It's time for a basic minimum income!

All around the world, people are talking about a basic minimum income, and what they're saying makes a lot of economic sense. Regardless of whether you want to fight poverty, stimulate the economy, shrink the size of government, or simply ensure everyone has a sense of human dignity – you should be calling for a no-strings-attached basic income for all. Since it's inception, Social Security has been incredibly successful at fighting poverty. So rather than slashing it, or means-testing it, we should expand it to every American.

In addition to helping low-income workers, a basic income would provide a huge boost to our economy. When people have money to spend, demand increases, and businesses see faster growth and higher profits. Even those who believe that the size of government is our biggest problem should be all-in-favor of a minimum income for all Americans. Rather than administering a huge patchwork of overlapping social programs, our nation could save time and money by simply issuing every citizen a monthly check.

A basic minimum income makes sense economically, and it could lead to important social benefits too. Crime rates would likely decrease because people wouldn't need to steal to survive. More Americans would have the opportunity to raise families or complete their education when they're not working three jobs just to get by. And, a minimum income would ensure that no one would be denied their basic human dignity by being forced to live in squalor in the richest nation of the face of the Earth. These are not extreme ideas. When you consider the economic, social, and moral benefits, a basic minimum income just makes sense.

Comments

Kend's picture
Kend 6 years 26 weeks ago
#1

Ok 10k. so you believe someone oppressing you. Who us that? Obama? His adminasrtration? Walmart? Warren Buffett? You do know that the US has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Millions are jumping fences, swimming rivers or riding tire tubes in the Atlantic just to get a small peice of what you have. Is it really that bad?

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 26 weeks ago
#2

What time zone are you in DAnne....I didn't think anybody would be awake now? I'm on the east coast and just had the time of my life at a benefit concert for victims of a local tragic fire......music you would have liked! I know, too much info! Anyway, I think Kend isn't who we think he is...just my opinion based on paying very close attention to his posts. That said, I hope he continues his adversarial ways on this blog....not many have the balls or ovaries to do that anymore!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 6 years 26 weeks ago
#3

2950-10K ~ Well then that makes sense. I'm on the west coast and just about to turn in. This will probably be my last post of the night. Sounds like you've had a nice evening. Great. Wish I could have been there.

One last thing. A universal minimum wage is a great idea. However, since cost of living varies so much from place to place and time to time you would have to write the law as some sort of an equation with respect to the average cost of living per area. That wage would have to be adjusted annually for the cost of living. Other than that little tip, I bid you all good night! Good luck!

PS Don't lose too much sleep arguing with you know who. He's a night owl, and probably lives in an earlier time zone.

Kend's picture
Kend 6 years 26 weeks ago
#4

10k you are the second person to say I am not who I say I am geez. I am exactly who I am on this blog I just explained it a week ago to one of your buddies here. What is it that you think I am?

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 26 weeks ago
#5

I've already told you on a past post what I think and I know you remember!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 26 weeks ago
#6

DAnne, I agree with your cost of living adjustment and I confess to doing battle with Kend both in a tired and buzzed state!...not that it matters! LOL

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 26 weeks ago
#7

Kend ...I see poverty and pain all around in the rural America where I live. My neighbors aren't lazy, many after busting their ass all week don't get paid enough to even stay off food stamps. Meanwhile the concentration of wealth continues to grow because we have a government that's by and for only the wealthy. That's because they had the money to buy it!.... thanks in large part to the five right wing extremist republicans on your Supreme Court, and to "free market" economics. I've heard your talking point about poverty being relative many many god damn times. It's at best a lame justification for continued greed both here and abroad. Don't ask me these goddamn fox talking point questions...you answer my question...what's wrong with a global living wage? I'm anxious to hear your answer.

Kend's picture
Kend 6 years 26 weeks ago
#8

10k. When things are taken or given without earning we become un productive. Here in Canada our native aboriginals are a perfect example. with about six % of the population they represent 26% of our prison population. They have a extremely high rate of drug and alcohol abuse far above average. Rape and mental and phisical abuse is almost the norm. are you suggesting we all world wide just pool all are wealth and food?

Kend's picture
Kend 6 years 26 weeks ago
#9

Oh by the way if your neighbors need work google Alberta Canada employment. if you have any skill at all there is a lot of jobs here and they are fast tracking short term visas. But don't come without a place to stay we also have zero vacancy so you need to find a place to live first. i suggest camp work. they house and feed you.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 6 years 26 weeks ago
#10

Kend, socialism is not the welfare state but the workers' state. The welfare state is a compromise with socialism, a halfway measure that results not in both capitalism and socialism but in neither. It is the worst of both worlds.

Welfare should only be for the disabled but since we depend on business cycles for employment we have to implement welfare for the down cycle periods and to make up for the general undercompensation of workers in our society. Socialism is when workers are in charge, when workers have the power and own and control much of everything in common and, I would insist, do so democratically. The best examples are West Germany, Sweden, perhaps France of the '70s.

