The Disaster of What Basic Income Would Become

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Although maybe well meaning by some, the premise of Guaranteed Basic Income would be nothing short of a disaster.  Currently in the US we already have such a program called Welfare.  While yes Welfare has prevented things like mass starvation it has built and reinforced generational poverty.  Welfare proves that when otherwise healthy human beings become idle bad behaviors ensues for most of them.


My hunch is that you have people like Zuckerberg that would want nothing more than scores of dumbed down, ignorant, lazy and apathetic people with nothing to do better all day than post on FB.  Beware of con man trying to bestow gifts to the disadvantaged.


Instead, we should redefine work and have guaranteed employment.  Every able bodied man and woman should be making a contribution to society.  The exception would be those taking care of younger children or elderly parents.  Even then they could likely eek out 10 to 20 hours a week.  Guaranteed employment should maximize skills and abilities, not just have millions digging holes all day. 


The eight hour a day, 40 hour work week came about in the 1930s as a result of the union movement.  Prior to the 1930s for many Americans the typical workday was 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week with Sunday off for the Sabbath.  Union leaders reckoned that a man (as men mad up most of the workforce at the time) should split his day into thirds.  A third for work, a third for rest and sleep and a third for family, self, friends, and community.  In addition, a man should have two days off for each five worked (hence the weekend) with more time towards family, friends, self, community and devotion to God.  Any employer requiring more than that amount should be required to compensate the employee for the imposition.  Therefor the requirement of 1.5 pay.


Now more than 80 years later technology is changing the workplace.  We don't make phone calls with a 1930s style phone, why are we following 1930s work protocol?  If the workweek can be reduced shouldn't we require people to attend to community with their extra time?  An extra hour a day teaching an after hours class, maintaining the local park, coaching a little league team. 


More and more the number of good paying jobs on all fronts, not just on the factory floor are disappearing. Virtually no one can maintain independent living on a part time low value service job.  Nor can we expect families to use predatory lending as a way to bridge income gaps.  Ultimately something has to give or society will continue to deteriorate.


Now after saying all this how confident am I that both the public and private sector will work this out in the same way they took up the challenge of putting a man on the moon by the end of the 60s? Sadly, not very at all. I think the more realistic approach will be to vastly expand the welfare state using printed money to fund it.  Most of America will resemble third world and attitudes will change. 


We will see suburban and urban blight with decay everywhere.  Tons of children will be born out of wedlock and petty crimes will be rise.  Drug use (already soaring) and alcohol abuse will get far worse.  Society will devolve, becoming more animal like.


Dave Volek Added Nov 20, 2017 - 10:35am
As you know, I am an advocate of GBI. I will try to address your points.
1) From what I gather from American writers here, social assistance benefits in the USA are far too generous. If GBI provides income to that level, it would be a disaster. Take a look north of the border. Nearly all able bodied Canadians would prefer to take a 40-hour week job at minimum wage than go on welfare long term. In my opinion, an GBI should fund a cheap apartment, food (no restaurants), a cell phone, and cable TV. Not much else.
2. We are in a trend of greater technology change than before. As you have mentioned in numerous posts, a lot of people are going to be out of work in the next decade. What are we going to do with these people? Sorry George, many Walmart cashiers don't have the background to become electricians or carpenters or social workers. You have not provided a practical solution to your ramblings. A GBI ensures these people will not become destitute--and a source of civil unrest.
3.  You alluded to private and public sectors to work together to solve this problem. But earlier you said: 'We don't make phone calls with a 1930s style phone, why are we following 1930s work protocol?" I ask you why we insist on keeping a system of governance from 1800? Especially when it is obvious it is not working any more?
Bill H. Added Nov 20, 2017 - 11:24am
I believe the problem involves that corporations are now used to a new "business as usual", which is simply prioritizing the month-end bottom line for the stockholders and moving as many operations offshore as possible. Recently a number of high-profile companies have come under fire for "inversions", deals where a U.S. company buys a firm in a lower-tax nation and switches its domicile to escape higher U.S. levies. I recently heard that US companies are hoarding over $2.5 trillion in cash overseas, with Microsoft, General Electric, and Apple being the biggest culprits.
This narrow-minded quest for the short term bottom line cooked up by business schools, bean counters, finance professors, money managers and over-compensated corporate executives is exactly what is ruining our financial machine. They have all been told to focus on short term gains under fear of loosing their positions, and ignore (or know nothing about) how to run a company for long-term gains. They have forgotten what really creates a great company, which is not only taking good care of shareholders, but also their employees and communities.
Companies need to get back to focusing on their customers, rather than their shareholders. They need to reinvest in their employees and communities.
I'm hoping that the new generation of employees is realizing these proven "old school" facts and will turn the tide to get this country back on-track. 
