Citizen's Wage

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:29 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:I'll argue that the wealthy can be wealthy because of the poor. Whatever else drives the economy, pure population has got to be in there. Markets require bodies to consume. In isolation no matter how wealthy, a country like the US is limited by it's population. If it can only sell goods and services to that population then the upper limit to growth is how much that population can consume. The same can be said of the planet. It's a closed system economically. The economy of today couldn't have existed in 1900. Not enough bodies to market to. People seem to argue that the most desperately poor of the US are way better of the elsewhere which is true until you think globally. The poor here are doing well because of those who are poorer elsewhere. The gradient is now global rather than local.

The problem with the CW is the assumption of continuing growth. Growth requires resources of energy and materials and increasing populations. If and when the population ceases to grow or as we hit limits on energy density, then economic growth must slow or stop. Even the most efficient economy can only produce as much as it can consume. The CW would, on it's surface, seem to lead to greater consumption thus increasing wealth. How the CW would be consumed is irrelevant. Xbox's or food it doesn't really make any difference. The difference in consumption is a matter of perspective or how you look at the consumer. The poor consuming Xbox's drive Microsoft's bottom line. They look at units shipped and don't care who consumes them. The difference between the wealthy and the poor in regards to consumption is a matter of degree. Steve Jobs bought a yacht, I buy model boats. The problem with social welfare systems as constructed is that they resemble pyramid schemes. They require a growing population to disguise the fact that the economy as constructed is unsustainable.


The problem right now is that we are not taking the benefit to society into account when we talking about production. We care more about how much we produce than what we produce. With a focus more on what we produce, we can see the people actually get more, but with overall production going down. We need to set our goals on improving the environment and improving the lives of as many people as possible at the same time. That constitutes cutting overall production, while focusing on making sure that the focus of the production is the people. Sustainability first requires a system in which our economy doesn't collapse if the government cuts military spending by $400bn, or if we don't increase production. A citizens wage helps to accomplish that.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby eSOANEM » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:43 am UTC

elasto wrote:But everyone benefits from such a deep and wide safety net - even the currently hardworking and well-off - because everyone is only a lightning-strike's worth of bad-luck away from losing their job, house, marriage, health and everything else they hold dear in the world. Anyone with a smattering of humility - which is, I hope, everyone here - looks at a homeless person and thinks 'there but for the grace of god go I.'

If you think 'but that could never happen to me' I challenge you to read up some stories on how perfectly ordinary, middle-class people can end up out on the streets. It can be as simple as losing their job, then health insurance, then getting injured, then losing their marriage and finally their house.


To give a single anecdotal example. A long time ago, my parents and I were moving house. There was a massive balls up with the contracts and we ended up having sold our house but not being able to move in to the house we were meant to. Luckily my grandparents were on holiday at the time and we had their keys so we moved in their for a couple of weeks. Had that not been available, there were other friends or family who could/would have taken us in until things got sorted.

Not everyone has those friends or family to take them in (and there is a vanishingly small chance that that is that person's fault).

Ormurinn wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:
It's not being given just to those who just can't be bothered. It's being shared between everyone. This already happens. If you pay your taxes, they fund schools even if you don't have children in the state education system. Your money goes not just to those who can't afford private schools but also those who "just can't be bothered" to send their children to them. Likewise with the NHS (IIRC you're from the UK). This is not a feature of the CW any more than it is in the current system and, in the CW at least, it is not only given to those who are not contributing.


The state school system takes from working people, and gives to those who need (it is a need, in an industrialized economy) an education. The NHS takes from working people, and gives to those who need healthcare.

CW takes a share of everyones production and hands it out between everyone, not just those who need it. In the process, it makes not contributing to society as a choice an attractive option to a vast swathe of the populace.


True those people do need healthcare, but some of them can afford to provide it themselves and chose not to. This is directly analogous to the CW.

The CW does not make not contributing to the economy attractive, it simply makes it possible. A CW, at least as I envisage it (and have said so many times), provides the minimum necessary. No-one wants to live in a tiny flat and only eat rice. The minimum standard of living people are willing to accept varies but, seeing as it is always possible to improve your standard of living by working (as opposed to living off the CW), people are still encouraged to work.

Ormurinn wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:I'm not advocating a CW with the aim of slowing the economy. I'm advocating a CW out of humanitarian aims.

Anyway, we do not need to keep churning out cars, driving everywhere and relying on coal power in order to allow for research into alternatives. What I'm saying is that we ought to take measures we know will buy us time (like driving less, cutting production of cars and dig up less coal) so that we have longer to look for ways to actually avoid the problem.


Thes is advocating a CW in order to reduce economic activity. I apologise for conflating your arguments.

We absolutely do need to keep producing in order to fund that investment. We need to keep making steel and concrete in order to build the new nuclear plants we will need.


No. It is advocating the CW in order to improve the standard of living of the worst off. That it allows for economic activity to reduce is a side effect and it is not clear that it would even happen. The CW allows more people to enter work by preventing benefit cliffs, it also encourages more flexible time and, by not working individuals so hard, could well increase efficiency. So it is equally possible to analyse the CW as speeding up the economy. I don't know what would happen and neither do you. No-one does until is tried (although, as Izawwlgood said, their friend who is an economist said it seems sound economically).

So, it is by no means clear whether the CW will slow the economy or not. It is however clear that it will improve the standard of living of those worst off. I believe humanitarian goals ought to be given higher priority than economic ones (particularly when the economic ones are not known to be negative).

Yes, we do need to keep producing concrete and steel for nuclear power plants. No that does not mean building office blocks out of reinforced concrete is a good idea. You're strawmanning me. I did not say we need to stop producing those things, I said we need to produce less of them. This doesn't mean building fewer office blocks either, it means building them out of more environmentally sensible materials.

Ormurinn wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:Cutting welfare at a time when the standard of living of worst-off is falling and when unemployment is rising is idiotic. Now is a time when we as a society need welfare more not less.


The welfare bill is the biggest part of government expenditure in this country. It makes sense to target it for cost reductions.

The latest benefit cap, for instance, caps what an out of work person can recieve per annum at more than anyone in my immediate family has ever earned in their life. That is ridiculous.


