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On universal basic income
送交者: jingchen 2019年06月11日11:23:58 于 [股市财经] 发送悄悄话

On universal basic income 

Universal basic income (UBI) is an idea to distribute a certain amount of income, such as one thousand dollar a month, to every adult (or every person) in a society. It forms an important part of Andrew Yang’s campaign platform. 

I watched most of the Andrew Yang interview with Rubin. He has gone through a lot of difficulties in life. He is a solid guy.

He said too many smart people are concentrated in law and finance, doing highly paid but meaningless work. I totally agree with him. 

Andrew Yang has been an active advocate of universal basic income (UBI). He said that the cost of UBI is much lower than most people thought. Currently, a large percentage of population are already covered by many types of government programs. By making payments universal, the administrative costs can be greatly reduced. 

I totally agree with his assessment. However, he didn’t consider the lifestyle changes and the associated long term costs brought by UBI and other welfare programs.

Overtime, there is steady increase of drug use and death from drug overdose. This is accompanied by the steady increase of welfare net, such as free prescription drugs. When one is not concerned about making a living, the quickest way to attain happiness, at least over a short period of time, is to use drugs. Further expansion of welfare systems, such as UBI, can only further expand the drug use population.

UBI will create a large and increasing group of people with ample leisure time. Not everyone with time to squander will indulge themselves in art or mathematics. Most people, not surprisingly, will engage social activities, such as demonstrations, to further increase the UBI payments. With higher UBI payments and correspondingly, higher tax burden to working population, more people will quit job to enjoy life. Actually, labor participation rate has been declining for over a decade. Further increase of welfare can only further decrease the incentive to work.

Overall, the long term costs of UBI, or any other welfare programs, are much higher than their short term costs. 


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