Should the government just give everyone money, no strings attached?

Yes, argue proponents of basic income, the policy proposal to scrap social welfare programs in favor of just cutting everyone a check.

Fivethirtyeight summarizes the arguments:

Efficiency-minded libertarians like the idea of streamlining the bureaucracy of the welfare state. Silicon Valley techies hope a guaranteed income would cushion the blow as automation replaces human jobs. Those with a more utopian bent, such as the organizers of the Swiss referendum, want to open up more options, to let people create art and free the world of what Straub calls “bullshit jobs.”

Critics of the idea say it’s too expensive, would encourage people to stop working and possibly tank a country’s economy. It’s thought to be a political non-starter, too, especially in countries less wealthy and with less generous welfare states than Switzerland. And because basic income proposes a radical reform to the existing welfare system — one that many progressives, at least in the United States, have been defending tooth and nail over the last 30 years — it makes anti-poverty advocates nervous.

Check out Fivethirtyeight's in-depth analysis here, complete with charts showing where the U.S. ranks in social assistance programs as compared to OECD countries (the results are surprising), and illustrating the "cliffs" in guaranteed income from social programs in the U.S.

0 thoughts on “Should the government just give everyone money, no strings attached?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *