happens because the price tag is basically unimaginably high.

I don't believe those are the appropriate questions to ask, necessarily. First, federal expenditures nearly quadrupled after the 1930's, and in retrospect we were able to afford it (https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYFRGDA188S (https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYFRGDA188S)). Second, those expenses aren't being spent by the government, but rather act as a redistribution of wealth, so measuring the opportunity cost really doesn't make a lot sense (in my opinion).

Personally, I don't think UBI is the best way to redistribute wealth. But I think the calculation of a price tag could only be estimated through macroeconomic principles (with an associated large range of uncertainty), rather than microeconomic ones (such as opportunity cost).
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 29, 2019, 12:59:34 PM
The only hope I'd have for UBI reducing crime is that those who would have entered a life of crime due to need (then escalated) would never take the first step into it - I don't think it would amount to much.

All socialist-style policies are passed with hope and good intentions.

And those policies always end disastrously.

You'd think that the historical evidence of socialism's failures would have clued people in by now. But our drive to feel good and virtuous is more powerful than reason, evidently.

So the public school system, electric grid, police/fire departments, and every form of financial assistance for the disabled and elderly, all disastrous?

Or perhaps you're referring to a more strict definition of "socialist-style policies" only including instances where the public owns the means of production of some good? But then that would have nothing to do UBI. Help me out here, can you be more specific?

Are you familiar with the concept of the "commons"?

To put it simply, the "commons" are a resource from which common people benefit, but where access cannot be restricted solely to "subscribers" (for practical reasons).

As an example, the fire department is a resource of the commons. That is, firefighting protection cannot be restricted only to people who pay for the service. If it were, then it would produce results that defeated its purpose.

Say for example that firefighting were a pay-for-protection service. Now suppose your house and my house were next to each other, and you were a subscriber to firefighting protection and I was not. If my house caught fire, then the firefighters would not come extinguish my house. But this would pose a problem because, since your house is adjacent, it might also catch fire as a result of mine catching fire. A subscriber's house would be placed in jeopardy because a non-subscriber's house was not being protected. So all houses must be protected, because fire spreads and it doesn't distinguish.

Clean air measures are another example of a resource of the commons. If you pay to have the air cleaned through preservation methods or emissions standards, but I do not pay, I still get to enjoy the benefits of cleaner air. For practical reasons, there's no way to prevent non-subscribers from enjoying the benefits.

It is my contention that the government be the custodian of the commons, in order to avert the tragedy of the commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons)). However, beyond safeguarding the commons, the government should have no other authority.

Why not? Because of government's inherent inefficiency.

Government introduces inefficiency wherever it operates because government is a monopoly within its domain. It has no competitors, and no incentive to improve.

Private interests do not typically suffer from the same inefficiency because their profits are threatened by it. They are incentivized to seek and provide their services more efficiently, lest they be beaten by competitors providing the same service. The market weeds out those who are not constantly searching for ways to provide their services, faster, cheaper, and/or more effectively. And in those industries where private provision is inefficient (the telecom industry, for example), that inefficiency is usually the result of government policy shielding the private company from competitors.

"Socialist policies" are therefore defined by their being subsidies of goods and services which are not strictly part of the commons. The strife, impoverishment, and/or disaster which follows socialist implementation of these services usually results from the government's inherent inefficiency in providing them.

So here's what we know:

Government introduces inefficiency wherever it operates, because government is a monopoly within its domain. It has no competitors, and no incentive to improve. But it is uniquely able to act impartially because, when it is appropriately restricted, it has no personal interests to pursue. The key to ensuring this impartiality is to eliminate the incentives to influence government for personal reasons, and that means restricting the scope of government. When the government is limited in scope, there are fewer incentives to try and manipulate it for private gain (such as through bribes, campaign contributions, lobbies, etc).

Businesses are highly efficient because their survival and interests depend on being as effective as possible. However, this makes businesses ill-suited for matters where impartiality matters, because every business cares ultimately about its success. Therefore, businesses should be tasked with providing for our wealth and prosperity, but not for matters which fall under the commons.

So, some examples of services within the commons include: human rights and justice, clean air and water, firefighting, police, vaccination, and the military.

Things not in the commons include: roads, public education, health care, universal basic income, social security/retirement, and unemployment.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 29, 2019, 01:17:45 PM
I don't agree that government introduces inefficiency everywhere. Healthcare is a good example. Medicare has lower administrative costs than most private plans. And on the whole, it's silly to think that there can exist a marketplace where consumers, with inelastic demand, can make informed market choices on healthcare; a subject that people study for a decade in order to comprehend.

Furthermore, we ask consumers to navigate a cumbersome insurance system with deductibles and OOP maxes, in-network, out of network. We do this because life-saving care is unaffordable for virtually all Americans people, so we need a cost sharing scheme. For most people, this comes from their job, which creates additional friction in the labor market. The result is that we spend more than double the OECD average per-capita for very mixed outcomes.

This is a market failure. We'd be better off with a strong, universal public option. Public education is similar. Everyone agrees that an educated populace is ideal, but where is the free market solution for that?

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 29, 2019, 01:34:38 PM
While the philosophical argument is interesting its not really relevant IMO. We have to ask 2 questions:

1) Can we afford to instantaneously double the expenses of the largest government in human history?

2) Is Yes above, what is the opportunity cost of UBI vs any other use of the huge amount of money required.

UBI seems mostly like a political ploy to buy the broadest spectrum of voters possible. Especially if you believe that there's no chance that it actually happens because the price tag is basically unimaginably high.

1.) Yes. Hypothetically. There would be a new VAT tax, and welfare offsets.

2.) This is a good question. If we have to make choices, I'd rather do universal healthcare and universal childcare first. Targeted programs that address demonstrable needs. I'm glad the UBI is becoming a topic of conversation though. Frankly, because we need to decouple the value of human life from the supposed market value that the human produces. As we become richer, and as human labor is devalued, this paradigm becomes more and more toxic.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Optimiser on October 29, 2019, 03:17:48 PM
To put it simply, the "commons" are a resource from which common people benefit, but where access cannot be restricted solely to "subscribers" (for practical reasons).

As an example, the fire department is a resource of the commons. That is, firefighting protection cannot be restricted only to people who pay for the service. If it were, then it would produce results that defeated its purpose.

Say for example that firefighting were a pay-for-protection service. Now suppose your house and my house were next to each other, and you were a subscriber to firefighting protection and I was not. If my house caught fire, then the firefighters would not come extinguish my house. But this would pose a problem because, since your house is adjacent, it might also catch fire as a result of mine catching fire. A subscriber's house would be placed in jeopardy because a non-subscriber's house was not being protected. So all houses must be protected, because fire spreads and it doesn't distinguish.

Private fire protection actually is a thing. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-private-firefighters-20181127-story.html
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 29, 2019, 03:54:08 PM
To put it simply, the "commons" are a resource from which common people benefit, but where access cannot be restricted solely to "subscribers" (for practical reasons).

As an example, the fire department is a resource of the commons. That is, firefighting protection cannot be restricted only to people who pay for the service. If it were, then it would produce results that defeated its purpose.

Say for example that firefighting were a pay-for-protection service. Now suppose your house and my house were next to each other, and you were a subscriber to firefighting protection and I was not. If my house caught fire, then the firefighters would not come extinguish my house. But this would pose a problem because, since your house is adjacent, it might also catch fire as a result of mine catching fire. A subscriber's house would be placed in jeopardy because a non-subscriber's house was not being protected. So all houses must be protected, because fire spreads and it doesn't distinguish.

Private fire protection actually is a thing. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-private-firefighters-20181127-story.html

Indeed, I was aware of this. And when I first learned of it, its existence didn't surprise me one bit. Even a commons service like firefighting is still subject to the inefficiencies of the government which administrates it. People will hire private service providers to satisfy wants that remain unfulfilled by government, if they deem the price acceptable.

But that's the great thing about the free market. If someone wants it, odds are someone else is willing to provide it.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 29, 2019, 04:01:16 PM
The existence of private services to supplement public services isn't necessarily evidence of inefficiencies.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 29, 2019, 04:19:45 PM
I don't agree that government introduces inefficiency everywhere. Healthcare is a good example. Medicare has lower administrative costs than most private plans.

Administtrative costs are not even close to being the most salient example.

Ever wonder why certain treatments and medications are incredibly cheap, while others seem inordinately expensive? It's thanks to government interference in healthcare.

Here's what really happens: the government declares a certain medication to be "essential" and establishes a price ceiling, regardless of the supply/demand situation. The real price of the drug ends up being higher than the ceiling, so the company is forced to sell the medication at a loss. In order to recoup this loss, the company marks up other drugs, treatments, or procedures which are not subject to a government price ceiling. And because these unregulated treatments are more profitable, the company is incentivized to urge people to undergo them more often than they would otherwise.

My close friend, who is an actuary for a medical insurance company, tells me horror stories of the spreadsheets she reads, and the bottom-line calculations that go into determining healthcare costs, and all of it comes from attempts to skirt around constraints enforced by government.

And on the whole, it's silly to think that there can exist a marketplace where consumers, with inelastic demand, can make informed market choices on healthcare; a subject that people study for a decade in order to comprehend.

LOL

The whole point of a market is to hire someone who is more knowledgeable or skilled than you to do something that you cannot do for yourself. People don't have to be knowledgeable about the things they buy. They need only look at the price, and decide if it is one they are willing to pay. Doing a little reading can give you an edge in determining whether a price is reasonable given the quality and price of competing offers, but that's up to the individual consumer. No one is an expert in everything they buy. If they were, they would just provide the service for themselves.

I wonder how it is you simultaneously have such dismal regard for the judgment of consumers, and high regard for the judgment of elected officials. They're mostly ignorant of the issues they make decisions on, and they follow personal incentive just as anyone else would.

Furthermore, we ask consumers to navigate a cumbersome insurance system with deductibles and OOP maxes, in-network, out of network. We do this because life-saving care is unaffordable for virtually all Americans people, so we need a cost sharing scheme. For most people, this comes from their job, which creates additional friction in the labor market. The result is that we spend more than double the OECD average per-capita for very mixed outcomes.

It's all legal CYA. Take a wild guess who these companies are C'ing their A's from.

Public education is similar. Everyone agrees that an educated populace is ideal, but where is the free market solution for that?

Home-schooling? Private schools? Online resource academies? YouTube tutorials? You've never heard of any of these things?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on October 29, 2019, 05:30:50 PM
The existence of private services to supplement public services isn't necessarily evidence of inefficiencies.

It seems some of us don't require trivial things like evidence to make bold and absolute statements.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on October 30, 2019, 04:17:41 AM
While the philosophical argument is interesting its not really relevant IMO. We have to ask 2 questions:

1) Can we afford to instantaneously double the expenses of the largest government in human history?

2) Is Yes above, what is the opportunity cost of UBI vs any other use of the huge amount of money required.