The Soviet Union, I think, was a bad example. There, because of the completely undemocratic nature of everything, the workers didn't own everything but owned nothing. It's because Leninism, a revisionist Marxism, required a temporary well meaning dictatorship until the dark, superstitious peasantry was ready for socialism and self government, as it were.

Marx didn't consider a society ready for socialism until it was industrialized as Russia of 1917 was not. He held that socialist revolution could not come from the ignorant agrarian peasant but the informed urban proletariat, and, in fact, the Russian peasant couldn't be less revolutionary. They had a dark superstitious belief in the divine right of the czar and feudal aristocracy and could not be moved to revolution but were instead quite reactionary.

Marx, then, simply said that Russia was not ready for socialism but first had to pass through an evolutionary stage of industrialzation, and thus, capitalism before it could progress to socialism but Lenin said, "Fuck that, we're doin' this now!". So then the communist revolution in Russia was not a popular revolution but a palace revolution or coup de` tat, as it were. Lenin took power not with organized masses of workers with his vanguard of professional revolutionaries and then had to rule by his "temporary", well intentioned dictatorship to protect his revolutionary experiment because so few people in Russia were down with or could even comprehend what it was about.

We all know what happened after that as even well meaning dictatorships never result in more democraticness, but rather, more dictatorship. All subsequent violent Communist revolutions took place in agrarian societies and were thus, of the Leninist model. Marx did, however, say that a socialist revolution did not need to be violent and that in a society sufficiently advanced and with enough democratic structures in place it could come at the ballot box instead.

Kend's picture
Kend 6 years 26 weeks ago
#11

Well said. Explaining socialism as a workers state nails it. But what would Canada fall under. We are defiantly Capitalist I am proof of that. We are kinda socialist as we all have subsidized government health care and Education but we are far from a workers state. We are a little "welfare state" as you don't have to work a day in your life healthy or not and we will provide food, shelter and clothing, my aunt was proof of that.

After reading this blog I am starting to believe it is almost perfect here. You can do as much or as little as you want. Our health care needs a lot of work though. We need to mix a little more private in it. The waiting lists are far too long.

I was in Leningrad (st petersburg now) in the early 80s what a colourless, emotionless place it was back then communism sucks

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 26 weeks ago
#12

DAnneMarc -- I assume that social cohesion would bring about better wealth equality. Do you think in the face of industrialization, that labor unions would bring about more social cohesion (certainly not at the level of a family but maybe enough)? How can you say economic disparity has little to do with those characteristics; that is, what was the Gini coefficient (LOL)?

Why depend on Wikipedia for definitions? Do you know Wikipedia has no mention of the merging of private and public interests in their definition of fascism? Of course, Meriam Webster took it out of their definition of fascism in the dictionaries I own. This removal happened when they were bought out by a multi-national corporation in the 1980's. I should mention that my sister's dictionary of the dates as mine, still has the mention of merging of state and private interests in the definition of fascism.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 26 weeks ago
#13

Kend -- What the US is very good at is PR. We spend $600 billion a year on advertising. To give you an idea of how much that is, Paul Ryan proposed a budget for the US of $960 billion. When they get here and realize the truth back they go. I think that is why we now have negative immigration.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 6 years 26 weeks ago
#14

Kend: Maybe you should go to Detroit today! It wasn't communism that brought Detroit down. When capitalist pigs decide to move their factories overseas..oh..and all their capital stashed in foreign accounts... they are most destructive of the country that made their wealth possible to begin with. They're traitors!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 6 years 26 weeks ago
#15

And all that PR has the effect of making a lot of people in other countries want to come to the US for a better life. But, I think it is more like in the 1983 film El Norte where a brother, Enrique, and his sister, Rosa, after their father's head was cut off and put on top of a fence by the military junta, decides that the US was the place of freedom and opportunity. After all they had been exposed to all the PR stories. So, they managed to get into the US but find that it was not all like the stories they had heard. It was a land of exploitation of the poor and manual laborers. It had a very sad ending.

