MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

4 New Reasons to Fear a Universal Basic Income | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on June 21, 2019

While it’s true people ought to be able to spend their own money as they see fit,  how they spend other people’s money is another matter.

This is Cloward-Piven in action.

The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in 1966 by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a socialist system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty”

Take this to it’s natural conclusion. What happens when everyone is on the dole?

Who will teach, put out fires, be your doctor?

https://mises.org/wire/4-new-reasons-fear-universal-basic-income

Most of us have heard the arguments from the Left on the emancipatory power of the Universal Basic Income Guarantee to free us from the chains of work, stress and poverty, and to liberate the creative impulses of man. We also hear from conservatives like Charles Murray, who stress that welfare cliffs under the current system create a poverty trap, where by earning more people will take home less, creating a permanent disincentive to work which the UBI would partially solve.

There is a contingent of libertarians who also hold the view that the UBI is better than the current system. They highlight the fact that bureaucratic costs will be lower and, theoretically, many public sector workers could be axed from welfare departments — reducing the overall size of the state. Government outgoings on law enforcement could be reduced, if the UBI leads to a drop in poverty-driven crime. And, if people are already receiving the basic means of survival, we can cut regulations around hiring and firing people and labor laws, since workers, faced with poor conditions, will have the f-you money to walk away from them. What’s more, if people can shop around for services currently provided by the government then some programs can be cut into the bargain.

Ultimately, since people would be given their basic income directly to spend as they please, it would preserve the market economy relative to more intrusive forms of government assistance or central planning, where officeholders and bureaucrats attempt to organize production “on behalf of the poor” (or “the workers” or “the people”) leading to a disastrous misallocation of resources and authoritarian dictatorship.

At least that’s what the pro-UBI libertarians claim…

One: Even if the UBI will allow us to replace all sorts of systems and reduce the size of government, that will not be the end of the story. UBI will inevitably grow arms and legs.

After the UBI is instituted, it will only be a matter of time until we hear this group or that group should be earning an even higher basic income. “I am disabled, I should have a higher basic income, some may say. Or other may object “All my relatives live in a more expensive city, so I need a higher basic income.” And so on. Then people will advocate for a higher UBI for the elderly, disabled, people who live in areas where the rents and costs of living are high, or where they have to travel long distances to work, and so on. Ad infinitum

Two: Perhaps the scariest aspect of it all is that in most cases when the government creates handouts, there is always a group that stands to benefit and another that stands to lose. With the Universal Basic Income it seems on the face of it that there is no “out” group. Everyone is in on the action.

But that’s not really the case.

The state, policymakers, and government employees will benefit relative to everyone else.

After all, the UBI legitimizes government and brings everyone into a system which they could otherwise often ignore. The state is provider, and each of us becomes its ward…

Three: The UBI will not get rid of those who constantly call for ever higher levels of social benefits, and total  numbers of people who “need” UBI will not decline. This is because a UBI will not, and cannot, address the underlying causes of poverty and inequality — which is that poor people have low skills and no capital…

Four: With the UBI, the state is potentially handing out a large sum of money each month to people who may spend it to ruin their own health, or destroy their lives. Individuals with substance addictions, gambling problems or bad spending habits which get them in trouble. People who are addicted to computer games or Facebook might benefit from getting out to work in a bar or cafe and mingling with the public for some occupational therapy. But the UBI will allow them to isolate themselves further. Thus, in many cases with the UBI, payments may not actually be helping people. Recipients lives could be made worse by payments.

It takes a pretty callous person to say, “Well, it’s their life, they’ve got a right to ruin it. Let them take out their UBI and spend it on hard drugs if they want to.” While it’s true people ought to be able to spend their own money as they see fit,  how they spend other people’s money is another matter…

 

 

 

 

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