George N Romey Added Nov 20, 2017 - 12:20pm
Dave welfare in the US is not generous. It keeps people extremely impoverished. We need a system for that requires people to work and have a basic standard of living. 
George N Romey Added Nov 20, 2017 - 12:42pm
Bill sadly a see nothing that will move business away from exclusive of shareholder value even when in the long term actions destroy or dilute shareholder value. 
Bill Kamps Added Nov 20, 2017 - 12:59pm
George, my problem is that the current system is extremely complex, both for the poor, and for administration.  We have countless programs to help the poor, added to that are countless tax exemptions, and credits of various kinds.  IF GBI replaced this mess of a system, then maybe it is a good thing, but unfortunately almost every government program gets morphed into something far beyond its original intentions.
Sure, we could sign up people for some government provided work, and maybe that would be better.  It is difficult to legislate that companies must provide employment, and yes corporations are free to make bad decisions just as people do.
Dave Volek Added Nov 20, 2017 - 5:38pm
One WB author said that it takes a US wage $24.00 per hour for a person on welfare to take on a job. Other commentators have alluded to an overly generous system.
In Canada, that break-even wage is $8 to $10 an hour (my estimate). So a full-time minimum wage job puts more money in the wallet. People have incentive to move off social assistance. I don't see that many people on long-term social assistance without some kind of physical disability or mental illness.
One of the drawbacks with the Canadian system is there are long-term social assistance users who could probably work 20 hours a week. Unfortunately if these people take on a job, their social assistance gets cut back and they are no further ahead. There is no incentive to move on. A GBI would fix that.
If we deem a GBI for all citizens of $1000 a month, the less than able-bodied are still covered to the same extent as before. Those who have some ability can take on that part-time job, keep most of the extra money, and gain skills and confidence to move into full-time work.
Bill Kamps
I'm coming to the conclusion that your welfare system in the US is really screwed up. If you are concerned that the politicians and bureaucrats are going to mess up a GBI (which should be fairly simple), then you should consider an alternative system of governance.
opher goodwin Added Nov 20, 2017 - 7:31pm
George - I think your pessimistic vision will come true if the government doesn't take action to carry out some serious planning. In the USA it is quite clear that the effects of globalisation, automation and the demise of old defunct industries is creating a redundant class. You either plan and adjust or you suffer the consequences.
Automation will result in greater efficiency and profit. You either plough that back in or leave it in the pockets of a few.
If America invests in retraining, public services and leisure it will cope. If it doesn't then there will be gross social unrest.
I would suggest:
a. A three day week for standard
b. A minimum income
c. Retraining of people to deliver quality social care, medical, policing, firefighting, education
d. investment in good leisure, art and health facilities
e. Progressive taxation to pay for it
And a complete restructuring of society towards a more caring and fulfilling model. The emphasis should be on family and friends rather than money.
If that doesn't happen then I predict that it will be drugs, alcohol, crime and violence.
Jeff Jackson Added Nov 20, 2017 - 8:18pm
How much will we move offshore, and spread that knowledge to other nations, who will then just take our shared talents and cut the U.S. out of the picture? The executives who seem to think that they are God's gift to the business world are unable to comprehend that just as the skills and talents of the people of foreign nations replace the talent on the factory floor, so will their talents be replaced with foreigners in the executive offices. Offshoring is short-sighted by people who think (and only think because of their narcissistic viewpoint) that they cannot be replaced.
Neil Lock Added Nov 21, 2017 - 4:48am
When the UK welfare state first started, anyone who wanted to claim benefits and was able-bodied had to be available for work. That seems like quite a sensible idea, and isn't all that far away from what George is suggesting. But it gradually got dropped, and now these things are considered by many to be "rights." Which both lowers the overall productivity per person, and increases the nett burden on those who are productive.
So the problems, for me, of a GBI or similar are: (1) The people who will be expected to pay for it aren't the political class or their rich cronies, or even the bureaucrats. It will be the people who are actually productive. Particularly small business people. (2) Once people are on the GBI, many of them will find it isn't in their interests to work. And that will gradually atrophy away their ability to work. (3) Such a system, consisting of a ruling class, an oppressed class and an ever increasing useless class, can only end up in one of three ways: tyranny, violent revolution or complete collapse.
Myself, I think that government ought to get out of "businesses" like insurance that aren't within its remit. The economic market must be de-politicized, and unnecessary and biased regulations trashed - particularly those that hurt small businesses. People will then be able to build "safety nets" in their own ways, as they did in the 19th century before government stepped in and politicized everything. I see insurance and mutual aid as being the main ways forward, as well as charity for those very few who for the long term are unable to support themselves through no fault of their own. But of course, as long as the political class and their cronies are allowed to hang on to power, none of that is going to happen.
