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mtomom
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I was not trying to be mathematically correct, but yeah, my taxes are mega high and a high % of people only pay sales tax. Especially when you adjust for the fact that many of those people are receiving tax-funded benefits and refundable tax credits, which could be considered a negative tax ... if you divide my tax by zero you get a lot more than 1,000. :)

 

And I don't mind paying more than a lot of people, but let's not pretend it's just like buying groceries.

That is mathematical nonsense. A number divided by zero is undefined. Why? Because if you have something, it can't have zero parts. A pie cut into six slices is divided into sixths, with each slice being 1/6 of the pie. A pie that is uncut any is still one pie, with any one part of it undefined because it is not cut.
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People seem to be missing that UBI doesn't go away if you work. You get that, PLUS your wages. So working is incentivised. 

 

Yes, exactly.

 

The fact is, even in countries with much better welfare than the US, most people don't want to subsist on that.  

 

With UBI, not only will people want to work to have a nicer lifestyle, it also means that they can take work that would not make sense in other instances.

 

You can take short term work without worrying about benefits being lost.

 

You can take a low paid job.

 

You can run a small cottage business.  Invent a new widget.

 

You can work PT and have time to do something else as well.

 

You could do micro-jobs.

 

None of these will be giving you a high on the hog lifestyle, even with UBI, but if you have kids, elderly parents, are sickly, volunteer, want to train for the Olympics - these all become possibilities.

 

One potential benefit is that all that labour that people complain isn't accounted for in our economic system - stay at home parents for example - and this is why it's seen in such a positive light among conservatives - is suddenly captured within the system to a greater degree.  (Not being a financial conservative myself, I wonder if the increased financialization of life is really a good thing, but OTOH if we have to live in a system like this, it may be the only way.)

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I just can't figure out where all these people are who would "love to give a home to a child who needs it", if only it were cheaper to adopt. It is very cheap, if not free, to adopt children out of foster care TODAY. People talk about taking children away when they're young and "easily adoptable". There are thousands of young, "easily adoptable" aged children in America right now who are NOT being adopted. Maybe because they're the wrong color. Maybe because they were born addicted to drugs. I don't know. But I do know if I see one more Facebook post with a news article about child abuse and hundreds of commenters saying they'd "raise that baby in heartbeat", I'm going to scream. Because you CAN raise babies like that, right now, but in America we have a foster care crisis and thousands of children who should be removed from their homes but their workers have no where to place them. Where are all those good-hearted posters and commenters?

 

Many think this, but from what I've read, there are really very few young children available for adoption out of the foster system at any given time.  First of all the system takes forever to identify them as adoptable, and secondly, the foster families they are with will often adopt them once that happens.  The ones left waiting are usually the ones you have to be extremely well-equipped to handle, or those who are so damaged that they really can't be successful in a family home.  And there are still lots of people who will adopt these children.

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I was not trying to be mathematically correct, but yeah, my taxes are mega high and a high % of people only pay sales tax.  Especially when you adjust for the fact that many of those people are receiving tax-funded benefits and refundable tax credits, which could be considered a negative tax ... if you divide my tax by zero you get a lot more than 1,000.  :)

 

And I don't mind paying more than a lot of people, but let's not pretend it's just like buying groceries.

 

Correct me if I am wrong but - if you are paying so much in taxes the reason must be that your pre-tax income is very high. Good for you! However, even though people with high incomes may pay a lot of taxes, they still keep a lot and of course they also profit from the things taxes pay for (infrastructure etc.).

 

People seem to be missing that UBI doesn't go away if you work. You get that, PLUS your wages. So working is incentivised. 

 

I still haven't had time to look more closely at how UBI works but the fact that everyone gets it in addition to what they earn does make me think it could lead to inflation/everything getting more expensive. If everyone has X amount more, people would be able to pay more for housing, food etc. and likely these things would get more expensive? I do like the idea of UBI so if someone could explain to me why that would not happen I would appreciate it.

 

GIving people money actually discourages productive work, which is pretty much the problem many people have with UBI.  If you subsidize not working, you end up with more people not working.

 

Not sure if I agree completely. I live overseas and we have a basic income that people get if they don't make at least that much (or anything) but are looking for a job. Now it is different from UBI as not everyone gets it (only people making less than the amount) but basically any individual could get it if they really wanted (by losing a job and not finding another one). Obviously, it would not work if everyone decided to do this but that hasn't happened. Now there may be some people who would otherwise work but now rely on the money but I think the vast majority is made up of people who really can't find a job or at least not a well-paying job for whatever reason.

 

The danger of people just enjoying themselves with "free" money (I do find it kind of tempting) is mitigated because a) you can't up your total income by working a little bit (so if you are not okay with living with the basic amount there is no way to work say 10 hours per week and get to a more average income) and b) there is a certain amount of stigma/inconvenience involved (paperwork, they can assign a job to you etc.).

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Math is not my strong skill....but are you saying you pay 1000 times more taxes than some people? Because that would be like, a lot, right?

Fwiw, if you compare the average tax paid by the bottom 50% ($540, which is 3.45% of the average AGI of $15,679) to the average tax paid by the top 1% ($387,793, which is 27.16% of their average AGI of $1,413,492), the top 1% pay about 719 times more in taxes than the bottom 50%, while their income is about 91 times more.

