argument top image

Is Universal Basic Income a good idea? Show more Show less
Back to question

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?

It depends how UBI is funded Show more Show less

Right-wing arguments favor universal income without welfare. Left-wing versions favor tax increases. Others favor means-testing.
< (3 of 3)

UBI should be funded by tax increases alongside social welfare

UBI will only benefit people economically if it is used in addition to other welfare measures. It can be paid for by taxing the richest in society.

The Argument

UBI payments given in addition to other welfare benefits will give workers more power to negotiate their income with employers, remove people from the poverty trap, and allow them to find more meaningful employment. The additional income it provides will allow true economic freedom.[1] All of these advantages only apply if UBI is used in addition to other forms of social security. Some right-wing commentators would like to use UBI to dismantle the welfare state. If wages are not protected, healthcare dismantled, or pensions removed, the cost to most people will outweigh the benefits. It will amount to a regressive measure, not a progressive one. The implementation of UBI in addition to other welfare measures and a sensible minimum wage will give workers more power over their employment conditions and reduce exploitation. People will not need to work as much as before and will be able to make more demands.[2] Some welfare programs may need replacement, but the entire welfare state does not need dismantling. A blend of streamlined reforms is by far the most sensible model.[3] With progressive taxes in place, no cuts to public services are required. These taxes should be on the richest in society. Essential payments, such as disability benefits or housing benefits, should continue.[4] The top 20% will lose out, to the bottom 80% who will gain from having a basic income.[1] Only the richest will lose out if taxes fund UBI. Progressive forms of UBI will empower workers.

Counter arguments

A significant issue for workers is that companies want cheap labor. They profit off of people not knowing their worth or needing money no matter how low the pay. This poverty trap continues to increase as the rich get richer, but the poorest in society gains nothing. As things are, UBI is not practical, with or without other welfare programs. Being a welfare program itself, the main problem with implementing it is that most assume the rich will be taxed to pay for it. In reality, it would replace welfare programs people already have in place. It cannot completely replace all welfare, and even only replacing a few welfare programs complicates things. Welfare does not provide economic freedom; it provides economic aid. If implemented, the welfare structures it replaces benefit programs and deductions, including the ability to write off medical expenses and business loses.[5] With large companies, this shouldn’t be a problem, but for small businesses, the cost increases exponentially. To work together with welfare would change the game, but it’s important to know what would stay and what would go.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] UBI given in addition to other tax benefits will empower everyone and prevent exploitation. [P2] The very wealthy can afford to pay to lift everyone out of poverty. [C] Progressive forms of UBI are affordable and empowering.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/04/06/universal-basic-income-left-or-right/
  2. https://time.com/4412410/andy-stern-universal-basic-income/
  3. https://basicincome.org/about-basic-income/
  4. https://basicincome.org/faqs/
  5. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/14/budget-neutral-universal-basic-income-plan-would-pay-1320-per-month.html

Vote

Not sure yet? Read more ↑

Discuss

This page was last edited on Thursday, 1 Oct 2020 at 21:50 UTC

Explore related arguments