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Posts Tagged ‘universal basic income’

Hard talk with Václav Klaus: “The people should say NO to all of it.” – Claudio Grass, Precious Metal Advisory In Switzerland

Posted by M. C. on May 5, 2020

Those of us in the ex-communist countries were used to living in a world of something like “Universal Basic Income”. We wanted to get rid of communism because of principles like this. These principles destroyed the motivation to work, which proved to be ruinous.  

It’s quite simple. The people should say “NO” to all of it. Otherwise, what lies ahead is a real-life approximation of the dystopian “Brave New World” of Aldous Huxley.

As we get deeper into this crisis and we get used to our “new normal”, it’s easy to focus on the daily corona-horror stories in the media or the latest shocking unemployment numbers, and lose track of the bigger picture and of what is really, fundamentally important. Even as the lockdown measures begin to get phased out, the scale of the economic damage is unimaginable and the idea of returning to “business as usual” is no longer tenable. The last couple of months have had a severe impact not just on the economy, but on our societies and geopolitical reality too. These changes are most likely irreversible and we as citizens and as investors will have to be prepared to deal with this massive shift and all that it entails for a long time.

Amid the panic, the distractions and the hyperbole that are prevalent these days, my own daily task has been an effort to separate the signals from the noise. In order to do so, I’ve also reached out to the few people whose views and insights I have long found invaluable and who have prioritized critical thought and kept their principles intact throughout this crisis. Straight talk and direct answers are very hard to come by these days from most Western leaders and institutional figures, this is why I turned to Former President of the Czech Republic, Prof. Ing. Václav Klaus, who has long been a voice of reason and whose unique perspective is even more important now. In the interview that follows, he shares his views on the current crisis and on what’s to come, in a succinct and resolute way and with a directness that is as rare and as it is essential in times like these.

Claudio Grass (CG): The magnitude and the global scale of the lockdown and shutdown measures we’ve seen during this corona-crisis are unprecedented. How do you evaluate the response compared to the threat itself? Do you believe it is justified? 

Václav Klaus (VK): I don‘t pretend to be an expert in epidemiology, but my background in economics and statistics tells me that the threat is smaller than the consequences „organized“ by governments all over the world as a reaction to this pandemic. I would add unnecessary consequences. The authorities reacted in an exorbitant way, in a moment of fear. This is partly the result of the current „online democracy“.

CG: The “emergency measures” and the restrictions that have been imposed on civilians’ basic rights have served as a reminder of the true extent of the state’s powers. Do you find this worrying and do you see a risk that these new, extraordinary powers might not be as easy to roll back once the crisis is over? 

VK: The restrictions on basic civil rights that were introduced so swiftly and so easily demonstrate the power of the modern state, with all its new, “smart“ technologies and drastically expanded enforcement capabilities. Economists often talk about the so-called “ratchet effect”, or the limited ability of existing processes and dynamics to be reversed and to return to normal once a specific event has radically altered them. It is true of prices, of productivity and it is also true of social and political systems. Therefore, I am afraid it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to return to the pre-corona days.

CG: On an economic level, what is your assessment of the impact of the shutdown measures? 

VK: Most, if not all, of the circulating quantitative estimates and forecasts, are wrong. The “experts” should first say how long the quarantine restrictions will last and when the economic shutdown will be fully lifted. Their economic forecasts depend on the length of the quarantine period. They should announce explicitly when they plan to end it. Until this is established and known, the current forecasts are economically meaningless.

CG: The monetary and fiscal interventions that we’ve seen so far are as extreme and as shocking as the shutdown policies themselves. Do you think they’ll be enough to keep the economy afloat though, or is a deep and long recession simply inevitable? 

VK: The monetary and fiscal measures – unacceptable for the true democrats – may have positive short-term effects, but they will destabilize the economy and public finances for a very long period of time. They could lead to very high inflation.

CG:  Trillions upon trillions are being injected into the system, while wild ideas like the Universal Basic Income have become mainstream. Apart from the obvious monetary and economic risks of these policies, do you also foresee political and social implications? 

VK: Those of us in the ex-communist countries were used to living in a world of something like “Universal Basic Income”. We wanted to get rid of communism because of principles like this. These principles destroyed the motivation to work, which proved to be ruinous.

