I talk about basic income a lot. Mostly because we need it. But what is the cost of providing a universal basic income?
There is about to be massive job loss. I mean MILLIONS OF JOBS DISAPPEARING.
Truck driver? Gone. Uber driver? Gone. Taxi driver? Gone. Fast food order taker? Gone. Cashier? Gone.
Even white collar jobs like bookkeeping and human resources will be outsourced to a small team with great software that does the job better and faster for less money.
All this can be kind of doom and gloom, which is why people don’t like talking about it.
That’s where the universal basic income saves the day.
We have 250 Million adult citizens of the US (for easier math for me).
The poverty line is just above $11k per person in the US.
If we gave each adult citizen $1k per month (paid in two separate $500 payments), we’d end poverty in America.
No bonuses for kids. We don’t want incentives for having more babies. We have plenty babies already.
So a couple raising kids would have $24k/yr to take care of their family. Worries about being able to eat and keep a roof over your head are gone. Poof.
The cost of providing a universal basic income would be $3 Trillion per year.
That’s totally doable. Here’s how (if you work for the federal government, you aren’t going to like this plan):
1 – Social Security costs about $1 Trillion per year. Layoff the entire department (they’ll be fine. We can’t try to save “jobs” in the government. We need the money for the UBI. Which those newly laid off people will receive.).
SS payouts averaged $1400/month, so it decreases this a bit but ensures that it will be paid and not closed for the next generation. And you get something out of it. It ensures no one is left out completely.
2 – Close HUD. That’s $49 Billion/yr. Sell the assets to private companies. Let’s round it to $50B/yr.
3 – End food stamps (SNAP) because the basic income can buy your food. That saves $70 Billion/yr.
4 – End all federal welfare, which according to this site is about $330 Billion per year that isn’t housing.
5 – Shave our outrageous military spending… by $350 Billion per year.
Now we’ve covered $1.8 Trillion for a UBI.
6 – Shave the federal government’s employees compensation. They’re paid $30k/yr more than private sector compatriots. Cut it all. They’ll get $12k/yr from the UBI. And it’s time they got taken down a peg.
There’s 2.1 Million federal employees costing taxpayers $267 Billion per year. If we cut their compensation by about 34% (down to private sector levels of compensation), we’d have $90 Billion per year for the UBI.
7 – Eliminating pensions for federal government employees would provide $1.03 Trillion per year for the UBI. This bumps our total amount of cash for a UBI to $2.93 TRILLION…
We only need $7 Billion to fully fund the UBI.
8 – Legalizing marijuana would generate $7 Billion per year on the federal level. That would also provide hundreds of millions of dollars in each state for improving transportation and education. Not to mention all the jobs it will create.
I did all of that without changing individual or corporate taxes. Just a budget reallocation. Modernizing our spending.
Here’s the thing about the universal basic income: There are no exemptions.
You work? Awesome! Here’s your bonus. Don’t need it cause you’re rich? Donate the extra $12k/yr to a charity you think does great work.
It’s for all of us: no exceptions, no paperwork, no agenda.
Now. The UBI plan I created doesn’t fix a few key things, namely: healthcare, homelessness, taxes and deficit spending.
That’s ok. I’ll tackle those too. I can’t fix America in a day.
If you’re concerned that this won’t be enough to help people… well, Americans donated $373.25 Billion in 2015. I bet we give more than $400 Billion in 2018.
And if that’s still not enough, let Warren Buffet stop telling others to give their money to fund things and have his $73 Billion in assets do the walking.