Land of the Handouts: U.S. to explore giving free money to citizens

THC is pleased to announce that a high-powered think tank has arrived at the simple solution to solve the financial woes of most Americans: give them free cash. Give all U.S. residents free cash, and finance it all by taking cash from residents as well.

Here’s an article which discusses the effort, led by a few notable like Elon Musk and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, to explore the idea of universal basic income for everyone living in the U.S.: Facebook co-founder’s new $10 million initiative to test if cash handouts will help fix America

Basically, a bunch of really high-powered rich folks are looking at what effect giving free money to people in the U.S. would have. THC ventures to guess that increasing the amount of handouts we give to people will help them game the system and do even less, but what do we know?

The initiative was inspired by the rise of automation of formerly human-performed jobs in the U.S. and across the globe. THC has covered that idea before:

The machines and r0b0t 0v3rL0rds are coming for your minimum wage jobs

The first article we linked merely discusses a study on the subject of universal basic income, but this article goes more in depth on how basic universal income works, and how much it would cost. Check it!

Elon Musk says robots will push us to a universal basic income – here’s how it would work

Here’s one of our favorite snippets from the second article, a quote attributed to Martin Ford, the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, who talks about the effect lots and lots of free money would have on the U.S.:

“”Of course,” Ford adds, “some people, hopefully not too many, will do nothing. They will stay home and play video games, they will take drugs, whatever. That is unavoidable, that’s part of the cost you are going to have to accept.

So, THC has to ask, is that an acceptable cost? There’s already a whole heck of a lot of people, particularly in Humboldt, that seem to content to do nothing (or to do drugs, or commit crimes) and subsist on the current level of handouts available to the public. We think universal basic income would exacerbate the problem. Sure, there’s potential that some extra cash could make people turn to more entrepreneurial pursuits – but THC is inclined to think that people would turn that extra cash to being more entrepreneurial criminals than anything else.

Of course, the current $10 million study is just that – a study. But with a growing number of other countries glomming on to the idea of universal basic income, it seems like it might be a foregone conclusion that the U.S. will explore the practice of a universal income on some level.

The main problem with this is the cost. The second article we pointed you to mentions that the number “floated” around to be given to each individual U.S. citizen is $1,000.00, which would mean that providing it to everyone in the U.S. would be prohibitively expensive. From the article:

If each of the 319 million people living in the U.S. right now get $1,000 a month, it would cost $319 billion a month to pay a universal basic income. That’s nearly $4 trillion a year.”

Another way to put it is that this would be $12,539.19 per U.S. resident to fund the whole shebang. Ouch. How is that going to help our pocket books again?

Yikes! Where oh where could that extra $4 trillion come from? Well, here’s what the article suggests (and we’ll give you a hint – more taxes!):

He suggests that it could be possible to tax the universal basic income payments to higher net-worth individuals. The government could also raise taxes on their other sources of income.”

It’s also important to note that the idea of universal basic income isn’t something that would replace our existing social safety nets like social security, etc., but would “supplement” them. Meaning that in addition to the poorly managed handouts that U.S. taxpayers are already on the hook for, we’d also have to foot the bill for an additional $4 trillion dollars.

$4 trillion dollars is quite a lot of money – do you think it would be better spent in perhaps trying to create more jobs, rather than just giving it away for free and enabling people to do next to nothing in order to get by? THC is leaning that way…but we’d like to hear from you, too.

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11 Responses to Land of the Handouts: U.S. to explore giving free money to citizens

  1. Git-err-dun says:

    Let’s instead spend 3 billion on a train from Humbildt Bay to the Central Valley, that’ll be a great start

    Like

    • TMOB says:

      To be fair, a brand spanking new rail line, TWO of them, N/S and E/W are still 10% of the current cost of a bullet train from San Jose to a strawberry field in Fresno. Add another 10% for constant maintenance, and another 10% to oversubsidize freight companies and it’s still a better deal. And I’d bet their own money more people will ride it, because, toursism. Hell we can link Grants Pass with an extension and still be cheaper.