CG: Within just a few weeks we have witnessed an abrupt and absolute turn towards centralization. The free market has been brought to its knees, individual voluntary exchanges, productivity and the very right to work and to create were all suspended and replaced with central planning. Do you think this approach has any chance of being sustainable? 

VK: I would not call it “central planning” yet. I prefer Walter Eucken’s term (used for the description of the German economy in Hitler’s time), “centrally administrated economy”. It is not planning in its original meaning. It is the very heavy and visible hand of the government at work, instead of the “invisible hand” of the market.

CG: The corona-crisis has also had some very serious geopolitical ramifications, especially vis-à-vis China. What are the main changes that you expect to see going forward in this arena? 

VK: We shouldn’t use this situation for the introduction of new dangerous foreign relations policies and to strengthen the demonization of countries such as China and Russia. To my great regret, however, we see this is already happening.

CG: What about the future of the EU? Do you think this crisis has further weakened it and what is your outlook for the bloc? 

VK: The EU will – unfortunately, in my view – survive the corona-crisis. Its exponents will use it to further weaken nation-states. They are on the defensive now, but they will reemerge again in full strength very soon. I wish I’ll be proven wrong, but I do believe they’ll use this crisis to their advantage and I fear they’ll do so successfully.

CG: Citizens, investors and savers everywhere are justifiably scared, if not of the virus itself then certainly of financial ruin. In your view, what can we do to take back at least some control of our own future? 

VK: It’s quite simple. The people should say “NO” to all of it. Otherwise, what lies ahead is a real-life approximation of the dystopian “Brave New World” of Aldous Huxley.

Claudio Grass, Hünenberg See, Schweiz

This article has been published in the Newsroom of pro aurum, the leading precious metals company in Europe with an independent subsidiary in Switzerland.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Doug Casey on the Truth About Millennials and the Next Crisis

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2020

I don’t think that Millennials as a group really believe in themselves. A lot of blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants are resentful; a lot of the whites feel guilty and unjustly entitled. Few in any of these groups any longer seem to believe in the values—like individualism, personal responsibility, and liberty—that actually made the US different once upon a time.

Forget about freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and free markets. All of these things are radically under attack. Those things are why America became what it is—or once was. It’s being washed away.

by Doug Casey

International Man: Many people perceive Millennials to be entitled, spoiled snowflakes who refuse to work hard.

Whether or not this is true, Millennials as a group will soon surpass the number of baby boomers as the largest generational group.

How equipped is this soon-to-be dominant generation for handling a financial crisis, a major war, or civil unrest?

Doug Casey: According to William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book, The Fourth Turning, the Millennials should be a “Hero” Generation, set to face a huge threat to the country.

For previous so-called Hero Generations, the threats were the Great Depression and then World War II. The time from 1929 to 1946 was full of societally threatening events. Much like today.

The Millennials are in a generational position similar to that of the so-called Greatest Generation, who are now mostly dead. The Millennials, however, don’t seem quite ready for hero-scale challenges. They’re mostly talking about safe spaces, diversity, free college, a guaranteed income, and being gender uncertain.

When the United States encounters a civilizational crisis—which in my opinion is here, it’s unfolding as we speak—it’s questionable whether the Millennials will have what it takes. You don’t get there by being gender questioning or sitting in your mother’s basement playing video games and getting fat.

International Man: It’s no secret that Democrats are turning to socialist ideas like universal health care, universal basic income, and more.

The baby boomer generation had a significant impact on government policies and welfare programs like Medicare. From 2008 to 2018 alone, Medicare spending grew from $462 billion to $731 billion.

What’s your take on how Millennials will shape the future of the United States?

Doug Casey: Let’s look at this from a long-term perspective—0ver the last 120 years.

At the turn of the 20th century, something like 85% or 90% of Americans were on the farm, actually growing food, getting up at 6:00 AM, and working 16-hour days. They were on the ragged edge of starvation during bad years. Even people in the cities had it pretty tough.

Now, with the Millennial generation, the average American is at least three generations off the farm. A lot of them think that milk doesn’t come from cows. They think it comes from cartons.

The kind of values that you get from growing up on a farm, or at least having parents who did, tend to vanish when you grow up in a suburb, have helicopter parents, and your main relationship with the outside world is electronic.

I don’t think that Millennials as a group really believe in themselves. A lot of blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants are resentful; a lot of the whites feel guilty and unjustly entitled. Few in any of these groups any longer seem to believe in the values—like individualism, personal responsibility, and liberty—that actually made the US different once upon a time.

Forget about freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and free markets. All of these things are radically under attack. Those things are why America became what it is—or once was. It’s being washed away.

It seems like we have transitioned quite easily from a war against “godless communism” to war against Islam. Muhammedans look at the United States and Europe and see degraded societies without a philosophical center, without a belief in themselves. I suppose the Chinese are next on the dance card…

Even though they may for the most part be primitive, barefoot goat herders, Muhammedans hold the West in contempt. I’m afraid any serious conflict with the Muhammedans could end badly, regardless of our huge technological advantage. Why? Because, as Napoleon said, in war the psychological is to the physical as three is to one. And most of these people have a strong unifying faith—something totally lacking in the West.

Incidentally, I call their faith “Muhammedanism” as opposed to “Islam,” partly because you call followers of Christ, “Christians.” You call followers of Buddha, “Buddhists.” Followers of Confucius, “Confucians.” And so forth.

We used to call followers of Muhammed, “Muhammedans.” But the fact we no longer do is part of the general corruption of the language we now have in so many areas. “Islam” means “submission” in Arabic; it’s a PC word.

When you let an adversary take control of what words mean and which words are used, you’ve already lost the high ground. When you lose control of your own language, you lose control of your thought processes, and basically everything else follows. No wonder they hold the West in contempt.

If it comes down to a military conflict where the Millennial generation has to fill in for the previous so-called Hero Generation in the Strauss-Howe model, the West is in trouble. That’s true whether the conflict is with the Chinese or the followers of The Prophet.

That’s apart from the fact the US military itself is a very different animal from what it once was. With some exceptions, the US military today is made up of refugees from barrios, trailer parks, and ghettos. I don’t approve of the draft, but for what it’s worth, at least the draft was kind of a cross section of the US. Now, the military is very self-selecting.

It’s actually a completely separate culture within the US. Their first loyalty, like the police, is to other soldiers. Secondarily to their employer, the US government. And only third to America—which is no longer a republic. It’s a domestic empire.

I’m very antiwar as a matter of principle. But if it comes down to a military conflict I don’t see a happy ending, because all we have are ultra-expensive and obsolescent toys useful mainly to fatten the profits of so-called “defense” companies. Generals cozy up to them so they can cash in with fat consulting contracts after they retire. I suspect, incidentally, the next war will have huge biological and cyber elements.

There’s another x factor. The Millennial generation has grown up on first-person shooter video games. Some, if they have an extra Y chromosome, may want to put that into practice. You can really do that only in the military or the police—most of whom are ex-military today.

I’ve gone off on a few tangents, using the Strauss and Howe book as a platform. But my intention here wasn’t to do a book review. That said, I again want to recommend their work. They came up with something original and valuable, which offers a pretty solid look into the near future.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, there’s little any individual can practically do to change the course of these trends in motion.

The coming economic and political crisis is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past.

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If THIS Continues To Happen, America Is Doomed ...




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France’s Political Hooliganism – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 7, 2020

Here is where the US gets to shine.

A universal basic income, then government (taxpayer) sponsored retirement at 40.

Where are you Bernie, AOC?


France’s favorite sports are striking and street demonstrations. At heart, most French are revolutionaries and protestors.

In France, the answer to every problem seems to be ‘aux barricades!’ (to the barricades!). Demonstrations are typically followed by a hearty lunch…

France is not highly unionized, but its belligerent trade organizations, most of them with roots in 1930’s communism or socialism, have a stranglehold on key sectors of France’s economy: trains, metros, refineries, truck transport, ports, food distribution, air traffic control, and even hospitals.

The current round of demos that began a month ago are serious business. Just about everyone appears opposed to President Emanuel Macron’s plans to modernize the nation’s crazy-quilt pension regulations that confer special privileges on favored groups of workers. Rail workers, for example, a particularly pampered bunch, can retire with close to full pay while in their 40’s. Ballet dancers enjoy similar benefits. Average workers can retire at 62. Macron wants to change retirement to 64, citing the longer life-span of today’s workers, and to consolidate the nation’s 42 separate retirement plans. Britain’s retirement age is 66 years.

