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Andrew Yang is the first Presidential candidate in history to seriously propose a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for all Americans. So what’s all the fuss about?
Proponents argue primarily for four points:
1) It’s a way of leveling the playing field a little bit and dealing with the growing wealth disparity between the rich and poor
2) It simplifies the welfare state, making it far more efficient (eliminating bureaucratic waste)
3) It’s a way of addressing the loss of jobs to automation
4) It creates a safety net for people to take smart risks on themselves and their families, without the fear of complete failure
So what exactly is a UBI? And is it a good idea? We decided to take a look in the following infographic:
UBI is hardly a new idea. For example, from 1967 to 1974, families participating in the New Jersey Income Maintenance Experiment, were provided bi-weekly payments.(1) But what exactly is UBI? How does it work? And is it worth supporting?
How It Works
THERE ARE MANY VARIETIES OF UBI, BUT MOST ARE BASED ON DISPENSING MONEY, USUALLY FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS, TO CITIZENS.
UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME
Payments from the government to all adult citizens, without any conditions
GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME
Payments from the government to citizens who earn less than a speciﬁed income
NEGATIVE INCOME TAX
Payments from the government to citizens below a certain income, speciﬁcally as tax refunds
MONTHLY TAX REBATE
Payments from the government to citizens based on sales tax
Payments from the government to citizens based on income from shared resources, such as land or oil
UNIVERSAL BASIC SERVICES
Access to free public services and social programs, such as healthcare, provided to all citizens by the government
Benefits of UBI
1) Reduces poverty by providing everyone with a basic income
2) Encourages people to invest in education and personal development
3) Encourages people to start businesses or ﬁnd the job they want instead of having to take the ﬁrst offer available
4) Supports victims of domestic violence who may otherwise be trapped due to their ﬁnancial situation
5) Encourages care work by allowing care-workers to support themselves while taking care of relatives full-time
Negatives of UBI
1) Reduces the motivation for people to work
2) Costly to fund
3) Maybe not aggressive enough: Preserves wealth inequality by giving all recipients the same beneﬁts
4) May be difficult to implement without disrupting society
5) May cause massive inflation
Presidential Candidates and Their Positions
Andrew Yang – $1000 per month UBI
Pete Buttigieg – Investment programs
Bernie Sanders – Universal Healthcare
Elizabeth Warren – Open to UBI and Universal Healthcare
Joe Biden – Opposed to UBI
UBI and the Future of Work
40% of jobs will be eliminated by automation in the next 15 years
Retail sales and Transportation are Two of The Largest Occupational Groups in The US.
Sales jobs are being eliminated via self-checkout and automated kiosks.
Transportation jobs will be eliminated via self-driving vehicles.
WITH MILLIONS OF US WORKERS PREDICTED TO BE OUT OF JOBS WITHIN THE NEXT FEW YEARS, PROPONENTS OF UBI CLAIM IT MAY BE THE ONLY WAY TO PREVENT ECONOMIC COLLAPSE.