 

(I calculated this using the info from this page: https://taxfoundation.org/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data-2016-update/ - I took the total AGI for each category and divided it by the number of returns to find the average income, and then multiplied it by the average tax rate to find the average tax.)

Edited by forty-two
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So ... if UBI is such a great idea, how is the cost going to be distributed?  Are middle class people again going to be left worse off as their taxes increase faster than their income?  Are businesses going to have to shut down because the tax burden eats away the profits?

 

And how are the people subsisting on UBI going to contribute to their own needs or to the greater good?

 

Pray tell, what brilliant method of redistribution is going to properly address all these issues?

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Or is it that a large portion of citizens receive large government benefits?  Greece and Canada tax their citizens at roughly the same rate of GDP. (about 31%)   While Canada's government expenditure is about 42% of GDP, government expenditures in Greece are about 52% of GDP.

 

According to the studies I've read (OECD) , it's estimated that about 25-30% of Greece's economy is in shadow--meaning that taxes are owed, but not collected. Bulgaria, Romania, and Italy have similar figures. By contrast, UK's number is about 12.5%.  Greece's economy is further complicated with about 1/4 of the Greek population is out of work.  In many cases, it's the pensioners supporting an extended household. But the elderly, sick, and disabled exist everywhere. It's not like they magically are ever all going to disappear.  The average Greek pension benefit is 722 euros a month, not exactly a "large government benefit" by any stretch.

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So ... if UBI is such a great idea, how is the cost going to be distributed?  Are middle class people again going to be left worse off as their taxes increase faster than their income?  Are businesses going to have to shut down because the tax burden eats away the profits?

 

And how are the people subsisting on UBI going to contribute to their own needs or to the greater good?

 

Pray tell, what brilliant method of redistribution is going to properly address all these issues?

 

There are a number of models used, if you are actually interested, you could look some up.  It's a bit of a technical question for people to reproduce on a message board.  Off the top of my head Sweden has a model pretty much in place to give it a try. The Green Party in Canada has a model which would cost about the same as the various assistance programs that would roll into it do now.  I think Finland might also have a model.

 

I'm not sure why you think it's such an impossible problem.  The tax systems in most modern countries are already highly complex and sophisticated, this doesn't seem beyond that level of complexity.

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Fwiw, if you compare the average tax paid by the bottom 50% ($540, which is 3.45% of the average AGI of $15,679) to the average tax paid by the top 1% ($387,793, which is 27.16% of their average AGI of $1,413,492), the top 1% pay about 719 times more in taxes than the bottom 50%, while their income is about 91 times more.

 

(I calculated this using the info from this page: https://taxfoundation.org/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data-2016-update/ - I took the total AGI for each category and divided it by the number of returns to find the average income, and then multiplied it by the average tax rate to find the average tax.)

 

People misunderstand why this is so, though.

 

They think it's just that people feel that the rick ought to pay more, because they have enough anyway, right?

 

Well, perhaps that is true, but it's not the main thing.  The main thing is that for people who have money, enough to be working capital, all kinds of other avenues for making money open up to them which are not available to people who do not make so much.  

 

This isn't because they are so wonderful or hard working, it is simply because of the way our economic system is structured.  And potentially over time it can lead to more and more inequality.  The rich continue to get richer and richer as they collect more and more capital which grows and grows.  And the poor and working classes don't.  

 

Over generations this would conceivably mean wealthy families of institutions would accrue enormous wealth compared to anyone else, like you see in certain parts of the world.  This isn't really good for anyone.

 

Progressive taxation is in part to try and redress that lack of balance that is an inherent flaw in our system.

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Correct me if I am wrong but - if you are paying so much in taxes the reason must be that your pre-tax income is very high. Good for you! However, even though people with high incomes may pay a lot of taxes, they still keep a lot and of course they also profit from the things taxes pay for (infrastructure etc.).

 

 

Depends how you define pre-tax income.

 

We all benefit from what taxes pay for (assuming the government spends wisely).  I don't flush the toilet more than anyone else.

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Mine too. I'm the only SAHM on either side of out family for at least 3 generations.

My mother, grandmother and aunts all called themselves SAHMs, but they all worked paying jobs at home (sewing, full time childcare), and all worked seasonally or occasionally away from home. My grandma lived during that brief moment in the mid century modern era when suburban moms could be at home, and her peers all were, but she had some strong beliefs about

 

1. Going to work out of the home when needed

2. Making money at home, as well as the hyper intensive gardening, etc

3. Just as she would go out to work if the family needed, super traditional WW2 vet, former farmer, construction worker grandpa would help with cooking, cleaning and laundry if needed!

 

When my generation of cousins talked about SAHM, traditional roles, etc. as a religious thing (think Pearl and Ezzo and hs'ing gurus), Grandma, who is a champion of motherhood and housewifery, said the new crop of couples know nothing about teamwork, if they think all housework is her job and all money earning is his job! She said you might have your primary roles but you work together to take care of everything, and don't be too proud to work outside the home.

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I think most people prefer to work. Even if the income is EXACTLY THE SAME as the UBI (which is doubtful), there are social advantages to being engaged in productive work.

I don't buy the argument that people will just not do anything. Every human needs socialization and to feel they have purpose.

 

And other countries with UHC and UBI have not seen droves of people just decide to stop being productive in society.

