UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME: The Latest Temptation From The Left

ZuckerbergThe government should solve many of mankind’s difficulties simply by providing every citizen a guaranteed basic income; enough money for a minimally decent living. Or so says Mark Zuckerberg, a thirty-smething Facebook founder billionaire, who may aspire to become a Democratic replacement for President Trump.

Not a new idea, it is presently under small scale experiment in Finland and is proposed elsewhere that the Left is paramount, though it was recently voted down by the Swiss. Typically in a developed country, this would have the government supplying say, $2,000 monthly per person; the recipients would be free of obligation and could earn whatever additional income that they could. In the U.S. now, all the voters need do to unleash this cornucopia would be to elect the Facebook plutocrat and his friends to run the country.

No doubt this will appeal to a lot of public school grads in the U.S. Probably it could appeal also to the mainstream economists who support the Federal Reserve’s grossly expanded balance sheet and its accompanying governmentally devalued money. However, numbers of dwellers between the U.S. coasts and others still hooked on reality may be less excited by the prospect. Neither Mr. Zuckerberg nor any of the others peddling this magic provide details explaining the sources for the needed money. This may not be an accident?

We know that government cannot create wealth; only take it from its creators. That, by extracting it via taxes and such, by borrowing it while obligating taxpayers or by stealing it using inflating. Government can only relocate wealth; it cannot create it. Universal basic income then, depends upon draining the accumulate wealth at the top of the economy to spread it incrementally at the bottom. But given human nature, who will trouble himself to create and accumulate wealth, knowing that it will be confiscated? It is the fallacy that disqualifies socialism as viable economic theory: Our universe does not offer something for nothing. The problem is compounded by the inevitably corrupt government officials who enrich themselves at the cost of the citizens. For doubters, we recommend a visit to Venezuela.

But never mind, as Mr. Zuckerberg et al await their 2020 election shot, they will surely claim that, whatever occurred elsewhere in other times, this time with them in charge, will be different. Sure. What is defined as “expecting a different result from multiple repetitions of the same process?” Two peoples famed for keeping life on an even keel are the Finns and the Swiss; the former are appeasing their wishful thinkers by running a small experiment before proceeding toward this dreamland, the latter rejected it outright. Perhaps as banking is better understood in Switzerland…

As this develops, it will be interesting to see how many votes Zuckerberg et al are able to buy, using the American taxpayers’ money.

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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