February 12, 2018

Universal Basic Income is to help you get out of bed, not to allow you stay in bed

Sir, Ian Goldin first introduces many valid reasons for why we need a Universal Basic Income. But then he writes: “As shown by the OECD, by reallocating welfare payments from targeted transfers (such as unemployment, disability or housing benefits) to a generalised transfer to everyone, the amount that goes to the most deserving is lower. Billionaires get a little more.” “Five reasons why universal basic income is a red herring” February12.

No way! I come from Venezuela. The poor their, got only a fraction, perhaps less than 15%, of what they should have gotten had only the oil revenues been shared out equally to all. Who got the most? The redistribution profiteers and their friends.

And clearly since it would reduce the value of their franchise, these profiteers are the ones who most set out to attack Universal Basic Income.

Goldin bombs UBI with:

“If UBI was set at a level to provide a modest but decent standard of living it would be unaffordable and lead to ballooning deficits”

“Delinking income and work, while rewarding people for staying at home, is what lies behind social decay.”

“UBI undermines incentives to participate”

But he also writes: “There must be more part-time work, shorter weeks, and rewards for home work, creative industries and social and individual care. Forget about UBI; to reverse rising inequality and social dislocation we need to radically change the way we think about income and work.”

And that is when I understand Goldin might not have understood where many of us want the UBI level to be. We want it set at a level that helps you to get out of bed, to reach up to the gig economy, but absolutely not at a level so high that it does allow you to stay in the bed.