Citizen's Wage

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby ucim » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:12 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:In Equilibrium != Equal
But your "where there is no real reason to have a regionally adjusted UBI" is what I'm referring to. It means that the BIU would be justifiably equal.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:58 pm UTC

Reflecting on my realization that the rent-and-interest scheme we have right now is basically a reverse basic income already, and slinches' suggestion that fixing that would be better than implementing a basic income, I'd like to ask his opinion on this: take the basic income scheme I've proposed thus far, but modify it such that "income" means all of your property income (all your income from rent and interest) minus your expenses paying someone else's (all your rent and interest expenses). Sound better to you? (So everyone gets some fraction of whatever the mean "income" by that calculation is, and pays the same fraction of their "income" by that calculation to fund that).
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:23 pm UTC

The problem with that is that it's a lot harder to raise the revenue through taxation of property income than with direct taxation of wage income or consumption. All of the profits and government cash transfers in the economy today only add up to 20% of GDP. Plus, then you just have more people paying themselves wages instead of profits.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Chen » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:26 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure the money you get from rental properties is already considered income. If that's the case, this just lets you subsidize mortgage interest or rent by your marginal tax rate. So everyone would be able to afford more house or more expensive rent. And the price would likely go up accordingly. It's like a super mortgage interest deduction that currently exists. I'm not sure that's a good thing.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:17 pm UTC

Not exactly clear if Chen thought this or not (crazy day my mind is scattered), but I'm not talking about calculating your regular income taxes based on just property income (which is already counted as part of your regular income, yes), but just having the only kind of income subject to the UBI-funding tax (and from which the mean of which the UBI amount is calculated) by net property income. So all your income as currently calculated gets taxed as it currently does; then all of your net property income specifically gets taxed again at some percent, and you get credited that same percent of the mean of all net property incomes.

Also, not sure if Thesh means by "profits" the same thing I'm talking about, because that 20% figure sounds very unlikely if so, as most people's largest expense is housing, and most of that is rent or mortgage interest, and someone is getting all that money that everyone else is paying. With your mention of just "paying yourself wages instead of profits" to get out of it, it makes me think you're thinking of like, all interest a lender collects, minus what they pay their staff, whereas I'm just talking about all the interest they collect, possibly minus any interest (or rent) they're paying someone else themselves.

It occurs to me in retrospect here that by that kind of reckoning, the mean is necessarily going to be zero: every dollar of rent or interest income anyone makes, someone else pays, so on the whole the incomes minus expenses add to zero, divided by the population to get a mean of still zero. So what you'd effectively be doing is crediting everyone who's a net borrower some fraction of their rent and interest and funding that from the same fraction of everyone who's a net lender, which is something I've elsewhere proposed but isn't really a basic income anymore, as someone who's neither a lender nor borrower wouldn't get anything, even if their income was otherwise zero.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:57 pm UTC

Looking back at where I got that number from, that's everything that is not employee compensation, private domestic investment, or government consumption and investment in the US - that's the money available for cash transfers in terms of taxing non-wage income. It does not include capital gains.

Frankly, VAT is the easiest tax to raise revenue from and one of the most efficient. I don't see you getting a UBI without it being funded at least in-part by a consumption tax.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby slinches » Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:28 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I'm not talking about calculating your regular income taxes based on just property income (which is already counted as part of your regular income, yes), but just having the only kind of income subject to the UBI-funding tax (and from which the mean of which the UBI amount is calculated) by net property income. So all your income as currently calculated gets taxed as it currently does; then all of your net property income specifically gets taxed again at some percent, and you get credited that same percent of the mean of all net property incomes.

Interesting concept. You're right that it's not exactly a UBI, more like a redistributive usury tax. I'll have to think about that one. I certainly agree that sitting on assets and renting their use is parasitic to the economy in nature. Although, implementation would certainly be difficult. How would that impact service industries? Are licenses for software programs or media content subscription payments considered rent?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby ucim » Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:58 pm UTC

slinches wrote: I certainly agree that sitting on assets and renting their use is parasitic to the economy in nature.
You mean things like renting a car when you travel, renting a backhoe when you want to do yard work, and renting an airplane when you want to fly? How is this parasitic? The alternative is that I would have to purchase an car every time I flew to a distant town, and then try to sell it when the flight was issuing its boarding call for my flight home.

It also means that I would have to buy a condo rather than rent an apartment, and that means I couldn't plow the money that I'd have to use to buy housing into my business. Seems like this would stifle the economy.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby slinches » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:47 am UTC

While the ability to rent is valuable to a society, renters must necessarily charge more than the item is worth in order to make a profit. That profit is non-productive except in the capacity that it allows for more efficient distribution of shared resources. So we should definitely not prohibit renting as a business, but the margins of those businesses should be kept as small of a percentage of the asset's productive value as can be achieved.

Market forces will keep this in check for most products that don't have natural monopolies, but it is somewhat problematic to control in markets for things that are not easily shared and have relatively inflexible supply like housing. That's where the usury/rent tax would come in. I'm still not sure if it's a good idea or not, just an interesting one.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby ucim » Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:16 am UTC

slinches wrote:While the ability to rent is valuable to a society, renters must necessarily charge more than the item is worth in order to make a profit. That profit is non-productive except in the capacity that it allows for more efficient distribution of shared resources. So we should definitely not prohibit renting as a business, but the margins of those businesses should be kept as small of a percentage of the asset's productive value as can be achieved.
Can't the same be said of retail? Doubling the wholesale price for a retail customer is pretty much the norm. Stores would argue that they provide a service; renters have the same argument. Why not keep the margins of stores be kept "as small as possible"?

And yes, I support usury laws on the rental of money itself, but that's not because market forces don't work in general, but because usury, being reflexive, takes unfair advantage of the very ones that, by being poor, don't have the money with which to pay to rent the money they need to pay the rent on the money.

Goods are arguably different.

Real estate less so; the thing about real estate is that people live there, and moving is a big deal. And while economics is a (limiting) factor in choosing where to live, it's not the only one that comes into play. Real estate is not fungible like money is.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:55 am UTC

That reflexivity argument you support for money is exactly the source of my issues with real estate rent. The people who are too poor to buy their own houses instead have to rent them which sucks up the money they would be putting toward not being too poor to buy a house anymore, trapping them in perpetual debt. If everyone could easily afford to buy housing if they wanted to own and only rented when they wanted to rent there would be no practical problem with it, and so in dirt cheap markets nobody cares, but in places where most people cannot buy, rent leaves them trapped in that circumstance.

And yes, I know, then move somewhere cheap, but do you really think there ought to be no e.g. grocery store checkers in California, where that kind of job will never ever pay enough to afford not to rent? Tens of millions of people should 'just move'?
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby ucim » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:31 am UTC

But housing isn't reflexive... houses are not money. Housing is a necessity, like food and health care. If you can't afford food or health care, you can't go to work to make the money you need to afford food and health care. Poverty sucks either way. But housing isn't special. At least you can rent houses; you can't rent food.
Spoiler:
Well, that's not quite true: link
And the issue isn't with housing per se anyway, it's rental per se, be it cars, houses, or pineapples.

Education gets the same treatment - a good education leads (generally) to better employment so you can afford to pay for the education you bought to get you this better job. But if you can't afford (the time or money for) education, you can't get there from here. This is simply what the poverty trap is. Sucks to be poor. I'm not convinced that rent is the ultimate reason for poverty though. It's just one manifestation of the problem.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Chen » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:56 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:That reflexivity argument you support for money is exactly the source of my issues with real estate rent. The people who are too poor to buy their own houses instead have to rent them which sucks up the money they would be putting toward not being too poor to buy a house anymore, trapping them in perpetual debt. If everyone could easily afford to buy housing if they wanted to own and only rented when they wanted to rent there would be no practical problem with it, and so in dirt cheap markets nobody cares, but in places where most people cannot buy, rent leaves them trapped in that circumstance.


Home ownership is basically investing with "forced" savings. Renting and putting the difference between your total cost of rental vs your cost of owning into diversified investments is still a sound strategy and depending on the area you're in and all sorts of other factors, can turn out to be the more economically rational way of doing things. Even once you own a home, you're still in "debt" (colloquially) in terms of taxes and maintenance.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:47 pm UTC

Back on the actual topic, a thought re-occurred to me today that I should have brought up earlier in the discussion. Under my proposal at least, where the basic income is fixed to some fraction of the mean income, if prices do really rise, so do the incomes of all the people charging those prices, and thus the mean income, and thus the basic income. Maybe oversimplifying a bit, but basically: for a basic income of x% the mean income, x% of every dollar that the average person sees their expenses go up gets shuffled right back around to them, offsetting the increased costs automatically.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:47 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:And yes, I know, then move somewhere cheap, but do you really think there ought to be no e.g. grocery store checkers in California, where that kind of job will never ever pay enough to afford not to rent? Tens of millions of people should 'just move'?


They WOULD pay enough, or at least more, if we reduced the supply of unskilled labor. But I don't get the impression you would be ok with tighter immigration controls.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby elasto » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:13 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:They WOULD pay enough, or at least more, if we reduced the supply of unskilled labor. But I don't get the impression you would be ok with tighter immigration controls.


To the extent that that would have been true in the past, I'm not sure how much it will apply going forwards: I think companies will react to a shortfall in labor by increasing the rate at which they automate away jobs. eg. warehousing jobs will all eventually go:

Flying drones and robots now patrol distribution warehouses - they've become workhorses of the e-commerce era online that retailers can't do without. It is driving down costs but it is also putting people out of work: what price progress?

It could be a scene from Blade Runner 2049; the flying drone hovers in the warehouse aisle, its spinning rotors filling the cavernous space with a buzzing whine.

It edges close to the packages stacked on the shelf and scans them using onboard optical sensors, before whizzing off to its next assignment.

But this is no sci-fi film, it's a warehouse in the US - one of around 250,000 throughout the country, many gargantuan in size: retail giant Walmart's smallest warehouse, for example, is larger than 17 football fields put together.

And these automated drones are now doing the jobs humans - on foot, or operating fork-lift trucks and mechanical lifts - used to do: and they're doing them more cheaply and more accurately.

Two drones can do the work of 100 humans over the same time period, according to supply chain specialist, Argon Consulting. This means they can do several tours of a warehouse - even at night - compare results, identify discrepancies, and build up a much more accurate picture much more quickly.


But I'm not sure it was all that much true even in the past; Overall, immigrants create more jobs than they 'consume', and even unskilled workers create employment in terms of support services.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:01 pm UTC

Ultra-Highly skilled immigrants, such as doctors and entrepreneurs, create more jobs than they consume. We are generally good about bringing those people over. It's the unskilled immigrants I am talking about. Those... It's a mixed bag, really. They absolutely benefit the skilled and highly skilled natives by making their dollars go farther, but they harm the unskilled natives.

Then it gets into the thorny issue of taxes when it comes to social services like schools and hospitals.

As for automation, I actually don't see that as a problem and think we should be automating more regardless. I... actually disagree a bit on the citizens wage as a solution; I'd prefer citizen's employment in the form of increasing civil service jobs, because why pay people to do nothing when theres still work to be done? Automate all the fast food and construction jobs, but train those workers to be in child protective services, education, police force, criminal defense attorneys, etc. For the people that are too incompetent to be trained in absolutely anything? Yeah, maybe a subsistence welfare, but I think those people are few and far between.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:49 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Ultra-Highly skilled immigrants, such as doctors and entrepreneurs, create more jobs than they consume. We are generally good about bringing those people over. It's the unskilled immigrants I am talking about. Those... It's a mixed bag, really. They absolutely benefit the skilled and highly skilled natives by making their dollars go farther, but they harm the unskilled natives.

Then it gets into the thorny issue of taxes when it comes to social services like schools and hospitals.

As for automation, I actually don't see that as a problem and think we should be automating more regardless. I... actually disagree a bit on the citizens wage as a solution; I'd prefer citizen's employment in the form of increasing civil service jobs, because why pay people to do nothing when theres still work to be done? Automate all the fast food and construction jobs, but train those workers to be in child protective services, education, police force, criminal defense attorneys, etc. For the people that are too incompetent to be trained in absolutely anything? Yeah, maybe a subsistence welfare, but I think those people are few and far between.


Bolded for emphasis.

Just want to point out (as someone who works in construction, more or less) that there are many, MANY parts of construction that robots simply aren't equipped to handle. For instance, the current job I'm working on involves remediation of coal tar in a large tidal river. The design specs are +/- 0.1 ft for each of three layers of material, which need to be placed under water at certain positions and depths, with an 8 knot river flow, 17 foot tide, wind, and maximum turbidity allowable. "Oh, just use GPS!" GPS doesn't work under water. Also multipath errors from the water proximity (and if you don't know what multipath error is, you have no business using GPS for construction). "GPS and sonar together!" The turbidity makes the sonar unreliable for the level of accuracy required. Additionally, there are so many day-to-day judgements about amount and type of material to be placed; issues of site stability (we had an operator drop an excavator in the river last week because the bank gave way; took three tow trucks and another excavator to get it out); not to mention eyes on things like endangered species (bald eagles, atlantic salmon, and sturgeon); etc.

Anyone who thinks construction is unskilled labor doesn't have a fucking clue and should work in it for a while before mouthing off.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:13 pm UTC

Alright, "all" was a bit of hyperbole, but most construction jobs are likely to be automated.
fun link

"Construction and building worker (other)" is unlikely, and electrical engineer amongst the least likely, so there will still be jobs, but roofer, carpenter, bricklayer, and so on are pretty much toast, and I don't consider those unskilled. There absolutely are skilled and semiskilled jobs in construction, part of the reason that even Terry Goodkind, the author who is the lovechild from when Ayn Rand took the advice to "go fuck herself" literally, actually supported construction workers guilds/unions. Because when you get the non-union workers, well, you'll be devoured by workers comp issues and delays.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:43 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Alright, "all" was a bit of hyperbole, but most construction jobs are likely to be automated.
fun link

"Construction and building worker (other)" is unlikely, and electrical engineer amongst the least likely, so there will still be jobs, but roofer, carpenter, bricklayer, and so on are pretty much toast, and I don't consider those unskilled. There absolutely are skilled and semiskilled jobs in construction, part of the reason that even Terry Goodkind, the author who is the lovechild from when Ayn Rand took the advice to "go fuck herself" literally, actually supported construction workers guilds/unions. Because when you get the non-union workers, well, you'll be devoured by workers comp issues and delays.



from that page you linked:

"However, manipulation in unstructured environments — like the tasks that must be performed by a house cleaner — are still beyond the scope of automation for the foreseeable future."

ALL construction that doesn't take place inside a factory is an 'unstructured environment'. I think that there are serious flaws in their methodology, likely arising from lack of exposure and/or experience in other fields.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:22 pm UTC

And prefab is already made in a structured environment; how many construction jobs will disappear if modular homes become the standard? As for non structured environment, well, here is a bricklaying Robot, which granted it's in a structured environment at the moment, is basically designed to work anywhere there's a flat surface with road access, and will only be improved from there.

EDIT: The SAM100 construction masonry bot already is in use outside of a "structured environment".

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:51 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:Anyone who thinks construction is unskilled labor doesn't have a fucking clue and should work in it for a while before mouthing off.


In practice, "unskilled labor" is a shorthand for certain types of employment. All of them involve at least some measure of skill, and often, at the high end of the industry, the difference may be quite significant indeed. Food service at McDonalds vs a top end restaurant likely involves significantly different tasks, and the latter will involve rather a lot of knowledge and skill.

Farming, too, can involved some pretty significant knowledge, training, and skill. Construction, sure.

However, when discussing these in the context of "unskilled labor", the folks being described are generally the ditch digger, the McDonalds worker, and the farmhand, not the pipefitter, the matre'd, and so on. We have a curious blind spot in this country regarding high end blue collar work.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:32 am UTC

Speaking of your McDonald's workers, burger-bots already exist. And unlike your McDonald's worker, your burger-bot will only rarely spit in your food or have sex on top of the grill.

So yeah, even the McJobs are going to go the way of the telephone switchboard operators and the brakemen and the American auto worker. Hell, remember that old folk story about John Henry the steel-driving man who competed against the machine? Ultimately, he lost; he didn't show up to work the next day, and now steel-drivers are nothing more than stories.


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