The benefit cap is £350/week for single adults with no dependents or £250/week/person in a couple with or without children (numbers from the government's own website). This corresponds to (assuming a 40-hour week which is optimistic for those struggling financially) £8.75/hour which is about 40% above the minimum wage for single adults and £6.25/hour which is just under the minimum wage for individual members of couples (who may have children dependent on them too).

The benefit cap includes jobseeker's allowance, child benefit, incapacity benefit, maternity allowance, severe disablement allowance and many other things. As such, I do not think it is ridiculously high at all and, in fact, am shocked at how bad it is for couples. If no-one in your family ever earned that much, I do not think that is indicative of the benefit's system being at fault but rather the job market.

Edit: will respond to the three ninja posts in a sec.

morriswalters wrote:The problem with the CW is the assumption of continuing growth. Growth requires resources of energy and materials and increasing populations. If and when the population ceases to grow or as we hit limits on energy density, then economic growth must slow or stop. Even the most efficient economy can only produce as much as it can consume. The CW would, on it's surface, seem to lead to greater consumption thus increasing wealth. How the CW would be consumed is irrelevant. Xbox's or food it doesn't really make any difference. The difference in consumption is a matter of perspective or how you look at the consumer. The poor consuming Xbox's drive Microsoft's bottom line. They look at units shipped and don't care who consumes them. The difference between the wealthy and the poor in regards to consumption is a matter of degree. Steve Jobs bought a yacht, I buy model boats. The problem with social welfare systems as constructed is that they resemble pyramid schemes. They require a growing population to disguise the fact that the economy as constructed is unsustainable.


The CW does not assume economic growth at any point. It only assumes tax income (which is what actually ends up funding it). Even in a zero-growth economy, there will be tax income and money will be passed around and the CW can still function in that system.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby tms » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:56 am UTC

esoanem wrote:No-one wants to live in a tiny flat and only eat rice.

It's not practical to accurately calculate the amount of currency for basic needs, since everyone has unique situations, skills and habits. It's cheaper to be, ah, prudently generous, instead of pedantic.

I have reason to be sceptical of perpetual growth: there seems to be few existing examples where primary production tidied up after themselves by the time they were relocating/done*. In many cases the technology probably doesn't even exist (yet). Questions like which portion of landmass can be developed, which areas are better left as they are, remain unanswered because it's not something anyone can conclude alone.

* water purification as an example, this should even be doable "realtime".
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:36 pm UTC

If a CW can help bring people out of the requirement of needing it, it will absolutely stimulate the economy. That seems fairly obvious; the trick is, making it possible for people to rise above needing it.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:38 pm UTC

I think it will become easier. Like I've said, right now you have no bargaining power if you are an unskilled worker. With a basic income, you have bargaining power, and that will most likely result in higher wages. It could likely make minimum wage obsolete for that reason alone.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:57 pm UTC

I don't see how that's true at all, nor how it will give employees more bargaining power. CW will act as a safety net for those who need it, but it's not going to magically change Walmarts shitty practices.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Chen » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:58 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I think it will become easier. Like I've said, right now you have no bargaining power if you are an unskilled worker. With a basic income, you have bargaining power, and that will most likely result in higher wages. It could likely make minimum wage obsolete for that reason alone.


Wouldn't this eliminate bargaining power? You're getting X wage regardless of whether you work. Therefore if you have TONS of unskilled labor wanting to work, wouldn't the wage go DOWN? As people have stated subsistence living isn't terribly pleasant. Unskilled labor will still give them a bit more money over their X guaranteed wage so could still be something people would want to do. Why would companies raise their offered wages? Unless there was NO demand for the low skilled positions I don't see it happening. Seems like you'd get extremely low wages instead since companies could now, justifiably, say there is no need for a minimum wage and so they could in fact pay as low as people are willing to work for.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:12 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I don't see how that's true at all, nor how it will give employees more bargaining power. CW will act as a safety net for those who need it, but it's not going to magically change Walmarts shitty practices.


Because it gives you an alternative to working there. Right now, if you are an unskilled employee, your option is work for crap pay, or have no income at all. With a basic income, you have a viable alternative to working: not working. This means that to companies like Walmart need more incentive to hire, and they need to treat people better if they are going to keep them.

Chen wrote:Wouldn't this eliminate bargaining power? You're getting X wage regardless of whether you work. Therefore if you have TONS of unskilled labor wanting to work, wouldn't the wage go DOWN? As people have stated subsistence living isn't terribly pleasant. Unskilled labor will still give them a bit more money over their X guaranteed wage so could still be something people would want to do. Why would companies raise their offered wages? Unless there was NO demand for the low skilled positions I don't see it happening. Seems like you'd get extremely low wages instead since companies could now, justifiably, say there is no need for a minimum wage and so they could in fact pay as low as people are willing to work for.


Right now, your wages aren't based on whether or not you want to work for that pay, they are based on your alternatives. If it turns out that you want to work for $2 an hour, that's fine, but I highly doubt that will be the case. To most people, $8 for an hours work is not worth it, but they have no other choice. If you have a basic income, there is absolutely no way around the fact that there will be people who want to work less, or that don't want to work at all. This means that there will be more competition for labor, and people will need more incentive to work. The likely outcome is shorter hours and better pay.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:21 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Because it gives you an alternative to working there.
Right, but that alternative is irrelevant to employers. If someone doesn't want to work for 5 dollars an hour because it's not worth it to them, an employer will just shrug and move onto the next person who will work for 5 dollars an hour because it is.
Thesh wrote:The likely outcome is shorter hours and better pay.
I think you're coming to this conclusion without any evidence. Foodstamps exist; they don't give poor people better bargaining power in minimum wage scale jobs.