 

How they are productive does change in mostly very positive beneficial to society ways. They have the freedom to choose paths of work or education that would otherwise be closed to them without fear of not paying rent or losing medical care. They can start a business or take a job they would be great at that doesn't pay well but serves a communal good.

 

That this disincentive to work argument is being made by mostly unemployed women is rather ironic.

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There are a number of models used, if you are actually interested, you could look some up.  It's a bit of a technical question for people to reproduce on a message board.  Off the top of my head Sweden has a model pretty much in place to give it a try. The Green Party in Canada has a model which would cost about the same as the various assistance programs that would roll into it do now.  I think Finland might also have a model.

 

I'm not sure why you think it's such an impossible problem.  The tax systems in most modern countries are already highly complex and sophisticated, this doesn't seem beyond that level of complexity.

 

Having just visited a handful of countries (including Sweden and Finland) that Americans often use as shining examples of social caring, one thing I noticed everywhere was the large number homeless people, many of them sick.  How can there be so many sick and/or homeless people in a country where everyone has free healthcare and a terrific safety net?  These "models" sound good on paper, but the reality is not so glowing.

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I have a good friend in Denmark that I've known since we were both teenagers.  She works in the same field as my husband. We have more kids than she does, but her brother has 4 children. She pays more in taxes than we do, but her quality of life is much better and she has never had to worry about maternity/paternity leave (her family took both), how the bills were going to get paid when her dh briefly lost his job (90% salary benefit for almost two years), paying for medical care, paying for university, or caring for extended family.  She took six months (paid) off to care for her mother and spend time with her when she went into hospice care for cancer. Oh, and she has about 7 weeks paid vacation a year.

 

Minimum wage is about twice what it is here, and disability/pension works out to about $100USD/day.  I'm not sure what the 2017 child benefit is, but she gets it for each of her children, even though she and her husband both earn good salaries. 

 

So, yeah, other countries do it and they do it well.  

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Ok, I think this still makes no sense.  UI is not necessarily going to change your tax bracket, presumably that would be part of setting up a program.

 

One of the main advantages of UI is that it makes working more beneficial than it often is for those on assistance now.  That's one of its primary purposes.

 

You might want to do a little reading up on the concept.

 

 

You can presume all you want, and try to characterize me as uneducated, but I am the one that actually lives in the U.S.  I have run the numbers, and I'm not seeing that lower level skilled work is paying off.  The compensation for a person starting out is just not high enough to pay the rent that is held high for section 8 vouchers or students with large college loans.   Whats being done here is another category of housing, just above 'affordable' for working persons making under 60k.  These are the people priced out of everything due to subsidies for nonworkers and being always just over the line to qualify for help. Their children are the ones that don't get free lunch, can't qualify for 'scholarships' to ecs, and are priced out of college. But you go ahead and believe what you want.  Its easy to fantasize when you don't actually live it. 

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Having just visited a handful of countries (including Sweden and Finland) that Americans often use as shining examples of social caring, one thing I noticed everywhere was the large number homeless people, many of them sick.  How can there be so many sick and/or homeless people in a country where everyone has free healthcare and a terrific safety net?  These "models" sound good on paper, but the reality is not so glowing.

 

A lot of the homeless (beyond the usual mentally ill) are traveling Roma.

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I have a good friend in Denmark that I've known since we were both teenagers.  She works in the same field as my husband. We have more kids than she does, but her brother has 4 children. She pays more in taxes than we do, but her quality of life is much better and she has never had to worry about maternity/paternity leave (her family took both), how the bills were going to get paid when her dh briefly lost his job (90% salary benefit for almost two years), paying for medical care, paying for university, or caring for extended family.  She took six months (paid) off to care for her mother and spend time with her when she went into hospice care for cancer. Oh, and she has about 7 weeks paid vacation a year.

 

Minimum wage is about twice what it is here, and disability/pension works out to about $100USD/day.  I'm not sure what the 2017 child benefit is, but she gets it for each of her children, even though she and her husband both earn good salaries. 

 

So, yeah, other countries do it and they do it well.  

 

That is one family's experience, and is as valid as one US family's experience.  The fact is that in both countries, in most developed countries, the majority of people are doing fine.  They have different worries and different things are considered luxuries, but it's really not that much different in the net.  Both countries also have people who fall through the cracks.

 

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Yes, exactly.

 

The fact is, even in countries with much better welfare than the US, most people don't want to subsist on that.  

 

With UBI, not only will people want to work to have a nicer lifestyle, it also means that they can take work that would not make sense in other instances.

 

You can take short term work without worrying about benefits being lost.

 

You can take a low paid job.

 

You can run a small cottage business.  Invent a new widget.

 

You can work PT and have time to do something else as well.

 

You could do micro-jobs.

 

None of these will be giving you a high on the hog lifestyle, even with UBI, but if you have kids, elderly parents, are sickly, volunteer, want to train for the Olympics - these all become possibilities.

 

One potential benefit is that all that labour that people complain isn't accounted for in our economic system - stay at home parents for example - and this is why it's seen in such a positive light among conservatives - is suddenly captured within the system to a greater degree.  (Not being a financial conservative myself, I wonder if the increased financialization of life is really a good thing, but OTOH if we have to live in a system like this, it may be the only way.)

