Universal Basic Income (UBI)
So how much of your hard earned money should be given to those that refuse to work or had no interest in learning a trade, enhancing a skill, or otherwise made an effort to improve their lot in life? Should it be a lifestyle that is provided, money, food, lodging, or some combination? Should they be entitled to vacations, cosmetic surgery, new cars, tech gadgets, or should they be given enough money to choose?
Should it be a stipend to make everyone’s salary the same? If a person goes to school and becomes a nurse, should they make the same amount of money as the person who flunked out of high school and is slowly devouring one streaming library after another? Is that unreasonable? What if a starting nurse’s salary only provides a modest living, is it still unreasonable? How is “modest living” defined? Should it be the same amount of money earned by a dishwasher? Where is the cutoff?
Maybe UBI should cover the cost of room and board in a nice area along with money for food and sundries. This might change from one city to another, so those folks collecting UBI could move around. A person should be able to summer in Maine and Winter in Florida, right? Is that reasonable? How far should it go?
Some would say the above makes a mockery of the intent of UBI, but I disagree. People have suggested it is a stipend but when it comes to specifics like who should get it and how much it should be, the response is double speak and rhetoric. Any queries are discounted as political or ideological defensiveness. I am serious, it has nothing to do with ideology or politics, I want to know how it will be implemented? If it is a stipend, how much? I want policy clarification.
What is the intent? As has been made clear in other posts, how a person spends money is private. If you earn it, spend it how you like, but if you spend away on frivolities and come to society for free money, or a subsidy of any kind, then how you spend your money becomes societies’ business. Does society want to oversee how people spend money? If so, our education systems have failed. We should be teaching fiscal responsibility, not how to maximize entitlements.
Another aspect of UBI that people are uneasy to discuss is it subsidizes wages. In other words, UBI pays people the difference in what it costs to live and what they make at their job (for those folks actually working). This is the primary argument of raising the minimum wage, to provide a “living wage”. Is this living wage supposed to eliminate the need for UBI or simple reduce the stipend; serious question?
Citizens already provide enough corporate welfare (in the form of subsidies) for many US firms; we don’t need to subsidize workers’ salaries too. UBI is offered as a solution to a host of problems, none of which it will address.