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[flagged] A Democrat is running for president on a platform of Universal Basic Income (nytimes.com)
37 points by pixelmonkey 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 36 comments



How is he proposing to pay for UBI aged 18-64? The only way I would support a UBI is to completely eliminate social programs like welfare, food stamps, and housing assistance. It may then be cost-neutral.

Also, this language is just not accurate:

> unraveling President Trump’s tax breaks for the wealthy

It is mostly for corporations; middle-class citizens will also see a reduction in their taxes. Until the market meltdown last week, the new tax plan was widely praised even by very liberal business leaders such as Tim Cook. US corporate taxes were absurdly high and tax reform has been positive in terms of the slew of bonuses offered to employees (not executives), raising of corporate profits, and helping repatriate huge amounts of capital back to the US.


The tax breaks for the middle class are only temporary. Most CEO's are praising them because it's great for them and shareholders. Most CEO's acknowledge they will use the additional profits to perform share buy backs.

While the middle class got something, the majority went to the wealthy, and as per my previous comment on shares, they are not going to be flooding it back into the economy.

Also US corporate taxes were about median for the world, they were not absurdly high, you should check out some countries in Europe for that.


See this NPR[1] article which listed the previous US corporate tax rate as the highest of advanced economies. This included France, Belgium, Germany. Also fun fact, go visit Dublin and see all the tech companies (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc) who have a Europe HQ there. The reason, they have a 12.5% corporate tax rate.

[1] https://www.npr.org/2017/08/07/541797699/fact-check-does-the...


The effective US corporate tax rate is more median. Our headline tax rates were higher, but we also had larger deductions and tax credits.


That is a very bad policy to have though because it encourages wasteful spending on tax avoidance and rewards the companies that do it. It also gives an artificial competitive advantage to the largest companies, who have the scale to invest in complex tax avoidance schemes, at the expense of smaller more productive companies.


If you see the chart just below the first one, the actual tax rate is roughly median with the rest of the world. The CBPP[1] article explains further.

While some countries offer low tax rates or incentives, they are to attract international business because they have no other means to attract them. The US is not like Ireland in this respect.

US companies have had record profits recently. The big tech companies like Apple are hoarding cash reserves. Why is giving them more cash going to change their approach?

[1] https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/actual-us-corporat...


The bonuses were actually a crass tax arbitrage.

1. Issue bonuses at end of 2017, push out tax obligation into 2018 2. Mush into newer, much lower tax rate

There is a reason they chose to issue bonuses and not raises.


I think Tim Cook was talking as a CEO rather than a liberal when he praised Trump's tax cut. Very few CEOs would have the luxury to do otherwise, except for maybe Gates and Buffet.


> How is he proposing to pay for UBI aged 18-64?

Everybody currently aged between 18-64 who is not living in poverty or is unemployed is already receiving that amount of money (or more) from her/his employer.

Hence, as a cheap palor trick you could just relabel part of the paycheck as UBI (so the money is there). In addition, you could then subsume most social services inside a flat amount, saving money in admin overhead.

The hypothetical counter argument is that lots of people would not work if given UBI. This has been shown to be false when tested. Also, social services in Germany and many Scandinavian countries are not that far off and these countries do not have 50%+ unemployment.


> Also, social services in Germany and many Scandinavian countries are not that far off and these countries do not have 50%+ unemployment.

Especially in the case of Germany they're pretty far off. After loosing employment, iff you're looking for new employment, you indeed get ~60% of your former salary. For a maximum of 12 months, if you were employed for 2 years. But after that, or if you never worked, it's considerably less. ~400EUR, plus additional money for rent. Additionally there's age dependent additional money for each kid (~240EUR - 316EUR).

And if you've independent income/wealth you're not eligible.


>How is he proposing to pay for UBI aged 18-64? The only way I would support a UBI is to completely eliminate social programs like welfare, food stamps, and housing assistance. It may then be cost-neutral.

That won't do it. $1,000 a month for every working age adult would cost over $2 trillion a year. That is roughly equal to what the Federal government spends on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Defense combined. There is no way this plan can ever be cost neutral. For it to even be financially feasible it would need to come with a rewriting of the entire Federal tax system and budget (which would probably be a good thing, but it would be a political impossibility at this point).


The federal government can create any amount of money they want. They have created trillions and given it to banks. Why not give that money to individuals instead?


While there are a lot of positives for the tax reform, and US corporate taxes were insane by global standards, passing a revenue-negative tax reform during a deficit is fiscally irresponsible.

A lot of the negative press the tax reform got was based on a lot of highly ambitious parts that fortunately didn't make it into the final bill.


Interesting notes from article:

- Political platform centered around automation impact on labor market.

- Proposing a UBI paid for by a higher corporate tax rate targeted at companies benefiting most from automation.

- Would be $1,000/mo paid to everyone aged 18-64, with no means test.

- Candidate is the former CEO and founder of Venture for America, Andrew Yang. He is 43 and already has backing of many Dem-leaning tech executives.


I think a better solution would be a negative tax rate instead of a 0% tax rate.

Imagine: On your first $24,000 / Year, you are taxed at -50%. This means, if you make $12,000, you get paid an additional $6,000. If you make $24,000, you get paid an additional $12,000. This is an additional reward for working! We want to incentivize working!


This is what Earned Income Credit does. It seems to work pretty well.


how's that fair if you have person a working in a callcenter for slightly better pay than person b working at McDonalds.

Person A makes 20k, person B makes 10k. Both work pretty shitty jobs -- I wouldn't want either.. Both work the same hours. No more jobs exist for Person A's job, so Person B couldn't rise up to their level if they wanted to.