 

Do you think most people would do these things rather than, say, goofing off on the internets and smoking a lot of pot all day and doing what it takes to get by on poverty level income? I don't envision such a utopia. It does sound quite lofty, though, I don't think that's how the human condition really works when it comes to getting paid for not working.  All those things that are valuable about paid work outside of the home are disincentiveized when you pay people not to work. You can see how this plays out now in a lot of communities where people don't have paid work but are paid by the government for housing, food, etc, at a minimal level.

 

And, yes, I'm a SAHM because my husband and I choose that I not do paid work outside of the home.  That doesn't mean I think it's a good idea for other people in society to pay me to SAHM with my kids, any more than I think they should be mandated to pay me for any other good or service I might produce outside of the home.  I don't complain that my labor is unaccounted for. My labor is accounted for by my family and the income that my husband earns.  Just because it isn't taxed or I am not compensated financially by society doesn't mean it doesn't have value.  Quite the contrary. If it wasn't valuable to us, then I'd be out in the workforce and my kids would be in day care and some kind of school.

 

The other thing I see happening is that that SAHMs would be that much more resented if they were paid, supposedly incentivized to work outside the home (since y'all are saying that paying people to not work incentivizes work in the long run) and contribute to this basic income, and yet they chose not to. Now I'm a deadbeat living off the government and not producing what society deems valuable and what I'm supposedly being incentivized to do.

 

Edited by EmseB
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Idk. When the elderly retire they don't usually just sit at home smoking pot and eating bonbons. Most of them continue to contribute to their community and families. When they do become reclusive and isolated, we usually worry for their mental health rather than presume they are lazy bums mooching off the system.

 

My kids under 18 who don't work aren't sitting around online doing nothing with their lives. They contribute to society and actually work quite hard in their community.

 

I'm not sure what you and everyone else think is wrong with people between the ages of 18-70 that presumes they would devolve into pot smoking couch potatoes without being coerced otherwise.

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Idk. When the elderly retire they don't usually just sit at home smoking pot and eating bonbons. Most of them continue to contribute to their community and families. When they do become reclusive and isolated, we usually worry for their mental health rather than presume they are lazy bums mooching off the system.

 

My kids under 18 who don't work aren't sitting around online doing nothing with their lives. They contribute to society and actually work quite hard in their community.

 

I'm not sure what you and everyone else think is wrong with people between the ages of 18-70 that presumes they would devolve into pot smoking couch potatoes without being coerced otherwise.

 

 

My 72 year old mom and 79 year old dad are very very active and help their community a great deal.  Helping with young children, the elderly or sick who have no one, a lot of volunteer work.  

 

So yes I agree with you most people are not going to just sit back and do nothing.  Someone is always so worried or bothered by the possibility of people 'getting away with' not doing their share. 

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Giving people money actually discourages productive work, which is pretty much the problem many people have with UBI.  If you subsidize not working, you end up with more people not working.

 

Yeah, you can't prove that. The small amount of research that's been done shows that this isn't true except among two categories - young people, who are more likely to stay in school, and parents of young children.

 

People seem to be missing that UBI doesn't go away if you work. You get that, PLUS your wages. So working is incentivised.

 

This is not necessarily true. Many proponents of UBI state that it's the minimum, and you only get it if your wages are UNDER the minimum - and if you get some wages, then the UBI tops you up to the minimum, it doesn't go over.

 

That would be so, more or less, if it were a flat tax.

 

A flat tax is inherently unjust. The wealthier you are, the more disposable income you have - after all, our basic needs cost about the same per person. Earning 1000x my income doesn't mean that it costs 1000x more to feed and clothe and house yourself, it just means you can gold-plate your toilets and take vacations in Aruba. Wealthy people get more, so they should put more in.

 

Pray tell, what brilliant method of redistribution is going to properly address all these issues?

 

How about we tax capital gains?

 

I don't buy the argument that people will just not do anything. Every human needs socialization and to feel they have purpose.

 

Exactly!

 

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Depends how you define pre-tax income.

 

We all benefit from what taxes pay for (assuming the government spends wisely).  I don't flush the toilet more than anyone else.

 

Of course. I did not mean to imply that you benefit more than others. Just that your taxes also supply a benefit to you, not just to others.

 

Having just visited a handful of countries (including Sweden and Finland) that Americans often use as shining examples of social caring, one thing I noticed everywhere was the large number homeless people, many of them sick.  How can there be so many sick and/or homeless people in a country where everyone has free healthcare and a terrific safety net?  These "models" sound good on paper, but the reality is not so glowing.

 

I have no idea about Sweden or Finland, but as for European countries I have visited - there may be many homeless there but I have to say that generally I see a lot more in the US. Not sure how numbers compare. I think how many homeless we noticed is influenced by a lot of factors (e.g. how big a city is, climate etc.) so it would be difficult to compare based on appearances alone.

 

 

I think a UBI would lead to less people working (not sure I would) but I do think the majority would still either work part-time or contribute in other ways (volunteering etc.). That part of the equation worries me a lot less than what would happen to prices if everyone had X amount more money.

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My 72 year old mom and 79 year old dad are very very active and help their community a great deal. Helping with young children, the elderly or sick who have no one, a lot of volunteer work.

 

So yes I agree with you most people are not going to just sit back and do nothing. Someone is always so worried or bothered by the possibility of people 'getting away with' not doing their share.