UBI seems mostly like a political ploy to buy the broadest spectrum of voters possible. Especially if you believe that there's no chance that it actually happens because the price tag is basically unimaginably high.

I don't believe those are the appropriate questions to ask, necessarily. First, federal expenditures nearly quadrupled after the 1930's, and in retrospect we were able to afford it (https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYFRGDA188S (https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYFRGDA188S)). Second, those expenses aren't being spent by the government, but rather act as a redistribution of wealth, so measuring the opportunity cost really doesn't make a lot sense (in my opinion).

Personally, I don't think UBI is the best way to redistribute wealth. But I think the calculation of a price tag could only be estimated through macroeconomic principles (with an associated large range of uncertainty), rather than microeconomic ones (such as opportunity cost).

But if you had all that money, why would you not ask "is this the best way to spend it"?

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on October 30, 2019, 08:05:33 AM
While the philosophical argument is interesting its not really relevant IMO. We have to ask 2 questions:

1) Can we afford to instantaneously double the expenses of the largest government in human history?

2) Is Yes above, what is the opportunity cost of UBI vs any other use of the huge amount of money required.

UBI seems mostly like a political ploy to buy the broadest spectrum of voters possible. Especially if you believe that there's no chance that it actually happens because the price tag is basically unimaginably high.

I don't believe those are the appropriate questions to ask, necessarily. First, federal expenditures nearly quadrupled after the 1930's, and in retrospect we were able to afford it (https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYFRGDA188S (https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYFRGDA188S)). Second, those expenses aren't being spent by the government, but rather act as a redistribution of wealth, so measuring the opportunity cost really doesn't make a lot sense (in my opinion).

Personally, I don't think UBI is the best way to redistribute wealth. But I think the calculation of a price tag could only be estimated through macroeconomic principles (with an associated large range of uncertainty), rather than microeconomic ones (such as opportunity cost).

But if you had all that money, why would you not ask "is this the best way to spend it"?

The point I was trying to make (perhaps poorly) was that there is an opportunity cost, but calculating it is not straightforward at all. Probably similar to social security in this respect. What is the opportunity cost of the social security program?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on October 30, 2019, 02:34:12 PM
The point I was trying to make (perhaps poorly) was that there is an opportunity cost, but calculating it is not straightforward at all. Probably similar to social security in this respect. What is the opportunity cost of the social security program?

Thanks

I get that it could be difficult, but I don't think politicians are even asking the question... Maybe because they know that they're never going to implement it because of the cost?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 31, 2019, 01:18:07 PM
healthcare stuff

There is no such thing as a functioning free market for healthcare. Demand is inelastic. People would kill to get life-saving treatment and there are no substitute goods. We spend 2X the OECD average because our government is too involved? It's ostensibly less involved than in any other OECD nation.

The image of a world in which people talk down the cost of destroying their malignant tumors with radiation, or shop around for surgeons after they accidentally cut their fingers off slicing onions is a libertarian fantasy.

Home-schooling? Private schools? Online resource academies? YouTube tutorials? You've never heard of any of these things?

The free market has no solution for educating everyone. Not everyone can afford a private school and working parents cannot home school. You can sit your kid in front of YouTube, but I don't think you'll find that a satisfactory replacement for adult supervision and interaction for 7 hours a day while you're able to work. Where is the replacement for extra circulars that build self-esteem like sports? Or after school programs?

Public education has been an unambiguous win.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on October 31, 2019, 01:31:02 PM
I wonder how it is you simultaneously have such dismal regard for the judgment of consumers, and high regard for the judgment of elected officials. They're mostly ignorant of the issues they make decisions on, and they follow personal incentive just as anyone else would.

Healthcare is complicated, important, and expensive enough that I think it's beyond the capacity of a majority of people (if not everyone) to effectively "shop" for it.

An effective alternative is to have lawmakers, checked by voters and advised by experts, come up with a plan that covers everyone. Then the plan is administered by bureaucrats.

I'm not automatically repulsed by words like government and bureaucracy, so I can see how this has worked out well in other countries. It's not perfect, of course. There are queues and care rationing, to some extent. But the big picture outcomes are better for most people.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on October 31, 2019, 04:36:20 PM
I wonder how it is you simultaneously have such dismal regard for the judgment of consumers, and high regard for the judgment of elected officials. They're mostly ignorant of the issues they make decisions on, and they follow personal incentive just as anyone else would.

Healthcare is complicated, important, and expensive enough that I think it's beyond the capacity of a majority of people (if not everyone) to effectively "shop" for it.

An effective alternative is to have lawmakers, checked by voters and advised by experts, come up with a plan that covers everyone. Then the plan is administered by bureaucrats.

I'm not automatically repulsed by words like government and bureaucracy, so I can see how this has worked out well in other countries. It's not perfect, of course. There are queues and care rationing, to some extent. But the big picture outcomes are better for most people.

I'm trying to apply the principle of charity here and argue to the strongest interpretation of your statement. But I'm at a loss here.

If healthcare is, as you say, too complicated for most people to shop for it, how does adding more people to the process (most of whom are just as unqualified to shop for it) make things better? The answer is, it doesn't.

Healthcare has become complicated because we have gotten government involved. We've intertwined disparate conflicting agendas and interests using law as an instrument of coercion, and now we're left with a spaghetti mess which only becomes more tangled as we try to use more law to "fix" it.

To compare, have a look at veterinary medicine. If my cat gets sick, I can take him to the vet, wait my turn, and pay for an examination. I can explain from my direct experience what is wrong, and the vet can make a judgment call unfiltered by non-medical considerations. If medical imagery or a special procedure are needed, I can make an appointment within days and I can afford to pay those costs out of pocket. All of this involves filling out one or two forms, and it doesn't involve insurance companies. And all of this pertains to fixing the specific problems of my cat. I have the most relevant knowledge about how my cat is suffering, and the person I am doing business has the most specific knowledge about how to remedy that suffering. We deal with one another directly.

Animals get simpler and cheaper care because no one is wound up about trying to protect them. They're just the responsibility of their owners. The vet wants to make a profit. I want my cat to get better. We negotiate on a price.

Imagine if we were also allowed to just be responsible for ourselves.

It doesn't have to be complicated.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: robartsd on October 31, 2019, 04:46:22 PM
Many countries with basic, single payer healthcare still have a private market for non-emergency care. Under such a system everyone has access to essential medical care, but those who pay privately don't have to spend as much time waiting in queues and may have some non-essential care options that are not considered cost effective in the public system.

While I appreciate the comparison with veterinary medicine, there is a big difference in the cost of lifesaving intervention people are willing to pay for people vs. what people are willing to pay for pets.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Telecaster on October 31, 2019, 06:39:27 PM
Many countries with basic, single payer healthcare still have a private market for non-emergency care. Under such a system everyone has access to essential medical care, but those who pay privately don't have to spend as much time waiting in queues and may have some non-essential care options that are not considered cost effective in the public system.

While I appreciate the comparison with veterinary medicine, there is a big difference in the cost of lifesaving intervention people are willing to pay for people vs. what people are willing to pay for pets.

And it must be said that if you move across the border to Canada, or any other first world country for that matter, the socialized medical system provides objectively better health care outcomes by almost every measure, but at half the cost.   

So yes, our system is better if you want worse health care at double the cost, but is ideologically more pure.  So if you care about ideology our system is better.

If you care about being alive, and the ability to pay for it all, then not so much.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on October 31, 2019, 06:40:55 PM
I appreciate Thomas Sowell's work very much and I can't shake his assessment that economics is really about incentives.  This video is only tangentially related but it does make a similar point:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd3ly0u8ipg

I think it's hard work to be a doctor.  Takes lots of training, patience, dedication and there's a huge pile of responsibility!  I don't think it's as glamorous as it's made out to be, and when the negotiating power for the individuals that have the audacity to pursue medical practice gets pulled out from under them by central planners that try to make healthcare a right(?) it shouldn't be expected that a quality healthcare system would be the outcome. 

It's a nice idea in theory but there isn't a vast surplus of medical practitioners so I believe their value will have to be established through some type of consensual price discovery.  It's not reasonable to think that something of high value to society can somehow have its price reduced by involving third parties.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EvenSteven on October 31, 2019, 07:10:44 PM
I appreciate Thomas Sowell's work very much and I can't shake his assessment that economics is really about incentives.  This video is only tangentially related but it does make a similar point:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd3ly0u8ipg

I think it's hard work to be a doctor.  Takes lots of training, patience, dedication and there's a huge pile of responsibility!  I don't think it's as glamorous as it's made out to be, and when the negotiating power for the individuals that have the audacity to pursue medical practice gets pulled out from under them by central planners that try to make healthcare a right(?) it shouldn't be expected that a quality healthcare system would be the outcome. 

It's a nice idea in theory but there isn't a vast surplus of medical practitioners so I believe their value will have to be established through some type of consensual price discovery.  It's not reasonable to think that something of high value to society can somehow have its price reduced by involving third parties.

I think the bolded is a reasonable hypothesis, but how do you explain the empirical data to the contrary?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on October 31, 2019, 07:53:26 PM
Many countries with basic, single payer healthcare still have a private market for non-emergency care. Under such a system everyone has access to essential medical care, but those who pay privately don't have to spend as much time waiting in queues and may have some non-essential care options that are not considered cost effective in the public system.

While I appreciate the comparison with veterinary medicine, there is a big difference in the cost of lifesaving intervention people are willing to pay for people vs. what people are willing to pay for pets.

And it must be said that if you move across the border to Canada, or any other first world country for that matter, the socialized medical system provides objectively better health care outcomes by almost every measure, but at half the cost.   

So yes, our system is better if you want worse health care at double the cost, but is ideologically more pure.  So if you care about ideology our system is better.

If you care about being alive, and the ability to pay for it all, then not so much.

Canadian doctor average salary is 50% to 70% of that of the average doctor salary in the USA.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Telecaster on October 31, 2019, 09:12:28 PM
Canadian doctor average salary is 50% to 70% of that of the average doctor salary in the USA.

Great point!  Let's discuss.  Are American doctors 100% more skilled than Canadian doctors?  The answer appears to be the higher priced American doctors provide negative value.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: NorthernBlitz on November 01, 2019, 03:49:45 AM
I appreciate Thomas Sowell's work very much and I can't shake his assessment that economics is really about incentives.  This video is only tangentially related but it does make a similar point:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd3ly0u8ipg

I think it's hard work to be a doctor.  Takes lots of training, patience, dedication and there's a huge pile of responsibility!  I don't think it's as glamorous as it's made out to be, and when the negotiating power for the individuals that have the audacity to pursue medical practice gets pulled out from under them by central planners that try to make healthcare a right(?) it shouldn't be expected that a quality healthcare system would be the outcome. 

It's a nice idea in theory but there isn't a vast surplus of medical practitioners so I believe their value will have to be established through some type of consensual price discovery.  It's not reasonable to think that something of high value to society can somehow have its price reduced by involving third parties.