GBI works because everybody gets it -- so nobody feels like they're getting special treatment, nobody feels like they're on welfare (which causes a mental stigma to begin with) and the goal is simply to cover average rents and maybe some food. Everyone should have food and a roof.

Your plan also doesn't account for what happens when all the jobs for both A and B close down because of automation which is the whole point for why we're discussing GBI more and more anyways.


I'm pretty sure the person you replied to was being satirical.


I’m not sure why: a NIT has some advantages relative to UBI.


This doesn't address the coming problem of automation in which unemployment numbers are likely to rise. It is also ends up basically being a regressive tax as those who make the least receive the least benefit while those who are already living comfortably receive the full benefit.



How much of this subsidy will be captured by workers, vs captured by employers?


I see this as another welfare program and we already have too many welfare programs.

If we all see that automation is or will be a problem for the labor market, isn’t it makes more sense to get the labor market ready to embrace the automation era?

Instead of making our youth going through college, why not have them sent to learn a craft or skill set?

I personal think only those who are good with school and like school should go to higher education. For the rest of us, a 4 years experience with no debt is far better 4 years education with 50 to 100k in student loan debt


What are these jobs that you think will resist robotic automation, and how many of them will there be? Realistically a small percentage of people will ever be programmers in our society; we just don't need that many.

Look, we're entering a period of history where the number of tasks requiring human labor will only keep decreasing. This will lead to a growing class of people for whom the labor market cannot provide a basic standard of living.

If a stronger welfare state isn't the answer to that problem, I've yet to hear what is, exactly.


> we're entering a period of history where the number of tasks requiring human labor will only keep decreasing

I think we have been in that period of history for almost 100 years now.


> "What are these jobs that you think will resist robotic automation, and how many of them will there be?"

Trades like plumbing, electrician, lineman, P&C technician, mechanic, power plant operator, transmission/distribution operator, welder, etc...


How many more plumbers and electricians do you think we need? I see no reason to think that the supply of those trade jobs in the labor market would increase to match the demand caused by automation layoffs. (Also, what makes those jobs impervious to automation?)


How do you embrace an era where there will be no jobs. Even doctors, lawyers, accountants and callcenters will be automated -- let's plan for the automation era send everyone to med school if they want to... oh shit... we don't need doctors anymore, oh well - you still have to pay your student loans...

I'm a web developer, and learning ml/ai so I can automate myself out of one of the last existing careers.

We can move to a post-scarcity world where all menial tasks are done by collectives of robots who work for all mankind... it is possible and would be cool, I just don't know how we begin to get there.

By the way most academics/economists agree that in 12 years there will be a minimum of 40% of the current jobs gone. Not replaced by new jobs in ai/ml - completely just gone. As in those 40% of people have no use for society at all.


Would love to see a source for that last paragraph. 12 years isn’t long at all, and there are a bunch of industries with projected shortages, so will net 40% of jobs be gone by 2030?


https://www.pwc.co.uk/economic-services/ukeo/pwcukeo-section...

38% of jobs could be gone by 2030 according to this report.

How do we feed/clothe/house a populace when half of the people can't work? We'll need to go back to a 1800's era system where people basically own/live/work off their own land and farm their own food, or something communal possibly? I'm curious to see how it plays out... 2020s will be pretty eventful though if robotics goes as planned over the next decade.


I heard an interesting comparison last week.

This author noted that the farm equipment revolution threw a very high percentage of Americans out of work. They were forced off the farm and had to move to the cities (where the industrial age was hitting it's stride.)

It wasn't easy, but it led to huge improvements in quality of life.


Is there somewhere I can make a bet on whether 94% of the truck drivers will be out of work in a few years?

I’m really skeptical.


Partial communism? There is a time for that but until more jobs are taken over by automation or robots, this would just slow down a lot of progress


More jobs? For the last 200 years, machines have taken over entire industries of jobs.

People to cut the crops, people to harvest lax, people to spin wool, people to weave cloth, people to make soap, street cleaners, navvies, telephone operators, travel agents, and the list goes on.

Sure, there are still people who do all of those, but not like it used to be.

And this transition, that is, the use of automation to increase the power of capital by decreasing the cost of labor, is what lead to the original ideas of full communism.


Back in the early 80s when Reagan was decrying welfare and it's costs vs. benefits he joked that it would be cheaper for the U.S. government to abandon the relevant federal agencies and just send recipients a check each month. Full circle I suppose.


Wow, something I actually finally agree w/ Reagan on -- mostly because I'm anti-bureaucracy. Mailing checks can be automated and allow for closing all welfare offices and firing all the staff that run those agencies, cutting the utilities, selling the land, etc...

I'm also for single-payer because we spend too much on Sales/Commercials/CEOS for insurance companies, and medical billers who we could all put out of jobs because all they do is figure out how to pay hospitals and collect money from us or our employers.

I feel though that trickle-down has failed immensely. The fact is trickle-out is what happened trickle-out-to-my-caymen-island-account.

Rich just re-invest/hoard money. Now if they'd trickled up... it would've worked wonders for the economy. Give the poorest of the poor money --and they'll spend it on booze/drugs/homes/food does it matter? The money still circulates and finds it way back up to the rich/b2c businesses.

$10k given to Bill Gates goes into the bank account, and stays their collecting dust and interest. $10k given to a struggling family goes into a new car, or braces for Jimmy, etc... Which in turn goes to payroll for employees at the dentist or car-lot, and that goes on and on...




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