I've known people who once they had the financial or health insurance stress removed, they worked harder and more. One guy after leaving the military and having his pention and so forth, started a new business even though he could have lived off his early retirement or whatever it's called. I know many elderly people who have gone to work jobs that didn't pay well enough to provide for a family but that they enjoyed and could finally do without worry their children wouldn't eat or the rent paid. One of my boys has a friend at work they call Old Man Bob and it turns out Old Man Bob is very very well off. Owns multiple large houses and such. Why does he work with son and that low wage job? Because his wife said he was in her way too much at home and he likes working with younger people and meeting new people.

 

Many of the "laziest" people I know are because they are just exhausted from financial and health stress that they likely suffer depression in some form and just can't dredge the energy to go out after work as it is. As someone who well knows that kind of stress, I can say it's amazing how much energy and enthusiasm a person can rediscover once that stress is lifted.

 

The theory that UBI/UHC will discourage working is like saying we should let the beatings continue until morale improves. I see no evidence it works like that.

Edited by Murphy101
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The theory that UBI/UHC will discourage working is like saying we should let the beatings continue until morale improves. I see no evidence it works like that.

 

You need to get out more.  I can introduce you to people who worked very hard to get on disability, and spend their days enjoying themselves.  They think its great that the government gives them money, and frequently express that only suckers work. 

 

try searching on ' Long Island Railroad disability '.

 

I do agree that there are people who would use the money wisely. I propose we start by investing in college students; releiving them of huge loans and part time work will let them destress, eat healthy, and learn. Kinda like it was back in the 70s. when the state actually subdized state U.

 

 

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Also, on the subject of people working less: With increased mechanization, that's already coming upon us. More and more jobs are being outsourced to computers - and not just low-skill jobs like "cashier" or "factory worker"! We recently tested a robot anesthesiologist. Anesthesiology was supposed to be a nice, safe field! A surprising percentage of quick articles - sports reports or weather news - are written by computer nowadays. Plug in the numbers, get an article, don't pay a writer for those 15 minutes of their time. A lot of work that used to be taken up by paralegals and law clerks is now being done by computer.

 

And when we get self-driving trucks, that's when the jobs apocalypse begins, because the most common occupation in nearly every state is "trucker". What's going to happen when those jobs are given over to machines?

 

The fact is, we have the resources to give everybody a good life. And pretty soon, there isn't going to be enough paid employment for everybody. We are going to have to find a way to restructure our economy to handle this reality, and I, for one, would rather do it before things fall apart.

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 ...

A flat tax is inherently unjust. The wealthier you are, the more disposable income you have   Nope- after all, our basic needs cost about the same per person. Earning 1000x my income doesn't mean that it costs 1000x more to feed and clothe and house yourself, it just means you can gold-plate your toilets and take vacations in Aruba. Wealthy people get more whatever "get" means, so they should put more in.  They do pay more, and they would even under a flat tax.  But my point was that your grocery store example was way off.

 

 

How about we tax capital gains?

You think that would bring enough to pay a living wage to everyone who doesn't earn it?

 

 

 

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You need to get out more.  I can introduce you to people who worked very hard to get on disability, and spend their days enjoying themselves.  They think its great that the government gives them money, and frequently express that only suckers work.

 

Well, I'm glad they feel that way, because you pretty much can't work if you receive certain sorts of disability benefits - too much risk that you'll lose those benefits.

 

(Of course, I've never met a single disabled person who feels that way, and I know scads of them.)

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Having just visited a handful of countries (including Sweden and Finland) that Americans often use as shining examples of social caring, one thing I noticed everywhere was the large number homeless people, many of them sick.  How can there be so many sick and/or homeless people in a country where everyone has free healthcare and a terrific safety net?  These "models" sound good on paper, but the reality is not so glowing.

 

So - this is actually not a response to what I said, or what you asked, about how one would organize taxes for UI.  If you want to know how one might practically organize that, I gave you the ideas I know about.

 

But are you really suggesting that only countries with perfect societies are reasonable to look at for their social welfare systems?  

 

All the measurements of social caring that are out there show that those countries do better than the US.  Not that they are perfect, but why would you expect that?  

 

ETA - Denmark has fewer homeless people than the US, in any case.

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You think that would bring enough to pay a living wage to everyone who doesn't earn it?

 

I think we can try it and see if it works. (And btw - capital gains are unearned income. So don't be snotty.)

 

The wealthier you are, the more disposable income you have   Nope

 

Uh, yes. As you said - you don't flush your gold-plated toilet any more often than I flush my porcelain one. Everybody has the same basic expenses, and they don't change all that much.

 

Is it like the grocery store? Nah, I guess it's more like my CSA or my kid's classes that are funded on a sliding scale. Those who can pay more do so, so that those who can't are able to still participate. We all get the same.

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You can presume all you want, and try to characterize me as uneducated, but I am the one that actually lives in the U.S.  I have run the numbers, and I'm not seeing that lower level skilled work is paying off.  The compensation for a person starting out is just not high enough to pay the rent that is held high for section 8 vouchers or students with large college loans.   Whats being done here is another category of housing, just above 'affordable' for working persons making under 60k.  These are the people priced out of everything due to subsidies for nonworkers and being always just over the line to qualify for help. Their children are the ones that don't get free lunch, can't qualify for 'scholarships' to ecs, and are priced out of college. But you go ahead and believe what you want.  Its easy to fantasize when you don't actually live it. 