Bill Kamps Added Nov 21, 2017 - 6:36am
opher, various forms of automation have been going one for about 150 years, society adjusts. Unfortunately we usually spend countless billions trying to keep outdated work places viable.
In the middle 1800s most people worked on the farm.  During the latter half of the 20th century we spent countless billions trying to keep farms viable, particularly the "family farm" as though that was some kind of sacrosanct form of making a living.  Farms exist to produce food, not to keep people employed.
I think the  UK grappled with something similar with the coal mines, keeping them running, and polluting the air long after they were no longer needed.
At one point in time we had over millions working in auto plants assembling cars, now there are much fewer.   We still assemble some 15 million cars a year, but it takes far fewer people, so the people do something else.
To me the minimum income, is just another form of delivering welfare.  Which is fine to me, if it actually replaces much of the existing system, which it could in theory.  However, typical of our government, which never stops doing anything, it would likely be yet another layer of welfare on top of what we already have, and that  would  just make the  current mess worse.
I see help wanted signs pretty much everywhere I look on my way to work.  It is not that there is a shortage of jobs.  There are a shortage of jobs that will allow someone to own two cars, own a house that is 4000 square feet, and send kids to private schools, but that was always  the  case, wasnt it?
If the 3 day week is a minimum will we forbid people to work five, and be like the French and make it illegal to do business emails the other four days?  I dont see it working very well. 
Doug Plumb Added Nov 21, 2017 - 7:01am
You are right George IMO. However, what if there is not enough work for everyone? They cannot shorten the work week for many reasons.
George N Romey Added Nov 21, 2017 - 7:16am
Neil good comments. Bill those jobs you talk about do not provide a lower middle class income leave alone the upper middle class income you described. I don’t many places in this country where you can have much of a life beyond welfare on $10-$13 an hour.
Sadly we have built generation poverty in which if there were ample opportunities for a solid middle class living people would not pursue them because they live in a culture that does not include work. Many African Americans moved out of poverty because of good paying factory jobs. As a result their kids were able to reach the professional class. That’s all but dissappeared. 
Bill Kamps Added Nov 21, 2017 - 7:26am
George you are correct, people with  minimal skills will not be able to make $75K a year, that was a historically rare and brief time in our history.
However, to say  that good middle class jobs dont exist is not true.  Boeing and Airbus have their assembly lines booked for the next 10 years.  Those planes, and all the current planes need maintenance, and every airport needs more maintenance people, runway people, etc going forward into the future.  There are more planes flying than ever before and there is a shortage of people to keep them going.
There are construction jobs needed in this city, and in many other cities.  The lowest level may  not earn a lot, but someone has to be a supervisor. 
If the city I am living could not support middle class jobs, then the  middle class houses would be losing value, not steadily increasing in value.   There is a shortage of housing here, and in particular middle class housing, so who is buying them? if no one can make a living.
Wick Burner Added Nov 21, 2017 - 7:41am
Welfare in most countries that have it is not really designed to assist people in escaping poverty, since it is so far below the 'poverty line' that welfare recipients can't hope to scramble their way out of their situation.  Welfare is the tool that enables that situation you alluded to, "dumbed down, ignorant, lazy and apathetic people with nothing to do better all day than post on FB", in my opinion.  It is a very effective tool, in that sense.
I surmise that a GBI would actually invigorate a society massively, creating a 'level playing field' at the lower end of the socio-economic scale that would actually encourage people to aspire to more ('yes, I get my basic costs addressed, but I want more. I want what the Jones's have got...' - that's human nature).  The GBI would not be there to enable laziness, rather to enable people to be able to invest time, effort and maybe a little spare change into bettering themselves or improving the lot of their loved ones.  I think it would (or could) naturally work itself out that way, if designed, implemented, and operated correctly.
And when you look at the trillions of dollars stashed away at the other end of the spectrum, doing nothing but acting as a box-filler in a secret ledger somewhere, I can't really get past the fact that we need to shake up the economic system massively, in a genuinely trickle-down fashion (i.e., shake the living fuck outta dat tree).  It'd only be fair...
Bill Kamps Added Nov 21, 2017 - 8:47am
Wick, I tend to agree that giving people money might be better than giving them a myriad of programs with endless strings attached.
The programs are all designed to 1) make sure people qualify for the program, and 2) the program is not taken advantage of.  This costs a lot of money in overhead.  The attraction of the GBI is that you just send people a check, end of story. If they waste the money, dont buy food and instead by beer, too bad.  The one thing we can be sure of, is that when you send the poor money, they spend it. 
So if GBI replaces all the various overlapping programs in the welfare society it would be a more efficient way of helping the poor. Of  course it would remove the nanny aspect of it, in that we wont be monitoring how the money is spent, which we try to do now with Food Stamps, and all the other forms of assistance.  I think removing the nanny  aspect and giving people  their own money, is a good thing since it will give people the flexibility to spend the money how they  want, which offers the possibility that they may improve their lives.
