Top Ten Arguments for a Basic Income

A basic income can be divided into two groups: a Guaranteed Minimum Income, otherwise known as a negative income tax, or a Universal Basic Income. A GMI would ensure that there is a base floor on wages. So, for instance, let's say we have a floor of 12k. This means that no one can make less than 12k. If they do, they receive money until their income reaches 12k. A Universal Basic Income means that everyone, no matter their income, receives 12k.

More and more economists are embracing a basic income. Many conservatives, libertarians, and liberals have expressed their support for some type of basic income. Here are some of them.

Milton Friedman
Friedrich Hayek
Thomas Paine
Henry George
Martin Luther King Jr.
Mark Zuckerberg
Elon Musk.

Here are ten reasons why the U.S. should adopt a basic income.

The Top Ten

1 It would eradicate poverty.

If you set the basic income to the poverty level, poverty everywhere would be pretty much eliminated. Everyone would have a basic standard of living. By basic standard, I don't mean sipping martinis and owning five cars. Everyone would have a basic amount of food, clothing, shelter, and medical insurance. - Alpha101

I'm sold. - Sop

2 It would free the markets.

The main reason why many libertarians endorse a basic income is that it would allow us to significantly free the markets. If everyone had a basic income to fall back on, the minimum wage would be useless. Employees can directly barter with their employers for a wage that they deem to be fair, without the fear that their spiteful employer will just kick them onto the street. Hard-core libertarians believe that if we enacted a basic income, public schooling, medical insurance, etc., would be obsolete. People will have to shop in an open market for these things, which will allow more competition and result in lower prices. - Alpha101

Can't argue against this - TwilightKitsune

3 It protects against the future of automation.

One day, your job will be taken over by a robot. It might be twenty years from now, twenty months from now, or tomorrow. Automation is quickly rising, and soon, most jobs will be automated. Contrary to popular belief, this is a good thing. Only jobs that no one wants to do will be automated. Jobs like cashiers, fast food workers, garbage men, bank tellers, etc., will no longer exist. This is the capitalist system at work. Capitalism is efficient. If people hate doing their job, they're not going to be very productive. Robots are very productive, and cheaper as well. So we shouldn't fight them when they take over useless jobs. We should be thankful. No more slaving over a cash register for fourty hours a week for a wage that isn't livable. The only problem with automation is, what happens to the people who are unemployed? The majority of people who work low-skill jobs are uneducated, inexperienced, and poor. It's not like they can find a new job just like that. They're going to go into ...more - Alpha101

4 It rewards work.

Our current welfare system discourages work by stripping your benefits away when you find employment. This has caused a culture of dependency, where people who can work choose not to. These people are acting logically. Why would I work for a job that I hate and find useless, while making a pathetic wage, when I can stay home and earn around the same amount in government benefits? This is a perverse system if you ask me. A basic income would reward work, because your benefits increase the more that you work. - Alpha101

5 It rewards jobs that are traditionally unpaid.

Which job is more important to society? A Walmart cashier, or a mother raising her children, while providing them with good morals? A custodian, or a musician? A caregiver, or a fry-cook? While cashiers, custodians, and fry-cooks are paid, the other three are not. They receive absolutely no pay for their work, even though their work is arguably more beneficial to society. With a basic income, work that is traditionally unpaid, such as being a stay at home parent, caregiver, artist, author, etc. will actually receive compensation. - Alpha101

6 It protects privacy.

The current welfare system tramps on your privacy. You have to go through mean-testing, drug-testing, interviews, and check-ups. With a basic income, you just receive the money. That's it. This is another reason why many Libertarians support it. - Alpha101

7 It gives people more free time.

Many people die with regrets. Regrets of not doing everything on your bucket list, or spending too much time at work, and not enough with your family or friends. In any civilized society, this shouldn't stand. If everyone had a basic income, they would be more likely to chase their dreams, and spend time with the people that they love. - Alpha101

8 It empowers workers to ask for better working conditions.

Right now, many employees are scared to ask for a raise, or less hours, more vacation time, etc. They're scared that they'll be fired if they step up. Under a basic income, workers will feel empowered to ask for more benefits, without the fear of reprisal. Workers in all sectors might work less hours, receive higher pay or a more flexible schedule, more paid time off, or more of a say in their company. - Alpha101

9 It isn't discriminatory.

The current welfare system can cause racism. This is because the majority of welfare recepients are black or latino. When some talk about food stamps, they may get angry and claim that the two groups are lazy, unmotivated, entitled, etc. This can cause even worse race relations in a country. If everyone received a check from the federal government, no one could point fingers at one group, because everyone is treated equally. - Alpha101

10 It stimulates the economy.

People near the bottom of the income ladder spend most of their income. This normally increases demand which creates jobs. If a basic income was enacted, everyone near the bottom would receive a raise, or if it's a UBI, everyone would receive a raise. This would be a big stimulus for our sluggish economy. - Alpha101

The Contenders

11 People doing artistic work have more time to devote their life to it

Writers, musicians, filmmakers, they all know that it's hard getting started in the business. But what they do is a job as well, and they put in a lot of work. But success doesn't come immediately, so they have to take a job with no passion at all and have less time to focus on their career. An example: in 2017, German rapper Jalil released his album "Epic", a collaboration with established rapper Fler, which managed to top the charts. That's great, except for the fact it was his fourth album, excluding EPs and mixtapes, and the first one with any notable success. During the recording session, Jalil has to go directly to the studio after work, then sleep for barely three hours before heading to work. And somewhere between he had to write the lyrics. Fler demanded him to stay in studio until his work for the day was finished, and so did his boss in office. Is that fair? Basically, he lived for two jobs. And imagine if the album hadn't been as successful.
That's why I also support ...more - Martin_Canine

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