Universal basic income could solve many of America’s issues

Dalton Stokes

Recently there has been a following amassed behind an idea that many mainstream and moderate politicians would call socialist. The idea is a proposal for what is called a Universal Basic Income or UBI. 

The UBI is a system to which every last US citizen will receive a certain amount of money, directly deposited into their bank account each month. This basic income is given in addition to any income each person already has. 

The amounts would be completely indiscriminate and everyone in the entire country would receive the same allotted amount regardless of income. This is also in addition to any forms of welfare or financial assistance. 

Many supporters of the UBI see it as an adequate reaction to the automation of many American jobs that used to belong to people. Some also propose that we instate Bill Gates’ robot tax, which is a proposed tax on each person that is replaced with a machine in the workplace, to help pay for the UBI. 

Oddly enough the UBI is gaining traction across the political spectrum. This is surprising seeing how this is indeed a very socialist policy. Left-wing followers like it because of its potential to nearly eliminate poverty in our county. 

More right wing libertarians are also getting behind the UBI for it’s simplicity and reduced bureaucracy.

In the case that the UBI is put in place, there would be no need to raise minimum wage which limits the bureaucracy between government and companies and would sustain substantially less resistance to corporate interests. 

Those who are skeptical of this plan ask where can this money come from? Some argue simple arithmetic, that for this money to be used in this way it has to be taken away from something else.

This is less of a problem with the system itself and more of an obstacle and a major decision where the funds will come from. The funds could come from a decrease in our defense budget, which is the largest section of discretional spending that our government allocates. 

The US is spending almost $600 billion on the defense budget and this is a figure that is ever growing. If we were to cut out just a third of that, the government could give every American $600 per year. Which is not all the money needed but is an extraordinary start. 

This money can also come from reevaluating our wealth tax and revising it to more heavily tax the top 1 percent of the US population, and also having a heftier tax on businesses that are outsourcing to other countries and closing jobs in America. 

There has also been a tax proposed by many progressives to tax carbon emissions in effort to give companies incentive to go green while increasing revenue of the federal government. 

Overall, while the UBI is not a perfect system and is still in its infancy, it is an idea worth exploring. Hopefully, we will see some endorsements by more popular progressives such as Senator Bernie Sanders and possibly even Green Party progressives such as Jill Stein.

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