Wick Burner Added Nov 21, 2017 - 9:33am
Bill, You raise an interesting point that I probably glossed over - the inevitable fact that some people would squander their GBI.  While that is clearly a bad thing, with knock-on effects beyond the individual, we might well find that the rate of this harmful waste and irresponsibility would be lower than what we find now, where rent bills go unpaid and dependents go hungry.  Perhaps if the GBI was indeed universal, and every individual, not just 'heads of family',  received the GBI, this might be one way of reducing the negatives from the wasteful and irresponsible...
Wick Burner Added Nov 21, 2017 - 9:35am
Oh, and, yes I agree that the 'myriad of programs' is a behemoth of entrenched waste that is likely to be far more draining on the economy than a GBI.
Bill Kamps Added Nov 21, 2017 - 10:22am
I think giving people a check, gives them more respect, than having them run the  gauntlet of forms and lines, to get through the welfare programs we have in place today.  We treat people on welfare like they are all going to steal or cheat the program, unless the program stops them from doing it.  I think they also feel more inclined to do this, since it is not seen as "their money".  A check would be "their money", spend it on food or drugs, up to  them.  Suffer the consequences when the money is gone.
Dave Volek Added Nov 21, 2017 - 11:33am
Wick & Bill Kamps
Excellent discussion on the benefits of GBI.
One of you alluded to the nature of many long-term users of social assistance. I believe it would be cheaper on society to send these people a monthly check than to inflict them on employers who are most likely to fire them within a few weeks.
If a GBI recipient cannot make ends meet, that is a cause for this person (and the children) to become a ward of the state. Then we'll put a lot of rules on how the money is spent.
I believe the GBI should be implemented slowly. For example, in the first year, everyone (including millionaires) gets a $200 a month--above whatever other income they are earning. We should be watching the sociological data to ensure the freeloading effect is not serious. Then raise the rates slowly. As the GBI is raised, start culling back or removing the various social safety nets provided by government.
If charities or churches or communities or commerce want to continue to provide assistance, that is their prerogative. The government's main role is to send out that monthly check. 
George N Romey Added Nov 21, 2017 - 12:15pm
Welfare encourages prople already on the edge just to be a parasite on society. If they are put in an occupation that leads somewhere it builds self respect. I would be for supplemental income for low income to a certain point.
Dino Manalis Added Nov 21, 2017 - 3:13pm
We already have basic income, welfare, and it won't get any better.  Instead, we should help those people attain the services they need to become as capable and self-sufficient as possible.
Donna Added Nov 21, 2017 - 3:18pm
GBI may be the only way for some to get by..Given our current system ,this seems like an easy alternative, and a simple way to get less paperwork involved..IMO..
Bill Kamps Added Nov 21, 2017 - 4:09pm
George, I have no problem the government asking people to work some for the GBI.  Maybe they get a higher GBI if they work, and lower one if they dont.  I have not problem with just writing people checks instead of the morass of programs we currently have.  I would imagine there is at least 25% overhead in managing the current system that could be eliminated but getting rid of all the nanny rules.
Its like a lot of things.  We stop low import steel from coming into the US, so the  whole country pays more for steel, to save 10K jobs.  Just send the 10K people a check, and let the rest of us have cheap steel, it would be cheaper for the country in total.
Wick Burner Added Nov 22, 2017 - 6:09am
Dave,  I like that idea of the monitored gradual introduction.  It also made me think that the initial GBI (and maybe all of it forever) could be in the form of vouchers or coupons for goods and services, rather than cash (or cheque for same).  Maybe a bit too similar to other attempts at 'controlled welfare', but it has the obvious benefit of reducing that initial temptation for 'slackers' to drop out of productiveness.
Dave Volek Added Nov 22, 2017 - 7:50am
"Universal Welfare" was an idea that I concocted in my high school days. Even during my libertarian phase, I did not abandon it. Here it is a good explanation in a 600-word essay.
Another benefit not mentioned in the essay or this thread is that free-lancers will be more able to afford to free-lancing lifestyle. George often talks about a reduced work week, which I don't see as practical. But employers do need temporary workers for short term projects. These workers would prefer to work six to nine months a year as opposed to 11. With a GBI, they would have a more steady supply of income and these employers would have a greater pool of talent. 
Wick Burner Added Nov 22, 2017 - 8:15am
Dave, likewise, the idea of that exact same thing has bounced around in my head for some years, but unlike you, until commenting on this article, I had never written a word about it.  That 'free-lancing lifestyle' you mentioned is almost exactly where my mind started, the enabling of and fostering of new talent and ideas and *things* generally. And I've always envied the 6-month on, 6-month off lifestyle of some people I've known or known of...
I've clicked your link and a new tab has popped up; I will have a read. Thanks.
Wick Burner Added Nov 22, 2017 - 8:24am
Dave, me again, just read your essay; excellent, succinct, logical, rational.
I think some people will probably never see that under such a 'stipend' system, there would almost zero incentive to rely solely on that payment - people would simply want more, like they always do, and there would be more opportunities to allow that to happen, more jobs, more people working those jobs, more on their terms than they could have now under rigid employer-dictated constraints and demands.  You'd end up with a vibrant employment sector, a buzzing 24/7 economy, and the drive to achieve would become more common than the urge to succumb to the limitations of your station.
That essay could very easily form the solid basis for a working policy.
Kate Moss Added Nov 22, 2017 - 8:54am
"Currently in the US we already have such a program called Welfare...."
... wrote no one with intelligence.
In the USA it is almost all infants and elderly who receive public assistance ("welfare"), and it is extremely difficult to qualify, and lasts less than six months on average. Public assistance averages around $160 a month, and is used almost exclusively to prevent infants and elderly from starving to death.
But then, it appears you *WANT* vulnerable, helpless USA citizens to starve to death.
Also, "Guaranteed Basic Income" is not "welfare," nor is it public assistance: it is wealth given back to the people who created it.
By the way: Benjamin Franklin advocated a "guaranteed basic income" in the United States of America. He pointed out, correctly, how many lives it would save and also the staggering amount of wealth it would save.
Sheeeish. Do you people *EVER* think and study before spewing your propaganda?
George N Romey Added Nov 22, 2017 - 9:37am
No I’ve seen the effects of welfare on mostly young girls that have children out of wedlock guaranteeing another generation of poverty. If these girls were in a vocation they would have self respect. And you obviously didn’t read the part where I talk about guaranteed employment and exceptions for caregivers. Another so called Democratic Party “progressive” that wants to impoverish people for life rather than lift them up.
Neil Lock Added Nov 22, 2017 - 10:48am
Wick and Dave: A good exchange re freelancing.
But current government policies, in the UK at least, actually seek to discourage freelancing, by trying to make out that the freelancer becomes an employee of the client, with all the crap that entails for both parties. I myself am a victim of this, big time. And this has been going on for almost 20 years now.
Dave Volek Added Nov 22, 2017 - 11:24am
You might also want to read of a GBI experiment done in Manitoba around 1980.  The sky did not fall in.
The Ontario government is implementing a similar experimental program in Hamilton, Lyndsey, and Thunder Bay.
Yes indeed, a more vibrant employment dynamic! Sometimes my head just spins in circles when I think of all the new employment relationships and the ramifications of these relationships when a GBI is instituted. There will a much more content society, which will become a much more productive society.
I was in Czechoslovakia just after communism fell. There was a principle of guaranteed employment and a small army of civil servants who had to find work for anyone who wanted an income. This bureaucracy had the power to force state-owned companies to take on problem employees. These employees had poor work ethic and did not do very much in their 8-hour shift. But they were still paid.
So I when I hear you promote "Guaranteed Employment," I shudder. You will have to provide more details of how this could work before I will give any credibility.
Your Ben Franklin anecdote is interesting. It's too bad those who often refer to early America as a model society will probably not want to bring this Franklin idea up.
Wick Burner Added Nov 22, 2017 - 4:20pm
Neil, indeed, and that's just one of the problems with the 'bare-minimum safety net' format that most welfare systems are - they are active stiflers of free movement (potential enterprise) among the poor.  And not just welfare acts to keep people stuck in the lower reaches - whole social constructs and business machinations (insurances, licences, permits, even 'qualifications', municipal hurdles, etc.).  The whole system is rigged toward entrenched power and wealth... (obviously).  Anyone wants in, they've gotta break all that shit down, or somehow buy their way in.
Wick Burner Added Nov 22, 2017 - 4:49pm
Dave, those wacky Canadians...(!)  I'll definitely check those programs out.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 22, 2017 - 5:44pm
Bill Kamps insists: Boeing and Airbus have their assembly lines booked for the next 10 years.-Yup, and Boeing is hiring in people on low wages and talking about how they'll have work for 5 years. ASM sold themselves out, fearing reprisals, now they can reap the lack of benefits from caving in.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 22, 2017 - 5:49pm
Kate Moss asks: Sheeeish. Do you people *EVER* think and study before spewing your propaganda? -Nope, no thought is given, save what policies can be enacted to hurt "those people" more, not realizing for ego sake, it will be them next.  Then there's the other slices of the WB pie, like ol Geo R, who hue and cry, but suggest "you can't do anything," so they don't and prefer others sit still, too. In fact almost demand it.
Tamara Wilhite Added Nov 22, 2017 - 10:43pm
You're right that distributing work is a better idea that shifting more people to the dole. We've seen three generations of worsening prospects for the inner cities after the factories left in the 1960s, and life expectancy for working class whites has fallen several years since 2008 as their jobs eroded under Obama.