Better think twice about going to Alberta, Canada or anywhere else for "the good life". It may be good...or maybe not. Be very careful when you think about working over seas or in other countries. Many people make out ok. But some people, mostly young women, are sold into slavery..and young men into hard labor earning much less pay than they were promised. While I wouldn't think that this would be a particular problem in Canada...well, hell, it's a problem even in the US!
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And I was reading, and watching some videos, about Marc Emery's plight in Canada. And in reading about that situation, I picked up some of the things that they can arrest you for in Canada. Some pretty arcane laws that bend toward religious intolerance. I already knew they were intolerant of anyone who spoke out against Jews in any way. But Marc Emery didn't have anything to do with those things. What he was put into prison for 5 years (originally, supposed to be 10) was for his marijuana activism and his selling marijuana seeds. He and his wife Jodie had a long history of activism trying to legalize pot.
He is about to get out of a US prison after serving his 5 year term. His wife Jodie kept up the activism and the on-line TV program called Pot TV. Funny thing is that even the Canadian police were not going to put him in prison...it was the US DEA who insisted that he serve time in a US prison.

http://www.pot.tv/video/2014/03/04/Jodie-Emery-Show-20-Years-Marc-Emerys...

http://www.pot.tv

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 6 years 26 weeks ago
#16

Kend, I was in the Soviet Union in '77, my family comes from there. I traveled with a group of socialists and we were very critical of the phony socialism and I did find it nothing but dreary. I was a cold warrior in through the '80s - even because I was a socialist. I didn't appreciate that insult to socialism.

Canada might be like Western Europe. When you don't dispense with democracy then the people can vote for socialism and if they tire of it and want something else they can vote for something else.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 6 years 26 weeks ago
#17

Quote chuckle8:DAnneMarc -- I assume that social cohesion would bring about better wealth equality.

I never said that. I said social cohesion is the factor that is behind all the social ills Wendalore spoke of. Social cohesion is necessary for a healthy family. A healthy family is necessary for mental health.

Quote chuckle8:Do you think in the face of industrialization, that labor unions would bring about more social cohesion (certainly not at the level of a family but maybe enough)?

If you reduce the number of parents that have to work to support the family, you only improve social cohesion slightly. The problems will still persist, though somewhat lessened. Only by keeping all members of the family together--working together and interdependent--can you raise the social cohesion to the level that will completely eliminate these problems.

Quote chuckle8:How can you say economic disparity has little to do with those characteristics; that is, what was the Gini coefficient (LOL)?

For the very simple reason that these problems permeate all levels of society--both poor and wealthy. It is just the poor who demonstrate these characteristics that we notice. If we kept tract of every dysfunctional person, George W. Bush would never have even been considered as a political candidate for any office. At a young age he abused animals--a certain tell tale sign of a psychopath. As a teenager he was arrested for Cocaine. These are the known dysfunctions. Imagine what else remains under the veil of national security.

Don't confuse economic disparity with psycho-sociological dysfunction. They are both two different problems. You seem to think that if we could return to the economy of the 50's all this dysfunction would go away. Yet, the truth is it won't . The nuclear family of "Leave it to Beaver" was a media myth that bared no resemblance to real life. The problems existed then as well, but were buried deep. Remember the movie, "Rebel Without A Cause." That was a much more realistic depiction of psycho-sociological dysfunction in this economic equality paradise of which you speak.

Don't get me wrong. Economic disparity is a human disgrace that needs to be addressed. I'm simply stating that we are talking about two completely separate issues. Apples and oranges if you will.

Quote chuckle8:Why depend on Wikipedia for definitions?

Now you got me. Wikipedia was there and I had to work today. I just didn't have the time to fully explain the concepts of Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft . You might like to know that I regret that very much because as you have stated Wikipedia doesn't do the job that I would like. In a previous blog post I took the time to break these complex ideal types down in a way that does them justice and explains these problems. This time I just didn't have the time to do it again; or, to search the archives for the last time I did it; but, it is there. I apologize for that.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 26 weeks ago
#18

DAnneMarc -- Economic disparity and psycho-sociological dysfunction are very much correlated. The link I provided for you from R. Wilkerson measures this relationship in fine detail. Of course, there are many anecdotes that show the opposite. In spite of what Faux News thinks, counting anecdotes is not a proof of anything. Wilkerson's study is statistical.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 6 years 26 weeks ago
#19

chuckle8 ~ My apologies. I was quite busy today. If you could re-post the link you speak of from R. Wilkerson I would be most interested in reviewing it tomorrow... I don't have time tonight. I will respond on tomorrows blog. Thanks again, and a Very Good Night!

PS The two issue are correlated; however, I don't believe that they are mutually inclusive... ie you can't cure them both by curing one. They are separate issues that need separate cures. If you believe this is in error I would love to see the proof...

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 6 years 26 weeks ago
#20

Marc, I think Rebel Without a Cause was about all the superfluous wealth of suburbia in that great postwar period of the care free economy of the robust middle class that made for the care free, merry youth of those generations and, most importantly, about the superficial values that came from it - that the "rebel without a cause" (James Dean's character) defied. We were really subsumed, back then, with our alarm about and disdain for those values - much to the annoyance of the poor and racial minorities (who constituted large part, perhaps most, of the poor) who would really liked to have been able to afford some of those superficial values.