 

I'm not even sure what you are talking about now, TBH.

 

How is it that you think UI is related to this?

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So ... if UBI is such a great idea, how is the cost going to be distributed?  Are middle class people again going to be left worse off as their taxes increase faster than their income?  Are businesses going to have to shut down because the tax burden eats away the profits?

 

And how are the people subsisting on UBI going to contribute to their own needs or to the greater good?

 

Pray tell, what brilliant method of redistribution is going to properly address all these issues?

 

Good question.

 

After all, we all saw the broken promises and unfilled hopes of the ACA.  I see no reason to think that this won't just be more of the same.

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After all, we all saw the broken promises and unfilled hopes of the ACA.  I see no reason to think that this won't just be more of the same.

 

I've been happy with the ACA. So are most people I know. For some things, we're not happy - but that's more because of Republicans dragging their feet than over what it was originally intended to be.

 

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Do you think most people would do these things rather than, say, goofing off on the internets and smoking a lot of pot all day and doing what it takes to get by on poverty level income? I don't envision such a utopia. It does sound quite lofty, though, I don't think that's how the human condition really works when it comes to getting paid for not working.  All those things that are valuable about paid work outside of the home are disincentiveized when you pay people not to work. You can see how this plays out now in a lot of communities where people don't have paid work but are paid by the government for housing, food, etc, at a minimal level.

 

And, yes, I'm a SAHM because my husband and I choose that I not do paid work outside of the home.  That doesn't mean I think it's a good idea for other people in society to pay me to SAHM with my kids, any more than I think they should be mandated to pay me for any other good or service I might produce outside of the home.  I don't complain that my labor is unaccounted for. My labor is accounted for by my family and the income that my husband earns.  Just because it isn't taxed or I am not compensated financially by society doesn't mean it doesn't have value.  Quite the contrary. If it wasn't valuable to us, then I'd be out in the workforce and my kids would be in day care and some kind of school.

 

The other thing I see happening is that that SAHMs would be that much more resented if they were paid, supposedly incentivized to work outside the home (since y'all are saying that paying people to not work incentivizes work in the long run) and contribute to this basic income, and yet they chose not to. Now I'm a deadbeat living off the government and not producing what society deems valuable and what I'm supposedly being incentivized to do.

 

 

No. I have no reason to think most people would just sit around all day.  Most people do not do that now, even when they can subsist on welfare.

 

It's not really that other people are paying you to be a SAHM, though why would we not if there is social utility in that?  Why would we not pay someone so they can be home to help kids with homework, or take her elderly father to the bank - these things have benefits for society at large.

 

It's that all work is valuable, and in our society the utility of work is not easily recognized within the system unless it is paid.  

 

Given that everyone would get the UBI, I don't see why it would make people more inclined to be resentful to people who work in some way in the home.  

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Given that everyone would get the UBI, I don't see why it would make people more inclined to be resentful to people who work in some way in the home.  

 

Okay, but what I am wondering is this:

 

Let's say everyone gets a certain amount x from the government, no means tested and you can earn more money without losing it. Sounds good to me but I am wondering how it would affect different groups (just looking at the getting part here, not the giving):

 

People that are now poor/on welfare etc.: They probably would have the same amount of money about as now (as I assume welfare provides enough to survive on and UBI would probably be similar). There would be less restrictions (compared to food stamps etc.) which may be good or bad depending on the individual recipient (and one's general world view). There would no longer be a need to patch together various sources of help, less need to check/administer, it would be less embarrassing/humiliating. So maybe overall a benefit (cost similar to now but less administration) aside of people making worse decisions with this money (don't think that would be much of a problem though). 

 

People with lower to middle incomes: They would either be able to reduce hours/work and keep their income more or less the same or they could work as before and have more money (they could also completely stop working but probably not that many would want to reduce their standard of living). So if prices stay the same both groups would be better off. The people working less likely would have more time for family, volunteering etc. which would be a public good. These people would either have the same money as now or up to x+previous

 

People with fairly good to very high incomes: Some might reduce their hours etc. but probably not a lot as UBI won't make much of a difference to them. Generally, they would have x + previous or a little less money. Overall, it really wouldn't make a difference.

 

So there would probably be a mostly emotinal benefit for the poorest group, actually more money or time for the middle and little changes for the top earners. But I do worry about the effect on prices. Wouldn't they increase? Generally, prices for housing, services etc. go up in areas with high salaries (or maybe the other way around?) And wouldn't the low income group that relies on UBI be the most disadvantaged by this? The rich would probably be fine as they are more likely to have rental income etc.

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Prices already increase, and the minimum wage doesn't increase with them. Welfare doesn't quite cover everything. (Actually, since it's pretty much impossible to get cash assistance nowadays, it specifically doesn't cover quite a few things, like "soap" or "toilet paper" or "diapers".)

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You need to get out more. I can introduce you to people who worked very hard to get on disability, and spend their days enjoying themselves. They think its great that the government gives them money, and frequently express that only suckers work.

 

Yes, how dare disabled people enjoy their lives. Everyone knows you're only allowed to be miserable if you can't work.