While very intelligent people may find purpose and direction from volunteering, artistic pursuits, creative projects, the reality is those average and below average define their value by the value they create - work - and it is also their main source of personal connection. Lose that, and they shift to drugs and other addictions, families fall apart, illegitimacy and crime rises.
We just aren't doing enough to keep those who are losing jobs engaged in society or even their own communities, creating a collective ticking time bomb that more money will not solve.

Dr. Jordan Peterson - IQ and The Job Market
Tamara Wilhite Added Nov 22, 2017 - 10:44pm
Democrats said that working class whites were voting against their interests by voting Republican in 2016. No, after years of ignoring their declining status toward that of inner city blacks, they DID something ... they voted for Trump. Not more welfare or handouts, but for someone who promised to get them back to work because that's what they want.
wsucram15 Added Nov 23, 2017 - 12:56am
Who ever told you that is full of cow poop. When I first realized I wasnt going to go back to work, at least not permanently, I applied for Social Services.  On a Zero dollar income...I got 94.00 a month on a food card and medical assistance (which I would have gotten either way because of PPACA).
Now when my disability came through I was given  in a month what I used to make (or bring home) in a week working,  THEN I lost the food allotment.  I just dont see how people say stuff like that.   You Cannot win on Federal or State means, it isnt going to happen.
I think people attribute this stuff to the "cadillac queens" of long ago.  IDK..I've  never seen it.  I will say, everyone at social services has a smart phone, I didnt pay for mine and perhaps they didnt either.
It is the only inconsistency I can see with that low end of living.
wsucram15 Added Nov 23, 2017 - 12:57am
Happy Thanksgiving George!
George N Romey Added Nov 23, 2017 - 8:28am
Jeanne and Tamara good points. Guaranteed employment doing something useful is far humane than tiny tokens that barely keep people alive.
Dave Volek Added Nov 23, 2017 - 11:35am
I don't have a good handle on many issues in the US. I'm just getting my information from various WB writers who have stated that it is more profitable for welfare recipients to stay on welfare than take a "working poor" job. One writer told me that the break-even point is $24 per hour, which means a wage lower than $24 per hour will bring in less money than a welfare check. Another writer said 21.2% of Americans are on welfare. While I can't get my head around on how the American economy can function, they know more than me about the situation. So I have concluded that the American welfare system is a real mess. Canadians have taken a wiser approach to social assistance.
Maybe you need to write an article about social assistance in the US.
George N Romey Added Nov 23, 2017 - 4:21pm
Dave neither of those stats are remotely correct. 
opher goodwin Added Nov 24, 2017 - 4:53am
Bill- I do see it as a form of welfare and I agree that it is complex. How we move to a three day week needs careful planning, which is why I moot it now. My main thrust is that
a. we need to address the grotesque inequality which will only get worse with greater automation
b. we need to provide work for the redundant masses.
Doug Plumb Added Nov 24, 2017 - 5:52am
I think that when we get on here and debate these things, any current problem with society, we forget one basic fact: The West is being destroyed by those who are leading us to break the basic laws from which the West was founded. In this case the West (Western law/culture) was the first to eliminate slavery. Our economy currently depends on it. Fix that and you fix a lot of problems, this being one.   Economic frustration leads to other problems that can lead to bad mental health which creates more problems. Kill the problem at its source not at the symptom level. I am one of only a few that say this.
  We deal with our mental health problems using drugs and alcohol because many are economically isolated. I think in another hundred years that if you don't have 3 swimming pools you will be considered to be under the "poverty line", not have many friends and turn to drugs and alcohol.
  Aristotle said that the only path to true everlasting happiness is wisdom. I think the computer culture is helping with this. Non readers can still listen to the best thinkers give great lectures on important topics.
  In short, we often address issues only on the symptom level and forget the root cause. We are being deliberately lead away from the ideologies that created Western consciousness.
Doug Plumb Added Nov 24, 2017 - 6:12am
Also, when people have economic hope, but not absolute security, they have fewer children. Eliminating slavery helps reduce the overpopulation problem for those who think this is an issue, and I am not one. It fixes our imaginary problems as well as those that are real. Most of our energy is spent on imaginary problems.
Dave Volek Added Nov 24, 2017 - 12:04pm
Then you need to correct those WB contributors who believe the social assistance in America is better option than working a minimum wage job. I can't do that.
In short, we often address issues only on the symptom level and forget the root cause. We are being deliberately lead away from the ideologies that created Western consciousness.
Well said.
Yesterday I had a reunion with a former of student of mine. This lady made some bad choices with men and ended up single with four kids. She spent many years on social assistance (and maybe still is). She was happy to tell me that two of her kids are now in university and the other two are doing well in high school. One wonders what would have happened if we had forced her into the workplace and she was not as available to nurture her kids.
