Author Topic: Do mustachians support universal basic income?  (Read 20928 times)

Wrenchturner

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #50 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.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #51 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.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #52 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.

Davnasty

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #53 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.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #54 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.

freedomfightergal

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #55 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.

freedomfightergal

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #56 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

meatgrinder

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #57 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.

GrumpyPenguin

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #58 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.

freedomfightergal

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #59 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


AccidentialMustache

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #60 on: June 24, 2019, 08:18:31 PM »
What are mustachians but the "do it yourself" UBI?

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #61 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.

NorthernBlitz

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #62 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.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2019, 08:19:27 AM by NorthernBlitz »

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #63 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.

freedomfightergal

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #64 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.

Home Stretch

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #65 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.

Leisured

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #66 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.


A Fella from Stella

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #67 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.

jim555

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #68 on: June 28, 2019, 06:19:19 AM »
UBI, I can't believe this dumb idea is even being discussed.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #69 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.

jlcnuke

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #70 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.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #71 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.

PDXTabs

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #72 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.

catprog

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #73 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)



FIREstache

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #74 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


js82

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #75 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.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 09:20:11 PM by js82 »

MoneyGoatee

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #76 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.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2019, 01:43:11 PM by MoneyGoatee »

kite

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #77 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. 

Davnasty

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #78 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/

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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.

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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.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 12:17:57 PM by Dabnasty »

GodlessCommie

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #79 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.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 12:35:04 PM by GodlessCommie »

Wrenchturner

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #80 on: September 10, 2019, 12:47:49 PM »
I don't even see how we can realistically prototype this idea.

mathlete

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #81 on: September 10, 2019, 12:51:01 PM »
Yes!!!!!!!

mathlete

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #82 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.

Telecaster

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #83 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. 


Davnasty

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #84 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

Wrenchturner

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #85 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.

mathlete

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #86 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.

mathlete

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #87 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 :)
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 01:37:03 PM by mathlete »

Wrenchturner

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #88 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.

Boofinator

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #89 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".

moof

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #90 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).

mathlete

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #91 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.

RangerOne

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #92 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.


RangerOne

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #93 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.


OurTown

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #94 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.

mathlete

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #95 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.

fattest_foot

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #96 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.

wenchsenior

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #97 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

scottnews

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #98 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

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.

Davnasty

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #99 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.