The rollout of the progressives’ Green New Deal has been less than smooth. One major reason: the release of an FAQ that listed “economic security” for those “unwilling to work” as one of the program’s goals.
The concept of a universal basic income (UBI) isn’t new
That is very true.
The first Muslim caliph, Abu Bakr (573-634 CE), introduced a guaranteed minimum standard of income, granting each man, woman, and child ten dirhams annually; this was later increased to twenty dirhams. Thomas Paine advocated a citizen’s dividend to all US citizens as compensation for “loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property” (Agrarian Justice, 1795). In the same year the Speenhamland system was inaugurated and Napoleon Bonaparte echoed Paine’s sentiments and commented that ‘man is entitled by birthright to a share of the Earth’s produce sufficient to fill the needs of his existence’. Yet over the centuries it has been proposed and tried, it has never been adopted. No country has actually implemented such a system nationally.
The author should ask the fundamental question why.
The capitalists and their State need us to be impoverished, indebted and enslaved. It is the basis of the wages system. It is why socialists describe workers as wage-slaves. Would a basic income remove this or just create a new form of dependency? If the UBI is introduced it will be in the form that is acceptable to the ruling class and for the purpose of mitigating the cost of the up-keep of the increasing and unavoidable numbers of casualties of the class war. Any UBI will always be framed within the tight parameters that capitalism will permit a reform which will only be passed if it fits in with the agenda of the employing class, will have sufficient built-in constraints that it will fail to satisfy the expectations and hopes.
There are as 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. Such systems, even if watered down, entails the risk of lower wages. One can certainly devise unconditional income 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 battlefield of the conflict between capital and labour.
After watching the latest video about Tim Canova and election integrity on the Jimmy Dore Show, Canova brought up a good point. Progressive Dem’s don’t have the votes to pass UBI (I added UBI), Green New Deal, or Expanded - Improved Medicare For All. And they never will using the easily corruptible voting machines. The Canova - Wasserman/Schultz and the Lipinski - Newman primary races in 2018 prove this point. Removing these machines is the starting point for all progressive legislation, until then, we will never get to where we want to go in the political universe.
david cay johnston wrote a couple of great books that showed how the costs of corporate welfare and tax havens for the rich dwarf spending on social welfare programs in the usa. PERFECTLY LEGAL and FREE LUNCH
Actually many libertarians support a concept of UBI. Milton Friedman touted the negative income tax, which is the exact same concept. However, for this website, I’m calling BS, because the UBI concept falls flat on its face unless it’s in replace of the current welfare state, not adding to it. And I believe most people in this website just want it added to it. That would defeat the purpose. If UBI provides people with some minimum level of economic security, that’s fine. But it can’t leave people completely satisfied and dependent.