What luxurious concerns we had then! We were worried that we were too well off! To our credit, we made noises of concern for those who didn't have it so good.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 26 weeks ago
#21

DAnneMarc -- The proof is highlighted in the following link:

http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson

The more extensive proof is in Richard Wilkinson's book "The Spirit Level". I know I don't have enough energy (or time) to plow through the book, but maybe you do. One point he covers quickly in the Ted talk (AKA the link) is that besides the inequality there is a bare minimum income needed. I think it is a annual salary of $7000. I think he is saying if the annual income is below that level even if everyone has the same income his correlations start to fall apart.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 6 years 26 weeks ago
#22

chuckle8 ~ Very well. I found that link and watched the video. I believe you or someone shared it before. I stand corrected. However, I still stand by my original assertion that these problems occur as a result of the modern day, Gesellschaft Nuclear family. Yet I stand corrected that there intensity of occurrence is directly related to economic disparity.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 6 years 26 weeks ago
#23

Whoops! Talk about a day late and a dollar short. Thanks for your patients buddy!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 6 years 26 weeks ago
#24

Marc, I hate to nitpick but the word you want is "patience" not "patients"! If it was just one type-0, I wouldn't say anything, but you've made this error a number of times already. These words might sound very similar but in actual meaning, they are light years apart. - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 6 years 26 weeks ago
#25

Aliceinwonderland ~ Thanks for pointing that out. I type so fast I get clumsy. I have a lot of bad typing habits and usually run it through the spell check before posting; however, it doesn't catch everything. I really upset myself by constantly misspelling the same words. I just type too fast and let the spell checker clean it up. However, some misspelled words, like "patients" is actually correctly spelled, although misused, and goes unchecked. Although I'm consistent, I hate repeating mistakes. I appreciate you pointing it out.

Please don't be offended if I repeat the mistake in the future. Some old habits die hard. I'll learn eventually. I won't mind if you point it out again if and when it happens. I really appreciate your patients... I mean patience!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 6 years 26 weeks ago
#26

No problem, Marc. I don't offend that easily. And I'm all too familiar with bad typing habits, having had more than my share. Just lookin' out for mah blog buddies! - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 26 weeks ago
#27

DAnneMarc -- I am usually a week late.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 26 weeks ago
#28

DAnneMarc -- These topics are complex. I prefer you take a day or two to think about them.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 26 weeks ago
#29

AIW -- However, there is a strong correlation. That is, if you are a patient, you had better have a lot of patience.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 6 years 26 weeks ago
#30

Veeery punny, Chuck.

Curt Welch's picture
Curt Welch 6 years 26 weeks ago
#31

If Basic Income is impossible, then social security would also be impossible. It's not impossible. It will happen. In the long run, machines and automation are destroying wages and jobs and driving inequalty higher. There's a limit to how bad it can get before people will demand a fix, and a Basic Income, or something equivilent is the only real fix there is. It will happen once enough people are in a bad enough position that can no longer deny the need for it. Hopefully, we will be able to make it happen sooner rather than later.

Curt Welch's picture
Curt Welch 6 years 26 weeks ago
#32

Yes, we could do it as a complex tax code where we all have to pay a tax prepairer to do all the complex accounting for us to figure out how much we pay. Or, we could get the exact same result, by paying a flat income tax that can be calculated like social security as a payroll delduction, and just have the government write an equal sized check to everyone. We could in fact totally eliminate all need to fill out end of the year tax forms. The math works out to be the the same, but the second way is far simpler, and offeres many advantages, like the elimination of totally pointless work like tax preperation, and eliminate the many loop holes that people use to cheat the system, or which they fail to take advantage of to get the tax breaks they deserve. It also greatly reduces the number of people the government must hire to keep track of the complex tax laws and to police the system to reduce cheating.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 26 weeks ago
#33

Curt W -- A flat tax is the wet dream of the rich. Even the social security tax is loved by the rich because there is no tax on the way they earn money i.e. capital gains, carried interest, dividends etc.

However, the most important thing you need to remember is that taxes have a dual purpose. Besides raising revenue, they are put in place to encourage certain behaviors e.g. home interest is deductible to encourage people to buy houses. Another example Thom gave on his show on Monday was the building of wind farms. Of course, these behavious modification deductions are often "fondly" referred to as loopholes.

geonomist's picture
geonomist 6 years 23 weeks ago
#34

We have a common wealth that if we shared it, each of us getting a share would be equivalent to getting a basic income. What’s our common wealth? The worth of Earth. It’s our spending for land, resources, EM spectrum, and other very valuable aspects of nature. We could use taxes or fees or dues or leases to redirect our spending for things none of us made into our public treasury and use dividends to disburse the revenue to all registered voters. In most economies, the spending for nature and privilege is likely to be half of all spending (roughly the GDP), so there is plenty of money to share, as a Citizen’s Dividen or a Basic Income. More at progress.org.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 23 weeks ago
#35

Why not just continue the New Deal and the Great Scoiety? In other words, roll back reaganomics.

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