George N Romey Added Nov 24, 2017 - 8:27pm
Dave I’ve been for the minimum wage being raised to $15 even over a few years. No one should work and not be able to provide for the basics.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 24, 2017 - 8:56pm
Geo Romey sez: Dave I’ve been for the minimum wage being raised to $15 even over a few years.-Have you actually done something to make that happen?  AND consider what low income people face when it comes to just child care which can easily run over $600 (usually around $800) a month.  Oh I know, the rightists are thinking "It's their fault! They had KIDS (And this is "why" they have out of wedlock kids to boost their WELFARE check is pure bilge and hogwash.)  That "argument" has been playing in rightist land since Ronnie Raygun's time: From welfare queens to welfare baby makers, it's "those people."  hell even wsucram15 used term "cadillac queens" because that's all you rightists understand, but lets be honest here, what rightist say when low income kids are mentioned is they really mean "Stop having sex! You can't afford it."  That's also the bottomline for "Right to lifers" when all else is stripped away.  "We don't have to have or enjoy sex, so you need to live like we do, sexless, but if you're poor you must live this way, it's a matter of "choice."!  
This topic came up yesterday, as my daughter and SiL will soon encounter child care, and both parents work.  We all tried to figure what,other than greed drives pricing in day care and why should it be so much.  The current costs, even in a partnership where, the partner both have jobs that pay well, the costs will blow quite a hole in their budgets.  The kids are not being provided a college education at day care, day care employees don't make more than min wage, if not just min wage, there's "overhead' but that's rather fixed, so is it greed?  We need better social compacts in the US.  You rightists see everything one way, views not changing in decades, somehow figuring low income people live so well 'cause "it's free," so it must be grate (MAGA?), yet can't wrap yourself around a concept of human compassion or care, just austerity so the wealthy can have bigger bank accounts.
Doug Plumb Added Nov 25, 2017 - 6:52am
George re "Dave I’ve been for the minimum wage being raised to $15 even over a few years. No one should work and not be able to provide for the basics.  "
This can have a tendency to raise costs for lower income people. The cost of food rises disproportionally and actually leaves them in a lower position. There is an optimum minimum wage.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 25, 2017 - 1:03pm
Guaranteed basic employment is, I think, a possible solution.   To work, this employment will have to be public sector or it will create unfair competition issues.
There is no shortage of the need for such work.  Care for the elderly, as we all live longer and longer lives, is only going to be more in demand.   Work to clean up the environment is also always going to be needed.
Such work would need to be tiered, so the more responsible jobs (e.g. being in charge of care for people), carry a higher salary.  It must also be possible to demote people to lower paid jobs if they do not put in the effort.
Trouble is, of course, this can only be paid for through taxes.  This will be resisted by the 1% who will call it Communism.   You almost think that they want to bring on the time of torches and pitchforks...
To address the issue on minimum wage, the state guaranteed employment, at "entry level" should be enough to live but not fantastic.  That way private employers can always get workers by offering a better wage that the GBE does.
It will smack too much of "socialism" for most on here though... even though they have no other solution for disappearing jobs
Bill Kamps Added Nov 25, 2017 - 2:37pm
Robin, if the work is instead of some of the assistance programs, then it doesnt have to cost so much.  A lot of money is wasted running all these different programs, many of which ask for the same information, and redundantly do needs testing.  Even just sending a people a check for staying alive would be cheaper, and then tier it up if they actually work, and what kind of work they do.
Giving people their own money, instead of things like food stamps, with all kinds of strings attached, i think is better.  We cant make sure the money is "well spent" because we dont know what that is for each person.  Let them spend it well or waste it.   I think most would do better.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Nov 25, 2017 - 3:58pm
"Instead, we should redefine work and have guaranteed employment.  "
This sounds good until we find 'work' that contributes to some business or such or that makes defined contributions to local society. This premise stands or falls on what collection of positive attributes a given person has and how they might be correlated with a proper job. 
Take at look at the inner cities of the 10 biggest cities, all run by far left liberal black Democrats with all the crime and drugs and tell us:
What job can you give to a drug addict convicted of murder or similar crime now out on parole?
What job can you give to a habitual mugger or a seasoned prostitute on drugs?
Bill Camps sez: "Giving people their own money, instead of things like food stamps, with all kinds of strings attached, i think is better."
" I think most would do better."
Bill is probably correct, but who would use that for more education to get a better job?
 I think most would do worse.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 25, 2017 - 4:25pm
Bill:  I think GBE should replace all other social security schemes except for those who are physically/mentally incapable of working,  those who are obliged to care for others or those who are caught in a short term problem between jobs.
It would have the same effect as a mandatory minimum wage because businesses would need to compete for labour... essentially having to offer better pay and terms than GBE.
