- decide who actually "needs" the benefit
- figure out how to recognise these people ("means-tested" benefits!)
- catch the people defrauding the system
Instead, you could just say, e.g. for the case of child benefit, that every
child receives $400/month and get rid of:
- the complexity in deciding who gets $400/month
- the enforcement of fraud
The "underserving" middle- and upper-income will receive this money too,
but it doesn't matter - it's effectively coming out of the higher taxes
they are paying already.
UBI is just a generalization of this idea to all benefits.
Introducing two kinds of dollars smacks, to me, of the same mindset that
introduced means-testing/etc in the first place: "we don't want fraud", "we
want this to only go to deserving purposes". Lots of complexity, hard to
manage, and for no convincing benefit.
Even if some people waste the money on drugs the net benefit is still higher. The person determined to waste whatever income, in whatever form, will do so. The person who just needs cash to make ends meet doesn't need ever changing rules and calcified structures to try and work around.
Just give everyone the money, including the entire buildings of people who follow around making up rules and then making sure the rules are followed.
Welfare by basic income can be run by a set of scheduled tasks in a server. It's sheer simplicity outweighs all other drawbacks. Add a flat tax rate to the income side of the ledger and shackles are really starting to fall off.
Such a system will still require systems to prevent multiple claims, ensure people aren't claiming for others and making sure people aren't claiming on behalf of dead people.
Sure you remove means testing, but that is only one part of it. The measures which will need to be in place will still require a lot of bureaucracy.
#2 Uniquely, correctly identifying every single person participating in the economy is currently being done by data aggregators like LexisNexis (nee Seisent), ChoicePoint, others. Basically a private (non govt) RealID. This could and should be a government function.
#2 The system you describe is also bureaucracy.
The claims made by davidgay are flawed and if UBI is a good policy, it should work despite those claims.
Making weak, unsubstantiated claims about anything is a good way of undermining it.
My criticism here is to stop muddying of the waters and focus the discussion on the core arguments around how social protection should be done.
For a pretty balanced fictional treatment of a future with UBI I recommend James S. A. Corey's novel series "The Expanse" (now a SyFy TV show). Specifically, the novella "The Churn" deals with characters living in a society with universal basic income, and to a lesser degree "The Vital Abyss".
Thanks also for "The Churn" tip. I'm enjoying syfy's version.