I think the bolded is a reasonable hypothesis, but how do you explain the empirical data to the contrary?

I'm not convinced the hypothesis is false.

On one hand, I agree with you because other countries get at least equal results with far less spending.

On the other hand, I think the vast majority of medical innovation comes from the US. I don't know if those other countries would still have the same results if the US wasn't doing the R&D (or essentially subsidizing things like prescription drugs).

I think it's very complicated.

I also think changing the US system will be very hard because the transition to something very different (and potentially better) would probably be pretty painful for lots of people (not that the current system isn't painful for lots of people).

The political cost will also be very high, which I think is why we got Obama care instead of modeling it after something like Britain's hybrid system.

I think the issue in the US is that the conversation is about who pays for it, not why is inflation so high. Same think in higher education.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Kyle Schuant on November 01, 2019, 04:42:59 AM
No one thinks sitting on your ass is valuable. No one is willing to pay money for it.
37% of British workers think their jobs are meaningless. Another 13% are unsure. Source 1 (https://yougov.co.uk/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2015/08/12/british-jobs-meaningless). Thus, 37-50% of total work hours are spent doing nothing productive.

By an assessment of people's digital devices, white collar workers spent about 12.5hr a week - or 2.5hr a day for a 5 day week - actually working Source 2 (https://medium.com/swlh/what-we-learned-about-productivity-from-analyzing-225-million-hours-of-working-time-in-2017-7c2a1062d41d). A survey of white collar workers gave similar results Source 3 (https://www.vouchercloud.com/resources/office-worker-productivity), and I note with amusement that they were searching for other jobs for 26 minutes a day - perhaps they felt overworked?

So, only 50-63% of people are doing jobs where they produce anything of value, and even those producing something of value are only doing it 30% of the time. Thus, only about 1 in 6 of the hours people are working is producing anything of value. This is by their own assessment, mind you. This isn't some Marxist idea of labour being meaningless unless it produces tangible goods - it's people's own assessment of their work.


Now, it may be that some people feel their job is unproductive but it's actually useful in less than obvious ways (for example, most workplace safety planning), but by the same token someone else will feel they're very productive but actually be useless or even destructive of other people's productivity, like a micromanager. But anyway: 1 in 6 white collar work hours are productive. Or if we got fewer people to do the same total work, 1 in 6 workers are productive.

Put another way, 5 in 6 white collar workers are being paid to sit on their arse. Evidently, someone thinks sitting on your arse is valuable.

The average white collar wage in the US is about $45,000. Is it better to pay people $45,000 to do nothing productive, or pay them $12,000 to do nothing productive? I don't know about you, but I'd go for the cheaper option, myself.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on November 01, 2019, 06:58:34 AM
I appreciate Thomas Sowell's work very much and I can't shake his assessment that economics is really about incentives.  This video is only tangentially related but it does make a similar point:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd3ly0u8ipg

I think it's hard work to be a doctor.  Takes lots of training, patience, dedication and there's a huge pile of responsibility!  I don't think it's as glamorous as it's made out to be, and when the negotiating power for the individuals that have the audacity to pursue medical practice gets pulled out from under them by central planners that try to make healthcare a right(?) it shouldn't be expected that a quality healthcare system would be the outcome. 

It's a nice idea in theory but there isn't a vast surplus of medical practitioners so I believe their value will have to be established through some type of consensual price discovery.  It's not reasonable to think that something of high value to society can somehow have its price reduced by involving third parties.

I think the bolded is a reasonable hypothesis, but how do you explain the empirical data to the contrary?
I suppose I'd have to see the data.  I think there are places where socialist policies can be useful, mostly-it seems-where people can be reduced to simple units; where precision is unnecessary.  In the medical system this would probably be stuff like vaccines and generic prescriptions.  Our dental system seems to work pretty well as well, but that is not free.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on November 01, 2019, 07:01:22 AM
No one thinks sitting on your ass is valuable. No one is willing to pay money for it.
37% of British workers think their jobs are meaningless. Another 13% are unsure. Source 1 (https://yougov.co.uk/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2015/08/12/british-jobs-meaningless). Thus, 37-50% of total work hours are spent doing nothing productive.

By an assessment of people's digital devices, white collar workers spent about 12.5hr a week - or 2.5hr a day for a 5 day week - actually working Source 2 (https://medium.com/swlh/what-we-learned-about-productivity-from-analyzing-225-million-hours-of-working-time-in-2017-7c2a1062d41d). A survey of white collar workers gave similar results Source 3 (https://www.vouchercloud.com/resources/office-worker-productivity), and I note with amusement that they were searching for other jobs for 26 minutes a day - perhaps they felt overworked?

So, only 50-63% of people are doing jobs where they produce anything of value, and even those producing something of value are only doing it 30% of the time. Thus, only about 1 in 6 of the hours people are working is producing anything of value. This is by their own assessment, mind you. This isn't some Marxist idea of labour being meaningless unless it produces tangible goods - it's people's own assessment of their work.


Now, it may be that some people feel their job is unproductive but it's actually useful in less than obvious ways (for example, most workplace safety planning), but by the same token someone else will feel they're very productive but actually be useless or even destructive of other people's productivity, like a micromanager. But anyway: 1 in 6 white collar work hours are productive. Or if we got fewer people to do the same total work, 1 in 6 workers are productive.

Put another way, 5 in 6 white collar workers are being paid to sit on their arse. Evidently, someone thinks sitting on your arse is valuable.

The average white collar wage in the US is about $45,000. Is it better to pay people $45,000 to do nothing productive, or pay them $12,000 to do nothing productive? I don't know about you, but I'd go for the cheaper option, myself.

It might be easy to look retroactively on the economy and see this 1 in 6 number, but you're going to have a hard time finding the 1 in 6 and keeping them employed and incentivized when the other five get to eff around on the dole, so to speak.  Incentives are the problem with UBI but I do still see UBI as some type of inevitability.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on November 01, 2019, 08:48:27 AM
I'm trying to apply the principle of charity here and argue to the strongest interpretation of your statement. But I'm at a loss here.

If healthcare is, as you say, too complicated for most people to shop for it, how does adding more people to the process (most of whom are just as unqualified to shop for it) make things better? The answer is, it doesn't.

Because the people you add to the process are better equipped to help navigate the process. The same way our educational outcomes are much better when we have a bureaucratic system that considers and decides what to teach in free public schools, and then hires people to teach these things. The alternative is to have every parent being personally responsible for getting their kids educated. If you're rich, or really smart and great with kids, maybe this works out. For most people though, it makes more sense to go trade their time for labor elsewhere and let the state handle it.

This isn't to say that I have no problems with public education. Like everything else in the world, it could be better. But it largely does a good job of teaching kids things. And it gives them adult supervision and interaction. It gives them healthy outlets. And it provides this for everyone. Not just the kids of rich or smart parents.

Healthcare has become complicated because we have gotten government involved. We've intertwined disparate conflicting agendas and interests using law as an instrument of coercion, and now we're left with a spaghetti mess which only becomes more tangled as we try to use more law to "fix" it.

Again, we're ostensibly less involved in Healthcare in the US than in every other industrialized nation. But we spend more money for a similar range of outcomes. And 27 million people go without access to healthcare. About 10% of the non-elderly population. We already have so many working models for how more government involvement helps. I feel like my work there is done.

To compare, have a look at veterinary medicine. If my cat gets sick, I can take him to the vet, wait my turn, and pay for an examination. I can explain from my direct experience what is wrong, and the vet can make a judgment call unfiltered by non-medical considerations. If medical imagery or a special procedure are needed, I can make an appointment within days and I can afford to pay those costs out of pocket. All of this involves filling out one or two forms, and it doesn't involve insurance companies. And all of this pertains to fixing the specific problems of my cat. I have the most relevant knowledge about how my cat is suffering, and the person I am doing business has the most specific knowledge about how to remedy that suffering. We deal with one another directly.

The value of animal life is so much lower than the value of human life. That's not me saying this, that's what we've all decided as a society. We make decisions about animals that we would never make about humans. We do not round up and euthanize homeless people, nor do we sterilize people to prevent the cost that future human births might inflict upon us.

A lot of what vets do is humanely euthanizing pets. If a ten year old dog is sick with cancer, maybe surgery and radiation treatment could buy him another year. But the thousands that you'd spend could go to your kid's college fund too. So maybe you decide that he's had a good life and it's fine to put him down. This isn't an unreasonable decision, but if a 10% increase in a human's life is on the table, few people would make this call.

Interestingly enough, this dichotomy was made really clear to me once again, just this week. A friend of mine had an old cat that was struggling with bladder control. The vet said there wasn't much to do and they put the cat down. But I also have a 89 year old human family member who is dealing with the same issue (among others). He's about to go into a skilled nursing facility. I'm sure you can imagine how much that costs.

I could go on all day about the difference between animals and humans.

Animals get simpler and cheaper care because no one is wound up about trying to protect them. They're just the responsibility of their owners. The vet wants to make a profit. I want my cat to get better. We negotiate on a price.

There is no substitute good for life saving healthcare. And demand is inelastic. I will pay whatever it takes to get life saving treatment for myself. And if it's not enough, I may kill people to get it. This is a market failure.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Kyle Schuant on November 01, 2019, 02:36:04 PM
It might be easy to look retroactively on the economy and see this 1 in 6 number, but you're going to have a hard time finding the 1 in 6 and keeping them employed and incentivized when the other five get to eff around on the dole, so to speak.  Incentives are the problem with UBI but I do still see UBI as some type of inevitability.
You are imagining that only 1 in 6 are productive. That's not what I said. I said that 37-50% of people were doing entirely unproductive jobs, and that even those doing productive jobs were only working 12.5hr pw, ie one-third of the time. Of every 6 people in a company we don't have 1 super-productive person and 5 freeloaders, rather we have 2-3 freeloaders and 3-4 people third-arsing things.

Thus, "but we'd be paying people to do nothing!" is not a valid objection to UBI, because we already do that - we'd just be paying them less to do nothing than we are now.

Most UBI proposals are for something like $12,000 annually. US white collar jobs average $45,000. If being paid FOUR TIMES the UBI is not an incentive to stick with your job, then you must have a truly awful job, and your employer needs to figure out how they can improve the quality of the job, the pay and conditions, to get people to want to do it.

Perhaps this is part of the opposition to UBI: managers thinking that it would be harder to find people to do pointless jobs with shitty conditions. "We would actually have to provide meaningful fulfilling work... dear God, is it possible?" Fear not! The appetite for pointless work will be kept up. There'll always be someone who wants to be a stockbroker or a diversity manager.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: bacchi on November 01, 2019, 02:45:25 PM
Perhaps this is part of the opposition to UBI: managers thinking that it would be harder to find people to do pointless jobs with shitty conditions. "We would actually have to provide meaningful fulfilling work... dear God, is it possible?" Fear not! The appetite for pointless work will be kept up. There'll always be someone who wants to be a stockbroker or a diversity manager.

Douglas Adams had a solution for this.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on November 01, 2019, 03:25:23 PM
It might be easy to look retroactively on the economy and see this 1 in 6 number, but you're going to have a hard time finding the 1 in 6 and keeping them employed and incentivized when the other five get to eff around on the dole, so to speak.  Incentives are the problem with UBI but I do still see UBI as some type of inevitability.
You are imagining that only 1 in 6 are productive. That's not what I said. I said that 37-50% of people were doing entirely unproductive jobs, and that even those doing productive jobs were only working 12.5hr pw, ie one-third of the time. Of every 6 people in a company we don't have 1 super-productive person and 5 freeloaders, rather we have 2-3 freeloaders and 3-4 people third-arsing things.

Thus, "but we'd be paying people to do nothing!" is not a valid objection to UBI, because we already do that - we'd just be paying them less to do nothing than we are now.

Most UBI proposals are for something like $12,000 annually. US white collar jobs average $45,000. If being paid FOUR TIMES the UBI is not an incentive to stick with your job, then you must have a truly awful job, and your employer needs to figure out how they can improve the quality of the job, the pay and conditions, to get people to want to do it.

Perhaps this is part of the opposition to UBI: managers thinking that it would be harder to find people to do pointless jobs with shitty conditions. "We would actually have to provide meaningful fulfilling work... dear God, is it possible?" Fear not! The appetite for pointless work will be kept up. There'll always be someone who wants to be a stockbroker or a diversity manager.

I read your post, even if workers are averaging 1 person-output in six, it's not as flagrant as paying people to actually do nothing.  The perception matters.  And no body runs at 100% all the time anyway.

It would be great if employers would raise wages to incentivize employees to work for them.  But when people have the choice of not working for x amount that permits survival, they will likely choose it.  And if it's less than that, it just seems like it will be eaten up by inflation.

I don't see how we can have it both ways. 
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Kyle Schuant on November 01, 2019, 04:09:13 PM
Quote
even if workers are averaging 1 person-output in six, it's not as flagrant as paying people to actually do nothing.  The perception matters. 
So it doesn't matter if they're actually productive or not, only that they look busy?

You wouldn't by chance be a middle manager?
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on November 01, 2019, 04:56:25 PM
I think the point is, if we pay people a survivable wage to do nothing, no one will want to do (or have any incentive to do) the shitty jobs like Uber Eats and cleaning and fruit picking and whatever that they currently have in order to have a survivable wage. Or if they do it, they will do it for a higher wage. So every time you go to the grocer for fruit, or want your meal delivered, or your office cleaned, you'll pay more.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Optimiser on November 01, 2019, 05:21:53 PM
I think the point is, if we pay people a survivable wage to do nothing, no one will want to do (or have any incentive to do) the shitty jobs like Uber Eats and cleaning and fruit picking and whatever that they currently have in order to have a survivable wage. Or if they do it, they will do it for a higher wage. So every time you go to the grocer for fruit, or want your meal delivered, or your office cleaned, you'll pay more.

So everyone will have enough to survive, no more homelessness? Those that choose to work will actually make enough to make their efforts worthwhile?

This seems like a really good outcome. I would gladly pay more for fruit, meal delivery, and office cleaning in exchange for that. Especially since my spending is so low that UBI would likely be a net positive for my bank account.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Kyle Schuant on November 01, 2019, 05:32:16 PM
But if I have an extra $12k annually, I can afford to pay more for this stuff.

I am prepared to believe that some jobs will not be viable in different economic conditions. Since economic rationalism and free trade destroyed millions of jobs and people were told, "oh well, do something else, then," I am not sure why this is an objection to a UBI (or a carbon tax, or many other suggestions people have).
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on November 01, 2019, 05:41:28 PM
Quote
even if workers are averaging 1 person-output in six, it's not as flagrant as paying people to actually do nothing.  The perception matters. 
So it doesn't matter if they're actually productive or not, only that they look busy?

You wouldn't by chance be a middle manager?
Now you're playing the other side.  No one was producing 0% output in your post, were they?  Because a UBI reflects money for nothing.

How exactly do you plan to identify who is working in unproductive jobs?  If a large company makes a bad decision at the top end, everyone beneath that decision is going to be working against the goals of the company without even knowing it.  And this is despite our best efforts to optimize.

Perhaps some of the other 5/6 is an opportunity cost for using humans in a system.

And no, I am NOT a middle manager.  How DARE you!!!
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Wrenchturner on November 01, 2019, 05:51:06 PM
I feel like a UBI relies on a spread between the unfortunate having not enough and the well off having too much, and the willingness and charity for the well-off to subsidize the unfortunate. 

Whereas our current arrangement relies on the same spread, but a willingness for the unfortunate to work to earn enough to live and even thrive.

Price discovery in the latter is going to be a very strong force because the lowest level of working class will sort of set the baseline for inflation based on their sheer capacity to produce enough cashflow to exist, while the former relies on some sort of good intentions from people that aren't directly affected by the prices of inelastic needs(like food or housing).  Wealthy people(investors, I suppose) don't seem to have to worry about inflation so much.  Because their investments will climb with inflation(could be wrong on this!), and because they have more discretionary spending.

When we consider how much money is put into offshore accounts, the amount of effort spent on tax avoidance, and Laffer's work(which I don't know much about) I think UBI is dangerous for the monetary system, essentially.

I'll admit I'm not a great economist but UBI sounds utopian to me because of the strange mechanisms for pricing that comes out of it.  Could be consequences for the velocity of money in relative terms too.

Edit: I suppose it's plausible that the $12k or whatever it is will always remain a non-zero amount of purchasing power, regardless of inflation, so it might work out, and people will only buy so many tomatoes, or oats or what have you.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on November 01, 2019, 06:02:15 PM
But if I have an extra $12k annually, I can afford to pay more for this stuff.

I am prepared to believe that some jobs will not be viable in different economic conditions. Since economic rationalism and free trade destroyed millions of jobs and people were told, "oh well, do something else, then," I am not sure why this is an objection to a UBI (or a carbon tax, or many other suggestions people have).

The rise in costs will be a lot more than $12k a year.  Because all the cheap things in life will no longer be cheap. Plus, UBI will be taxed at marginal rates, so that $12k after tax will be only $6k.

Because the UBI is not economic rationalism or free trade. A UBI is directly counter to meritocracy and I won't support it for that reason.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on November 03, 2019, 04:05:04 PM
No one thinks sitting on your ass is valuable. No one is willing to pay money for it.
37% of British workers think their jobs are meaningless. Another 13% are unsure. Source 1 (https://yougov.co.uk/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2015/08/12/british-jobs-meaningless). Thus, 37-50% of total work hours are spent doing nothing productive.

By an assessment of people's digital devices, white collar workers spent about 12.5hr a week - or 2.5hr a day for a 5 day week - actually working Source 2 (https://medium.com/swlh/what-we-learned-about-productivity-from-analyzing-225-million-hours-of-working-time-in-2017-7c2a1062d41d). A survey of white collar workers gave similar results Source 3 (https://www.vouchercloud.com/resources/office-worker-productivity), and I note with amusement that they were searching for other jobs for 26 minutes a day - perhaps they felt overworked?

So, only 50-63% of people are doing jobs where they produce anything of value, and even those producing something of value are only doing it 30% of the time. Thus, only about 1 in 6 of the hours people are working is producing anything of value. This is by their own assessment, mind you. This isn't some Marxist idea of labour being meaningless unless it produces tangible goods - it's people's own assessment of their work.


Now, it may be that some people feel their job is unproductive but it's actually useful in less than obvious ways (for example, most workplace safety planning), but by the same token someone else will feel they're very productive but actually be useless or even destructive of other people's productivity, like a micromanager. But anyway: 1 in 6 white collar work hours are productive. Or if we got fewer people to do the same total work, 1 in 6 workers are productive.

Put another way, 5 in 6 white collar workers are being paid to sit on their arse. Evidently, someone thinks sitting on your arse is valuable.

The average white collar wage in the US is about $45,000. Is it better to pay people $45,000 to do nothing productive, or pay them $12,000 to do nothing productive? I don't know about you, but I'd go for the cheaper option, myself.

Talk about bullshit statistics. Sure, I won't argue that a bunch of people are completely unproductive. But that doesn't mean that the work that they are supposed to be doing is unproductive. It just means that it is difficult to separate the future productive employees from the bullshitters during the interview process. It also means that a lot of people are working jobs that are unsuitable to their strengths, but this is unfortunately a part of life when people fear the uncertainty of change, and I don't think a UBI would make those people any more productive (because very few people would quit their jobs given an extra $12k a year, they'd just inflate their lifestyle by that amount).
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Kyle Schuant on November 03, 2019, 05:10:38 PM
The rise in costs will be a lot more than $12k a year.  Because all the cheap things in life will no longer be cheap. Plus, UBI will be taxed at marginal rates, so that $12k after tax will be only $6k.

You seem unaware that we already spend about that much on social welfare.

In 2019-20 the Commonwealth government expects to spend $191.8 billion on social welfare source 1 (https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook45p/WelfareCost). There are some other benefits people get which fall under different departments, for example old aged pensioners getting cheaper medicine, people on low incomes getting discounted travel, and so. Notably, the childcare subsidy isn't part of social welfare, and that's huge. And there are various state subsidies for those on lower incomes, the disabled and older people, like public housing. So in practice it's a lot more than that.

Obviously we can argue who should get UBI. I would suggest that minors and non-citizens should not get it. In other words, just adult citizens. We can take the number of registered voters as a good representation of how many adult citizens we have; there are usually some younger people who've not yet registered to vote (requiring registering to vote a requirement to get UBI would, I think, encourage younger people to do so), but there are also some people from the UK etc who came here years ago when the law was different and remain on the roll despite not being citizens. The AEC says there are currently 16,486,185 registered voters source 2 (https://www.aec.gov.au/Enrolling_to_vote/Enrolment_stats/index.htm).

Dividing the $191.8 billion budget among 16,486,185 people gives us AUD11,633 each. Adding in the benefits and subsidies I mentioned above which aren't part of the official social security budget and it's trivial to get an extra $377 to take it to an even $1,000 a month, or $12,000 annually.

We already spend $12k per adult citizen on social welfare. We just give more to some like old aged pensioners, and spend lots on admin to decide who is "worthy" or not.

Abolish the dole. Abolish the aged pension. Abolish disability pensions. Abolish childcare subsidies. Replace them all with UBI, keep the tax brackets the same so that people on high incomes get small net benefit.



Of course if we did all that then we would have to abolish our judgement of who is "worthy" poor, and who "unworthy." The admin fraction of the budget would be considerably reduced without having all those people to decide who is worthy and who not.

