Author Topic: Do mustachians support universal basic income?  (Read 23730 times)

rocketpj

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #200 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.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #201 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?


Telecaster

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #202 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. 

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #203 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.

bacchi

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #204 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.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #205 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?

joshuagraham_xyz

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #206 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!

joshuagraham_xyz

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #207 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.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #208 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.
 

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #209 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.

NorthernBlitz

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #210 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.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2019, 03:25:20 AM by NorthernBlitz »

TheContinentalOp

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #211 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.

bacchi

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #212 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

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #213 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.

bacchi

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #214 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?

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #215 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.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2019, 09:26:33 AM by Bloop Bloop »

Vashy

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #216 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.

bacchi

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #217 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.

retired?

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #218 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.

jim555

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #219 on: October 21, 2019, 12:23:05 PM »
Commie BS.

NorthernBlitz

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #220 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.

catprog

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #221 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)

EscapedApe

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #222 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.

NorthernBlitz

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #223 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

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.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 10:11:24 AM by NorthernBlitz »

freya

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #224 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.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 12:46:21 PM by freya »

mathlete

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #225 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.

mathlete

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #226 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. 

Phenix

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #227 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.

Boofinator

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #228 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).

mathlete

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #229 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.

mathlete

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #230 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.

EscapedApe

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #231 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).

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.

Telecaster

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #232 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. 

LonerMatt

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #233 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.

LonerMatt

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #234 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.

EscapedApe

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #235 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?

LonerMatt

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #236 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.

NorthernBlitz

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #237 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.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 04:04:12 AM by NorthernBlitz »

freya

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #238 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.

EscapedApe

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #239 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?

Boofinator

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #240 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.

mathlete

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #241 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.

EscapedApe

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #242 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.

Boofinator

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #243 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.

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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.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 01:38:14 PM by Boofinator »

Boofinator

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #244 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?

LonerMatt

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #245 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.

EscapedApe

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #246 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?

Davnasty

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #247 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.

Davnasty

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #248 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"

Boofinator

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Re: Do mustachians support universal basic income?
« Reply #249 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).