France’s labor movement is up in arms, responding with more outrage and fury than it did when the Germans invaded in 1940. Unless Macron backs down, the unions will strike oil refineries and petroleum distribution centers, threatening to cripple most road transport, food distribution, emergency services and airports. Ports will also be targeted.

In short, industrial warfare against the state and its citizens…

Behind all this, is the unspoken but very real French notion that government is ‘papa.’ Rather than pay for work, Paris doles out allowances to the French. When they want more, like unruly kids everywhere the French throw tantrums, demanding better pay and benefits. Government in France is assumed to enjoy unlimited wealth. Budgets and spending restraints are dismissed as the works of mean-spirited Scots or Swiss accountants…

France is one of this world’s most beautiful nations. Its citizens are well educated and sophisticated; its cities shine; its ecology superbly safeguarded. In many ways, it remains ‘the Great Nation’ of the era of Louis XIV. But not when it comes to labor and civic responsibility. Instead of calm discussion to resolve wage and work issues, such as we see in Switzerland and Germany, the French keep indulging in political hooliganism to the endless misery of their fellow citizens.

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French protesters step up violent strikes against labour ...





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The Hidden Costs of a Universal Basic Income | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 10, 2019

A likely outcome is a significant decline in the overall output of the economy — meaning impoverishment across the board…

The universal basic income (UBI) is gaining popularity as the alternative to the current welfare system. The idea is to give each citizen the same amount of money, no matter if he or she works or not. Therefore, unlike traditional welfare systems, the UBI has no means test, nor willingness-to-work test. Nobody would be then left without a livelihood even if there is no work for him. Doesn’t that sound great?

The problem is that the program must be financed somehow. Let us assume for simplicity that there are 250 million adult Americans and that each of them would receive $1,000 monthly (as presidential candidate Andrew Yang proposes). So we get a total cost of $250 billion monthly and $3 trillion annually. It would amount to about 14 percent of US GDP, or 42 percent of total government spending, or 73 percent of the federal outlays. For comparison, this is more than the total expenditure on health care, defense, and education. And yet we are talking about “just” $12,000 annually (or 19 percent of the median household salary, or 36 percent of the median personal income). Good luck with such an expensive program!

This is why the UBI is a utopian idea. Its introduction would require either a departure from universality (e.g., providing benefits only for young people), or a departure from unconditionality (e.g., the introduction of an income criterion), or reducing payment to small symbolic amounts. Other options include a radical increase in taxes, or implementing “modern monetary theory” and launching the printing press.

The first two options would distort the idea of ​​the program, transforming it into another traditional welfare program. The third scenario would not fulfill the program goals, as it would neither eradicate poverty nor significantly increase social security. And the last two options would have negative overall economic consequences that could lead to the results contrary to the intentions of the program, (e.g., an increase in the unemployment rate as a result of additional tax burden on wages), or a reduction in the amount of real benefits as a result of increased inflation. It means that the implementation of the UBI at a substantial level without incurring significant economic costs is a myth.

This is confirmed by a recent article “Basic income or a single tapering rule? Incentives, inclusiveness and affordability compared for the case of Finland” published by OECD economists on the occasion of an experiment with UBI in Finland (which was not a government program). They estimated that the replacement of the current social benefits system by the UBI in Finland would either be too expensive or would mean insufficient benefits for the most deprived and, consequently, an increase in the share of people below the poverty line from 11.5 to 14.3 percent!

The second economic problem with UBI is the negative impact on the labor supply. Economic analysis clearly suggests that an increase in non-wage income shifts the budget constraint line up and increases the reservation wage, which leads to a reduction in working time. And this is what the previous experiments with negative income tax, a concept similar to the UBI, showed — especially in case of women and youth, which were less attached to the labor market. The results are not surprising given the fact that giving people money for nothing reduces the opportunity cost of not working…

Such a perverse perspective is, however, a consequence of the view that UBI should be a right, not a privilege. That is, supporters believe that everyone should have the right to taxpayer-provided income, regardless of their contribution and the possibility of earning on the market. The problem is that someone would have to finance this program, so UBI would still be the privilege of some people at the expense of others. One person’s right to a basic income means that someone else has to pay for it.