This was my problem with CW; I agree now that it will protect and benefit poor people, but lets not have any delusions about it fixing everything, nor forget that it may indeed cause additional problems, like people staying on the program in perpetuity rather than using it to improve their situation.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:40 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:The CW does not assume economic growth at any point. It only assumes tax income (which is what actually ends up funding it). Even in a zero-growth economy, there will be tax income and money will be passed around and the CW can still function in that system.
I disagree. If it can work than it should be able to work anywhere. Is there sufficient tax base extant to give the CW to every man woman and child globally at the minimums for their given location? Do the efficiencies exist to do that? In the US alone, given that all other social welfare programs went away and we gave to every man woman and child 5,000 dollars yearly, not a living wage @2*$5000.00 for a couple, that's $5000.00 times 315,968,000. That's $1,579,840,000,000.00 compared to total tax revenues of $2,627,000,000,000.00. And that doesn't make it possible to give healthcare as a part of those minimums. Medicare which doesn't cover everything or everyone is another 523 billion. And that for the US. Now given that that would consume a significant portion of our budget, how do you sustain it?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Alexius » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:49 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:The CW does not assume economic growth at any point. It only assumes tax income (which is what actually ends up funding it). Even in a zero-growth economy, there will be tax income and money will be passed around and the CW can still function in that system.
I disagree. If it can work than it should be able to work anywhere. Is there sufficient tax base extant to give the CW to every man woman and child globally at the minimums for their given location? Do the efficiencies exist to do that? In the US alone, given that all other social welfare programs went away and we gave to every man woman and child 5,000 dollars yearly, not a living wage @2*$5000.00 for a couple, that's $5000.00 times 315,968,000. That's $1,579,840,000,000.00 compared to total tax revenues of $2,627,000,000,000.00. And that doesn't make it possible to give healthcare as a part of those minimums. Medicare which doesn't cover everything or everyone is another 523 billion. And that for the US. Now given that that would consume a significant portion of our budget, how do you sustain it?


People have run the numbers, and it works. Remember that only those with no earned income receive a net total of $5000 (or whatever the CW is). Other people are "paying back" some of it in increased taxes on their earned income, and once you get above a certain point people are paying more in increased income tax than they gain in CW.

They still get paid, because it means there's no benefit trap at any point in the income scale and it saves money on means-testing it.
Last edited by Alexius on Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:54 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Trebla » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:50 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Right, but that alternative is irrelevant to employers. If someone doesn't want to work for 5 dollars an hour because it's not worth it to them, an employer will just shrug and move onto the next person who will work for 5 dollars an hour because it is.


I think the theory/ideal here (and as far as I know it's just theory) is that people will not want to work for a pittance when they don't absolutely need to. Instead they'll increase their skills/education and make themselves more valuable in a field that pays more than Wal-Mart greeter. If there are people who want to work, and want to do menial labor for next to nothing, then there'll be a market for them. I think (again, in theory) this would become relevant to employers because there's no longer an "unlimited" pool of unskilled labor willing to work for minimum wage... this is tricky to predict since it's hard to tell exactly where the balance between needs and supply would land in this type of market.

Foodstamps exist; they don't give poor people better bargaining power in minimum wage scale jobs.


I'm not sure this directly translates to the CW paradigm. If a person on food stamps gets a job and starts getting paid, they lose their food stamps (right? I really don't know). They have no incentive to work at the poverty line because that's what they get without work. Under the CW system (if I understand it) they would continue to get the benefits + the wages... I don't really know if this gives bargaining power or incentive, but I think it's so different that it doesn't really even compare.

It's a fun discussion, I've been curious about systems like this for some time. A guy at work is a big Fair Tax advocate which I think has something similar to CW. I'm intrigued, but not convinced.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:10 pm UTC

For a basic income to be able to raise wages, it would have to be enough to live off of (again, provide an alternative to working for wages you aren't happy with). Eliminating minimum wage, and then paying an amount that wouldn't be enough to live off of would have the opposite effect. Paying so much that people can spend 24/7 partying without working would mean that you could pay ridiculous wages, and still have trouble finding workers. There is likely a tipping point in there somewhere where minimum wage law can be eliminated, but it's pretty much impossible to know what it is. If you kept minimum wage in place, you can compare wages and if we reached that point, you would know.

Trebla wrote:A guy at work is a big Fair Tax advocate which I think has something similar to CW. I'm intrigued, but not convinced.


There is a tax pre-bate, which is in effect a regular unconditional wage, but it wouldn't be enough to live off of and it would be entirely wiped out by increased costs due to the sales tax. I think a single parent with two kids gets something like $4000 a year, which is no where close to enough to live off of, and it's not intended as such.



EDIT: Ugh... I just realized I sounded like Laffer there... Shoot me.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:42 pm UTC

Which still didn't answer the question. Can it be done Globally, even in theory? The US enjoys its level of prosperity because of its global dominance of wealth that it has. It couldn't exist without the rest of the world to market to. So the poor in Bangladesh have to be counted. You don't see them and don't have them panhandling you, but they exist and their existence is tied to our economy. We use them to achieve our wealth and to acquire the capability to live the way we live. No Bangladesh or places like it, no cheap goods at Walmart. You kick the can down the road out of sight, but the can doesn't go away. The tax structure that you use to fiance this scheme requires those people, but they don't pay taxes. So we can do it for now, but can productivity increase enough to cover the costs as those places shrink in numbers, and instead of subordinates you end up with peers?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:59 pm UTC

There is no making up for the fact that we don't have the capacity to implement it worldwide today. However, could it be done globally? Yes. Should it be done globally? Yes. It will have to be implemented gradually, over the period of decades before it actually becomes a livable wage. Many countries don't have the infrastructure necessary to distribute income in the first place, and the first world would have to help with that. It has moral issues to the point in which globally doesn't mean every country (e.g. you want human rights guarantees and don't want to subsidize genocide), and you need to be proactive in helping third world countries build up an infrastructure in which they can use to produce food, clothing, and other goods, so that the first world isn't trying to produce everything for the entire world, and infrastructure so the goods that are produced by the first world can be traded with the third world (and vice versa).

I think it would be a good tool for putting us on the road for world peace within the lifetimes of people that will be alive in our lifetimes, but it wouldn't come without some economic sacrifice for the first world in the short term.

