Universal Basic Income is feasible.
What people don’t understand is that there are many ways and means to fund UBI. The biggest and most important way to fund UBI is through the will of the public. To put it simply, if enough people wish to eradicate poverty, it can and will be done.
If you don’t have a solid understanding of what a foundational income floor like UBI is, please read this first:
Comprehending ‘Universal Basic Income’
UBI is T.R.U.E. — Trust, Respect, Understanding, and Empathy
The question “Where does the money come from?” is nothing more than a display of misunderstanding of public demand and at worst a delay toward actual progress being made.
When it first began, the “ways and means” committee was originally about funding government spending for what is necessary and required. It has now become “ways and means” of protecting the interests of a tiny few while ‘old generation’ words like “means-tested” have become prejudiced neoliberal terms.
The word ‘committee’ is defined as: A group of people officially delegated to perform a function, such as investigating, considering, reporting, or acting on a matter. — ‘Ways and means’ is defined as: methods and resources for raising the necessary revenues for the expenses of a nation or state. — ‘Means’ is defined as: to have in mind as a purpose (to intend).
In other words, this committee has since lost its purpose, to serve the benefit of the economy and the people of the United States.
In order to avoid prejudice, let’s make sure we first fully comprehend UBI before we get into the cost.
The cost of Unconditional Basic Income isn’t to be compared to some massive global war effort or even an immense utopic shift like detractors compare it to (though it may eventually head in that utopic direction).
We have a solid understanding of where and what the poverty line is, and Unconditional Universal Basic Income is nothing more than this:
The normal idea of lifting everyone up out of poverty, where we all deserve to be, thus treated rightfully as a human being. It isn’t idealism to ensure everyone be treated with respect as a human being, it’s normality.
The fact that we don’t already ensure this is actually infantile. It’s deranged.
Much like how the government can appropriate funds as necessary, depending on the will of the people, the public must state and demand that poverty is no longer acceptable and that a ruthless dog-eat-dog world is no longer acceptable.
Say it with me: “Nobody, nobody should be forced to live in poverty, it is no longer acceptable. Nobody should ever have the fear and stress of poverty hanging over their heads, ever.”
The threat of poverty is used as extortion for selfish gain in an infantile and sociopathic game, and that must now end. Life is not a game, it is reality.
The notion of societal dog-eat-dog mentality being “that’s life”, should be rejected with the same vigor as rejecting segregation.
The fact that we have not made it a main purpose or a top priority to eradicate poverty (and with it, suffering and death) tells us that we have not grown up mentally and culturally as a society.
It can be done. It is entirely possible.
Individually we must make the choice and simply advocate for UBI and educate others about what UBI is and dispel disinformation, or otherwise indirectly advocate against ruthless societal dog-eat-dog mentality—but solutions must be offered.
We have allowed a few selfish individuals to rudder the means of state, this has allowed them to create a more ruthless cut-throat zero-sum society for everyone else while a few of them have greedily benefitted tremendously as wealth inequality skyrockets and America is thrashed, putting all of our futures at risk, it isn’t a stretch either to say our planet is now at risk too.
Most of these individuals are fueled by a social darwinist mentality. This social darwinist “survival of the fittest” mentality applied to human society is a deranged mental virus, the same cult-like mentality that has led to genocides and is now rising again in small pockets around the world.
Tragically, this mentality is pervasive in America, too. It has a long history here in social policy and it is poised to now become dangerously radicalized and exploited by cartels.
If you believe that starting people at zero and having them ‘prove themselves’ by giving up their valuable time bending over backwards to ever-increasing barriers-to-entry from looming increasingly-sociopathic-dehumanizing-globally-operating industries is normal, then you are doing nothing less than condoning human abuse, criminal neglect on a massive scale.
The fact that we can dream, imagine, invent, and have ideals is what makes us human and distances us from the survivalist animal world. Alongside this we find that art, religion, and language are all connected to our higher-level reasoning and thinking.
