We all need time to live, that is why we need the UBI
I have advocated universal basic income (UBI) for over a decade.
UBI would be a monthly dollar amount given to everyone. The UBI would have no requirements other than everyone would receive it.
Universal is a legal definition. It means everyone and not means-tested. Means-tested is a legal term that means that you have to fit under particular criteria. Entitlement is a legal term. It means mandatory funding.
Receiving the income would solely be based on being alive and living here. It would not take away any of the social services that currently exist. It could not be used as income to take away food stamps, housing, or childcare. It isn’t replacing our pathetic means-tested based safety net. It wouldn’t punish the poor. It would be in addition to our sad means-tested based safety net.
UBI would look very different from the guaranteed minimum income, which is specifically for the most economically oppressed. We know how programs specifically for the poor look in the United States. Thanks to Republicans and certain neo-liberals, it looks like a dystopian nightmare.
Some people’s reason for not supporting UBI is that it still lets capitalism be capitalism. I’m afraid I have to disagree with that argument. Being forced to work a job under capitalism is letting capitalism be capitalism. Even worse, it is NOT giving you time to educate yourself, speak with your neighbors, relax, or spend time with your family.
The 40-hour workweek, with housing costs out of control, with no universal healthcare, and a higher education system that forces the average person into debt, will not bring forth a revolution or give you more control.
Do you feel you have control of your life now?
This idea that people will rise up through just the right amount of suffering is not how human behavior works.
Suffering normalizes suffering.
Labor under laissez-faire capitalism is set up to stop people from thinking, socializing, and even critiquing their current situation. You lack time to do anything, but not die. Even the so-called middle class is in this situation.
The writers and philosophers that many people admire were often able to do that writing and thinking owing to inheritances, benefactors, and grants. Most weren’t planning revolutionary ideas while working 40-60 hour-a-week jobs. You can’t because the workweek is exhausting to most. Wealthy abolitionist Francis George Shaw was Henry George's benefactor. Friedrich Engels was Karl Marx's benefactor.
This idea that to feel whole, you need to spend most of your day working or performing a service for an exploitative amount of money is a harmful narrative put out by people who want to oppress us, and we need to stop embracing it.
We need to stop embracing puritanical values from religious texts that justify our oppression.
Owing to technology, many tasks no longer require the entire day to complete. That is a wonderful innovation if we realize that the paradigm of labor needs to change.
We don’t need a $15.00 an hour 40-hour workweek. We need an $80.00 an hour 10-hour workweek. In jobs that require a physical presence, we need job shares. There would be plenty for people to do and a comfortable lifestyle for those doing it with the addition of UBI.
Corporations are making unprecedented amounts in profits. The wealthy are getting wealthier. The money is there to make this happen.
The Feds bestowed Wall Street $1.77 trillion under the CARES Act, Wolf Richter stated “If the Fed had sent that $1.77 Trillion to the 130 million households in the U.S., each household would have received $13,600.”
The labor paradigm in the 21st century does not need to be the labor paradigm in the 20th century. It can’t be unless we like the idea of working for work’s sake. Do we have so little faith in our fellow citizens that we feel that free time will lead to “devil’s work?”
I suspect the imaginary god in the sky is why many of the U.S. public balks at the idea of a 20-hour or 10-hour workweek. Also, a few of us seem to have an inability to get out of the mindset of a kindergartener, who is angry because why does Johnny get 1 more minute on the swing.
Our reality could be great if we had as much faith in our fellow citizens as we did in the market.
Good Morning Lark: Great article on the UBI.
In my opinion:
When it is funded by a tax on the rental value of land, the money is collected in direct proportion to the special benefits received by the landowners (taxpayers). In other words, the petty landowners pay a tiny bit toward the fund, and the big landowners pay the bulk of the fund.
As wonderful as the UBI is, until there is a Free-land opportunity (all other things remaining the same), it will only be of benefit to those who own the land on which they live. That would greatly help the majority of Americans, because they own (even with a mortgage) the land under their house. No one can raise what they owe on it.
If nominally priced public housing were increased enough to create an artificial alternative to the rental housing market, that could make it beneficial to the none landowners.
But, failing that, the cash payments to all people will not only bid up what people pay for rental housing, but what people have to pay when they go to buy (the land under) a house.
That is why the full Single Tax is the only systemic solution to poverty and the 60 hour a week wage slavery.
Under the Single Tax there would be a free-land opportunity. People there would get the cash. Therefore the cash that people get on superior valuable land would not add to the benefits they get because they are on someone else’s land.
Without a free-land opportunity, wages tend to a bare subsistence below which productivity would fall more that wages were lowered. The amount people must pay for the most basic housing at the least desirable locations is all that the lowest paid workers who actually get housing can afford. If the landowners try to charge more, the dwellings would stay empty. Bigger and better housing at superior locations is based on how much more superior workers and those who enjoy other income besides wages are willing to pay.
Anyone who thinks the Single Tax is not a panacea, has not thought about it long enough.
I feel very lucky to have made your acquaintance. Thank you very much,