As for the poor in other countries, the amount that they save in costs of goods is enough to be profitable, but not enough to mean that we couldn't afford the goods if they cost more. A basic income should give most people in the first world more money to spend in the first place.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:38 pm UTC

Thesh, you are placing WAAAAAY too much importance on this program. World peace? Come on.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:46 pm UTC

By itself, it won't create world peace, but combined with a treaty that guarantees human rights and democracy, the basic income would provide an incentive for impoverished countries to adopt these things, which would be a huge step in the right direction. The problem now, is we have a very much first world vs third world attitude, in which the first world is basically beating the third world into submission. If we continue in that direction, there will always be war. Unless the first world works with the third world to end global inequality and exploitation, then there is no reason anything will change. A basic income isn't the only way to do this, it's just one way, and the way I consider to be the most socially responsible.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:44 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Which still didn't answer the question. Can it be done Globally, even in theory? The US enjoys its level of prosperity because of its global dominance of wealth that it has. It couldn't exist without the rest of the world to market to. So the poor in Bangladesh have to be counted. You don't see them and don't have them panhandling you, but they exist and their existence is tied to our economy. We use them to achieve our wealth and to acquire the capability to live the way we live. No Bangladesh or places like it, no cheap goods at Walmart. You kick the can down the road out of sight, but the can doesn't go away. The tax structure that you use to fiance this scheme requires those people, but they don't pay taxes. So we can do it for now, but can productivity increase enough to cover the costs as those places shrink in numbers, and instead of subordinates you end up with peers?


Who said anything about doing it globally? This would presumably be done within the structure of an individual country.

Izawwlgood wrote:Right, but that alternative is irrelevant to employers. If someone doesn't want to work for 5 dollars an hour because it's not worth it to them, an employer will just shrug and move onto the next person who will work for 5 dollars an hour because it is.


The difference is the change between want and need. In the current system, there are people who need to work for $5 per hour to survive; therefore, employers can exploit these sorts of individuals because they have no other option. In the CW system, there are no people who need to work for $5 per hour to survive; there will indeed still be people who want to work for $5 per hour, but they're much less vulnerable to exploitation because losing their employment is a viable option. Jobs with shitty pay, working conditions, and benefits, may have trouble finding people to work at them, simply because a large swath of people will decide that they're rather not work than work for a terrible employer if it doesn't improve their quality of life.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Chen » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:49 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Right now, your wages aren't based on whether or not you want to work for that pay, they are based on your alternatives. If it turns out that you want to work for $2 an hour, that's fine, but I highly doubt that will be the case. To most people, $8 for an hours work is not worth it, but they have no other choice. If you have a basic income, there is absolutely no way around the fact that there will be people who want to work less, or that don't want to work at all. This means that there will be more competition for labor, and people will need more incentive to work. The likely outcome is shorter hours and better pay.


More competition for labor means lower labor prices, not higher labor prices. If everyone can survive on their CW but they want to buy that new TV they're going to need another job. Except now the jobs won't have to supply a minimum wage because you don't need it to survive. So imagine the TV you want is $800. You need to do enough work to make that $800. Say you want to do it in two and half weeks. You ask for $8/hour somewhere and would earn it in 100 hours. If your neighbor also wants an $800 TV but accepts to do it in 4 weeks he only needs a wage of $5/hour. Who do you think the company will hire at that point? I can't see why this would make companies pay more. Hell if they can't get enough workers, they simply increase their prices which further screws those who are making this minimal living wage once again FORCING them to take on a menial job if they want to stop just subsisting.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:00 pm UTC

There are legitimate social concerns to implementing it only locally instead of globally. If you implement it locally, then there's a question: do you give it to all residents, or all citizens? If you give it to all citizens, this means that many people who are non-citizens can be left in the same poverty situation they are in now, and the crimes committed will overwhelmingly be from immigrants, which will further fuel nationalism and racism, and may lead to abuses of human rights. Implementing it with all residents also fuels racism, for the people who "come to this country and take our money"; it would also have the same problem as above, but with illegal immigrants instead of all immigrants.

Implementing it globally can get it to the point where you don't have the extreme poverty that causes a need for immigration restrictions (even distribution means it goes far in Mexico, but is useless in America at first). This means you would pretty much have no illegal immigration, as there would be less of a desire to immigrate. The downside here is that more of your resources are going to foreign countries, which means we may have to make sacrifices and it may still evoke nationalism, but at least you would be able to point to eliminating world hunger and spreading democracy and human rights (provided you combine with a treaty that requires it) at the same time.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Derek » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:06 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I'll argue that the wealthy can be wealthy because of the poor. Whatever else drives the economy, pure population has got to be in there. Markets require bodies to consume. In isolation no matter how wealthy, a country like the US is limited by it's population. If it can only sell goods and services to that population then the upper limit to growth is how much that population can consume. The same can be said of the planet. It's a closed system economically. The economy of today couldn't have existed in 1900. Not enough bodies to market to. People seem to argue that the most desperately poor of the US are way better of the elsewhere which is true until you think globally. The poor here are doing well because of those who are poorer elsewhere. The gradient is now global rather than local.

The problem with the CW is the assumption of continuing growth. Growth requires resources of energy and materials and increasing populations. If and when the population ceases to grow or as we hit limits on energy density, then economic growth must slow or stop. Even the most efficient economy can only produce as much as it can consume. The CW would, on it's surface, seem to lead to greater consumption thus increasing wealth. How the CW would be consumed is irrelevant. Xbox's or food it doesn't really make any difference. The difference in consumption is a matter of perspective or how you look at the consumer. The poor consuming Xbox's drive Microsoft's bottom line. They look at units shipped and don't care who consumes them. The difference between the wealthy and the poor in regards to consumption is a matter of degree. Steve Jobs bought a yacht, I buy model boats. The problem with social welfare systems as constructed is that they resemble pyramid schemes. They require a growing population to disguise the fact that the economy as constructed is unsustainable.

Population is a factor in economic growth, but it's not the only factor. The economy can continue to grow even if the population is stagnant, or even declining. Additionally, the desire to consume is basically unlimited. If an economy can produce more, then there will be people willing to consume it. This doesn't necessarily hold in individual industries, but in the economy as a whole there is always a desire for more stuff. The real limiting factor is our ability to produce, given our existing constraints on resources.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby eSOANEM » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:09 pm UTC

tms wrote:
esoanem wrote:No-one wants to live in a tiny flat and only eat rice.

It's not practical to accurately calculate the amount of currency for basic needs, since everyone has unique situations, skills and habits. It's cheaper to be, ah, prudently generous, instead of pedantic.