I also think that GBE should be untaxed.   If you want to do GBE plus other work...  then good for you.  There should be not disincentive to doing that.
Further education could also qualify for GBE as long as it is recognised skills that are in short supply e.g. caring for the elderly. 
Jeff Michka Added Nov 25, 2017 - 7:49pm
Syck Ryck contends: What job can you give to a habitual mugger or a seasoned prostitute on drugs?-Precisely "JFK democrat" are your concerns, you won't get your cut?  You've articulate low income people are basically scum, so other than the status quo, "What job can you give to a drug addict convicted of murder or similar crime now out on parole? What job did they give you?
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Nov 26, 2017 - 1:28pm
Apparently you think that criminals and dopers and other losers ought to have good jobs, subsidized by the government if necessary. 
That theory only perpetuates the low and criminal classes and allows them to have more money for their habits. 
Some people appear to worship muggers, murderers and druggies. Makes good sense for a left-liberal. 
Jeff Michka Added Nov 26, 2017 - 3:02pm
Syck Ryck the "JFK democrat" has nothing to do with either JFK or democrats, he is just another rightist hater who makes silly claims like "Some people appear to worship muggers, murderers and druggies"  as away to show how rightist he really is to other rightists, then also claims: "That theory only perpetuates the low and criminal classes and allows them to have more money for their habits." and not taxing the uberwealthy at 90% will allow for all those "habits" (define 'em, loser) to flourish with "more money."  Yeah, austerity will solve all of soceity's problems.  Make good sense for a right wing cryptofascist that tries to associate themselves with JFK.  Syck (or Slyck) Ryck thinks the JFK WILL FOOL MORE LEFT LEANING PEOPLE INTO BELIEVING HE'S SOMETHING HE'S NOT.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Nov 26, 2017 - 3:50pm
Ignoring Jeff...
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 26, 2017 - 5:03pm
So then rycK, tell us what you would do with the "losers" in society.  I would like to hear your plan.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 26, 2017 - 5:32pm
Syck Ryck the Barry Goldwater Republican insists: Ignoring Jeff...good idea.  Ignore everybody that doesn't slap you on the back for being an incredible fascist!! And ignore others that ask you the tough questions you don't want to answer.  Real "intellectual integrity"...NOT.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 26, 2017 - 5:43pm
I just wanted to see how rycK's plan compared with Adolf.  I am just reading the second part of Ian Kershaw's excellent biography:  Nemisis.    Hitler at this point is dealing with a few of those he considered "losers".  At this point he is giving the green light to compulsory euthanasia for the seriously sick and handicapped.   What would rycK's plan be for dealing with them?   Does he favour a similar approach?   Or would he rather leave them outside the new walls around the 1% domains, to starve or fight it out?   Or perhaps start another war and use them as cannon fodder?
Come on rycK, let's hear it.   I would love to hear your plan.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Nov 27, 2017 - 2:53pm
A come on!
"Come on rycK, let's hear it.   I would love to hear your plan."
Be patient for a while. 
Jeff Michka Added Nov 27, 2017 - 3:16pm
sYCK RYCK THE Barry Goldwater Republican sez: Be patient for a while.  Ah, "your plan."  Sounds like you've taken a page from "Trump's plans."  Just say you have no plan or want them all killed, syck.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 27, 2017 - 4:34pm
Oh, you mean you don't have a plan?   You slag off everyone else's ideas but don't have any of your own?   I'm sure that you have a final solution...
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 28, 2017 - 6:21pm
I have just gotten to the part in Hitler's biography where he has involuntarily euthanised about 100,000 or so "patients" or "losers" just at the time that Operation Barbarossa is starting to look like it is not going entirely to plan (something to do with the Russians having far more men etc that they thought).   It has suddenly dawned on a number of formerly enthusiastic Nazis that their sons, currently fighting valiantly at the front, could become wounded and might then be considered "losers" and candidates for euthanasia.  
All of a sudden, public opinion swings against the "let's gas the losers" policy...   The wheels are coming off of the "Let's make Germany great again" campaign.   Even some church leaders are starting to question if backing Hitler ought to still be part of their mission statement.   They know that they are with him on the bashing Godless Bolshevics bit, and they don't really object to the "let's get Jews out of Europe" campaign but ....
Just off to read the next installment.   I wonder what rycK would do?
Jeff Michka Added Nov 28, 2017 - 8:30pm
RRBS sez: Just off to read the next installment.   I wonder what ryck would do? -Run, hide a write "articles" that will engender love from his "fellow rightists." ryck really is a Barry Goldwater REPUBLICAN, AND WANTS TO MAKE SURE "THOSE PEOPLE" GET HURT.  So yeah, he would final solution anyone making less than $75,000 a year, or hurt those making less than that buy forcing them to sell their kids for medical experiments. A whole new meaning for "compassionate conservatives."

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