 

For what it's worth, I think it's pretty great that our society helps the disabled financially, too.

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This can't be it because as of 2015, a little more than 45% of American workers did not pay federal income tax. We are not as close to financial collapse as Greece.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Sorry, I was referring to the shadow economy in Greece....not those citizens who owe a lesser amount in taxes than they benefits that they receive.

 

45% of Americans do not pay FICA, but that's part of the benefit schema of the US.  According to this Forbes article, the shadow economy of the US is at about 4.5%.....that's very different from Greece.  Note that this Forbes article puts Greece's shadow economy at 21.5%--it's a different study than the one that I mentioned by OECD. https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/02/09/where-the-worlds-shadow-economies-are-firmly-established-infographic/#9fffc19742cc

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Okay, but what I am wondering is this:

 

Let's say everyone gets a certain amount x from the government, no means tested and you can earn more money without losing it. Sounds good to me but I am wondering how it would affect different groups (just looking at the getting part here, not the giving):

 

People that are now poor/on welfare etc.: They probably would have the same amount of money about as now (as I assume welfare provides enough to survive on and UBI would probably be similar). There would be less restrictions (compared to food stamps etc.) which may be good or bad depending on the individual recipient (and one's general world view). There would no longer be a need to patch together various sources of help, less need to check/administer, it would be less embarrassing/humiliating. So maybe overall a benefit (cost similar to now but less administration) aside of people making worse decisions with this money (don't think that would be much of a problem though). 

 

People with lower to middle incomes: They would either be able to reduce hours/work and keep their income more or less the same or they could work as before and have more money (they could also completely stop working but probably not that many would want to reduce their standard of living). So if prices stay the same both groups would be better off. The people working less likely would have more time for family, volunteering etc. which would be a public good. These people would either have the same money as now or up to x+previous

 

People with fairly good to very high incomes: Some might reduce their hours etc. but probably not a lot as UBI won't make much of a difference to them. Generally, they would have x + previous or a little less money. Overall, it really wouldn't make a difference.

 

So there would probably be a mostly emotinal benefit for the poorest group, actually more money or time for the middle and little changes for the top earners. But I do worry about the effect on prices. Wouldn't they increase? Generally, prices for housing, services etc. go up in areas with high salaries (or maybe the other way around?) And wouldn't the low income group that relies on UBI be the most disadvantaged by this? The rich would probably be fine as they are more likely to have rental income etc.

 

No, I don't think it would particularly.  Prince increases don't work that simply or directly.

 

Or maybe I should say, it wouldn't so long as other issues didn't come into it.

 

I mentioned before that you can get significant issues with housing prices any time there simply isn't enough housing to go around.  This happens no matter what, though, and it can only really be countered by good housing policy, which is separate from UBI.

 

Similarly, if you want people to get off drugs, you have to find good policies that will help as much as is possible.  UBI isn't going to make people get off drugs.

 

It's not supposed to do either of those things.  

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Prices already increase, and the minimum wage doesn't increase with them. Welfare doesn't quite cover everything. (Actually, since it's pretty much impossible to get cash assistance nowadays, it specifically doesn't cover quite a few things, like "soap" or "toilet paper" or "diapers".)

 

Of course, I am not saying that welfare covers everything or that prices aren't rising. But wouldn't there be an impact on prices if a large number of people suddenly had X amount more? 

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Idk. When the elderly retire they don't usually just sit at home smoking pot and eating bonbons. Most of them continue to contribute to their community and families. When they do become reclusive and isolated, we usually worry for their mental health rather than presume they are lazy bums mooching off the system.

 

My kids under 18 who don't work aren't sitting around online doing nothing with their lives. They contribute to society and actually work quite hard in their community.

 

I'm not sure what you and everyone else think is wrong with people between the ages of 18-70 that presumes they would devolve into pot smoking couch potatoes without being coerced otherwise.

Or even then... I had a long period of severe depression. Like, pot and bonbons might have been a step up! I was barely holding anything together. Part of that time, I was separated from my husband. But the whole time, my basic financial rights and decisions were preserved by "virtue" of being married. Had I been single, I would have been subjected to restricted groceries, limited health care options (so much for that life saving therapy), potentially lost my house and/or reliable vehicle, seeking help from other unstable relatives, and who knows what else would be subject to monitoring and regulating.

 

My "contribution " was nothing for a while. In this life, my value was preserved by my marital status. In an alternate life, I could have been told what cheese I was worthy of eating. That's a terrifying thought.

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Or even then... I had a long period of severe depression. Like, pot and bonbons might have been a step up! I was barely holding anything together. Part of that time, I was separated from my husband. But the whole time, my basic financial rights and decisions were preserved by "virtue" of being married. Had I been single, I would have been subjected to restricted groceries, limited health care options (so much for that life saving therapy), potentially lost my house and/or reliable vehicle, seeking help from other unstable relatives, and who knows what else would be subject to monitoring and regulating.

 

My "contribution " was nothing for a while. In this life, my value was preserved by my marital status. In an alternate life, I could have been told what cheese I was worthy of eating. That's a terrifying thought.

Ive seen that before and is what leads me to "worry for their mental health" being my initial concern vs "must be a lazy mooch".

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No, I don't think it would particularly.  Prince increases don't work that simply or directly.

 

Or maybe I should say, it wouldn't so long as other issues didn't come into it.

