Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Question for the liberals who support this. Would you honestly be willing to get rid of social security, welfare, unemployment, earned income tax credit, food stamps, student loans, pell grants, and all the other entitlement programs? If so, I might support it, even if it cost more, just to get rid of all the government social engineering.

NB: Social Security is arguably fairly close to how a basic income system might work:

• It's not means-tested. It's available to (nearly all) citizens. Exceptions include some workers classified under the Railroad Retirement Act, and the self-employed.

• It's funded from taxes assessed over your working life. Actually, BI would likely take this one step further, as there's an income cap to SSI contributions. Lifting that cap would make SSI more BI-like.

As to the rest of your points: with universal healthcare, you'd eliminate the need for means-tested medical assistance. With universal higher education, you'd eliminate PELL Grants (already pretty limited -- most college financial aid is now in the form of loans, with their own class of problems). BI would directly address the goals of welfare and food stamps, and EITC is effectively BI in limited dress.

I'd be open for programs which do address specific remaining needs: say, treating drug addiction as a public health, not a criminal, problem (though drugs trafficking might still fall under the latter in cases), and other programs addressing those with specific needs (health, disability, etc.). But yes, you'd be wiping out a large class of present means-tested programs.

If the end result made access to jobs, education, medical care and basic utilities more equitably distributed, then yes.

Since when did "liberal" mean someone who supports coercive redistribution by states?


Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact