As it turns out, simply giving people money is one of the most powerful forms of economic stimulus available. In a comparison of the stimulus effects of different government spending by the Economic Policy Institute, food stamps and unemployment insurance topped the list, with each dollar spent yielding an effective boost to the economy of more than $1.60. By comparison, tax cuts for individuals provided a boost of only $1.03, and tax cuts for businesses yielded a measly boost of $0.30.
The ability to say no to an employer provides people the bargaining power and the choice to determine how they work, where they work, for how much and for how long. No other policy does that. A minimum wage certainly doesn’t. Wage subsidies certainly don’t. Without basic income, the labor market is coercive, and that means people accept what they can get. With basic income, wages for low-demand jobs must go up and/or hours must go down in order to attract people with incomes independent of work to do them, or those same jobs must be automated to be performed by machines instead, whichever is cheaper.
It doesn’t abolish poverty. It helps sustain it. And this is the system establishment voices wish to improve upon in piecemeal fashion, possibly because they’re not the ones being chewed up and spit out by it, or even neglected by it entirely.