The idea of the UBI boils down to breaking the link between income and work, i.e., freeing people from the unpleasant necessity to earn. And here we come across several problems. First thing: who will do the needed, albeit low-paid jobs, since everyone will be emancipated from the yoke of work? Is it possible to eliminate the unpleasantness of work at all or is it just the reality of the temporal world? Will robots take care of our grandmothers? A likely outcome is a significant decline in the overall output of the economy — meaning impoverishment across the board…

But there is a paradox that comes with the promise of socioeconomic independence: someone still must pay the UBI. So the dependence would not disappear — only people would become more dependent on Leviathan. Robert Nisbet writes in The Quest for Community that the desire for a sense of belonging does not disappear — if it cannot be realized within the family, neighborhoods, and regional communities, then the gap will be filled by the nation and centralized state. Are you sure this is what we want? Maybe the UBI is thus not merely a utopia we can’t afford, but it’s actually a dystopia?

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A World Without Work: Universal Basic Income's "Deal With ...



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Of Two Minds – The Road to Hell Is Paved with Virtue-Signaling

Posted by M. C. on August 16, 2019

It’s impossible to even discuss issues of citizenship and immigration as they relate to the long-term impact of devaluing citizenship

Charles Hugh Smith

The idea that everything will be solved if we borrow a couple more trillion and give it away is the dominant paradigm.

The road to Hell is paved with virtue-signaling: rather than actually solve the knotty problems that are dragging us toward the abyss, we substitute self-righteousness for problem-solving. That is virtue-signaling in a nutshell.

Virtue-signaling goes hand in hand with the only “solution” that’s politically correct: throw a borrowed trillion dollars at the “problem”, dance the humba-humba around the bonfire at midnight and hope that magic will resolve the underlying issues.

Hence the calls for Medicare for All, Universal Basic Income, and free college for all, all paid with borrowed money, despite the virtuous bleatings that “taxes on the rich/robots” will magically pay for trillions of additional dollars to be squandered on corrupt, self-serving cartels…

As for the “defense” industry, a.k.a. the military-industrial-intelligence cartel: rather than do the hard work of redefining America’s role in the world (declining to pursue wars of choice and policing the world) and then right-sizing the armed forces for the emerging realities of automated warfare, cyber-warfare and asymmetric warfare, we spend trillions of dollars on a jumble of horribly costly legacy weaponry with a sprinkling of pixie-dust “innovation.”

This also describes the higher education cartel, a horribly costly legacy jumble that’s failing students while enriching insiders and lenders. It also describes the standard institutional response to knotty issues such as homelessness: the conventional legacy “solution” is to insist on building “affordable” housing at $400,000 per unit, which means we can build 1,000 units rather than the 100,000 units of super-low-cost housing we need…

It’s impossible to even discuss systematically downsizing America’s role and military footprint without being accused of treason, as virtue-signaling support for the Imperial Project is necessary to broadcast your membership in the politically correct camp.

It’s impossible to even discuss the connection between the high-profit snacks and sugar-water beverages that fill supermarket shelves and diabesity and metabolic disorders, or the connection between the decline of community and the rise of the Savior State…

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. The road to Hell is paved with virtue-signaling, and we are about to discover that virtue-signaling, self-righteousness and indignation are not substitutes for the difficult task of completely restructuring failing institutions, modes of production and governance.

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My Future Lies Beyond the Yellow Brick Road | VoVatia





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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?

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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Universal basic income doesn’t work. Let’s boost the public realm instead

Posted by M. C. on May 6, 2019

Yah but, this “Report for Unions” still advocates free stuff. Just a different form.

Improve equality and “Redistributing” tax allowance – this still makes some equal at the expense of others.

Government deciding what is best for you and how much it will cost you. Always a winning strategy.

One thing for sure – those getting stiffed stays the same.

Anna Coote

A study published this week sheds doubt on ambitious claims made for universal basic income (UBI), the scheme that would give everyone regular, unconditional cash payments that are enough to live on. Its advocates claim it would help to reduce poverty, narrow inequalities and tackle the effects of automation on jobs and income. Research conducted for Public Services International, a global trade union federation, reviewed for the first time 16 practical projects that have tested different ways of distributing regular cash payments to individuals across a range of poor, middle-income and rich countries, as well as copious literature on the topic.