      That said, Musk sure fashions himself a king of sorts. Why didn’t he run for president? He’s one of the pushers of automation and robotics. What he should be promoting is education and finding all these displaces people new jobs, not free money for them to sit at home and do jack shit but eat all day and watch TV and use up even more resources doing absolutely nothing. He wants to be their new king. Also, free money is worthless unless spent, and business will adjust their prices accordingly because with free money, people such as car dealers can attach auto payments to paychecks and one will never know they have less money as they’ll never see it to begin with. Who wins? Those taking money from the consumers.

      Come to think of it. Maybe his idea is brilliant. Give people good vibes and free money because his robot army is coming for it later anyway.

      Like

  2. Mitch says:

    Oh, you’re right! With a universal basic income, who would work for minimum wage at a McDonalds? Think of the McDonalds’ owners of America! And if McDonalds had to raise their prices, everyone would starve. And then there’s the social workers who would be left without work if people just received income by virtue of being alive, instead of qualifying by jumping through the hoops du jour, once every week or two.

    And then all the make-work positions created for people’s nephews, the ones throughout every bureaucracy, would be worth less, so you’d have to increase the salaries of middle managers everywhere.

    And, and, for a consumer society to produce useless crap, people have to know that they’ll starve, or nearly starve, if they don’t report daily to stuff widgets into their bags. If you just pay people even if they don’t do the jobs that actually make things worse, who will produce the useless crap?

    I mean, really, with people being able to live without working, who would cut down all the trees and pollute all the air, and fight all the wars? Everyone would act like millionaire’s heirs act every day, and that would be an unlivable world. People need to be forced to jump-to or starve, or everything falls apart.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Shak says:

    More taxes equals less profit which means higher prices which means that thou is soon a ten. Round & round we go, where we stop, nobody knows.

    Like

    • fredtyg says:

      Putting more money into the economy generally causes inflation, so that thousand dollars won’t go far. Before you know it, we’ll be hearing cries for Cost Of Living Increases as we do with social security- the beginning of a vicious circle.

      I might add I’ve heard from fellow libertarians that support the idea of a minimum income. I’ve never bothered to read their arguments, though.

      Like

  4. Marc Delany says:

    duh
    the nobles are obliged
    The more loans the fed banks make the better the economy… so… where’s my check?

    Like

  5. Just Watchin says:

    Why doesn’t the California progressive “super majority” legislature pass a $15 / hr. Minimum wage immediately?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sandserat says:

    “Henry Ford Understood That Raising Wages Would Bring Him More Profit
    A century ago, the Ford Motor founder shocked the world of business by doubling wages to $5 a day. No altruist, he was playing a long game—one today’s short-sighted CEOs can’t fathom.”
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/06/henry-ford-understood-that-raising-wages-would-bring-him-more-profit.html

    Like

    • Just Watchin says:

      It has nothing to do with CEOs. The liberal california legislature can do it all on their own. They all swear about the economic benefits. So again…..why don’t they do it?

      Like

      • TMOB says:

        Because, like the industrialist like Ford, bet that if you produced a superior product and paid superior wages, those employees will buy what they produce. That’s the old company-town economics. Not a bad idea on it’s own. It benefits the workers, BUT is more so benefits the employer. What if that employee wanted to buy something else? Shun him. You create your own bubble economy where you control what is made, what is taken from it, someone else (or thing) does the actual work, put on a parade how great you are, and reap the benefits. This is nothing new.

        It is neither a liberal or conservative idea, but a profit motive. CA government can force payments to itself through taxes, and if you disagree, or protest, you lose your house or land. Or your business. Or they quietly lock up your ability to buy or sell. It is a very slow, however direct blob in this state. And they like it that way. Meanwhile you get some free artwork in parks I guess, a new pool. A dog and pony show. And you come back 3 years later when the maintenance gets lazy and shit falls apart and the landscaping dies.

        Like

  7. Working Mom says:

    How about all of us footing the bill just jump on the FREE RIDE ban wagon!!! WHAT IN THE WORLD is really going on???? Middle class pays for the rich and the poor!?!?! If you’re a non tax payer EVERYTHING IS FREE!! If your well to do none of it matters!! I’m a mother that works 50-60 hrs a week and still lives paycheck to paycheck missing ALL my childrens golden years now I’m going to have to pay for EVERYONE’S FREE RIDE!!!???!!!??? WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOUR HEADS???? SERIOUSLY?!?!?

    Like

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