And we are very, very attached to our moral judgements. Which is why we scream about the $12k cost of someone on the dole, but make no comment about the $12k cost of a family on $140k getting $12k in childcare subsidy, or the $22k cost of someone on an aged or disability pension. There are worthy poor, and unworthy poor, and - more important, electorally - worthy middle class.
Quote
Because the UBI is not economic rationalism or free trade. A UBI is directly counter to meritocracy and I won't support it for that reason.
We don't have a meritocracy. 5 in 6 work hours are, by the assessment of the people doing them, spent unproductively. For at least 5 in 6 work hours, the only "merit" anyone is asked to demonstrate is to persuade others that actually they're being productive and useful, honest.

But fear not! Nobody will be willing to set aside their moral judgements, they'd rather spend more money instead.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Kyle Schuant on November 03, 2019, 05:26:53 PM
Talk about bullshit statistics. Sure, I won't argue that a bunch of people are completely unproductive. But that doesn't mean that the work that they are supposed to be doing is unproductive.
I'm going by their own assessment. Firstly, of whether their job is in itself at all productive and useful: 37% of people say it's not, and 13% aren't sure. Secondly, of how much of their work day is spent doing productive work: the average is 2.5hr.

Obviously, some people will feel their job is bullshit but it's actually important, but the reverse is also true. And some people will do much more than 2.5hr a day of productive work, and some much less. These are averages after surveying many tens of thousands of people.


Not all of the unproductivity is the worker's fault. Coders have to wait for their program to compile, many workers are dragged into meetings on topics irrelevant to them, barristers have to wait for judges who are always late, and so on. So this does not necessarily reflect laziness of the worker, much of it is just human nature: 2 cooks do not necessarily produce twice the amount or quality of broth as does 1 cook, and 10 cooks will probably make no broth at all.

I've no doubt that you have a very important and productive job, and that you are productive for 10 of your 8 work hours each day; you would not, of course, be so indignant about this if you were one of the people doing a pointless job, or doing a useful job but slacking. But some people have bullshit jobs, and even some of the people with productive jobs are only productive for a small fraction of each day.


Given that most work hours paid for are unproductive BY THE ASSESSMENT OF THE WORKER THEMSELVES, it is not an objection to the dole, aged pension, disability pension or UBI that "but we'll be paying people to do nothing!" And as I noted above, we already spend that much money paying people to do nothing. It's just that it is socially acceptable for a person to do nothing after 65 years old, or if they're disabled, it is less socially acceptable for them to be unemployed, a single mother or whatever, and it's not only socially acceptable but socially praised for a parent to do paid work, thus our subsidies of it.


So again, a UBI will never happen, because this is not about what is economically sensible, but about us wanting to keep our moral judgements. We like wagging a moral finger at some people and patting others on the back. Typically, we shake a moral finger at people we don't know, and pat on the back people like us.


Thus, unemployed and disabled are firmly in favour of benefits for unemployed and disabled, but against childcare subsidies for middle class; middle class are not so keen on the dole but pretty keen on childcare subsidies, and older people are of course very much in favour of the aged pension but those dole bludgers? to hell with them!


Just the other day my elderly mother visited, and told me with a straight face that older people receive less benefits than the unemployed. $23k is less than $12k, apparently. Everyone feels horribly oppressed, and people will not set aside their self-interest and desire to wag a moral finger. UBI won't happen, so calm down.


But it's still economically sensible, and still fair.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on November 03, 2019, 06:18:13 PM
Kyle - only a small part of the social welfare budget goes to what might be called UBI-type welfare (ie payments for unemployment or underemployment). The rest is spent on childcare subsidies, family subsidies and age pensions. The current age pension already far exceeds $12k a person. I quite agree with you that our level of spending on families and the aged is too much. However, I doubt that many families or old people think the same. Your UBI proposal would actually leave a lot of families and the vast majority of old people worse off. That is before you even consider the effect of inflation due to what I am about to discuss.

My second point is that, other than for the age pension and childcare benefits (which I fully agree should be snipped), we don't pay welfare to people for doing nothing. They have to job search. They have to make at least a nominal effort. They often have to either take a low-end job or go into WFTD. All those things keep the low-end labour market "honest", by which I mean they introduce something of a market effect. If we pay out a UBI there will be inflation issues for low-end goods and services.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: effigy98 on November 03, 2019, 11:39:00 PM
I support UBI. Grew up very poor and that was not fun wondering where your next meal was going to come from. A UBI would have helped a lot as my mother was too proud to take food stamps and they really treat you like a criminal for taking handouts in this country. No questions asked FAIR ubi for all would be so much easier.

The other reason is when I was starting out I tried to not work for the man and do a few small businesses. I could not afford the basics (like food) after ahwile because it was going to take me a year or two to start monetizing. I had to shut down and go work for the man, dreams were crushed and now I work for money and it is like doing math problems all day or going to the dentist, but it pays extremely well so it is a fair tradeoff.

As for automation, I work on automation all day and probably put many people out of work every year. A few weeks of coding can easily put many people out of work and I see it all over the place. They can find new jobs but they usually pay a lot less then they were making before. Full employment does not mean good employment.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on November 04, 2019, 09:09:27 AM
Talk about bullshit statistics. Sure, I won't argue that a bunch of people are completely unproductive. But that doesn't mean that the work that they are supposed to be doing is unproductive.
I'm going by their own assessment. Firstly, of whether their job is in itself at all productive and useful: 37% of people say it's not, and 13% aren't sure. Secondly, of how much of their work day is spent doing productive work: the average is 2.5hr.

Obviously, some people will feel their job is bullshit but it's actually important, but the reverse is also true. And some people will do much more than 2.5hr a day of productive work, and some much less. These are averages after surveying many tens of thousands of people.

I'm not saying your statistics aren't true, I'm only saying they're not the relevant ones to the question at hand (in my opinion). Most employees' primary incentive is the paycheck. Those that can't see the meaning in their work beyond their paycheck generally categorize it as bullshit (understandably). But there are two reasons that it is unlikely that those are actual b.s. jobs. 1) Managers are highly incentivized to weed out both bullshit jobs and bullshit employees (of course neither action is necessarily easy). 2) If a true bullshit job is creating a product nobody wants, customers will usually vote with their wallets (with the exception of some unethical businesses).

So just because someone cannot perceive a positive impact in the work that they do or should be doing, doesn't necessarily mean it is bullshit, even though it is perceived that way by the employee.

I've no doubt that you have a very important and productive job, and that you are productive for 10 of your 8 work hours each day; you would not, of course, be so indignant about this if you were one of the people doing a pointless job, or doing a useful job but slacking. But some people have bullshit jobs, and even some of the people with productive jobs are only productive for a small fraction of each day.

Lol

UBI won't happen, so calm down.

But it's still economically sensible, and still fair.

Said like a true revolutionary.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: EscapedApe on November 04, 2019, 10:15:32 AM
Because the people you add to the process are better equipped to help navigate the process.

"We invent a process, which has not been demonstrated to be more effective, and then staff it with people who are familiar with the process. This makes it more efficient."

The same way our educational outcomes are much better when we have a bureaucratic system that considers and decides what to teach in free public schools, and then hires people to teach these things.

Citation needed.

We already have so many working models for how more government involvement helps. I feel like my work there is done.

If your goal is to persuade me that government involvement is superior to free market solutions, then no, your work is not done. I have not been persuaded.

If your goal was merely to state your opinion, then perhaps you are.

Meanwhile, for evidence of the failures of central planning, please see the 20th/21st century histories of: the former Soviet Union, former East Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Cuba, North Korea, Cambodia, Venezuela...

The value of animal life is so much lower than the value of human life. That's not me saying this, that's what we've all decided as a society. We make decisions about animals that we would never make about humans. We do not round up and euthanize homeless people, nor do we sterilize people to prevent the cost that future human births might inflict upon us.

It's not just about the cost. It's the simplicity of the process.

Without all of the needless complexity created by government involvement, everything boils down to whether the price can be afforded.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on November 04, 2019, 11:51:19 AM
Currently many (most) the highest performing education systems in the world are incredibly reliant on central planning: Singapore, South Korea, Shanghai, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong.

Central planning doesn't mean gulags. It often means working out what works the best and ensuring that happens most often.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: catprog on November 04, 2019, 01:37:10 PM

Abolish the dole. Abolish the aged pension. Abolish disability pensions. Abolish childcare subsidies. Replace them all with UBI, keep the tax brackets the same so that people on high incomes get small net benefit.


I would keep the NDIS to help people with disabilities.

I would remove the two lowest tax rates as well to help pay for it.


Of course if we did all that then we would have to abolish our judgement of who is "worthy" poor, and who "unworthy." The admin fraction of the budget would be considerably reduced without having all those people to decide who is worthy and who not.

This is the main reason I support a UBI.  Remove the decision of who is worthy for welfare.

I.e if you earn a dollar, then in addition to paying the income taxes on that dollar your welfare payments will be reduced by 60 cents.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: robartsd on November 05, 2019, 12:10:42 PM
I think the idea that all cheap labor will evaporate is opposed to the idea that our economy is driven by consumerism. Why would those who are merely surviving give up working just because they have a handout that lets them survive? Why wouldn't they instead choose to purchase luxuries they can't now afford. Sure that's counter to what someone who is seeking early retirement through frugality would choose, but we all have lots of examples of lots of people who spend (at least) their means. An increase in income nearly always results in an increase in spending within our society; I think plenty of people working low-paying jobs would continue working under similar conditions and happily spend their paychecks and UBI.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on November 05, 2019, 12:19:55 PM
Some people engage in work just to make ends meet, i.e. because they have no other choice. If they suddenly have another choice, they may not choose to do certain work which is low-paid or undesirable. Or they may do fewer hours a week. If currently someone does 40 hours a week of Uber and in future he receives a UBI equivalent to say 25 hours a week of that work, he might choose to only do 25 hours a week of Uber on top of that. The result is that there is less supply of labour. Less supply of labour means higher unit price. That means inflation.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: kite on November 05, 2019, 12:25:07 PM

Abolish the dole. Abolish the aged pension. Abolish disability pensions. Abolish childcare subsidies. Replace them all with UBI, keep the tax brackets the same so that people on high incomes get small net benefit.


I would keep the NDIS to help people with disabilities.

I would remove the two lowest tax rates as well to help pay for it.


Of course if we did all that then we would have to abolish our judgement of who is "worthy" poor, and who "unworthy." The admin fraction of the budget would be considerably reduced without having all those people to decide who is worthy and who not.

This is the main reason I support a UBI.  Remove the decision of who is worthy for welfare.

I.e if you earn a dollar, then in addition to paying the income taxes on that dollar your welfare payments will be reduced by 60 cents.

