36 | Human Male | New Orleans | Snarky?
Malnourishment is a national concern because we are a nation that cares about its people, how they feel, how they live. We care whether they are well and whether they are happy. First of all there is a moral imperative: Our national conscience requires it. We must because we can. We are the world’s richest nation. We are the best educated nation. We have an agricultural abundance that ranks as a miracle of the modern world. This Nation cannot long continue to live with its conscience if millions of its own people are unable to get an adequate diet.
For the first time - Mr. Moynihan please notice - for the first time, this new family assistance plan would give every American family a basic income, wherever in America that family may live. For the first time, it would put cash into the hands of families because they are poor, rather than because they fit certain categories. When enacted, this measure alone will either supplement the incomes or provide the basis for the incomes of 25 million American men, women, and children. Our basic policies for improvement of the living conditions of the poor are based on this proposition: That the best judge of each family’s priorities is that family itself, that the best way to ameliorate the hardships of poverty is to provide the family with additional income-to be spent as that family sees fit.
Now, some will argue with this proposition. Some argue that the poor cannot be trusted to make their own decisions, and therefore, the Government should dole out food, clothing, and medicines, according to a schedule of what the Government thinks is needed. Well, I disagree. I believe there are no experts present in this great gathering who know more about the realities of hunger and malnutrition than those among you who are here because you have suffered from it; or than those among you who are here who do suffer from it, from great cities, from wornout farms, from barren reservations, from frozen tundra, and tiny islands half a world away.
The task of Government is not to make decisions for you or for anyone. The task of Government is to enable you to make decisions for yourselves. Not to see the truth of that statement is fundamentally to mistake the genius of democracy. We have made too many mistakes of this type-but no more. Our job is to get resources to people in need and then to let them run their own lives.
Awesome! Happy to help progress us all towards a UBI. I’ll continue doing everything I can to increase its awareness and social momentum towards actualized policy.
Let’s imagine a future where one person owns all the wealth in the world, and makes everything thanks to ownership of all the factories and all the robots. There is no work for anyone to do, and that’s kind of a problem because how are the people paying for the stuff the lone owner of all capital is making?
Is it unfair for the one person to be taxed, and massively so, in order to distribute income to create the consumers necessary to pay for the goods and services being sold by the lone owner of everything? Will that person feel resentment?
Let’s say that yes, that person feels resentment for owning everything in the world and refusing to give back any of it in the form of taxes. “Taxation is stealing!” that person will cry. Because this is a fictional example, let’s say this person isn’t immediately killed and everything redistributed over that former person’s dead body, and instead let’s say all the people in the world instead choose to die off, or do what they can to live off the land and barter and trade with one another, completely cut off from the market.
Now that one person is earning nothing. Having earned all the wealth, they are paradoxically broke, with nothing at all but a bunch of numbers in a computer.
But hey, at least no one got a basic income. Because that would have been silly.
I admit, that is an extremely unrealistic example, but so is a world where there is 66% unemployment without massive social upheaval. And we would allow that to happen because those lucky few with the jobs would feel resentment? Bullshit.
The fact of the matter is that capitalism requires consumption, and that the problem we are already facing is that income has become too concentrated. It needs to be spread out for capitalism to work. The more people with income to spend, the better for capitalism. So if capitalism is a system we want to stick with, we better become okay with providing people with a basic income in a world where globalization has massively expanded the labor pool, and automation is quickly reducing the need for labor. Either that, or we just drop capitalism and figure out something better. I’d certainly be fine with that too.
By the way, there are many many ways of paying for a basic income aside from an income tax. We could do some form of value added tax, or a carbon tax, or a tax on wealth, or a tax on land, or national mutual funds, or a tax on financial transactions, or whatever in whatever combinations. There are plenty of ideas out there and we are a creative people. The only thing stopping a basic income from happening is that enough people don’t know enough about it yet, or don’t even know anything at all about it for that matter.
Educate yourself. Read the many examples out there of actual basic income experiments and pilots by reading about what we’ve learned in: Manitoba, Namibia, India, Brazil, Alaska, Seattle and Denver, North Carolina, Uganda, Kenya, Iran, and even Berkshire in 1795. Learn how it actually works, is actually affordable, and is kind of important to get going within the next 20 years.
For more info, please join us in /r/basicincome.