It could find no evidence to suggest that such a scheme could be sustained for all individuals in any country in the short, medium or longer term – or that this approach could achieve lasting improvements in wellbeing or equality. The research confirms the importance of generous, non-stigmatising income support, but everything turns on how much money is paid, under what conditions and with what consequences for the welfare system as a whole.

From Kenya and southern India to Alaska and Finland, cash payment schemes have been claimed to show that UBI “works”. In fact, what’s been tested in practice is almost infinitely varied, with cash paid at different levels and intervals, usually well below the poverty line and mainly to individuals selected because they are severely disadvantaged, with funds provided by charities, corporations and development agencies more often than by governments.

The Alaska Permanent Fund, built from the state’s oil revenues, pays all adults and children a dividend each year – in 2018, it was $1,600 (£1,230). The scheme is popular and enduring; it has been found to produce some positive impacts on rural indigenous groups, but it makes no claim to sufficiency and has done nothing to reduce child poverty or to prevent widening income inequalities…

The report concludes that the money needed to pay for an adequate UBI scheme “would be better spent on reforming social protection systems, and building more and better-quality public services”. Redistributing the personal tax allowance and developing the idea of universal basic services (UBS) could offer a more promising alternative. This calls for more and better quality public services that are free to those who need them, regardless of ability to pay. Healthcare and education are obvious examples, and it is argued that a similar approach should be applied to areas such as transport, housing, social care and information – everyday essentials that should be available to all. Collective provision offers more cost-effective, socially just, redistributive and sustainable ways of meeting people’s needs than leaving individuals to buy what they can afford in the marketplace.

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free lunch

Free lunch.




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Forget Guaranteed Income — Governments Should Stop Destroying Income First | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on March 23, 2019

…Therefore, if UBI proponents are genuinely concerned about those on the lower rungs of the income ladder, they should abandon their minimum income crusade and instead pressure the government to do two things. First, immediately abolish all regulations which prohibit people from earning income. Second, announce that all welfare programs will be abolished in six months. In this environment, special interest groups (the 1%) lose the regulatory benefits they lobbied for, while the level of prosperity rises considerably for the former welfare recipients and other members of the 99%.

What are these regulations? And if they are abolished, how much higher can the level of prosperity be for the 99%?


…When a special interest group (e.g. a corporation or group of corporations) lobbies the government to enact a new regulation, they are the intended beneficiaries, and they often write the regulation themselves. Politicians promoting a new regulation also act out of self interest, collecting rewards from the regulatory beneficiaries, such as political campaign contributions, corporate jobs after departure from political office etc. The propaganda used to justify regulations is that the government must protect consumers 

Prohibited Income

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Another Totalitarian Communist – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 18, 2019


His name is Andrew Yang. His proposals are here.

We have a choice in assessing the Democratic hopefuls like Yang, Harris, Sanders, O’Rourke, Warren, Booker, Biden, etc. Are they colossal idiots, or are they Communist Totalitarians?

We know their ideas, and these ideas are so bad, so destructive and so evil, that we might think that these people are colossal idiots.

That would be a mistake. They have given detailed plans. They are mature people. They are successful people. They are educated. They are advertising their policies and actively seeking power.

We MUST assume that they know exactly what they’re proposing and what they intend to do if given power. We MUST take them at their word. It’s not plausible to dismiss them as morons. They didn’t get where they are by being stupid. They didn’t draft detailed communist policies for the fun of it. They are telling us to our faces what they believe and what their intentions are.

We MUST assume that these people are fully aware of what their plans for us mean. In that case, they all have to be viewed as Totalitarian Communists. Read the rest of this entry »

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Of Two Minds – A Radical Critique of Universal Basic Income

Posted by M. C. on December 7, 2017

UBI is the last gasp of a broken, dying system

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is increasingly being held up as the solution to automation’s displacement of human labor. UBI combines two powerful incentives: self-interest (who couldn’t use an extra $1,000 per month) and an idealistic commitment to guaranteeing everyone material security and reducing the rising income inequality that threatens our social contract–a topic I’ve addressed many times over the past decade. Read the rest of this entry »

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