Why the universal basic income is politically unrealizable
It seems so simple. Instead of government housing projects, healthcare, food stamps and education, you just give everyone a certain allowance and then they can spend it on housing, healthcare, food, education or whatever else they want, as they see fit.
It’s obviously preferable for the recipent, to able to decide himself what’s important to him. And isn’t it also preferable for the state, simply to give everyone a certain sum of money?
No. The welfare state offers a lots of jobs for bureaucrats and lots of bribes for bureaucrats and campaign donations for politicians: Which construction company will get to build the housing project? Which insurance company will be admitted in the healthcare system? Which grocery stores can people spend their food stamps in? Which colleges does the government fund tuition for?
But the state also enriches the middle class at the expense of the poor.
- Poor people are less likely to get into college yet they have to pay taxes to fund it.
- Poor people start to work earlier and die earlier, so they start paying into scoial security earlier and get less out of it.
Why? Most politicians and bureaucrats and most of the people who influence public opinion — professors, journalists, pundits — are from the middle class.
Thus, for the same reason that the universal basic income would be superior to the welfare state — it’s simplicity and freedom — it will never be realized.