I have reason to be sceptical of perpetual growth: there seems to be few existing examples where primary production tidied up after themselves by the time they were relocating/done*. In many cases the technology probably doesn't even exist (yet). Questions like which portion of landmass can be developed, which areas are better left as they are, remain unanswered because it's not something anyone can conclude alone.

* water purification as an example, this should even be doable "realtime".


Yes, and I've agreed that it's best to err on the side of being generous. The point stands. It is possible to fine tune the CW such that enough people go into work.

I'm not sure why people brought up economic growth. The CW doesn't rely on growth, it just relies on the flow of money and the taxation which follows.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Ixtellor » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:16 pm UTC

So I just found this thread. After reading all of it...


The OP is basically suggesting a dystopian nightmare due to their predictions of life on earth as the whole world enters the first world.

An actual argument was that some people cant' work because they are addicted to drugs, therefore we should give them an annual salary.

The entire premise is to incentivize sloth and misuse of resources under the guise of human compassion.

I am confident everyone is ok with subsidizing the disabled, children, people in a rough patch.
But you're suggesting that people have the right to choose not to be productive for the rest of their lives, by forcing people who do choose to be productive to subsidze the lazy.

Productive = you dont' have to rely on others to feed, cloth, and shelter you.

There is a reason we had welfare reform in the 90's.

Question for the OP: You are very compassionate about the poor. (As you should be) But have you ever lived in or worked in an actual economically depressed area. (the "ghetto")

It is not a positive environment, and the many many negative externalities of that situation, create a cycle of poverty -- or worse a poverty mentality. Where escape is the exception.

This thread reminds me the documentary: Reversal of Fortune.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reversal_o ... (2005_film)

Giving people with drug and mental problems sums of cash is not the solution.
Drug rehab and mental hospitals would be an infinitly better investment than subsidizing destructive, non-productive behavior.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby eSOANEM » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:22 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:The entire premise is to incentivize sloth and misuse of resources under the guise of human compassion.


No. The premise is to ensure that everyone is unconditionally able to survive. Under a CW, there is always an incentive to be in paid work because doing so will always increase your standard of living. This is not true in current systems which have welfare cliffs which actually encourage people not to enter paid work because it will result in a reduction in income for them.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Ixtellor » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:38 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:No. The premise is to ensure that everyone is unconditionally able to survive [as drug addicts without having to get off drugs]


Fixed it for you.

What society do you see where people greatly subsidize the poor, where you see success?

I am also not clear, if your speaking exclusively to the first world, or if you are applying this to the entire world.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:45 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Fixed it for you.

What society do you see where people greatly subsidize the poor, where you see success?

I am also not clear, if your speaking exclusively to the first world, or if you are applying this to the entire world.


Good question. Let's see how it works. A guaranteed income supplement was tested in an impoverished village in Namibia a few years ago. Key findings:

Before the introduction of the BIG (basic income grant), Otjivero-Omitara was characterised by unemployment, hunger and poverty. Most residents had settled there because they had nowhere else to go, their lives were shaped by deprivation and they had little hope for the future.

The introduction of the BIG ignited hope and the community responded by establishing its own 18-member committee to mobilise the community and to advise resi-dents on how to spend the BIG money wisely. This suggests that the introduction of a BIG can effectively assist with community mobilisation and empowerment.

Since the introduction of the BIG, household poverty has dropped significantly. Using the food poverty line, 76% of residents fell below this line in November 2007. This was reduced to 37% within one year of the BIG. Amongst households that were not affected by in-migration, the rate dropped to 16%. This shows that a national BIG would have a dramatic impact on poverty levels in Namibia.

The introduction of the BIG has led to an increase in economic activity. The rate of those engaged in income-generating activities (above the age of 15) increased from 44% to 55%. Thus the BIG enabled recipients to increase their work both for pay, profit or family gain as well as self-employment. The grant enabled recipients to increase their productive income earned, particularly through starting their own small business, including brick-making, baking of bread and dress-making. The BIG contributed to the creation of a local market by increasing households' buying power. This finding contradicts critics' claims that the BIG would lead to laziness and dependency.

The BIG resulted in a huge reduction of child malnutrition. Using a WHO measurement technique, the data shows that children's weight-for-age has improved significantly in just six months from 42% of underweight children in November 2007 to 17% in June 2008 and 10% in November 2008.

Before the introduction of the BIG, almost half of the school-going children did not attend school regularly. Pass rates stood at about 40% and drop-out rates were high. Many parents were unable to pay the school fee. After the introduction of the BIG, more than double the number of parents paid school fees (90%) and most of the children now have school uniforms. Non-attendance due to financial reasons dropped by 42% and this rate would have been even higher without the effects of migration towards Otjivero-Omitara. Drop-out rates at the school fell from almost 40% in November 2007 to 5% in June 2008 and further to almost 0% in November 2008.

The residents have been using the settlement's health clinic much more regularly since the introduction of the BIG. Residents now pay the N$4 payment for each visit and the income of the clinic has increased fivefold from N$ 250 per month to about N$ 1,300.

The BIG contributed to the reduction of household debt with the average debt falling from N$ 1,215 to N$ 772 between November 2007 and November 2008. Savings increased during that period, which was reflected in the increasing ownership of large livestock, small livestock and poultry.

The BIG has contributed to a significant reduction of crime. Overall crime rates - as reported to the local police station - fell by 42% while stock theft fell by 43% and other theft by nearly 20%.

The criticism that the BIG is leading to increasing alcoholism is not supported by empirical evidence. The community committee is trying to curb alcoholism and has reached an agreement with local shebeen owners not to sell alcohol on the day of the pay-out of the grants.