Curious as to how one maintains the necessary robust support system for those with disabilities while also eliminating those who determine who is worthy ie... disabled.  How do we know who is disabled or in need of more without staff who could discern?  How would we evaluate exactly what level of support is needed. Most of the people who posit UBI as a solution to poverty or income inequality seem to be either unfamiliar with the poor with or intentionally oblivious to the diverse causes of poverty and inequality.       
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on November 05, 2019, 01:13:02 PM
Some people engage in work just to make ends meet, i.e. because they have no other choice. If they suddenly have another choice, they may not choose to do certain work which is low-paid or undesirable. Or they may do fewer hours a week. If currently someone does 40 hours a week of Uber and in future he receives a UBI equivalent to say 25 hours a week of that work, he might choose to only do 25 hours a week of Uber on top of that. The result is that there is less supply of labour. Less supply of labour means higher unit price. That means inflation.

They may, they might. I don't know how people would react and how their behavior would change if UBI became a reality. That's one of the main reasons I don't have a firm opinion on UBI. But I see an awful lot of people argue against UBI based on their assumptions of how people would behave.

Do you have evidence that suggests people would work less* or is it just the way you feel?

*Not to mention, people working less while "low wage or undesirable" jobs become automated is the primary argument for a UBI. But let's stick to one point at a time.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on November 05, 2019, 01:15:01 PM
Not if itís going to replace our other social benefits.

Exactly.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on November 05, 2019, 01:21:42 PM
Some people engage in work just to make ends meet, i.e. because they have no other choice. If they suddenly have another choice, they may not choose to do certain work which is low-paid or undesirable. Or they may do fewer hours a week. If currently someone does 40 hours a week of Uber and in future he receives a UBI equivalent to say 25 hours a week of that work, he might choose to only do 25 hours a week of Uber on top of that. The result is that there is less supply of labour. Less supply of labour means higher unit price. That means inflation.

They may, they might. I don't know how people would react and how their behavior would change if UBI became a reality. That's one of the main reasons I don't have a firm opinion on UBI. But I see an awful lot of people argue against UBI based on their assumptions of how people would behave.

Do you have evidence that suggests people would work less* or is it just the way you feel?

*Not to mention, people working less while "low wage or undesirable" jobs become automated is the primary argument for a UBI. But let's stick to one point at a time.

If it's the primary argument for a UBI, then that would suggest that UBI proponents are happy to agree to the same assumptions I've made.

People are driven by economic necessity to take undesirable jobs. If that necessity is taken away, they will be less driven to do so. There's a reason those jobs are undesirable. But it's the undesirable jobs that need filling and doing. Not everything can be automated.

Also, if my assumption is wrong and it turns out that people's work practices (hours, pay, jobs, etc) do not change at all, then that would indicate that there is no need for a UBI.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: catprog on November 05, 2019, 01:35:09 PM

Abolish the dole. Abolish the aged pension. Abolish disability pensions. Abolish childcare subsidies. Replace them all with UBI, keep the tax brackets the same so that people on high incomes get small net benefit.


I would keep the NDIS to help people with disabilities.

I would remove the two lowest tax rates as well to help pay for it.


Of course if we did all that then we would have to abolish our judgement of who is "worthy" poor, and who "unworthy." The admin fraction of the budget would be considerably reduced without having all those people to decide who is worthy and who not.

This is the main reason I support a UBI.  Remove the decision of who is worthy for welfare.

I.e if you earn a dollar, then in addition to paying the income taxes on that dollar your welfare payments will be reduced by 60 cents.

Curious as to how one maintains the necessary robust support system for those with disabilities while also eliminating those who determine who is worthy ie... disabled.  How do we know who is disabled or in need of more without staff who could discern?  How would we evaluate exactly what level of support is needed. Most of the people who posit UBI as a solution to poverty or income inequality seem to be either unfamiliar with the poor with or intentionally oblivious to the diverse causes of poverty and inequality.       

https://www.ndis.gov.au/ This program continues. So I am not advocating the removal of disability support. But for general welfare(including the people who are disabled) their is no need for a large admin to determine who is worthy.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on November 05, 2019, 01:47:24 PM
"We invent a process, which has not been demonstrated to be more effective, and then staff it with people who are familiar with the process. This makes it more efficient."

That's cute, but remember that you earnestly tried to make a point that veterinary care was an example of how less regulation leads to cheaper healthcare outcomes.

If your goal is to persuade me that government involvement is superior to free market solutions, then no, your work is not done. I have not been persuaded.

In general? Certainly not. The free market solves a lot of problems. But sometimes, the free market fails, and in this case, the government solution is better. We even have a term for this. It's called a market failure. Healthcare is a market failure. We've decided that human life is valuable, but the free market doesn't do a good job of matching up healthcare to those who demand it. 10% of non-elderly people effectively cannot get healthcare. It was even worse back before 2010, before the Federal Government expanded access. Furthermore, it's 100% rational to start killing people if you can't get life saving care.

This is not a well functioning market. There is one free market solution for poor people to get expensive healthcare, and that's voluntary cost-sharing; insurance. There is no free market solution for covering someone who was or is already sick, but had a lapse in their insurance coverage. This is so widely accepted that even most conservative lawmakers in the US take the fact that we should cover PreEx as an absolute given.

Meanwhile, for evidence of the failures of central planning, please see the 20th/21st century histories of: the former Soviet Union, former East Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Cuba, North Korea, Cambodia, Venezuela...

I can name a lot of less scary sounding countries as well. Canada. Germany. Switzerland. Denmark. The United Kingdom. In all of these countries, healthcare is guaranteed by the government in some form, and in all of them, they spend less per capita without much change in outcomes.

I like free market solutions a lot. But there is no free market solution for healthcare. And one day, there will be no free market solution for human beings who can no longer compete in the labor market. We're not there yet, of course. But in some ways, we already see the symptoms with technologization and globalization. How often do we hear that laborers can't/shouldn't ask for better wages because that will just speed up the automation of their job, or the outsourcing of their job to some place like India or China? We're racing the value of human time and labor as low as we can. And why? So capital investors can get a slightly better ROI? So Jeff Bezos can make 50,000 times the median American just by collecting dividends?

Let's try to get ahead of the curve on this.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on November 05, 2019, 01:49:19 PM
Some people engage in work just to make ends meet, i.e. because they have no other choice. If they suddenly have another choice, they may not choose to do certain work which is low-paid or undesirable. Or they may do fewer hours a week. If currently someone does 40 hours a week of Uber and in future he receives a UBI equivalent to say 25 hours a week of that work, he might choose to only do 25 hours a week of Uber on top of that. The result is that there is less supply of labour. Less supply of labour means higher unit price. That means inflation.

They may, they might. I don't know how people would react and how their behavior would change if UBI became a reality. That's one of the main reasons I don't have a firm opinion on UBI. But I see an awful lot of people argue against UBI based on their assumptions of how people would behave.

Do you have evidence that suggests people would work less* or is it just the way you feel?

*Not to mention, people working less while "low wage or undesirable" jobs become automated is the primary argument for a UBI. But let's stick to one point at a time.

If it's the primary argument for a UBI, then that would suggest that UBI proponents are happy to agree to the same assumptions I've made.

No, the argument in favor of UBI is that those jobs will be automated whether people choose to stop doing them or not. Human behavior isn't part of that argument.

Quote
People are driven by economic necessity to take undesirable jobs. If that necessity is taken away, they will be less driven to do so. There's a reason those jobs are undesirable. But it's the undesirable jobs that need filling and doing. Not everything can be automated.

Again, this is your assumption. Do you have evidence to back the assertion that people would be less driven to take undesirable jobs in order to pay for wants than they would in order to pay for needs?

More importantly, is anyone actually working these jobs to pay for needs? What's your definition of needs/necessity?

Based on my definition of needs (food, water, and sometimes shelter), almost no one in a developed country is working out of absolute necessity. We already have assistance programs for absolute needs. So really with or without UBI they would just be working for a different degree of wants.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on November 05, 2019, 02:06:59 PM
You didn't respond to my question. If people would be not driven to change anything about their jobs or rate of pay, then what's the point of instituting a UBI?

As for my assertion:
- Currently in Australia you have to apply for 20 jobs a month and take any reasonable job in order to get the dole, which is set at approximately similar to the UBI level ($12,000 a year).
- This, I am sure you would agree, creates a ready supply of labour at the very bottom end of the job market.
- If we gave out the dole unconditionally, without requiring any job-taking or job-seeking, then I am sure the fruit picking, cleaning and Uber roles would diminish.

There has never been a study conducted, because we have never given out a UBI. But let us all know if you disagree with my points above based on your understanding of human nature and what it does in times of exigency.

"More importantly, is anyone actually working these jobs to pay for needs? What's your definition of needs/necessity?"

As I said above, people are working these jobs because right now they do not have any unconditional payment that obviates the need to take those jobs. Here in Australia if you get an offer to work such a job and you don't take it, your payment shuts off.

"Based on my definition of needs (food, water, and sometimes shelter), almost no one in a developed country is working out of absolute necessity. We already have assistance programs for absolute needs. So really with or without UBI they would just be working for a different degree of wants."

See above. There is a massive difference between a payment like the dole which requires you to jump through job-seeking hoops, versus an unconditional, untested payment. People will take crap jobs in the former scheme because otherwise they get hounded by job providers to continually report their job seeking efforts.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on November 05, 2019, 02:24:22 PM
You didn't respond to my question. If people would be not driven to change anything about their jobs or rate of pay, then what's the point of instituting a UBI?

You did not ask this question.

However, I did indirectly answer it.

Quote
the argument in favor of UBI is that those jobs will be automated whether people choose to stop doing them or not

To elaborate, the point is to provide income to individuals who no longer have the means to provide value in the job market.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on November 05, 2019, 02:44:40 PM
"To elaborate, the point is to provide income to individuals who no longer have the means to provide value in the job market."

1. Firstly, those individuals are not yet automated out of existence. So let's postpone the UBI debate till it happens.

2. Secondly, automation does not necessarily lead to loss of work. In the case of Uber and Uber Eats, huge global platforms are developed that actually provide more work - as drivers and couriers - to people. Likewise AirBnB and Airtasker.

3. Finally, the value of giving a conditional based payment like the dole (I have mentioned the idea of conditionality in each of my posts yet you glide over it - picking and choosing what you want to reply to) is that a dole can still provide income to individuals who no longer have the means to provide value to the job market - that's what you want, isn't it? - but it forces them to prove that they really can't get even the most basic jobs, before getting it. A UBI doesn't require that "proof". Therefore, a UBI is market-inefficient. With a dole, you can be reasonably certain that someone is on it out of true market necessity. With a UBI, you have no such information. Hence, market distortion.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on November 05, 2019, 02:59:47 PM
No and I think Yang hasn't fully thought any of this through.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on November 05, 2019, 03:04:58 PM
As for my assertion:
- Currently in Australia you have to apply for 20 jobs a month and take any reasonable job in order to get the dole, which is set at approximately similar to the UBI level ($12,000 a year).
- This, I am sure you would agree, creates a ready supply of labour at the very bottom end of the job market.
- If we gave out the dole unconditionally, without requiring any job-taking or job-seeking, then I am sure the fruit picking, cleaning and Uber roles would diminish.

