SPELLCHEK – If a word in the dictionary were misspelled, how would we know? – Steven Wright

Has the time come for a universal basic income?

The idea for a universal basic income for all is not new dating back to the birth of America. Certainly, the argument could be made that we already have one anyway with the various social safety net programs in place. However, the push to implement one continues on with the idea of scrapping all existing welfare programs which only reach targeted groups with one that is universal regardless on one’s situation.

Of course, this proposal raises a whole host of issues. Should each person get the same amount regardless of the cost of living where they reside? What about the number of dependents? Would there be a means test? What would the amount be and would it be indexed to inflation? And of course the big one. Where does the money come from?

Switzerland is used as a test case right now as they have accrued the minimum amount of signatures to put it on the ballot this year although a date hasn’t been set yet. The amount would be $2,800 USD per month or $33,600 per year.

The federal poverty guidelines for 2014 state that a single person would require $11,670 to reach the poverty line and a family of four $23,850. Apparently, this idea wouldn’t sit well with the $15 per hour minimum wage crowd as a full-time worker at that rate would gross $31,200 per year. The propaganda suggests that this amount is just to earn a fair living wage.

Clearly, the amount would need to be below the annual minimum wage threshold as the disincentive to work would automatically exist and if the amount were anywhere near the minimum wage, no one would ever work. Or would it? Turns out the basic income crowd want this amount handed out regardless of whether or not you’re working so the minimum wage becomes irrelevant to the argument.

What do we spend right now annually on welfare programs? Depends upon whom you ask. The Washington Post will vehemently deny that we spend the $1 trillion annually that conservative groups generally cite.

Here is the self described world’s simplest plan to implement a basic income – http://www.vox.com/2014/9/8/6003359/basic-income-negative-income-tax-questions-explain. Oh, sorry. The article never actually answers the most basic question of how much.

According to the census bureau, in 2013 we had approximately 242,470,820 persons age 18 or older in the United States of America. If we’re going to implement a universal basic income to all regardless of circumstances, this would seem to be the most logical number to use. Every single adult in the United States.

What if we followed the lead of the Swiss and doled out $33,600 per year to each one of us? That equates to over $8.1 trillion dollars annually, just a tad more than the $1 trillion dollar welfare number were arguing about now. With an economy worth an estimated $17.3 trillion annually, a basic income at that level would eat up nearly 50% of everything produced. Except that doesn’t count. Only our federal budget spending does which was only a meager $3.5 trillion last year.

Worse yet, federal revenues were only $2.8 trillion. We borrowed the rest just to spend $3.5 trillion. Can you imagine if we had to cough up $8.1 trillion for a basic income program? In fact, the biggest budget expenditure we have currently is social security at $814 billion last year, or 24% of the budget. A basic income program would be ten times the size of social security.

Redistributing federal budget monies is only a partial solution. Private wealth must be tapped as well (retirement funds anyone?).

This exercise in futility is funny until you realize that so many people are serious about it. I mean, what if we just took the $1 trillion the left claims is pie-in-the-sky and divided that up amongst our 242 million recipients? That’s only $4,124 bucks a year. Think that wouldn’t send the $15 minimum wage crowd over the edge? That’s chump change to them.

The bottom line is that the seemingly eternal quest of the socialists is that spending other people’s money still doesn’t get us to nirvana. If they ever want to get serious about it than the full-fledged approach of communism is the only way. All wealth must be confiscated and handed out to the masses. And we all know how that approach turns out.


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