[edit]Here's some data from Brazil:

Bolsa Família is a social welfare program of the Brazilian government. The program attempts to both reduce short-term poverty by direct cash transfers and fight long-term poverty by increasing human capital among the poor through conditional cash transfers. It also works to give free education to children who cannot afford to go to school to show the importance of education.[1] The part of the program that is about direct welfare benefits could perhaps best be described as a basic income with some prerequisits. Families with children, to be eligle for the income, must ensure that their children attends school and are vaccinated. The Bolsa Familia program has been mentioned as one factor contributing to the reduction of poverty in Brazil, which fell 27.7% during the first term in the Lula administration.[2] About 12 million Brazilian families receive funds from Bolsa Família,[3] which has been described as "the largest programme of its kind in the world."[3] By February 2011, 26% of the Brazilian population were covered by the program.[4]

Having conducted several surveys on the subject, the World Bank came to the conclusion that the program does not discourage work, nor social ascension. On the contrary, says Bénédicte de la Brière, responsible for the program monitoring at the institution: "Adult work is not impacted by income transfers. In some cases adults will even work harder because having this safety net encourages them to assume greater risks in their activities"' [10]

Surveys conducted by the Federal Government among Bolsa Família's beneficiaries indicate that the money is spent, in order of priority, on food; school supplies; clothing; and shoes.[11] A study conducted by The Federal University of Pernambuco, using sophisticated statistical methods, inferred that 87% of the money is used, by families living in rural areas, to buy food.[12]

According to research promoted by some universities and the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) the program has clearly contributed to Brazil's recent improvements in its fight against poverty, according. An ex ante econometric evaluation of Bolsa Escola did find significant effects on both school attendance rates and the number of children involved in child labor.[13][14]

A study by the UNDP's International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth[17] found that over 80% of the Bolsa Familia benefits go to families in poverty (making under half the minimum wage per capita), thus most of the benefits go to the poor. Bolsa Familia was also found to have been responsible for about 20% of the drop in inequality in Brazil since 2001, which is welcome in one of the most unequal countries on the planet.[18] Research promoted by the World Bank shows a significant reduction in child labor exploitation among children benefited by the Bolsa Família program.[19]

One positive effect of the program which is not immediately apparent is that it makes a significant impact on the ability of the poorest families to eat. Children in public schools receive one free meal a day—two in the poorest areas—and so less of their family's limited income is needed to pay for food. In a survey of Bolsa Familia recipients, 82.4% reported eating better; additionally, it was reported to increase the incomes of the poorer families by about 25%.[20]
Last edited by LaserGuy on Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:54 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:52 pm UTC

I hate to break it to you, but drug addicts will always exist, and they will always find a way to support their habit. Worrying that drug addicts might get money is not a reason to not give financial assistance to poor people, whether in the form of a basic income or a means test welfare program. Personally, I'd rather give them money then have them rob and steal for it in the first place. If you are concerned about the drug problem, the solution is programs to help people with dependencies, not throwing impoverished people under the bus because some of them might be drug addicts.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:16 pm UTC

The point is that because drug addicts will always exist, and this program potentially enables drug addiction, that this program won't solve drug addiction. LaserGuy just provided the study my economics friend was telling me about, so I'm completely on board with the idea of simultaneously preventing a debt spiral and providing some baseline to ensure everyone has food and shelter, but Thesh, you in particular seem to be woefully overblowing what a CW will solve. Homeless people with mental illness will still be mentally ill, and probably remain homeless. Drug addicts will remain addicted. Conflict between nations will still be a thing, and indeed, conflict between classes will still be a thing.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby cphite » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:19 pm UTC

Alexius wrote:A citizen's wage is a system where the government gives every citizen a sum of money that is sufficient to live on, regardless of their other income or whether they have worked, are seeking work, etc. This sum is roughly equivalent to what someone in receipt of full unemployment benefit (plus related allowances) currently gets. Children get a reduced payment (paid to their parents), while people above retirement age might get an increased one.

This is paid for by eliminating the tax-free income allowance (though CW income is not taxed) and raising income tax on all brackets, especially the highest one. Overall, this means that below a certain income people are better off as they receive more in CW than they pay in extra tax, while above that income (which would be well above the average) people are worse off- in other words, it's progressive taxation. In addition, other forms of unemployment benefit and housing assistance can be abolished, as they are no longer necessary- the CW means everyone has enough money for food and shelter.


I have my doubts, especially about the last few lines... Frankly what I suspect would happen would be similar to what happens when wages are artificially inflated; prices would go up accordingly. It would cost more to buy food, to pay rent, to keep the heat and the lights on; and before long the people who were actually depending on this citizens wage would find themselves in need of additional support just to keep up. So we'd have a situation where we'd need to implement welfare above and beyond this new citizens wage; at which point the people actually paying for this whole thing are taxed even further.

Some state benefits do remain. The CW proposals I have read are from countries with nationalised healthcare systems, so people don't need to be paid enough to afford health insurance, but government assistance to people with disabilities would still be needed.


But again, this is assuming that the costs of necessities do not rise accordingly.

The big effect of the citizen's wage is that people are no longer forced to work or starve. It would be entirely viable to do no work and just live on the citizen's wage- while not luxurious, you would be able to afford a small apartment, food, clothing and utilities.


In other words, if you don't work you get to live like someone on welfare; which begs the question why adopt this system at all? Why not just improve the welfare system to include more people who actually need it, and weed out more people who abuse it?

A citizen's wage might also mean that the minimum wage could be abolished. Given that everyone can choose not to work, people would only take a job if they think the extra income is worth the time and effort. Also, there would be a lot more people taking part-time jobs, just working a few hours to have some disposable income.


Which means that, in addition to the upward pressure on prices that you've caused by new taxes, you're also creating upward pressure by dramatically inflating the costs of various services. Take for example, the fast food industry. Working in a fast food restaurant is tedious and boring, and it doesn't pay well at all. But people still do it. Why? Because they need the money. Imagine how much more you're going to need to pay someone to do that job if nobody really needs the money?

Now, that may sound like a cold thing to say; but that is the reality of the situation. Crappy jobs exist, for crappy pay, because somebody needs them. Take away that need, and you've taken away that job. Take away that job, and you've taken away what that job provides; in this case it's just cheap food. But the same thing applies to janitors, garbage collectors, cashiers, and all manner of other menial, tedious jobs that, suck as they may, exist for a reason.

I've worked these types of jobs. I worked at McDonald's for six years; I bailed hay for several summers; I worked night security; I've shoveled rocks. None of these jobs were fun, and certainly none of them paid well. But I needed the money. I can assure you, speaking for myself, every single one of them would have had to drastically increased what they were offering if I'd had a citizens wage...