All of this is assuming that some amount of income is a necessity. The point I'm trying to make is that absolute necessities are available even to those who have no money. In the US that would be through programs like SNAP and charities like the Food Bank. I'm assuming that Australia has similar programs in place to prevent starvation.

After true necessities are provided for, everything is on a sliding scale of "wants". I'm not disputing that some wants provide more incentive than others, just trying to show that the hard line between needs and wants is irrelevant to this discussion.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on November 05, 2019, 03:17:13 PM
"To elaborate, the point is to provide income to individuals who no longer have the means to provide value in the job market."

1. Firstly, those individuals are not yet automated out of existence. So let's postpone the UBI debate till it happens.

I think waiting until the problem is upon us is a bad idea. And again, I am not arguing in favor of UBI, I'm only arguing against incorrect or unfounded assertions.

Quote
2. Secondly, automation does not necessarily lead to loss of work. In the case of Uber and Uber Eats, huge global platforms are developed that actually provide more work - as drivers and couriers - to people. Likewise AirBnB and Airtasker.

This is a separate discussion. If you are correct, then yes, there may be no need for UBI but I'm trying to keep the discussion narrow so that we don't have the problem I've bolded below.

Quote
3. Finally, the value of giving a conditional based payment like the dole (I have mentioned the idea of conditionality in each of my posts yet you glide over it - picking and choosing what you want to reply to) is that a dole can still provide income to individuals who no longer have the means to provide value to the job market - that's what you want, isn't it? - but it forces them to prove that they really can't get even the most basic jobs, before getting it. A UBI doesn't require that "proof". Therefore, a UBI is market-inefficient. With a dole, you can be reasonably certain that someone is on it out of true market necessity. With a UBI, you have no such information. Hence, market distortion.

Again, I am not arguing in favor of UBI. The post I first responded to was in regard to your assumptions about human behavior. My argument was to dispute your assumption that people would work less and to what extent they would work less.

I understand the concept of conditionality. The argument that UBI could be superior is that we could do away with the overhead and inefficiency of the imperfect system we use to ensure an inability to find work.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Bloop Bloop on November 05, 2019, 03:17:50 PM
We do not have SNAP and even if we did, you could not pay for rent with SNAP, and we have a huge waiting list for public housing. So no, your assumption is wrong. The dole is the safety net you get, and unless you are disabled or have particular special needs it's all you get.  Thus, for the majority of Australians, getting the dole is their safety net, and it requires X number of job applications per month.

As for your statement that UBI could be superior because we could do away with the overhead, the problem is that doing away with the "overhead" also does away with the conditionality, which then leads to the outcomes I suggested. So while UBI is superior in the sense that no one needs to be paid to check on whether job applicants put in 20 applications a month, it is inferior in the sense that suddenly we might struggle to fill up vacancies in fruit picking and Uber Eats that currently get filled up with applicants who are pushed to apply by market forces.

Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on November 05, 2019, 03:34:55 PM
No and I think Yang hasn't fully thought any of this through.

I think this is among the most well thought through and well articulated policy proposals I've ever heard during a presidential election cycle. At least since Ross Perot's infomercials.

I understand that this is faint praise though. Democrats struggle to clearly articulate how they want to get healthcare access to all Americans. Bernie Sanders is the exception, since he wants to move everyone on to an already existing government program, but with his plan losing popularity in public poling lately, the other candidates are left struggling to explain why their plan covers everyone, but also doesn't have the drawbacks of Bernie's plan. And Republicans griped about the ACA for 7 years before revealing that they had no alternative that either wasn't more expensive, or caused millions of people to lose coverage.

But Yang clearly articulates on his website, the problems UBI is supposed to address.

Quote
-Approx. 40 million Americans live below the poverty line.

-Technology is quickly displacing a large number of workers, and the pace will only increase as automation and other forms of artificial intelligence become more advanced. ⅓ of American workers will lose their jobs to automation by 2030 according to McKinsey. This has the potential to destabilize our economy and society if unaddressed.

-Good jobs are becoming more and more scarce and Americans are already working harder and harder for less and less.

-There are many positive social activities that are currently impossible for many to do because they lack the financial resources to dedicate time to it, including taking care of a child or sick loved one, and volunteering in the community.

He clearly explains how he plans to pay for the UBI: A VAT tax on certain goods + offsets from previously existing welfare programs.

He provides sources for why things that sound good like job retraining are not complete solutions. He provides sources showing the effectiveness of direct cash transfers. etc.

I still have lots of questions for Yang, but I don't think it's fair to say the he hasn't thought it through.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Alternatepriorities on November 05, 2019, 04:49:36 PM
No and I think Yang hasn't fully thought any of this through.

I think this is among the most well thought through and well articulated policy proposals I've ever heard during a presidential election cycle. At least since Ross Perot's infomercials.

I understand that this is faint praise though. Democrats struggle to clearly articulate how they want to get healthcare access to all Americans. Bernie Sanders is the exception, since he wants to move everyone on to an already existing government program, but with his plan losing popularity in public poling lately, the other candidates are left struggling to explain why their plan covers everyone, but also doesn't have the drawbacks of Bernie's plan. And Republicans griped about the ACA for 7 years before revealing that they had no alternative that either wasn't more expensive, or caused millions of people to lose coverage.

But Yang clearly articulates on his website, the problems UBI is supposed to address.

Quote
-Approx. 40 million Americans live below the poverty line.

-Technology is quickly displacing a large number of workers, and the pace will only increase as automation and other forms of artificial intelligence become more advanced. ⅓ of American workers will lose their jobs to automation by 2030 according to McKinsey. This has the potential to destabilize our economy and society if unaddressed.

-Good jobs are becoming more and more scarce and Americans are already working harder and harder for less and less.

-There are many positive social activities that are currently impossible for many to do because they lack the financial resources to dedicate time to it, including taking care of a child or sick loved one, and volunteering in the community.

He clearly explains how he plans to pay for the UBI: A VAT tax on certain goods + offsets from previously existing welfare programs.

He provides sources for why things that sound good like job retraining are not complete solutions. He provides sources showing the effectiveness of direct cash transfers. etc.

I still have lots of questions for Yang, but I don't think it's fair to say the he hasn't thought it through.

He hasn't sold me on the idea of UBI yet, but he's doing a decent job of selling me on Yang... Even though my observations of Alaska's PFD don't really support a UBI working as advertised, I would vote for Yang which I can't say for most of the candidates. I will not vote for anyone who promises to penalize me $50K for paying off my student loans instead of buying a giant truck. Money is fungible and at least with a UBI the government isn't in the business of deciding which choices to reward.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: powskier on November 05, 2019, 11:11:30 PM
I like Yang as a candidate. I like that he has no interest in identity politics and clearly cares about people. I like that that he argues that capitalism should be human focused, not just blindly about the  money . He is open to new information and not too interested in the usual pretense of politicians. He is solutions focused not politically focused,he is not a divider like the dickhead in office,  it's very refreshing. I'd vote for him in a heartbeat.
The Alaska dividend has attracted a whole bunch of total losers ( dumb rednecks) here that have made our dysfunctional politics even worse. I wish we'd do away with it because it has distorted local politics beyond belief. It wasn't always thus but the rise of Palin and subsequent influx of idiots is rapidly eroding our quality of life. Giving it to every person is motivating people bad at math and worse at raising kids to have as many kids as they can, compounding issues.

So, I want the Alaska dividend to go away so we can adequately fund basic public services and education, BUT I am FOR a UNIVERSAL basic income. UNIVERSAL ( that is age 18 and up) being the keyword. In the simplest of terms I think it is the simplest way to start to put a dent into income inequality and I think it would radically improve our society. Many folks that fall off the economic edge get into a criminal lifestyle out of necessity and I think that $12K a year would keep many folks away from that.
It seems to me like many people on this site have no idea of how many Americans live in abject poverty, telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when they have no boots. $12K a year would give a lot of people a place to start, some food, some gas, breathing room. It's hard to grow when you are only barely surviving.

This is not to say this wouldn't create problems akin to the recent one we had here, when the mini trump running for Governor just promised everyone $6700 and got elected, even though the math doesn't add up. So yeah whats from keeping the next guy promising $20K a year from getting elected? I don't know, but it's not like we aren't almost at a trillion dollar deficit that appears to only be benefiting the rich  ( Rich includes everyone who owns some VTI by the way, even though it doesn't feel that way sometimes).

Yes there are potential issues with UBI, but the issues with the way our country currently "functions" are way greater IMO than any potential downsides from UBI. Slackers will still be slackers, super productive people will still be super productive, people who were stealing to buy drugs might not "have to steal" anymore.

I'll vote for Yang with or without UBI, in fact I think it's unfortunate that UBI is all people know about him.

Sorry this reads like a ramble, it's late.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on November 06, 2019, 07:58:09 AM
He hasn't sold me on the idea of UBI yet, but he's doing a decent job of selling me on Yang... Even though my observations of Alaska's PFD don't really support a UBI working as advertised, I would vote for Yang which I can't say for most of the candidates. I will not vote for anyone who promises to penalize me $50K for paying off my student loans instead of buying a giant truck. Money is fungible and at least with a UBI the government isn't in the business of deciding which choices to reward.

I think we should move away from the idea that someone getting a benefit means that you're being penalized. Insisting that the next generation be saddled with a problem just because we were also saddled with it is cutting our nose to spite our face.

I'm certainly open to the idea that there are better uses of money than canceling debt, but the practice is generally pro worker and pro middle class (though skewed to people who actually went to college, meaning it's skewed towards upper middle class). I'm not going to refuse to vote for say, Elizabeth Warren over this issue (in the general) because that's effectively a vote for the group that went trillions into debt for share buybacks. Going into debt to boost capital is at least as silly as cancelling student debt. And the beneficiaries are largely rich people.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Boofinator on November 06, 2019, 08:02:36 AM
"To elaborate, the point is to provide income to individuals who no longer have the means to provide value in the job market."

1. Firstly, those individuals are not yet automated out of existence. So let's postpone the UBI debate till it happens.

I think waiting until the problem is upon us is a bad idea. And again, I am not arguing in favor of UBI, I'm only arguing against incorrect or unfounded assertions.

Your first sentence contradicts your second. We know that people have worried that jobs will be lost due to technological advances for a long, long time, and yet it's always been shown to be an incorrect and unfounded assertion. Hence, by induction, it is unlikely this time will be different. As Bloop Bloop says, let's not place the foundation of a sweeping policy proposal on something that does not and, if history is any guide, is unlikely to exist.

Many folks that fall off the economic edge get into a criminal lifestyle out of necessity and I think that $12K a year would keep many folks away from that.