 

I mentioned before that you can get significant issues with housing prices any time there simply isn't enough housing to go around.  This happens no matter what, though, and it can only really be countered by good housing policy, which is separate from UBI.

 

Similarly, if you want people to get off drugs, you have to find good policies that will help as much as is possible.  UBI isn't going to make people get off drugs.

 

It's not supposed to do either of those things.  

 

You may be right but I am not convinced (but I wish I was as I would absolutely love having a UBI). I realize UBI wouldn't get people off drugs or fix any other issues. Still, I tend to think if the majority of the population had x amount more money it would create issues - not exactly sure which but inflation comes to mind. 

 

I guess what I am thinking is this: If I had an apartment to rent out I would obviously want to get as much money for it as I could. Many people buy houses so they would not be potential renters. But there is a group of people who would be interested in my imaginary apartment. Now, if they had X amount more money for the most part I could probably get more rent than before unless there is an oversupply of apartments. 

 

Obviously there would also be other effects as people would have more disposable income. It is hard though to tell exactly what would happen. And that is pretty risky if one wants to start an "experiment" in a country.

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I was thinking about this possibility.  Which by the way I doubt it will come to pass, but my 17 year old thinks it will---shrug---who knows.  

 

I would definitely use the money to spend more time taking care of my family.  Our life has been so much more chaotic since I went to work 3 days a week.  I hate it.  I am happy to have work, and I feel like we need the safety net, but some weeks we are just breaking even by the time we eat out more and all of that sort of thing. Once these kids are launched I might feel differently but for now I would want to be home. 

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Over a decade ago, my community built a prototype homeless shelter that included everything from dormitory style beds to transitional apartments for families.  All of the services are provided in a centralized location--drug counseling, money management lessons, nutrition classes, child care, tutoring, job training....  

 

It seems to have been highly successful in meeting the needs of some and a total failure at meeting the needs of others.  As part of this plan, churches in the area were strongly encouraged to stop many programs.  The idea was that the homeless would be forced to go to the shelter if there weren't alternatives.  Laws were passed, for example, that made it illegal to give anyone who is homeless anything on the street.  This law meant that I could be arrested for giving a homeless person a granola bar, but I could give Bill Gates $1000 if he were on the street. (The law was that it was illegal to give a HOMELESS person something--you could give things to other people)  All types of food regulations were passed making it extremely difficult for churches to run a soup kitchen.  

 

Our community recently did a large study of services offered around town by different organizations to find the overlap and find one REAL solution.  It seems to have had the same affect that you mention above.  Churches are being discouraged from offering services so that the one solution (something like the Hope Center, a one-stop homeless shelter/services center) can work. They also encourage you to not give to homeless but to direct them to the shelter...  

 

I was at a community services meeting last week and they were discussing the needs on one family - a pregnant teenage girl with a 2 year old.  She cannot live with her parents.  The shelter does not serve minors.  There's no kind of bridge shelter for kids aging out of the foster system in this area.  She is basically being left with no help.  Yes, the diaper bank can give her diapers, and the baby class group can come teach her about taking care of her baby and herself.  But she has no where to live.  Apparently the school system could pay for a hotel room for her, but they are worried about liability if it becomes a party house...  It is a sad sad mess.  

 

I live in a very isolated small town with limited services, high poverty, high housing costs, and a unique population of have's and have not's.  I am working for an organization that cares for teens who are unable to be placed in foster homes for one reason or another.  They are a forgotten population, and when they turn 18, there is basically nothing available for them as a safety net in our community.  It is heartbreaking....

 

I think about how much help my husband and I had when we were just starting out.  Things I didn't even really think of as help!!  And I think of the ways my just-launched kids still need me.  And it makes me wonder if the kids in the system, just about to turn 18, even have a chance.  Who is going to fill out their FAFSA form?  Who is going to make sure they talk to the counselor to set up their schedule.  Who is going to help them get their license? (little to no public transportation here) How will they be able to afford something to rent?  Who will give them a hand-me-down bed?  Whose house will they go to for Sunday dinner, and then do a little "grocery shopping" in grandma's pantry?  No grandparents to do laundry at.  Nowhere to go for Thanksgiving.  And these are the bonus things!  

 

I am able to hear about the issues of homelessness and poverty and the organizations in our little community that are offering solutions, but I'm not really sure that anything will "fix" the problem.  It is generational and it is ingrained and it is very sad.  

Edited by wendy not in HI
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I just can't figure out where all these people are who would "love to give a home to a child who needs it", if only it were cheaper to adopt. It is very cheap, if not free, to adopt children out of foster care TODAY. People talk about taking children away when they're young and "easily adoptable". There are thousands of young, "easily adoptable" aged children in America right now who are NOT being adopted. Maybe because they're the wrong color. Maybe because they were born addicted to drugs. I don't know. But I do know if I see one more Facebook post with a news article about child abuse and hundreds of commenters saying they'd "raise that baby in heartbeat", I'm going to scream. Because you CAN raise babies like that, right now, but in America we have a foster care crisis and thousands of children who should be removed from their homes but their workers have no where to place them. Where are all those good-hearted posters and commenters?

Deleted because my comment was misunderstood. I'm in complete agreement with these frustrations. See posts below for my clarification. Sorry for any confusion.

Edited by MotherGoose
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