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Is Universal Basic Income a good idea? Show more Show less
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Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a program in which all people receive a regular sum of money unconditionally, regardless of employment or current wages. Proposed UBI programs vary across the world. This allows different UBI programs to align with both progressive and conservative goals. Several UBI pilot studies have been tried throughout the world, but the interpretations of results vary. UBI proponents consider many questions about logistics, economics, and human behavior: How will UBI be funded? Who will receive the income, every person or every household? Will people stop working or will greater economic stability allow them to better contribute to society?

No, UBI is a bad idea Show more Show less

Universal basic income is not practical. The massive cost of a UBI program is too steep to implement and would cause more social issues than it would solve.
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UBI is financially irresponsible

The financial deficits greatly outweigh the financial benefits when considering the immense public costs of UBI. Increased tax rates as well as an inappropriate allocation of funds away from public health and education toward UBI creates significant disadvantages and budget deficits directly affecting public life.

Context

UBI requires a lot of public money to function. The funding for UBI programs has to come from somewhere, which may mean the cost of these programs is prohibitive.

The Argument

Implementing UBI at a level where the guaranteed income would ensure sufficient quality of life for recipients would mean spending enormous amounts of public funds. This would create equally enormous budget deficits. In order to pay for a UBI program, the government would have to source these funds by increasing taxes and/or reallocating funds from other large public programs. These programs could include health or education, where the expenditures are more important.[1] The cost of UBI to the public is simply too high.

Counter arguments

1. The tax increases needed to support UBI are exaggerated and are feasible given current income distributions. UBI would also make many current public welfare programs unnecessary, freeing up that funding without any loss of essential services.

Proponents

Framing

The financial costs that UBI entails for the state surpass its effectiveness.

Premises

[P1] UBI requires a large amount of public funding. [P2] This amount of funding can only be obtained through tax increases or reallocation of resources. [P3] It would be financially irresponsible to increase taxes or reallocate resources sufficiently to fund UBI.

Rejecting the premises

[P1] The sheer amount of funding needed for UBI does not make it financially irresponsible; it is simply necessary to rebalance the budget correctly. [P2] Tax increases will not be necessary to get to this level of funding; the increase of productivity through UBI will compensate. [P3] If taxes were to be raised, it would be a good way to redistribute it through UBI as it increases overall equality.

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/06/universal-basic-income-public-realm-poverty-inequality

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This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Jul 2020 at 10:46 UTC

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