My observation in life is that this isn't true. Most people (Jean Valjean excepted) commit criminal behavior over wants rather than needs (or perhaps needs, but then they continue to satisfy their wants legally, in some kind of perverse logic). This observation can be backed by the fact that very few people in the developed world are dying from lack of needs being met (as has been mentioned), leaving the only explanation for the vast majority of criminal behavior being the desire to satisfy wants. $12k per year won't fix this, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on November 06, 2019, 09:43:10 AM
1. Firstly, those individuals are not yet automated out of existence. So let's postpone the UBI debate till it happens.

I think waiting until the problem is upon us is a bad idea. And again, I am not arguing in favor of UBI, I'm only arguing against incorrect or unfounded assertions.

Your first sentence contradicts your second. We know that people have worried that jobs will be lost due to technological advances for a long, long time, and yet it's always been shown to be an incorrect and unfounded assertion. Hence, by induction, it is unlikely this time will be different. As Bloop Bloop says, let's not place the foundation of a sweeping policy proposal on something that does not and, if history is any guide, is unlikely to exist.

My first sentence was hypothetical. In a scenario where we assumed the problem was coming, or even had a chance of coming, the time to discuss it is now. Once it's already happening is too late. Whether or not it is going to happen is a separate argument.

I think this is why the discussion of UBI (and lots of other policy issues) goes in circles. There are multiple ideas up for debate. Will there always be enough jobs in the future? Is extreme inequality a bad thing? What effect would there be on inflation? Will people work less if we give them enough to cover the basics?

I think the only way to properly address these questions is to break them down into separate discussions. That last question is the only one I actually wanted to address but I'll admit I failed at that when I attempted to address every subsequent point that was made.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Alternatepriorities on November 06, 2019, 11:13:48 AM
He hasn't sold me on the idea of UBI yet, but he's doing a decent job of selling me on Yang... Even though my observations of Alaska's PFD don't really support a UBI working as advertised, I would vote for Yang which I can't say for most of the candidates. I will not vote for anyone who promises to penalize me $50K for paying off my student loans instead of buying a giant truck. Money is fungible and at least with a UBI the government isn't in the business of deciding which choices to reward.

I think we should move away from the idea that someone getting a benefit means that you're being penalized. Insisting that the next generation be saddled with a problem just because we were also saddled with it is cutting our nose to spite our face.

I'm certainly open to the idea that there are better uses of money than canceling debt, but the practice is generally pro worker and pro middle class (though skewed to people who actually went to college, meaning it's skewed towards upper middle class). I'm not going to refuse to vote for say, Elizabeth Warren over this issue (in the general) because that's effectively a vote for the group that went trillions into debt for share buybacks. Going into debt to boost capital is at least as silly as cancelling student debt. And the beneficiaries are largely rich people.

It's not the next generation, but rather my peers who went of fancy vacations, bought fancy cars and houses while I dutifully paid off my loans. It's the alternative me who could have spent an extra two years traveling the world if I'd skipped paying back my student loans that I don't like. It's also my friends who didn't go to college and chose a trade missing out on a windfall just because Senators Warren and Sanders decided they are not 'worthy".

I could accept your argument as applied to UBI, but not to student loan forgiveness. I do believe we should return to allowing student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy, but blanket forgiveness is no less unfair to people who made responsible choices than the bailouts that went to buybacks were.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Alternatepriorities on November 06, 2019, 11:27:05 AM
I like Yang as a candidate. I like that he has no interest in identity politics and clearly cares about people. I like that that he argues that capitalism should be human focused, not just blindly about the  money . He is open to new information and not too interested in the usual pretense of politicians. He is solutions focused not politically focused,he is not a divider like the dickhead in office,  it's very refreshing. I'd vote for him in a heartbeat.
The Alaska dividend has attracted a whole bunch of total losers ( dumb rednecks) here that have made our dysfunctional politics even worse. I wish we'd do away with it because it has distorted local politics beyond belief. It wasn't always thus but the rise of Palin and subsequent influx of idiots is rapidly eroding our quality of life. Giving it to every person is motivating people bad at math and worse at raising kids to have as many kids as they can, compounding issues.

So, I want the Alaska dividend to go away so we can adequately fund basic public services and education, BUT I am FOR a UNIVERSAL basic income. UNIVERSAL ( that is age 18 and up) being the keyword. In the simplest of terms I think it is the simplest way to start to put a dent into income inequality and I think it would radically improve our society. Many folks that fall off the economic edge get into a criminal lifestyle out of necessity and I think that $12K a year would keep many folks away from that.
It seems to me like many people on this site have no idea of how many Americans live in abject poverty, telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when they have no boots. $12K a year would give a lot of people a place to start, some food, some gas, breathing room. It's hard to grow when you are only barely surviving.

This is not to say this wouldn't create problems akin to the recent one we had here, when the mini trump running for Governor just promised everyone $6700 and got elected, even though the math doesn't add up. So yeah whats from keeping the next guy promising $20K a year from getting elected? I don't know, but it's not like we aren't almost at a trillion dollar deficit that appears to only be benefiting the rich  ( Rich includes everyone who owns some VTI by the way, even though it doesn't feel that way sometimes).

Yes there are potential issues with UBI, but the issues with the way our country currently "functions" are way greater IMO than any potential downsides from UBI. Slackers will still be slackers, super productive people will still be super productive, people who were stealing to buy drugs might not "have to steal" anymore.

I'll vote for Yang with or without UBI, in fact I think it's unfortunate that UBI is all people know about him.

Sorry this reads like a ramble, it's late.

Yay there is another Alaskan here! I'd like to hear more about why/how a UBi would work out differently than the PFD and generous state benefits in AK have.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: mathlete on November 06, 2019, 12:47:34 PM
It's not the next generation, but rather my peers who went of fancy vacations, bought fancy cars and houses while I dutifully paid off my loans. It's the alternative me who could have spent an extra two years traveling the world if I'd skipped paying back my student loans that I don't like. It's also my friends who didn't go to college and chose a trade missing out on a windfall just because Senators Warren and Sanders decided they are not 'worthy".

I could accept your argument as applied to UBI, but not to student loan forgiveness. I do believe we should return to allowing student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy, but blanket forgiveness is no less unfair to people who made responsible choices than the bailouts that went to buybacks were.

I think the bold is an incredible fair criticism. And it's the reason why while I'm not against loan forgiveness, I think it should be behind other priories like universal healthcare/childcare, and probably UBI. I think Warren and Sanders are testing the popularity of this policy right now. As they should given that it's the primaries.

I also agree that having student loans dischargable in bankruptcy is good step. The Public Student Loan Forgiveness program was a good step too. It requires a good faith effort to pay (120 payments, or ten years of payments) and gainful employment to qualify. Unfortunately, the administration of this program has been pretty tricky, and very few people have actually benefited from it ten years on. The current administration doesn't much care for the program, and Warren's CFPB, which is supposed to help consumers call out lenders who aren't holding up to their end, has been gutted.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: LonerMatt on November 06, 2019, 12:49:13 PM
I think this is why the discussion of UBI (and lots of other policy issues) goes in circles. There are multiple ideas up for debate. Will there always be enough jobs in the future? Is extreme inequality a bad thing? What effect would there be on inflation? Will people work less if we give them enough to cover the basics?

It's bizarre that you wrote in a way that implies 'extreme inequality' is some hypothetical situation and not a reality that we have reams of studies, evidence, historical context, modern examples and first person lived experience regarding.

If anyone concludes that extreme inequality is good they are simply ignorant. No one experiencing bottom 1% poverty likes it. No on is enriched by it. No one is stronger, more able, more motivated or more capable because of it.

Do you know what the bottom of society is like? Even here in Australia the bottom 1% is this:

-  Obviously, you can't afford anything - barely even rent and food, often not rent, and public housing is scarce, so you're homeless
- Your rates of: domestic violence, neglect, childhood trauma, development delays, high school drop out, drug use, addiction, learning disorders, incarceration, unemployment, health risks, heart disease, etc are sky high compared to everyone else
- Your mental health is a shit show
- Incidences of child abuse, molestation, rape, assault are through the roof
- You're generally unliked by society, very few people accept or want you around - socially isolated, publicly maligned
- You're miserable
- Systems don't support you and have little interest in changing to do so
- You die 30 years younger than everyone else

It's shit. I've spent way too much of my life trying to help people in the bottom 1% here and they suffer every fucking day. It's miserable and ugly and unpleasant and so hard. Almost all of them have developmental trauma so severe we can see a reduction in brain development in an MRI scan - and when you've got developmental delays, abnormal brain development and developmental trauma you're not learning much.

Reducing human suffering should be a social aim the world over - extreme inequality (where the # of people at the bottom increases) increases human suffering. Perhaps not everyone should be at the top, but as few people as possible should be at the bottom.

Extreme inequality is terrible, it's ugly, if it ever was natural (and I don't think that's a good argument) we have the money to stop it right now. It is unethical, immoral and disgusting that in rich countries like ours it still happens.
Title: Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
Post by: Davnasty on November 06, 2019, 01:11:50 PM
I think this is why the discussion of UBI (and lots of other policy issues) goes in circles. There are multiple ideas up for debate. Will there always be enough jobs in the future? Is extreme inequality a bad thing? What effect would there be on inflation? Will people work less if we give them enough to cover the basics?

It's bizarre that you wrote in a way that implies 'extreme inequality' is some hypothetical situation and not a reality that we have reams of studies, evidence, historical context, modern examples and first person lived experience regarding.

If anyone concludes that extreme inequality is good they are simply ignorant. No one experiencing bottom 1% poverty likes it. No on is enriched by it. No one is stronger, more able, more motivated or more capable because of it.

Do you know what the bottom of society is like? Even here in Australia the bottom 1% is this:

-  Obviously, you can't afford anything - barely even rent and food, often not rent, and public housing is scarce, so you're homeless
- Your rates of: domestic violence, neglect, childhood trauma, development delays, high school drop out, drug use, addiction, learning disorders, incarceration, unemployment, health risks, heart disease, etc are sky high compared to everyone else
- Your mental health is a shit show
- Incidences of child abuse, molestation, rape, assault are through the roof
- You're generally unliked by society, very few people accept or want you around - socially isolated, publicly maligned
- You're miserable
- Systems don't support you and have little interest in changing to do so
- You die 30 years younger than everyone else

It's shit. I've spent way too much of my life trying to help people in the bottom 1% here and they suffer every fucking day. It's miserable and ugly and unpleasant and so hard. Almost all of them have developmental trauma so severe we can see a reduction in brain development in an MRI scan - and when you've got developmental delays, abnormal brain development and developmental trauma you're not learning much.

Reducing human suffering should be a social aim the world over - extreme inequality (where the # of people at the bottom increases) increases human suffering. Perhaps not everyone should be at the top, but as few people as possible should be at the bottom.

Extreme inequality is terrible, it's ugly, if it ever was natural (and I don't think that's a good argument) we have the money to stop it right now. It is unethical, immoral and disgusting that in rich countries like ours it still happens.

It's bizarre that you read that much into it. I was just throwing up some questions relevant to the discussion.

I absolutely agree that extreme inequality is a bad thing.