So if you're one of the folks who decides to live on the citizens wage - or, worse, is living on the citizens wage because you cannot work - suddenly you find that the prices for just about everything - especially at the lower end of the price scale - are suddenly much higher than before. Because even if we set all else aside, they're paying more for payroll almost across the board.

For example, a lot of folks on the lower end of the income scale shop at places like Wal-Mart, because Wal-Mart has really low prices. Wal-Mart has really low prices, in large part, because they employ a lot of people with low wages. Wal-Mart can hire people at low wages because people need to work. If you take away the need to work, it cascades upward to higher prices at Wal-Mart.

The more I read about the idea of a citizen's wage programme, the more I support it. This thread is to discuss whether you think it would work, and what effects it would have on the economy.


Personally, I believe that if such a system is put into place, that the increases in costs - especially at the lower end of the price scale - will be more than enough to harm the very people this system is intended to help.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:31 pm UTC

Derek wrote:Population is a factor in economic growth, but it's not the only factor. The economy can continue to grow even if the population is stagnant, or even declining. Additionally, the desire to consume is basically unlimited. If an economy can produce more, then there will be people willing to consume it. This doesn't necessarily hold in individual industries, but in the economy as a whole there is always a desire for more stuff. The real limiting factor is our ability to produce, given our existing constraints on resources.
There are 24 hours in a day of which you sleep 8, give or take. You can only consume so much. You spend most of your time working so you can consume. Slap a dome over the US. Give it the energy resources it has today, the materials are already in the system, assuming perfect reuse. How much could you produce and how much could you market. More of the first than the second I would guess. This is the problem with efficiency. The more and cheaper you can produce, the more your market must grow to absorb that increased production due to that efficiency. This is the definition for efficiency, isn't it? It seems to me that the temptation to believe because the well is deep that it can never be filled. So if you have no growth of population and productivity continues to increase, what happens then? And you end up at a place where either everything is done by machine and labor has no value at all, or where labor is no longer cheap anywhere and costs go through the roof. I seem to be missing something important.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:42 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The point is that because drug addicts will always exist, and this program potentially enables drug addiction, that this program won't solve drug addiction.


??? I'm not sure where this is coming from. I didn't indicate otherwise.

Izawwlgood wrote:Homeless people with mental illness will still be mentally ill, and probably remain homeless. Drug addicts will remain addicted. Conflict between nations will still be a thing, and indeed, conflict between classes will still be a thing.


You are not obviously not reading what I am writing. I am in no way suggesting that a citizens wage is the solution to every problem, however it can be used in conjunction with other programs. As I just said, if you want to fight drug problems, you work on drug treatment programs. Likewise, if you want to fight mental illness, you work on mental health programs. If you want world peace, you push for treaties that create the conditions necessary (democracy, human rights, poverty reduction).

9/11 didn't happen just because of religion, it happened because we treat the middle east like shit, solely for our own gain. If you want to influence the world, bullying is a really bad way of doing it, and what we are doing now is a good way to ensure that there will always be national conflicts. If you ever want world peace, you need to work on ending global inequality, you need to work on improving human rights, you need to work on creating an economic system in which countries are not purely in competition with each other. If you want to get countries to sign a treaty, having incentives for them to sign it is, shockingly, a good way to go about it. There is no reason why world peace cannot eventually happen, but we have to work towards it; will it happen in our lifetime? Probably not, but we could take a huge step forward if we work with the third world to help things improve, instead of overthrowing their governments and seeing how much debt we can put them under.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:57 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I am in no way suggesting that a citizens wage is the solution to every problem
Thesh wrote:By itself, it won't create world peace, but combined with a treaty that guarantees human rights and democracy, the basic income would provide an incentive for impoverished countries to adopt these things, which would be a huge step in the right direction.
:roll:

CW will help prevent the poor from starving falling into a debt spiral, and probably provide a springboard to help those who are poor or have fallen on hard times, to get out of being poor. That's about it. It's not going to fix economic inequality such as loan/credit availabilities, it's not going to fix America's broken health care, education, or class conflict, and it's certainly not going to encourage other countries to follow and/or lead to world peace, whether or not you include 'treaties that guarantee human rights and democracy', which, lets be honest, is sort of like saying 'if you wave a magic wand that eliminates inequality and strife'.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:02 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Thesh wrote:I am in no way suggesting that a citizens wage is the solution to every problem
Thesh wrote:By itself, it won't create world peace, but combined with a treaty that guarantees human rights and democracy, the basic income would provide an incentive for impoverished countries to adopt these things, which would be a huge step in the right direction.
:roll:


I think you are looking at the words, but you aren't reading.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:06 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:9/11 didn't happen just because of religion, it happened because we treat the middle east like shit, solely for our own gain.

Just stop there, please. Your ignorance of Middle East politics is showing. And this shouldn't become the thread discussing them.
One other really basic question:
Where do the taxes that support this system come from? What's to stop those who disagree with subsidizing society from their efforts from moving their monies elsewhere? Already corporations manage to pay a paltry fraction of they could be considered to "owe". (Given that most of those maneuvers are legal, the amount owed is in question.)
This reeks of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:18 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:Where do the taxes that support this system come from?


Where do taxes to support any program come from? Preferably not sales tax, but instead tax on other income, tax on capital gains, tax on wealth. If people can avoid taxes, they are already doing so. If people are evading taxes, then you work to stop that. This doesn't change anything.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:26 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I know; I'm pointing to microloans as proof that handing people who live below the poverty line a lump sum of cash tends to significantly improve their lives.


The lottery would be a more applicable example, and would yield the exact opposite results.

Thesh wrote:As far as I can tell, your argument is that his things are now are correct, because that's the way things are now, and anythjng that is different is wrong because it wouldn't be the way things are now?


Not at all. Arguing that "nobody should starve" as a reason to switch is strange, though, because people aren't really starving now. In reasons to switch, you want to provide reasons why the new system is superior to the existing system, not why the new system would be superior to nothing.

Thesh wrote:We need to set our goals on improving the environment and improving the lives of as many people as possible at the same time. That constitutes cutting overall production, while focusing on making sure that the focus of the production is the people. Sustainability first requires a system in which our economy doesn't collapse if the government cuts military spending by $400bn, or if we don't increase production. A citizens wage helps to accomplish that.