Beyond being entirely debunked by science and anthropologists, social darwinism is wholly unacceptable and should be rejected with immense haste everywhere in the world. It is not normal, it is deranged and sociopathic because human society is not zero-sum and economics does not follow the laws of nature—it follows the demands of society.
The public must both reject social darwinism and demand democratic policies that stifle this deranged mentality, and instead… increase liberty for all.
However, for those unconvinced UBI is a simple moral choice, before anything else…and are driven purely by cold-hard-mathematics, I will now argue simply for the sake of argument with regards to funding UBI.
Funding typically depends on several things: the context of the location, the scope, and speed of implementation.
One thing policy-makers seem to do is attempt to fund UBI through one method alone, like taxes. This is because they are attempting to appease and argue, and find common ground with social darwinists and austerity-loving economists and neoliberal think-tanks. This is a huge mistake.
In order to make the end result simple and effective, a larger variety of sources would be likely be required. To give a simple analogy: much like underneath the clean and elegant watch-face there are seemingly complicated gears, yet the mechanics are well known and designed to ensure the watch keeps time and runs for a long time. Analog clocks are now seen as simple mechanics compared to modern digital ones. Simarly, if a UBI is generated at the point of money creation via new types of digital currency, underneath it would be unique algorithmic systems to ensure a foundational floor, otherwise a wide net would need to be cast through government policy.
Firstly, it is important to consider the immense costs of NOT implementing UBI. There now exists plenty of growing evidence that there would be massive systemic savings and advantages to having a UBI in many areas such as:
Significantly reducing and preventing crimes, reducing prison populations, reducing hospitalizations, increasing social entrepreneurship, and significant re-investments in innovation through education and proper health of citizens among many other cost-saving societal investments.
So the question really becomes “how much are we spending to maintain poverty and regression right now?” The answer is likely trillions.
Besides the government’s ability to appropriate a large amount of the necessary funding, there are also the following mechanics. This compilation is not exhaustive, by the way, and has the potential to be quite responsive to local contexts and resources.
These are not single options, they are combinations.
✔ One way to pay for some of the basic income is to put it on the Fed’s balance sheet. Beyond the government simply appropriating much of the funds, a “wealth fund” like the Alaska PFD could be set up. Instead of using one method of ‘filling up the wealth fund’, such as oil, a wide variety of sources could be used.
✔ A carbon-tax and pollution fee should be added to help compensate for damaging industries as well as to transition towards cleaner air and seas.
✔ A massive reduction of the trillions in military spending could be diverted and instead added to the fund, this would likely be beyond enough but let’s not stop there.
✔ Reductions of government mismanagement and misallocation of funds in currently prejudiced and targeted “means-tested” welfare programs that create cliffs could be diverted and the savings then added.
✔ A portion of the deficit could simply be increased temporarily to help kickstart the program (instead of owing the neoliberal banks, some of that can now go directly to the people).
✔ Restructuring healthcare from an industry to a public service would save significant amounts and could then be added.
✔ Electronic transaction taxes could be added through a small fee from each transaction made via the massive online payment processors.
✔ A land-value tax could be added to compensate how land was given to social darwinistic landlords without any compensation to the public.
✔ A small amount of robotic (automation) tax could be added to compensate for all the people who are being rapidly displaced by automation.
✔ Shaving off small portion of idle money from banks could be added.
✔ A small tax on the wealthiest corporations could be added to compensate for the large amounts of entrepreneurs who are not able to break barriers to entry due to those hoarding capital and banks increasingly unable to offer small business loans.
✔ A small tax/fee that social network companies contribute to could be added, to offset the data collection and potentially reduce data mining activities.
Consider the savings as evidenced from basic income and cash-transfer studies in the past and magnify those savings over time to see how funding seems even less trivial.
