Without a doubt, Yang’s plan had many flaws. Personally, I’m a fan of UBI, but targeted. I don’t believe it’s of any real use to those who already have the means to provide, and an acceptable level of economic security. A targeted UBI towards victims of the poverty cycle would be, I believe, extremely successful. Many studies conducted in the UK and Europe have shown is invariably produces a high proportion of economic and social benefit to recipient. That all translates into reduction of the skills gap between no income, low income and medium income. That in itself would produce significant ROI for Governments who adopt the policy (I believe).
I think in Yang’s case, it was a solid Hail Mary for a person never really likely to get far in the race. It’s fairly easy to call for ‘free money’ for all, and try and win over the popularity of the low/no income left. With the typical demographics within the poverty cycle, it mad him popular with minorities which is a win-win for him.
His approach though, directly conflicts with reality. I don’t believe that UBI disincentivizes people from working, in fact from what I’ve seen the opposite is true. But, un-targeted, aggressive UBI in the way he described would have been particularly expensive (given the national debt is already laughably high), and would have quite simply been absorbed within the economy by inflation. You see it every time Government’s bring out fiscal policy around certain or all groups benefiting from some type of incentive, the corresponding end-benefit will increase in cost to account… Equilibrium is always restored.
The Freedom Dividend is standard American Politician speak. Annoyed me more than excited me (standard for a Brit).
As far as Rawls’ considerations, I quite like how it seems to reflect much of Pain’s thoughts. Personally, I’m an advocate for Land Value Tax, as in the UK there is considerable inequality around housing, both commercial and private. Much of the solutions to that seem to be hidden within LVT. The typical question never far behind conversations about UBI is how do you pay… As far as I’m concerned, that’s how. And that seems to resonate with Pain’s approach. You build a sovereign wealth fund, paid into from those taxes, and others. That fund provides much of the social care needed for the elderly, some initial incentives for young people, and a targeted UBI safety net for those who fall on hard times and need help.
The COVID stimulus package in the US was nothing short of an abomination. Its entire purpose was to inflate the stock market and give Trump some record-breaking stats to real of during the Presidential debates. Ignoring the fact that it’s pretty entirely served businesses, with the US’ continued obsession with trickledown economics still failing, it was always going to fail. You can see the Russell 2000 as an example of that. Annoyingly, it could have been a really effective mainstream demonstration of how much, when done right, it can really do some good. Alas, Politicians can never be trusted to perform when the chips are down.
I think of Ernest Benn in this case… “Politics is that art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.”
In sum, a targeted, well thought out UBI plan could be the way to break the wheel in the cycle of poverty. But, then it wouldn’t be universal… TBI would be what I would go for… Doesn’t sound as catchy though. In essence… Take all of the principles of UBI, and apply them to anyone in the US making the average wage or less. How you combat inflation, and secondary/tertiary beneficiaries from moving back towards an economic equilibrium, I guess Government regulation… But that never pans out!
Sorry I’ve waffled, it’s hard to properly compose your thoughts when you haven’t given the topic enough recent consideration!