Efficient production delivers what is demanded. That's what money is for. I don't care HOW efficiently you can produce, say, a handful of garbage, because there's effectively no demand for that. Our current economy IS producing what is demanded. Lowering that production to "focus it" is basically command economics 101. That results in bread lines and the like in practice.

Also, if you cut ANY sector by $400 bil overnight, then yes, there will be economic problems. This is because people that WERE making $400b/year in product X now have to learn how to make something else. Compensation packages will not affect this...the problem here is that change has a cost, so if you do a giant pile of it all at once, you incur a lot of costs all at once. The correct answer is to do it more gradually so the cost is spread out.

Thesh wrote:Right now, your wages aren't based on whether or not you want to work for that pay, they are based on your alternatives. If it turns out that you want to work for $2 an hour, that's fine, but I highly doubt that will be the case. To most people, $8 for an hours work is not worth it, but they have no other choice. If you have a basic income, there is absolutely no way around the fact that there will be people who want to work less, or that don't want to work at all. This means that there will be more competition for labor, and people will need more incentive to work. The likely outcome is shorter hours and better pay.


What do you mean "not worth it"? It clearly IS worth it, since they're choosing to do it. Yes, people would prefer better, but "not worth it" generally means that the costs equal or exceed the gains.

Alexius wrote:People have run the numbers, and it works. Remember that only those with no earned income receive a net total of $5000 (or whatever the CW is). Other people are "paying back" some of it in increased taxes on their earned income, and once you get above a certain point people are paying more in increased income tax than they gain in CW.

They still get paid, because it means there's no benefit trap at any point in the income scale and it saves money on means-testing it.


It is not possible under the US system for increased income to result in paying more income tax than you received. They are marginal rates, ie, you pay x% on the first y amount of money, and x+3% on the next z amount of money, and so on. No rate is 100% or higher. Or even close, really.

Additionally, it seems patently obvious that $5000/year for a family would not be a terribly effective living wage, and would represent a significant decrease for most folks on any sort of social program now. Entacting such a program, even at the cost of ALL our other social programs, would be a large fiscal burden, and would almost certainly require significantly increased taxation.

The welfare cliff is a problem, but this feels like solving a problem of a fly with a shotgun.

Additionally, I am VERY skeptical of any idea that this will produce world peace. People fight for many reasons, and a basic income won't remove all of them.

Last but not least, if not entacted globally, it cannot coexist with easy immigration.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Ixtellor » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:29 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:If you are concerned about the drug problem, the solution is programs to help people with dependencies, not throwing impoverished people under the bus because some of them might be drug addicts.


Nonsequitor.

It sounded great, very emotionally compelling. But subsidizing drug addiction has nothing to do with 'throwing imporverished people under the bus'.

The solution to X is not to throw impoverished people under the bus.
So insert, racism, child abuse, terrorism, pollution, and see if your argument holds.


LaserGuy wrote:Good question. Let's see how it works. A guaranteed income supplement was tested in an impoverished village in Namibia a few years ago.


So you selected a 3rd would country, paid for with private grants (ie willinging given, not with the threat of violence [taxes]), with a cost that was probably .00000001% of GDP, or .000001% of Government spending. And the results were MEH and inconclusive.
http://www.namibian.com.na/index.php?id ... no_cache=1



But the main issue of concern is the false claim that BIG has reduced poverty among the residents of Omitara. There is simply no evidence to support this claim. If at all the living condition of the residents of Omitara settlement has improved after the introduction of N$100 per person per month it should be convincingly demonstrated that the perceived improvement was not due to chance, bias or confounding factors.


LaserGuy wrote:Here's some data from Brasil


2nd world nation. Costs 2.5% of Government revenue. Only goes to the very poorest, which is about 23% of the population.

Seems reasonable. 2.5% of revenue or .5% of GDP to help out 23% of the population.
Sounds like a good return on investment.

What is drastically different from what you are describing is that the money doesnt' go to everyone, they only targeted the very poor. The payments are Conditional and again, go to people in a nation where food, clothing, and shelter are actual problems.

We dont' have a clothing or food shortage in the USA. Furthermore our homeless population for the legit poor is temporary. (not counting the 90% who are either addicts or mentally ill) (thats a different problem and requires solutions that dont involve throwing cash at them without conditions. )
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CorruptUser
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:39 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:Where do the taxes that support this system come from?


Where do taxes to support any program come from? Preferably not sales tax, but instead tax on other income, tax on capital gains, tax on wealth. If people can avoid taxes, they are already doing so. If people are evading taxes, then you work to stop that. This doesn't change anything.


The entire US economy is 15 trillion, for 320 million. To give everyone a living wage if $20,000, you'd need a tax rate of over 40% of the economy. Not counting the military. Not counting police, schools, emergency services, or everything else the government does. You simply can't collect that much.

This is before you get into the loss to the economy from people not working as a result; you can fiddle around with who gets how much, but if the number of burger flips goes from 10 billion to 9 billion, there's a billion less burgers flipped not matter how much money everyone has.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:58 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The entire US economy is 15 trillion, for 320 million. To give everyone a living wage if $20,000, you'd need a tax rate of over 40% of the economy. Not counting the military. Not counting police, schools, emergency services, or everything else the government does. You simply can't collect that much.

This is before you get into the loss to the economy from people not working as a result; you can fiddle around with who gets how much, but if the number of burger flips goes from 10 billion to 9 billion, there's a billion less burgers flipped not matter how much money everyone has.


Your numbers are a bit off, $15.7 trillion GDP in FY 2012, with the population at around 315 million. You also have to take into account that this would replace welfare programs, social security, and unemployment benefits. There are also likely to be side effects, like the reduced need for law enforcement and prisons if the reduced poverty results in a lower crime rate (which is likely). This also reduces state government spending, since states provide a chunk of that spending as it is, so in some cases you are shifting taxes.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:07 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:You also have to take into account that this would replace welfare programs, social security, and unemployment benefits
This is a problem; the elderly have different requirements than a 20 something artist.

The amount of details that are being left out here are enough to effectively be welfare programs, social security, and unemployment benefits.
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