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Obama Has Jumped on the Universal Basic Income Bandwagon—Let’s Make Sure It’s a Tool to Help Solve Inequality, Not Enforce It


Obama Has Jumped on the Universal Basic Income Bandwagon—Let’s Make Sure It’s a Tool to Help Solve Inequality, Not Enforce It

Nate Singham

While speaking in South Africa on Tuesday in one of his first major speeches since he left the White House, former President Barack Obama endorsed the idea of introducing a universal basic income.


There are, as the article acknowledges, many types of universal income as there are people promoting them. They differ mainly by their degree of unconditionality, their amounts, their degree of substitution for social security and their method of financing. Again the article highlights that one can devise formulas that, by departing from the principle of hard unconditionality advocated by its promoters, can be conceived without affecting social protections too much. But when the Left subscribes to this perspective, it loses its compass and deserts the cass war battlefield between capital and labor. Conservatives see a basic income either as a way to a simplified streamlined welfare benefits system or that it should even replace the whole welfare state.

Indeed socialists should be very wary of UBI. A UBI would be a subsidy to employers is in fact a major socialist objection to it. The basic income scheme will be used to undermine social and public services, and to provide a subsidy to employers that will drive down wages and workers bargaining power. A guaranteed income detracts from seeking fundamental solutions to the failure of our economic system and political systems to provide adequate reward and meaningful employment opportunities for all. There will be no capitalist road to socialism.

The other socialist objection is that ignores the economic imperative of capitalism, enforced through competition, to accumulate more and more capital out of profits, and so profits must come first before meeting the consumption needs of the population. Catering for these is kept to the minimum to maintain productive efficiency or, in the case of ‘free money’ payments to the poor, to the minimum needed to avoid bread riots. The illusion common to many would-be proponents of citizen’s wage is that production under capitalism can be made to give priority to people’s consumption instead of to profits. It can’t. Freeing workers from the chains of poverty required a social revolution, not a basic income.

Well worth a read is this article - “What’s wrong with free money”



If our rulers did not want inequality, there would be none.
Poverty is a political choice. One made, and made possible, by the state.
Which is why i fear any such initiatives will be offset by increased inflation or similar measures to ensure continued poverty.


Obama you had your chance to embrace the progressive ideals of FDR and chose instead to embrace to the Greedy ideals of Ronald Reagan.

When the economy collapsed you bailed out the banks that created havoc for homeowners and abandoned the homeowners.

When you controlled both houses of congress you passed a healthcare law that continued to favor the private insurance companies.

You could have pushed through Congress a bill that gave healthcare for All but instead we got a program that was flimsy and held together with scotch tape and still favored the private insurance companies.

You made no effort to pass the Public Option and there were no hearings on Medicare for All.

Instead of having Jay Z and Beyonce over for Dinner every month you should have had a few workers from Walmart or McDonalds over for Lunch to find out how they are surviving in today’s America?

You helped create the Don by ignoring the issues he deviously but cunningly addressed during his campaign to become president.



“Artificial intelligence is here, and it is accelerating. … And that is going to make the job of giving everybody work that is meaningful tougher,”

The AI technology that would produce the most job loss is self-driving cars. However, it’s bullshit, a lie, a fraud, a ruse meant to distract public attention from actual solutions. In many ways, self-driving car tech, if it were possible (it isn’t) puts safety dead last. I shouldn’t be surprised that Obama has fallen for the hype; plenty of otherwise seemingly conscientious progressives have likewise fallen for the hype. At his level of insider awareness, he surely knows it’s not going to happen.