Detractors say “UBI will cost trillions, that is unreasonable and unrealistic, so let’s not do it!” This is as ignorant as saying “The internet will be too big, that is unreasonable and unrealistic, so let’s not build it!”.
Even decentralized things have to start somewhere. It quickly becomes clear just how disingenuous most arguments against UBI are, and just how so much of them stem from those who simply wish to delay progress because they benefit from unequal opportunity.
Nonresearched, under-informed, not backed by evidence, blatantly misleading, often offensive, hateful and sometimes even abusive derogatory arguments are thrusted at UBI advocates for the sake of delay to benefit a few, not for genuine progress and improvements to benefit the many.
Now, you may still be skeptical and think maybe we should start small and work our way up instead of creating a small national or global fund that can scale. Starting at the city level might have some complications. It could create more prejudiced means-tested snags, it could ignore the idea of unconditionality… but for the mere sake of argument, at the city level, a “city-fund” to provide a foundational income floor (to residents over 2 years) could be set up using the following combinations:
1. Carbon-tax. 2. Pollution tax. 3. Investment or sponsorship such as the SEED program 4. Network funding such as the Economic Security Project 5. Freight automation tolls to compensate job displacement. 6. A large portion of land value taxes can be added and based on commercial, hotel, or apartment usage of the land. 7. A small portion of property taxes can be diverted and added. 8. A small portion of business licenses fees can be diverted and added and based on the size of the enterprise. 9. A small portion from social network ad-spend using city-targeting can be added. 10. A small fee could be added from each digital-product sale made in the city. Much of these can be automatic electronic fees, and new combinations are thought of each day.
The point is to begin, and to start a program already. Run a study if you have to, but there have already been plenty.
All of these would contribute (as evidenced) to significantly reduced costs caused by crime, increased savings from reduced hospitalizations, increased savings from re-investment of innovation, savings from health and savings from innovation via increased education. An economic boom to the first city that implements a foundational income floor will be evidenced and dramatic.
There’s more additions and combinations that could be added for more nationwide and global views:
How to Reform Welfare and Taxes to Provide Every American Citizen with a Basic Income
A detailed funding plan for cross-partisan implementation of universal basic income in the United States
There are constantly new specific and much more in-depth proposals for places like the USA:
How We Can Transform America’s Broken Economic System to Work for EVERYONE
No matter how poor or rich, ALL of our lives can be better in the 21st century… if we unbreak the system
With many proposals yet to come… yet still there are more funding mechanics: A portion of funds could be spawned at the creation of digital currency. Author David J. Campbell proposes an entirely parallel socioeconomic system. These are the kind of ideas that slap in the face of defeatist and delaying unresearched detractors.
Other organizations like CirclesUBI are creating other money systems, and yet still others have recognized the importance of UBI many years ago and ignored the “where does the money come from?” delay-tactic entirely…they’re already creating a world basic income through digital currency: formerly GrantCoin it is exists today as Manna Currency. They’re just the first of many. Have a look at what Scott Santens shares with us here at the 4m30s mark: 242456791
As you can see, there are many, many, many ways and means to fund UBI and forward-thinking people are working on this every day. This is why many advocates simply don’t bother to focus on it. If we throw trillions away on excessive military spending… and if we can choose to go to the moon, we can choose to enact a simple foundational income floor that treats everyone like normal human beings.
It is unimaginative to think it cannot be funded and it merely stands to delay any meaningful progress.
Cities could start small and go from there. Groups like digital currency creators can start small and go from there. States and nations should review the evidence, join the international UBI movement, and start to build a foundational floor as soon as possible. Beyond the moral choice, this is why.
All of us should at least be advocating to eradicate poverty, because it is not a natural or normal human condition.
Read more of my writings published on Medium.com about Universal Basic Income:
Read about the existing evidence supporting UBI:
https://list.ly/list/1RdG-ubi-research-links-universal-basic-income-evidence or visit http://UBI.EARTH
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