Andrew Yang and the concept of "Universal Basic Income"

in #andrewyanglast year

Andrew Yang doesn't seem to be getting a decent run in the Democratic nominations process. The policies and ideals he brings to the table are worth exploring further. The biggest concept he is known for is a Universal Basic Income (UBI) policy. Basically, his plan is to give every adult American $1,000 per month, regardless of their current financial situation.

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As a small aside, I just want to throw in that the Steem blockchain would be a perfect fit for Andrew Yang to add a unique channel to his social media campaign. He is pro-crypto, and many of his policies would be well received by the Steem community. Plus, on a practical note, the blog format of content he could produce would be a great platform for exploring policies in detail, producing content that is easily and attractively shared on mainstream Social Media. Steem links (regardless of which front end) look great on twitter.

My thoughts on UBI.

The basic concept behind the push for some form of UBI is that it provides a base or safety net for every individual. These are all just my personal thoughts, not heavily researched, but just opinions.

  • Firstly, the simpler it is, the less it will cost to run. Here in Australia, we have a much more comprehensive welfare system from my understanding than in the US. But there are rules, and more rules, and more rules, and so much red tape and bureaucracy that it becomes an industry unto itself. The expense of running the system is an extra burden on taxpayers. Far simpler would be just give the same to everyone. This would require a fraction of the bureaucratic complexity, and save a fortune in admin costs.

  • Incentive for some, disincentive for others. I think with this kind of simple setup, there are those in society who will think, "sweet, free money, I can live of that and don't need to work". This is inevitable to a degree and exists here in Australia. The long term unemployment issue will exist, regardless of whether the welfare is through a highly complex and bureaucratic system, or a simple $1,000 per month payment to everyone. Some people will, however, put the extra money to good use, investing it or paying down debts to improve their financial situation in the long run. This is good for the economy overall.

  • Will it reduce crime? I think so is my answer. Poverty related crime is likely to decrease, as people on the margins will have some money to support their families without having to resort to crime.

  • Why give it to the rich? - My answer to that is that the simplicity of the system will make it more financially sustainable. People who are well off financially, and don't need the money, will still likely make good use of it. The extra will feed back in to the economy one way or another. It may end up going to charity groups, or invested, or reducing debts, or going towards the children's education, or spent on holidays and discretionary purchases. All of these are beneficial to the economy in the long run.

  • Inflationary? I think this is probably the most valid criticism of a UBI. The extra funds being spent drives demand, and pushes up prices in the economy. The flip side to this, however, is that timing wise, now is probably the perfect climate to bring in an inflationary pressure. Inflation generally has been low for an extended period recently, and there are significant deflationary pressures in the economy. The best time to introduce a mildly inflationary policy is during a period of low inflation.

In general, I am in favour of a UBI. I think the benefits would far outweigh the negatives, and it would be a fair and equitable way to spread the wealth of an economy across the board. It isn't socialist, there is still plenty of incentive to work hard, and get ahead in life. It just puts an effective safety net into society, and gives the most vulnerable and marginalized a chance.

It is interesting to watch from a distance the nomination process. I'd love to see more attention payed to Yang, particularly his pro-crypto stance and UBI policies. Steem would be a great home for Yang, and importantly a great place for his supporters to create content and get the message out. Like I said before, Steem article links, be they from Steemit, Steempeak, Steemleo or 3Speak all show up great on twitter, and can create meaningful engagement and attention. Don't be fooled by the relatively small active user base of Steem, a link share to an article can generate a huge amount of attention, much of which will come from people that have never even heard of Steem. I'd love to see Andrew Yang, the #yanggang join Steem.

Thanks for reading, If you have seen this on twitter and are interested to know more about Steem feel free to inbox me.




I think the same as you mate and as you say UBI in Australia would save so much cost to the gov. And also reduce so much time wasting and frustration for people on welfare.

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Its one of those things that the government (either side) here in Aus have built a huge self-serving industry around. Unwinding all that in favour of a simple, low cost approach is unlikely here. I hope the topic at least gets some examination.

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I believe it will be inteesting to see that in action.

Me too. Not sure yet if we are heading towards a dystopian or utopian future. Pretty sure I don't trust politicians to deliver the later.

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I think UBI is nice on paper but to put it into practice will lead to many other questions. For instance why is it $1000 and not more/less? How do we ensure the money is put to good use instead of drugs and gambling?

In my opinion, a universal guarantee of basic needs might be better. Everyone should be guaranteed basic food, water, shelter and clothes. These are necessities and should be our basic human rights to have them

On top of this, there should be a system for basic free education/upskilling/retraining to enhance individual productivity

Valid points, definitely. Guaranteed basic necessities would be nice, but unwieldy for governance and administration possibly. As to the amounts, it does feel like he just plucked a nice round number out of the air. I'd like more research and trials to be run to see how it all works in the real world.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

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The elimination of complicated taxes and welfare distribution systems are the best arguments for UBI. However, with modern technology I fail to see why we need to give it to everyone including those in a high tax bracket. It should be a scaling system that slowly goes to zero as your income rises. Also with immigration there presents a challenge and property ownership. Do you really want to give $1000 a month to some rich person who moved to your country bought up some real estate, doesn't contribute to the economy and just sits there collecting the UBI with family members who also don't work?
I think if your worldwide income is over $100000 or if your worldwide networth is over $1000000 you should not be getting universal basic income. Citizens should not be a liability and UBI turns them into one.

There is a great argument for a "negative tax" here as opposed to UBI. A basic minimum for everyone, scaling out into the normal tax rates as income rises has its merits. My frame of reference here is the Australian welfare system. Technology should be reducing the compliance and maintenance of a complicated system, but it doesn't seem to be.

To your last point:

Citizens should not be a liability and UBI turns them into one.

Some would argue that a UBI system recognizes citizens as an asset, that the economy should be investing in.

I'm not married to any one idea here, just enjoying the debate and the big picture thinking. There is, I think, massive disruptions to society on the way from automation and A.I. Can the government's help avoid a dystopian future, I hope so but am unconvinced.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts mate.


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